Friday, March 29, 2013

RE:View | Love Finds You in Lake Geneva Wisconsin by Pamela S. Meyers

I have a confession to make. I love historical novels with one exception...westerns.  Not really sure why, and it's not a rule, just most of the time I'll skip a western in favor of something different.

Anyway, back to historical novels...

I enjoy reading for the very reason that you are able to step into someones shoes and get a view from their world. As I've mentioned before, a happy ending is usually important (check out my post about this here and here) but reading something completely different than what I'm used to excites me and makes my imagination tingle! For that very reason, sinking into a different time period is sometimes just what I need.  I'd love to share a little bit about a fantastic book I received to review from Pamela S. Meyers and Summerside Press.


Set in 1933 with the onset of the Great Depression and the imminent end to Prohibition, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva Wisconsin by Pamela S. Meyers is a fantastic look into the lives of Meg Alden and Jack Wallace.

Meg sees her position at the local news paper as a stepping stone to something greater.  In a world where women haven't been welcomed into the reporting world, she's aspiring to a job she shouldn't have.  Her boss, Mr. Zimmer, is adamant that women should stick to writing society news.  When a reporting job in her office opens up, Meg is disappointed to see that Mr. Zimmer has hired someone from out of town to take the position rather than promote her.

Handsome and talented Jack Wallace enters the picture and Meg fights her disappointment that's quickly turning into a growing attraction to his lopsided grin and easygoing nature.  Jack needs the experience of a small-town weekly (a newspaper that puts out weekly editions, not daily papers) but Meg may be a distraction he wasn't looking for.

I was immediately caught up in Megs story because I know how it feels to be called to something you're not sure you can attain. Meg desires a reporting job so badly but is constantly passed by because she is a woman. She also finds her trust in God waning when she can't see how her future will pan out - something I also can relate to.

As the novel came to a close I found myself extremely satisfied with how it all worked out. I wont spoil it here of course, but I'd highly encourage you to get your own copy of Love Finds You in Lake Geneva Wisconsin so you too can enjoy the rich description of Lake Geneva in all its 1930's charm.

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, March 27, 2013

Patti Shene {Writer Wedensday}

I'm especially excited to introduce you to this Writer Wednesday author, Patti Shene. She's currently on hiatus from full-time writing to devote time to her husband while he is struggling with health issues. She has made a slight exception and agreed to be a guest on my blog and I'm honored :) Please give her a warm welcome!

A little bit about Patti...

Patti is a retired registered nurse who has always harbored a desire to write. She worked with Written WorldCommunications for the past three years as editor of Starsongs magazine and also served as Division Manager for YA and Childrens’ Imprints. She is published in two anthologies and in local publications. 

How to connect with Patti...

Visit Patti’s three blogs at her website,, and leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Connect with her on Twitter (

Author Interview | Patti Shene
You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
...I was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island in New York, but have made my home in Southeastern Colorado for the past forty years. I am married to my husband of 35 years and we have two wonderful adult children and one amazing granddaughter. Our son and daughter-in-law live in the UK and our daughter and her family live here in town. I enjoyed a career as a registered psychiatric nurse for almost forty years.

How did you start writing? 
...I remember always carrying one of those “composition” notebooks around during junior high school with the scribbled words of my first novel, a poem, or whatever. The novel never did see completion, and I have absolutely no idea whatever happened to it.

What has kept you writing?
...I think what has motivated me to keep writing is the response I get from those who have read what I write. From critique partners who have read portions of my novel, to my attempts at inspirational pieces for our church newsletter, to a blog post that draws a comment, the feedback that tells me someone has been touched in a positive way serves to encourage me to keep writing.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?  If so, why?
...One of my favorite published works is a piece that appeared in the anthology Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real Life Stories of Supernatural Events. Our church organist told me this true story over coffee one day and I just knew it had to be put into print. I had read the call out for the anthology and felt God had placed the story in my hands at just the right time. It is very powerful and I’m sure whoever reads it will be touched in a profound way. It can be found on page 139 of the book and is entitled The Sweet Touch of a Small Hand. The book can be purchased at major online retailers and is also available in stores such as Wal-mart.
...I do have a huge regret, though. When I returned the contract, I must have failed to indicate that the story was an “as told to” story, so it appeared in the book with only my name. My friend was not upset about it, but the editor understandably was and I still am very distressed to have made such a blunder.

