Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nano Update | Winter in Full Bloom RE:View | December News

Woohoo! It's time to celebrate!

Somewhere flying above the Southern United States this morning I hit 50,002 words!!! I'm not quite done with my novel, but I have hit my goal for November and won this pretty awesome badge (above) from the website. They are great about helping those who've "won" share the excitement. I'm also happy to say my dear friend Corrine also won today!

If you participated, how did you do? (Then again, you still have...7 hours to finish if you're not quite there!)

RE:View | Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

There is something to be said about a book that takes you to a place you've never been before. For me, that was Winter in Full Bloom by the talented Anita Higman. I was able to visit Melbourne, Australia in addition to getting to know the lovely Lily Winter.

We meet Lily as she takes off on the biggest adventure of her life thus far -- a trip to Australia to find her lost twin sister. After suffering the loss of her husband, an empty nest, and a dark secret revealed to her by her mother, Lily has nothing to loose but her own terrifying fear of flying.

Once in Australia, Lily begins the search for her sister and makes an unlikely friend along the way who could turn out to be the key in discovering her sisters whereabouts.

I couldn't even begin to describe the journey that Lily takes (you must read the book to find out) but it is one of restoration and beauty; love and truth.

I definitely recommend this book as a great read that will keep you entertained to the end. Anita does a wonderful job of creating a story that is not only interesting, but also finds you rooting for her characters. There were a few things that I was surprised to find plotted in, but Anita has a fresh authors voice that doesn't shy away from treating situations with a certain realness. She speaks the language of people and gives her characters a voice that transcends paper and ink to reach deeply into the soul.

You can purchase this wonderful book [here].
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.   
And a look into December...

I could not be more excited for what's coming in December - or, should I say, TOMORROW!

I love Christmas....I mean really love Christmas and, because of that love, I've decided to "Spread the Christmas Joy" with a few of my fellow authors. I've invited 23 author & writer guests to join me on the blog from December 1 to December 24th.

In addition to that, I'll be doing 12 GIVEAWAYS during the month - some books, some fun trinkets, some gift cards. These will be a little different from previous giveaways because you'll have the month of December to leave your comments on the posts with the items you'd like to win. I will be drawing a winner for each item in the beginning of January as well as sending the items then.

The heart behind the whole idea of Spread the Christmas Joy is to do just that - spread the joy of Christmas. I think it's so easy for us to rush through the holiday's buying gifts, worrying about food, traveling, and possibly arguing with those difficult relatives rather than taking a step back to bask in the glory of what this season represents.

With these posts, I want to give you, my dear readers, a small gift. To enJOY Christmas.

Please join me and many wonderful authors as we celebrate the joy that is Christmas!
See you back here tomorrow for the first post by Sharon Srock.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ada Brownell {Wrtier Wednesday}

A little bit about Ada...

Born into a family of new Christians, hard workers and achievers, Ada Brownell was the eighth child and a reporter almost since she could talk. She was the family "tattletale." She and her husband, who worked for the railroad as an agent/telegrapher, had five children. One of them is in heaven, and all of them have spent time in ministry.

A devoted Bible student, Ada Brownell has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. After moving to Springfield, Missouri, in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines and write books. She is author of three non-fiction works, one novel, and is critique group leader of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers.

How to connect with Ada...
Website/Blog: Stick to Your Soul Encouragement
Twitter: : @adellerella

Author Interview | Ada Brownell

-->You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
…I became a published writer before I took any writing or journalism courses. Although, after my success, I soon enrolled in a course. I've written nearly all my life like I play the piano—mostly by ear. I do know the basics of music and grammar, but why think about the mechanics when your fingers and your head know how to do it? It was a few years before I learned to edit, and when I finally did, I learned that's where the hard work comes.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
…That's like asking which of my children I love the most! When a person spends hours and hours writing and editing a book, there's emotional attachment. Furthermore, I wouldn't have written the books if I didn't think there was incredible value of my message to the reader—principally, increasing faith.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently. Why did you write it?
…I wrote Imagine the Future You because I was concerned about the way our society and educational institutions try to strip faith from our children and grandchildren. If they have a genuine experience with God where they know the joy unspeakable and are full of glory (1 Peter 1:8) and build their lives on the Rock Jesus Christ, we'll be together for eternity. The book endeavors to reveal truth that will lead them to abundant life here and eternal life in heaven.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
…I have several, but one is an illustration about how difficult it is to break habits. Someone in Vashon Island, Washington, leaned a bicycle against a tree when it was a sapling and left it there. The tree grew around the bike until it became part of the tree and now is several feet off the ground. Habits become a part of us just as the bike became part of that tree.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
…Joe the Dreamer is a unique person, but some in the book have a few characteristics of people I've met. For instance, the scenes in the mental hospital draw on what I witnessed in a psychiatric institution—in my job… not as a patient!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
…Sit down and do it with a target market in mind. Edit, then get into a good critique group, and then edit some more, polish and then get your work to a publisher.