...Another reason this story is important to me is because my friend, Bonnie Hoffman, who told me the story, had wanted this experience to be shared for a long time. She is thrilled to see it in print, even though her name, thanks to my oversight, is not on it. I just feel terrible that people think this was my experience. I never lost a little brother in a fire. I never even had a brother.   

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?
...I don’t have a book published, but I have non-fiction pieces in two anthologies. The hardest for me was waiting to see if my work had been accepted. I knew I was in competition against hundreds of other writers, so the longer I waited for a response, the more sure I was that my work had not been accepted.

...The easiest was fitting the story to the particular call out. When that happens, I believe it is truly a God thing.

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 took a long break from writing when I started working with Written World Communications three years ago. I was investing most of my writing time in editing with them. I left WWC when my husband developed some medical issues and I felt my energy and time needed to be devoted to his health.

...I have three novels in progress, but to be honest, they are not priority right now.

...I am currently working on some content to get the Authors of Tomorrow portion of my web site, a section for young writers, up and running. I also have some short work in progress to submit to and Devokids. Then there is that article I need to get done for the church newsletter over the next couple of days.

What is one take-away from your work that you hope readers identify with?
...I would hope readers would be able to make a connection with the God I have come to know who is real, who cares about each of us as individuals, and who does amazing things in our lives if we only let Him.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I find my inspiration for my stories and characters from my own experiences and those of others around me. I like to read fantasy sometimes, but I’m not so sure I could write it, so I guess I’d have to say my stories are based on real life.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...To encourage and inspire. I like to theme my stories around the things we all fall prey to so easily, our reluctance to forgive, our greedy desires, our jealousy and prejudices, our tendency to want to do things our way instead of God’s way.

...I dream of finishing my novels someday and maybe seeing them in print, but that isn’t the driving force in my writing life right now. After working with Written World Communications, my passion is to encourage other writers to reach their goals. In the next few weeks, I’m going to concentrate on resuming my Over 50 Writer blog and Patti’s Porch blogs, both meant to encourage and showcase writers striving to promote their work.

...The Over 50 Writer blog is my favorite because it amazes me to hear the stories of older writers, some just starting out in the profession, who persevere against many odds to complete their work and get it out there in print.

...Another very important goal is to launch Authors of Tomorrow. After editing several issues of Starsongs magazine, a publication of Written World Communications for kids by kids, I know there are many young writers out there with incredible talent. I want to be one of the people in their lives who can serve as a mentor and encourager to them.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Search your soul and learn why you want to write and what you want to say. Seek God’s guidance when setting your goals. Find your passion and use it to fuel your words.

...Once you have established what you want to write, seek all the knowledge you can on how to do it right. Be professional. Don’t submit your work until it is the very best you believe it can be. If an editor gives you advice on how to improve your work, listen.

...Persevere. Whether a work takes you two months or twenty years, if you feel that driving force to complete it or get it published, don’t give up. Only God knows when the time is right for your work to do the most good for His glory according to His perfect plan.

...Learn from my mistake (cited above). When you receive a contract, be sure to include all of the information requested!

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?
...I have attended the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for several years, the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference a couple of times, the ACFW conference a couple of times, and the Idahope Writers Conference once. I was very blessed, through Written World Communications and Marlene Bagnull, to serve on faculty at CCWC and GPCWC in recent years.
...Whether conferee or faculty, what I find most helpful occurs outside of the classrooms, when small groups of writers get together and discuss their successes, their failures, and their future plans. Those conversations help fuel my desire to pursue a career as a writer.

What’s your favorite green food?  (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
...Mint Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen (well, it’s sort of green!)

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
...I’d love to spend a month in a warm cabin in the Adirondack North Country of New York in winter.


Thank you so much for sharing with us Patti! I totally think a Mint Oreo Blizzard counts as a green food, I've never been to New York (yet!) but a warm cabin in the winter sounds amazing, and I just love your advice to writers - especially when you say we must "learn why" we want to write.  Motivation is a big thing and I have a feeling that it really affects how we will do as writers.

Again, it's so wonderful to have you on the blog - a special thanks to you for doing the interview despite the difficult circumstances with your husbands health!

Patti has also offered up a copy of the anthology Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real Life Stories of Supernatural Events that her story is featured in! 

You have until the end of next Wednesday (April 3rd) to leave a comment on this post and we'll choose randomly from the comments left on this posts so make sure we can get in touch with you (ie: leave your email or a way we can contact you). 

We will announce the winner 
on Thursday April 4th!

Monday, March 25, 2013

We have a winner!

I'm excited announce the winner of Eileen Rife's novel Chosen Ones! 

Drum roll please.........

It's Kara Peck!

Congratulations, Kara! I'll be emailing you today to get your address for your copy of Eileen's novel! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment :)

If you didn't win, don't worry! There will be plenty more giveaways and more amazing authors to share with you for {Writer Wednesday}. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Powerful Words

I am always amazed at the power words have.
Wrap your head around that.
Written (or typed) words can change lives.

They inform.
They instruct.
They caution.

They invite. 
They encourage. 
They inspire.

They hope.
They hurt.
They heal.

They are powerful, and yet we use them without much thought most of the time. I'm reminded of the verses in James that talk about the power of the tongue and compare it to the bit in a horses mouth or the rudder of a ship with the power to set forests ablaze.  

Being a writer who also loves to read, I'm faced with using words and reading them all the time. I cringe when I think of how easily I can shoot off a text, make a sarcastic comment to a friend, or even create a Facebook status without much thought. It's usually only after time that we see the results of our words, whether negative or positive. 

I pray that, in all that I write or say, I would honor the Lord in all of it.  Whether it's a Facebook or blog post, an article, or even a text message, I want to be able to say it was written with thought.  I don't want to live aimlessly and I don't want to speak flippantly either.

Do you think about what you casually say? What you write? What you post? If so, how do you sensor what you post on Facebook or text to someone?


Check out this article for a beautifully written, extremely powerful follow-up post about the Steubenville trail by the talented Ann Voskamp. She is a woman who uses her words powerfully with God's purpose in mind. I immensely respect her and her writing!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Food to read and write

This is a little-known fact, but I also have another blog devoted to FOOD!  I don't update it very often because Thinking Thoughts and my photography blog keep me very busy, but there are times when I'll come up with a recipe or make something fantastic that I just have to share and, rather than try and make it writing or photography related, I just stick it up on Tasty Ideas.

Being a writer, it's important to have great snack items around. I'd say the same is true for readers!  I'm talking healthy, tasty, feel good foods that are quick and easy so as not to tie up your hands for too long. It's good to take a break, but the end goal is to "get back to it" - you either want to finish writing the next great novel or reading it!
Banana Applesauce Muffins

Knowing this, I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes from Tasty IdeasMy Banana Applesauce Muffins are by far the favorite on my food blog.  They are easy to make, healthy, and taste great - a must have for me and for a blog with "tasty" in the title.

There are many alternatives to the recipe as well - feel free to add in chia or flax seeds, nuts of any kind, dried cranberries or raisins, or even chocolate chips (though that kind of defeats the "healthy" purpose a bit).

So, go on into the kitchen, give your fingers (or eyes) a little break and whip yourself up a batch of muffins. They will be great for (shorter) future breaks and I'm sure your family will appreciate them too ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eileen Rife {Writer Wednesday}

You may have seen my excited post yesterday - but today is finally here and so is my lovely guest, Eileen Rife! Give a big Thinking Thoughts welcome to her, grab a cup of coffee, and get to know this talented author and speaker.

A little bit about Eileen...

Eileen has a lot of titles under her belt: author, speaker, wife, mother, grandmother, marriage counselor, and English lover.  All of these combine to create the basis of a dynamic storyteller and speaker.  Ever since she was a child, Eileen has loved dreaming up stories and those stories have only been enriched by the journey of her life so far.
"Healing words for hurting hearts," is how Eileen Rife describes her books. Whether through fiction or nonfiction, Eileen wants readers to come away with love that extends beyond themselves, faith that can see the impossible, and hope that endures against all odds.
How to connect with Eileen...
Publishers Website: Oak Tara
You can check out her books on Amazon too!