What will you do for Thanksgiving?
… Spend the day with family, eating, playing games, visiting.

What is your favorite food of the Thanksgiving dinner?
…Succulent Turkey and dressing.

What are three things you’re thankful for? …Salvation and God's mercy, our children and grandchildren and that they are serving the Lord; and for God's miracles and His faithfulness.


Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today Ada! I really liked how you suggested writing with a target market in mind. I think that is so crucial - to really know you are writing for and why you are writing! I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with a time of peace and relaxation with your family!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering | RE:View

Murder, mystery, and the English country side. 

I've had the pleasure of reviewing Julianna Deering's latest release, Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery). As the title suggests, this is #1 in a series about armature detective Drew Farthering with book #2 scheduled to release February 2014 (Death by the Book (A Drew Farthering Mystery). As way of explanation it's like "Downton Abbey Meets Agatha Christie". 

Drew Farthering, like any great accidental-detective, wasn't looking for murder, but find it he did. When a body is found on his country estate during a party, the inquisitive nature of Drew and his friend Nick Dennison kick into over-drive in an attempt to help the police who appear to be at a standstill with the case.

Through twists and turns, and the helpful nature and attractive companionship of Madeline Parker, Drew is set on a course to discover the truth behind the murder.

I enjoyed this novel from Julianna Deering and was reminded of Agatha Christie and Jessica Fletcher (from Murder she Wrote) as the novel progressed. I liked Drew and was interested to see how his character would grow throughout the novel. There was more than just mystery afoot as Deering combined romantic and spiritual elements in a very tasteful way.

I would have to say that, for me, the pacing was a little slow. This is not an action-packed, suspenseful type of book but more of a character based mystery. I did enjoy the time period elements immensely and the fact that it was set in the English countryside. I'd definitely recommend as a fun and intriguing read.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Did you know? | ACFW Interviews & NaNo Update

So, as promised, this will be another NaNo update but before I get to that I wanted to share something I'm not sure I've shared before.

As most of you probably know, I'm a member of ACFW [American Christian Fiction Writers] Association and every Monday ACFW offers an interview with an author who has recently released a book. You can find the past interviews [here] and the current interview for this week [here].

From Pinterest
Well, if you didn't know, I am an interview-er over there! I have gotten the opportunity to get to know some amazing authors such as Carol Cox, Fay Lamb, and Carrie Turanksy among many other amazing authors. This year will be no different! So, if you are interested in finding out about new authors or perhaps some of your favorites you should check back to the ACFW website often for those posts!

On to NaNo...

I was able to do some catching up yesterday and as of this post (before my word count update tonight) I'm at:

34,312 words

Not too bad for where I was at before... How are you doing? Will Thanksgiving help or hinder your writing?

From Pinterest

And, as inspiration for those of you who enjoy Doctor Who (I've become a HUGE fan) this last picture is for you!! You should be should I :)

Good luck fellow NaNo-ers! Week 4 here we come!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Liz Tolsma {Writer Wednesay}

Did you happen to see my NaNo update last night? You can view it [here]. I'll hopefully be able to post another update soon so you can track my progress...that HUGE question is looming over my head: Will she make it? How about you? Are you participating NaNoWriMo?

Well, enough of that. Please welcome Liz Tolsma to the blog today!

A little bit about Liz...

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013 and the second book in the series, Daisies Are Forever, is due out in May of 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

How to connect with Liz...