Author Interview | Eileen Rife

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

...As a child, I loved writing and telling stories. Walking to school every morning, I created characters, then talked to them as I ambled down the road, which was often my way of dealing with grief and loss. After the death of my brother, I learned to empathize with the underdog. Many of my stories revolve around issues that many find difficult to talk about--death, homosexuality, sex trafficking. Through my characters, I offers readers an opportunity to draw close, peel back the layers of their own hearts, and examine what lies within.

...And added to the mix--romance, always a romance around one corner or another!

...An alumna of Christian Writers Guild and member of American Christian Fiction Writers, I have published several nonfiction books, written newsletters, a marriage column, and over ten church dramas. My byline has appeared in magazines, such as Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, Mature Living, Christian Home & School, Drama Ministry, and ParentLife, as well as other print and online publications. My fiction works include Second Chance and the Born for India trilogy (Journey to Judah, Restored Hearts, and Chosen Ones). You can look for Laughing with Lily and Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones--coming soon from OakTara. My husband, Chuck, a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist, and I conduct marriage seminars for churches and organizations in the states and overseas. We have three married children and six grandchildren.

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Chosen Ones is about a couple in crisis who encounter a child taken captive. 
Life in Chennai, India, is complicated. While Maggie and Gavin Munsfield adjust to a new baby, missionary friends, Dan and Yvonne Pratt, experience the heartbreak of infertility and miscarriage. When their lives intersect with a young girl caught up in the horrors of sex trafficking, each of them will receive a precious gift. But will they find it in their hearts to accept an outcome so different than what they expected and hoped for?
...Chosen Ones is inspired by my daughter’s and son-in-law’s hearts for sex trafficked victims. 

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That sometimes God’s plans are not our plans. But if we allow Him, He can turn bitterness into sweetness.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Typically both. I take a trip down memory lane, foraging ideas along the way. Usually that journey is enough to spark an idea or two and then my imagination takes over.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories? 
...My overall intention is to provide a satisfying read that not only entertains but builds awareness and moves the reader to action.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...If God has called you to write, never give up!

What’s your favorite green food?  (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
...Spinach! I use fresh spinach in smoothies, salads, tacos, and quiche.

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
...That one’s a no-brainer. Maui!

I identified with you right off the bat, Eileen! I was that same child - the one walking around dreaming! My imagination was a better entertainer than any television show I could have watched, and growing up in a small town, I was able to use the lack of conventional entertainment to feed my creative side!

I love how you say you take inspiration from the past to form your stories, but that you couple awareness with a good fictional plot.  It's such a wonderful thing how novels read for entertainment can also be educational! Plus, your advice to writers is so true (and so encouraging for me as well) - "If God has called you to write, never give up!".  I may just make that my mantra ;)

Thank you so much, Eileen, for joining us here at Thinking Thoughts and thank you for the GIVEAWAY of one of your fantastic novels, Chosen Ones! 

For you, readers, make sure and leave a comment below with your email included if you want to be added to the drawing for a hard copy of Eileen's novel, Chosen Ones. The contest is open today until Sunday evening (9pm Pacific Standard Time) and I will announce the winner on Monday March 25th!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tomorrow's Surprise

You read that right, I have a surprise (that's not so surprising) for tomorrows {Writer Wednesday} post!  There will be a giveaway!

Yes, yes I hear you - fists raised, tears streaming, voices crying out! 

I'm excited too - I just want to make sure that you remember to check back here tomorrow for a lovely interview with Eileen Rife and a chance to win her new novel Chosen Ones. That's right - you could be the chosen one to receive a hard copy of Chosen Ones! 

How do you enter? 

It's easy! Come back to the blog tomorrow (I'll be posting links on Facebook & Google+) and be sure to leave a comment for Eileen and an email that I can contact you through when you WIN. I will be choosing one lucky winner on Sunday evening (contest closes at 9pm Pacific Standard Time) and will announce the winner on Monday March 25.

See you tomorrow :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thoughts about exciting news

As I'm sure you've guessed, I love writing of all kinds. Part of the reason why I started this blog was to give myself an outlet to "publish" these thoughts. Over time, the focus of this little blog has grown and been shaped by the growth of my own passions.  As I delve into scripture my thinking theology posts reflect this (posts like Hearing & Doing or Thoughts on Community).  When I felt the Lord leading me to focus more on my writing, I noticed another change in the blog, like the addition of {Writer Wednesday} posts as well as my RE:View Friday posts focused on reviewing books.

You, my dear readers, have taken all of these changes in stride and I appreciate that so much! I love that I can come to you with thoughts on the Bible one day and introduce a new writer to you the next. I'm a bit eclectic and my blog reflects that due to the nature of my varying passions. In addition to the things I've already mentioned, I have also shared my thoughts in a more devotional manner in my recent Valentines Day Blues posts (found here). I really enjoyed writing those posts but I think what I enjoyed more was the feedback I got from the women who read the posts. I bring this all up because the news I have to share with you deals with that type of writing.

*Drum roll please*

I am now a monthly contributor to a brand new magazine and online blog called Her Glory! This is a wonderful place for women to come and be encouraged through articles and real stories of women just like them. The team of writers is extensive and covers a wide range of women in all walks and stages of life.  I love that there are married and single women as well as younger and older women contributing to this magazine and blog. If you are a woman, I'm sure you will find something on this site to encourage and bless you.

Used with permission from Her Glory
I love how the Lord has brought this into my life at just the right time. I've been interested in joining a site just like this but everything I looked into just wasn't "right" for me. You know, that little feeling that nudges your heart and you know not to take the next step. Then, one night I happened across a post from the Founder and Editor in Chief of Her Glory, Aysha Gerald, in a photography group I'm a part of. After checking it out, I just knew we'd be a good fit and thankfully Aysha thought so to!

Used with permission from Her Glory
I am excited for this next stage of my writing and what it will free me up to do with this blog. I love how thinking thoughts... has really morphed into a place for readers and writers to come and discuss books, writing, and occasionally a little practical theology.  I will continue on with {Writer Wednesday} and RE:View Friday posts in addition to my musings on writing as I take you with me through the trials and joys of attempting to be published.

I also invite you ladies to continue to follow my devotional posts at Her Glory. This magazine and blog is new as of March 1st and could use as much publicity as it can get! Check out thee Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram pages and help spread the word.

As for this {Writer Wednesday} I will give you a hint and say that if you are looking for a new book to read, you will need to check out the author interview on Wednesday *cough*GIVEAWAY*cough*.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rebecca Carey Lyles {Writer Wednesday}

Happy Wednesday to you all!  I'm excited to introduce you to Rebecca Carey Lyles.

A little bit about Rebecca...

Rebecca Carey Lyles is a freelance writer and editor whose articles and stories have appeared in magazines and compilations. In addition to her novels, she’s also written two nonfiction books, “It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships” and "On a Wing and a Prayer: Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry." She and her husband, Steve, live in beautiful Boise, Idaho.

How to connect with Rebecca...
Twitter: @BeckyLyles

Author Interview | Rebecca Carey Lyles

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing? 
...I began writing shortly after our first child was born many moons ago. Although I’d majored in an unrelated field, I felt the draw to write, especially after attending a how-to-write class taught by a local journalist. I’ve had short stories and articles as well as fiction and nonfiction books published.

...Why do I keep writing? I’ve received my fair share of rejection letters over the years. At times, trying to get my work published felt somewhat masochistic, like I was pounding my head against a brick wall. But I think the saying is true—a writer can’t
not write. I love to receive encouraging comments from those who’ve read my books, but even without positive feedback, I’d probably continue to write.
What was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?
...For me, getting a book to the point it was publishable was the hard part. I wrote and rewrote “Winds of Wyoming”—and rewrote some more. Then the manuscript went to the editor, who gave me even more rewriting “opportunities.”

...The easy part? I had a fairly specific picture in my head of what I thought the cover of my novel should look like. The publisher liked my idea, and the cover artist understood my vision—only took him two or three attempts to translate my ideas into beautiful cover art.