Website & Blog:
Also see her at: the Barn Door blog {she is a regular contributor there}

Author Interview | Liz Tolsma 

You & Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I’ve always loved to make up little stories. My fifth grade teacher had us do a lot of creative writing. I remember how much fun it was to write a tall tale because I could be as creative as I wanted. She told me that she hoped to see me as a published authoress one day. That sparked the dream in me. I veered off on other paths for a while, but one day I decided that I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I would have at least tried to follow my dream.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...It would have to be Snow on the Tulips. It’s a story I’ve wanted to share with the world since I first heard about our family’s trials in the Netherlands during WWII and that has become a reality at last. The book taught me so much about my family history and about my Dutch heritage.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...Juggling deadlines is the hardest. I’ve been promoting Snow on the Tulips, editing Daisies Are Forever and writing book three. I’m a pretty focus-on-one-thing-at-a-time person, so this is tough. The easiest has been the actual writing part. I love it.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Snow on the Tulips is my family story how my cousin found a Dutch Resistance worker who survived his own execution and brought him to my aunt’s house where she hid him for the remainder of the war. I took this story and fictionalized it, but there are many true events from my family and several men who were in hiding during the war that I had the privilege to meet.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I like Cornelia. In many ways, she is so much like me. I have many fears that I’ve had to face in my life and I’ve found that the Lord is always faithful.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That God is a faithful God and he will never leave us or forsake us, no matter what the situation.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Many are from real life. In Daisies Are Forever, the heroine is based on my aunt and a friend’s mother, both who spend the war in Germany. I like to throw in a few quirky characters for fun and to lighten the tone of the book a bit.

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

...I write to encourage people, to help them begin their Christian walk or to inspire them when their walk falters.


What will you do for Thanksgiving?
...My parents and my sister and her family will be at our house. This is the first major holiday without my son, who is stationed in California with the Marines, so it is a bittersweet holiday this year. We’re going to miss him.


Thank you so much for this interview Liz. First off, I have to say that I just love the cover design of your novel. It is so beautiful! Plus, I'm a huge 1940's/WWII enthusiast, so the idea of your novel sounds suburb to me. I will definitely need to check it out. I love the fact that this is a personal story for you. I think those can be the hardest to write but sometimes the most rewarding.Thanks so much for sharing with us!

Readers, make sure you check out Snow on the Tulips and keep and eye out for Daisies are Forever!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We have a winner...And a NaNoWriMo update!

I have been running around all month day thinking...I promised them a winner and a winner they shall have! But it's been a little hectic to get to this post.

If you missed Connie Mann's amazing interview last Wednesday you can check it out [here]. Connie was good enough to offer a copy of her book Angel Falls as a giveaway and we have a winner!

Linda Barbosa

Congratulations, Linda! Sorry you had to wait to find out, but didn't it make it all the better for having waited? Ok...maybe I'm just trying to convince myself?

NaNo Update...

And what would a late night post be without a NaNoWriMo update? I'll confess... I'm behind *cough-again-cough* and was planning on already being caught up you can tell by this post, I'm not quite there yet.

Here's a real-time snapshot of my novels current status...

Yes. I am crying a little inside when I read "At this rate you will finish on: December 4th" BUT I shall not let it hold me down! It may be thinking that right now, but by 12am tonight/this morning I will be much closer (or so I hope...).

How are you doing? When are you "expected" to finish?

And, for inspiration sake, I keep holding on to his:

From Pinterest

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Connie Mann {Writer Wednesday}

Excited to welcome suspense author Connie Mann to the blog today. That's right, we're talking about one of my favorite genres today! Please give her a warm welcome and make sure you comment at the bottom because she is offering a GIVEAWAY of her novel, Angel Falls! I'm so excited about this :D

A little bit about Connie...

Connie Mann loves stories of suspense, adventure and second chances. She offers encouragement to busy women on her blog: and is an active member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a USCG-licensed boat captain, so when she’s not writing, she’s usually on Central Florida’s waterways with local school children or her fabulous family. Please visit her online at:

How to connect with Connie...