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 “Winds of Wyoming” sequel, “Winds of Freedom,” continues the story of the heroine and her life after prison. I’m happy to announce I recently finished the final “Freedom” rewrite (phew!) and sent it to my wonderful proofreaders. I wrote the book not only to expand the heroine’s story but to encourage women who have found or currently find themselves in dangerous situations because they didn’t rely on God for guidance.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?  If so, why?
...My readers often mention how much they like Dymple in “Winds of Wyoming.” I like her, too, and included her in the sequel. She’s a feisty no-nonsense octogenarian with a big heart and a humorous speech propensity.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...No matter the situation, God is the one who breaks our chains and sets us free. “He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.” (Psalm 107:14) “Set me free from my prison, so I can thank you.” (Psalm 142:7)

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...My characters tend to be a combination of fascinating people I’ve met and imagination twists. The heroine of the “Winds” books, Kate Neilson, is based on two beautiful young women I met through prison ministry. One was incarcerated in Wyoming and the other in Arizona. Both were tall and slender, and both had brown eyes, long brown hair and sweet humble spirits. Dymple is a combination of my grandmothers and other courageous older women I’ve known and admired.

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

...Read–write–rewrite, read–write– rewrite, read–write–rewrite; attend writing classes, conferences, workshops and seminars; read how-to-write books, magazines and blogs; join a writers group, join a critique group, find a critique partner.

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what was most helpful about it?
...I’ve attended numerous conferences in the West, some large, some medium-sized and some very small. They’ve all had their highlights and I always learned something. When I was a new writer, I appreciated the emphasis on the basics of good writing and the energy of mingling with likeminded individuals. As a more experienced, published author, I still love hanging out with writers, and I enjoy hearing about the latest publishing trends, learning new marketing techniques, and being reminded of what I’m doing right as well as wrong in the writing realm.

What’s your favorite green food?  (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
...Didn’t even have to think about this one—avocados! I eat the yummy fruit at least twice a week in a sandwich or salad or by itself with salt. Avocados are great in fruit smoothies as well as salsa.

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?

...I’d love to hang out at a log cabin in the mountains—or a shingled beach house overlooking the ocean. Writing with a beautiful view outside the window (or deck) followed by a trail hike or a walk on the beach sounds like the good life to me!

Thank you so much Becky! I love your advice to aspiring authors - I feel like most of my free time is spent either reading, writing, or rereading/rewriting ;)  I also love that you have taken traits for your characters from ministry that you've been involved with! I love how their stories are now intertwined with your stories - even if they'll never know it.

You can also check out her latest release, Winds of Wyoming...

Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.

What people are saying about Winds of Wyoming...

Everybody should read this book, western fans or not. It has something for everyone. Suspense, romance, intrigue and just about all you want in a great novel. Keep them coming. 
-Mike D
 To purchase Winds of Wyoming, click [here].

Keep an eye out for Winds of Freedom coming soon...

Four women fight for freedom and wholeness—for themselves and each other. Kate Neilson’s own loss and heartache during a long cold winter take a backseat to the needs of her failing great-aunt plus those of her mother-in-law and her best friend, who’ve both been ensnared by evil.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Where did grammar go?

A little writing fun :)
I was having fun coming up with potential titles for this post and thought I'd share a few:

Mistakes that make BANK!

u kno u want to read thissss

Grammar & Syntax - they DO exist! 
(yes, this is a take on the M&M's commercial)

I was inspired to write this post a few days ago while reading a pretty popular blog. I won't mention what blog, it's not important, but let's just say that the writer isn't a professional though they are pretty well known for their topic and their writing (lots of followers/page views/etc.).  I know - slightly cryptic - but it got me thinking...

You see, I read a sentence that, in my humble writer's opinion, could have been formed more clearly.  In fact, there were several errors and I found myself stopping to wonder, "What happened to grammar and syntax?"

There are lots of great writers out there, but I feel like most of the time a blog is littered with grammar and syntax errors, not to mention the slang and cultural phrases that are used (I fully include myself in this, just so you know).  A well-composed post is a rarity. 

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that new generations are all about being heard and not so much about the means, but either way - poor writing skills are accepted. I'd even go so far as to say they are encouraged.

Texting conversation example
I believe social media is to blame. 

Blame may sound harsh. I hear you all out there shouting, "But I love my Facebook!" or "Where would I be without Twitter?" and I'd unashamedly have to join in with that, but I have to admit it's affected a lot more than just my free time on the computer.

With the age of emailing, text-ing, and Facebook-ing, a whole new type of communication has emerged.  It's now fine to forget capitalizing "I", to replace "you" with "u", to type "haha" and have it mean something is funny, and to incorporate all sorts of acronyms like "lol", "brb", "btw", or "rotfl" (to name a few). Introduce blogs to this scene and it makes sense why we would be content reading something that isn't as polished as we've been used to in the past.

Don't get me wrong, I think the freedom you have in a blog format is a great thing (obviously, because you are currently reading my thoughts on my blog).  I guess, more than anything, being a writer and a blogger, I struggled with how much I can "break" writing rules and still feel justified in publishing what I've written for all to see.

I'm always surprised to find highly successful blogs that aren't as polished as I think they should be. That's not true for all successful blogs, but there are many that write in all lower case or write from a conversational standpoint that is less "professional" sounding.  I'd even go as far as to say that these type of blogs, the ones that draw you in due to the real-ness of the author, are some of the most successful (but that's just my opinion).

What does that mean for writers?

This question depends on what you are writing about and who your writing for.

The one thing I am concerned about is if this acceptance of error will drastically affect readers - I'm talking book readers, not blog readers necessarily. Will authors have to change up their writing in the future to cater to a lack of interest in proper English and a taste for slang? There have been many studies done about the decrease in recreational reading already. I wonder if that will continue, or just change to online articles, blogs, and eBooks only?

What do you think? 

>>Do you have a blog where you just like to write out thoughts without having to agonize over proper grammar and syntax? Who is your audience?

>>If you're a reader, do you enjoy reading polished articles, thrown together posts, or does it matter to you?

>>If you're an author, do you think blogs and online outlets will negatively affect "solid" literature? [I say "solid" not to put any one type of book above another, just to delineate between casual, blog-type writing versus published/novel length literature]

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mary Annslee Urban {Writer Wednesday}

I had the distinct blessing of being the event photographer for the SCV Pregnancy Center (our local pregnancy center) fundraising banquet last night!  It was so wonderful to hear the keynote speaker Melissa Ohden and to be moved, encouraged, and inspired by her story.  Talk about amazing!  Check out a brief post I did on my photography blog [here] and be on the look out for more photos from the event soon! 

I'm also so excited to be back in the swing of things for {Writer Wednesday}! We have a wonderful interview with Mary Annslee Urban today and I can't wait for you to get to know her better :)

Here's a little bit about Mary ...
Tapestry of Trust
Mary Annslee Urban is an author of Inspirational Romance. Her goal is to write stories that stir the heart about love, honor and God's grace! Her debut book, Tapestry of Trust, White Rose Publishing, was released June 2012. Her second book with White Rose Publishing, She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, will be released Fall of 2012.

A registered nurse by profession, Mary works part-time in the behavioral health field. She also has been a freelance writer for newspapers in her area and has had articles published in magazines as well as online publications. She has served as co-president of Carolina's Christian Writers and is a member of ACFW. A North Carolina resident, Mary and her husband have five children and 3 grandchildren. When she isn't writing, she enjoys Bible Studies, cooking, traveling, long walks and anything chocolate!
How to connect with Mary...
Amazon: Author Page

Author Interview | Mary Annslee Urban

You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? 
...I grew up watching old-time romance movies, which I believe started my passion for sweet romance, true love and happy endings. A daydreamer at heart, I began my writing journey when the youngest of my five children started school. For several years I worked as a freelance writer for local newspapers and contributed articles to magazines and online publications.
...Raised in the foothills of Arizona, I survived temperature shock when I moved to Western Pennsylvania, before setting in North Carolina with my husband and children. Aside from writing, I work part-time as a Registered Nurse in the Behavioral Health field. I’m a member of ACFW, and currently serve as vice-president of Carolina Christian Writers. I have three published novels.  They are Tapestry of Trust, released June 2012, and She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, November 2012 and In Love’s Defense, due out this September 2013.
…When I’m not writing, I enjoy cooking, traveling to faraway places, playing with grandbabies and eating all things chocolate.

What has kept you writing?
…I had such a passion to write I couldn’t stop myself. I just loved learning and improving the craft.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?
…Whichever book I’m working on is my favorite at the time. I get so involved in watching the characters come to life and can’t wait to see how the story evolves.