Book Trailer:
Purchase her book on Amazon
Author Interview | Connie Mann

You & Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I fell in love with books as a child and started writing as a teen, when the idea took hold that I could not only step into magical worlds others had created, but that I could create my own stories, too. What an amazing, tantalizing prospect! That magical, “What if” regularly taps me on the shoulder, whispering an idea for another character, another place to set a story. Then all the possibilities start niggling at the back of my imagination.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I’ve written quite a few stories, but only three of them are published so far. But hands down, Angel Falls, the story published this year by Abingdon Press has always been my favorite. Somehow, Brooks and Regina grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go until I shared their story.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...Writing the story is always the easiest and most fun part. Selling it? That’s a horse of a different color, as a friend of mine says. It took TEN years from the time I wrote Angel Falls until I first held a copy in my hands. I’ve learned that though I may not understand, God’s timing is always, always perfect. My job is to do my best and trust His timing.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book? Why did you write it?
...Angel Falls began on a trip to Brazil, my father’s birthplace. For a long time, they had a terrible problem with street children in Porto Alegre. Parents couldn’t feed them, so they were abandoned to the streets to fend for themselves. I started wondering, what if you’d been one of those children? How would you survive? Who would you grow up to be? That’s where the story idea was born.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Regina is one tough lady, but she has a tender heart, a longing to be loved and have a family of her own. She is fiercely protective of the children in her care, but doesn’t think she deserves the same for herself. Watching her heal, emotionally, is the heart of the story.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...Both Regina and Brooks have lots of baggage and deep hurts. They don’t think their pasts can be redeemed, but they find healing, and love, and forgiveness, and a fresh start, too. That’s something the Great Creator offers to each one of us, if we trust Him enough to accept the gift He offers. I want readers to finish the story knowing a second chance is available for them, too. There is hope. Always.


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

...All of my stories carry the same theme, in one form or another. They are all about second chances. Life can be so hard, and sometimes, we think it’ll never get better, but that’s not true. God is always willing to reach down and lift us up, dust us off, and give us another chance. As long as there is life, there is the opportunity for a fresh start. I love watching my characters get past the yuck, and finally step out into the sunshine.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Get the rough draft written as quickly as possible. That’s when you’re most excited about the story, and that will show in the writing. Go from start to “the end” and THEN go back and edit.


What will you/did you do for Thanksgiving?
...My hope is always to have a big crowd of family and friends around the table. Some years the crowd is smaller, but it’s always a wonderful time.

What is your favorite food of the Thanksgiving dinner?
In our family, it’s not Thanksgiving if there isn’t Corn Casserole on the table. And red cabbage—which is a totally German food, but we love it, so it’s there, too.
What are three things you’re thankful for?
...I am so thankful for my family, my friends and for a God who offers second chances—every single day.

Thank you for such a great interview Connie! I love how you describe the inspiration to write as a "what if" tapping you on the shoulder. I love those moments when inspiration is so strong you just have to get it out - for me that's in the form of some random, jumbled mess of an idea in Evernote, but other times I even start the book just to get it to stop bugging me.

And fantastic advice for getting the rough draft out. I'm experiencing that right now with NaNaNoWiMo - thinking about all of the things I should change but knowing if I stopped now, maybe I'd never get it finished.

Once again, thank you for your interview and being my guest on Thinking Thoughts today! I'm excited to see who will win a copy of Angel Falls. Remember readers, you have until next Tuesday to leave a comment to be entered in to win a copy of this wonderful novel!

Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 11 | 3 Encouragements for Writers

Taken from my Instagram @eahendryx
As with all books that I've written so far, this one is taking a lot of 'blood, sweat, and tears" and did I mention coffee? Because, maybe more than anything else, it's taking lots and lots of coffee!

Maybe I'm just being overly critical, or maybe I've placed too much pressure on myself, but for some reason I'm doubting things at every turn.

Is it interesting? 

Are my characters real

Do I need more action? 

The answer to these questions vary, but for those of you who may be in the same boat as I, do not fear - there IS hope!

It's just a FIRST DRAFT. 

I know, you've heard it, I've heard it, but that doesn't make it any less true. I remember back at the ACFW Conference I heard Tosca Lee speak in a group with other well known authors and one of the things she said really resonated with me. She admitted that one of the biggest battles she faces with her writing is fear. Fear that her work wont be as good or that she could lose popularity or just fear of others opinions in general.

I can say I face that and I'm not even published yet! Fear that what I write wont be good. Well, that's the beauty of NaNo - you don't write "good" in a month. You write.

And then you rewrite.

And then you write some more.

It really is a beautiful thing! It's painful and sometimes a little daunting (okay, let's be honest - really daunting) but that's what a writer does. They write for the sake of writing.

So, here are 3 encouragements for writers:

1) It's just a first draft 
         I know, I already said it, but it bears reminding. You can make it better later ;)
2) Write because you love it. 
         You're not trying to impress someone, you're trying to write a novel (in a MONTH!) - and let's 
         face it, that's impressive anyway!
3) Remember to rely on the Lord. 
         When fear creeps in, we must remember that it is not man's approval we are looking for.