What was the hardest thing about publishing?
...Waiting! For replies from agents, publishers, editors. The easiest? Getting the call or email that the book has sold!

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 write Inspirational Romance. Right now I am working on an historical and just finished a romantic suspense.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...The struggles my characters over come to get to the romance. With Christ at the helm.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?  Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both? 
…My stories are from my imagination, although threads of my life experiences are tangled within the characters and story.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
…Definitely to encourage people and hopefully bring them closer to God.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Don’t give up. Follow your passion and the path the Lord has set before you.

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?
…I recently attended the ACFW conference in Dallas. I gleaned so much from the various workshops. There’s always so much to learn.

What’s your favorite green food?  (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
…Spinach. Fresh, or cooked. I love it!

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month (probably spending most of the time writing) where would you go?
...Northern Italy. We were there once, in the mountains around Verona. It was so beautiful and serene. And my grandfather’s family was from that area, which made it even more special.


Thank you for that wonderful interview Mary!  I would have to agree with your choice for a month-long getaway to Italy.  I've been there once for a week and cannot wait until I get the chance to go back! I also loved how you said the hardest thing about publishing was the waiting.  I think that goes for most good things in life - eh?  Well, I really appreciate you sharing with us!

By far my favorite question for this month is the last one regarding traveling.  You'll have the chance to hear three more authors thoughts on this, but until the next {Writer Wednesday} what is your answer to that question? I'd love to hear your answers below!

If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month where would you go? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Giving Up

Are you ever tempted to give up? I'm not just talking about writing, but about anything in life? Maybe something you're passionate about?

Tonight, thought I'm tired and ready to quit writing forever I feel like I learned something from one of my characters, Rik.  In this scene he is encouraging Alice, the protagonist, while she is struggling with surrendering all of her life to Christ - especially the hard parts.
“It is a lot to ask.” He leaned back, staring at his hands, which were laced together in front of him. “Christ requires all of you, not just part. Remember, you can’t do it - not on your own, at least - but He is there to help you. Through His Spirit you can do it. ”
 Maybe it's silly learning something from your own words, or maybe it's just God's way of teaching me?  Either way, I know that I was encouraged to remember the Holy Spirit is alive and active in our lives if they are surrendered to Christ. Just like Alice, I can't do it on my own. I can't write a book, I can't edit it, I can't get published. I can't even try and make the book better.  What I can do is submit it to the Lord and remember that all my work is unto Him and for His glory.

That, to me, is a very comforting thought and a definite boost in my perseverance. 

Do you ever feel this way, like I have tonight? Like things are too hard, life is too difficult, or the tasks before you require more than you have to give?

Do you turn to the Lord for comfort? To His Scripture? To His Spirit?

Friday, March 1, 2013

RE:View | Key Witness by Christy Barritt

It's my pleasure to review Key Witness by award-winning mystery and suspense novelist Christy Barritt.

About the book...
When Elle Philips witnesses an armed robbery while standing in line at the bank, she sets into motion a deadly game of cat and mouse. Mark Denton, a security contractor and former navy SEAL, also witnesses the robbery, and is hired by Elle's father to keep his daughter safe following the incident. And while Denton's desire to protect Elle goes beyond professional bounds, he cannot let personal desires cloud his judgment—judgment he'll have to rely on when the robbers' true motives are revealed…and Elle becomes a target in the ultimate plot of revenge.

Key Witness...

When I received this book, I was excited to start it and, once I had, it was extremely difficult to put down!

Following footsteps of Elle Philips, a politicians daughter and campaign manager, we she her first real interaction with Mark Denton in the worst-case scenario possible, a bank robbery.  When Denton is hired to protect Elle, the two are thrown into one dire circumstance after another.  This time together with Denton is exactly what Elle is not looking for - close proximity with a handsome man.

Get ready for an action packed, adrenaline laced ride with Elle and Denton!  No only will you be kept guessing until the end, you will also find yourself drawn to the complex characters Christy has created in Elle and Denton.  They come alive and their story will compel you just as the robbers plot will keep you guessing to the very end.

It's not very often that you can find a book that keeps surprising you, but Key Witness is that book!  You won't be able to put this down and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense laced with sweet romance. 

To purchase this book click {here}
To learn more about Christy Barritt, check out her website.
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.