Happy noveling, all of you!

And, Happy Veterans Day - thank you to all who have and/or currently are serving our country. You are true heroes! 

>>If you're participating in NaNoWriMo I'd love to hear how you're doing! What's your Day 11 word count?

As a personal update I'm very far behind, BUT I'm working for a solid chunk of time today so we shall see what I get done. I'll update later today but so far...

[I'm currently at: 11,681 words]

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jewell Tweedt {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Jewel...

Jewell Tweedt was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the setting for the back to Omaha Adventure series. She lives in western Iowa and divides her time between teaching middle school students and writing. In her spare time she reads, gardens and grades papers. Lots of papers. Readers can learn more about Jewell and her books at her blog (listed below).

How to connect with Jewel...

Her books:
Frontier Faith Trilogy
Book 1) Faith of the Heart
Book 2) Still Faithful
Book 3) Faith and Hope-Grace's Story
Purchase her books on Amazon [here]

Author Interview | Jewel Tweedt

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
...As a history teacher I've always been fascinated about the people behind the events. I started writing during summer breaks when I needed a creative outlet. I've always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books and wanted to try to write adult versions.

When asked about her books:
...My favorite book is the first one-Faith of the Heart because it was the beginning for me. I had the idea for it over 10 years ago but didn't actually put pen to paper ( fingers to laptop actually) until a couple of years ago. Then it sat on the computer because I was scared to show my work. It's kind of like undressing in front of strangers.

Your writing

Tell us a little bit about what your writing. Do you have a favorite character?
...In my latest book Faith and Hope-Grace's Story, my favorite character is Grace. She's a widowed schoolteacher with a terrible secret. She struggles to overcome certain feelings and be a needed member of society. Until she regains her own self-respect she can't open up to others. It hits home with me because I am also an introvert trying to climb out of my shell.


Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
...I find inspiration in the events of history that I teach, actions of my students, and books that I am always reading, especially those by Mary Conneally. I also use my faith and truly believe that my books are my vehicle for spreading the gospel because the issue is presented in each one.


What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
...My favorite food of Thanksgiving dinner is the pecan pie I bake for my husband. The joy I get from watching him makes it worth the effort.

What are three things you are thankful for?
...My health (I'm a breast cancer survivor)
...My family (they love and support me)
...My faith ( without it life would be more difficult)

Thank you so much for coming to the blog today Jewell! It was great learning about you and your writing. I'm sure your students provide you with lots of fun stories to use - I can relate because I volunteer with High School students. And your pie sounds amazing :) Thanks again, Jewell!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giveaway Winner and Thoughts on Time

Many of you stopped by Natalie Monk's interview last Wednesday and entered for a chance to win this adorable burlap pillow!

I'm pleased to announce the winner is:

Amber Schamel

Thank you so much WINNER for stopping by! I'll get you in touch with Natalie to get you this cute little gift.

Well, I don't know about you, but this whole Day Light Savings Time has thrown me off completely. I woke up extremely early yesterday despite the fact that I was still tired. But could I go back to sleep? Of course not...

When things like that happen though, I've learned to count them as blessings. Maybe it's not when I'd planned to get up, but that doesn't mean I couldn't be productive with the time.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how's it going?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo | Day 3

I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post my current status about my noveling adventures, but I shall try to keep you all in the loop.  Also, I will continue with {Writer Wednesday} interviews so you will definitely be hearing from me then :)

Before I get to my NaNo Day 3 update, I have an amazing opportunity for you all to participate in if you'd like. I have a dear friend who is a teacher at a school over in Afghanistan. They are attempting to: 'Setting a World Record in Afghanistan!'.

Here is some info from them:

Take a moment to check it out on Indiegogo and also share it with your friends. All the tools are there. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make 'Setting a World Record in Afghanistan!' happen!
Maybe all you have is a dollar to give, but get 50 people to give a dollar and you have $50! Please take a look at their awesome video on teh Idiegogo website for more information.

Ok, on to NaNoWriMo...

Well, at the writing of this blog, I am currently at:


My dear friend Rachel and I at Disneyland!
Hey, not bad for a start considering my November included a trip to Disneyland and hanging out with friends visiting from Japan. Despite all odds, I've started the novel and am excited to write more soon. I may be a tad bit behind, but it's still early in the game. 

Stay tuned for more updates about my writing, the a sneak peek about the book I'm working on, and some character interviews!