Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE CHRISTMAS PICKLE




Several years ago I started a new Christmas tradition with my kids. The Christmas Pickle Ornament. To tell you the truth I don’t even remember how I came to hear of it. What I had learned was that you could purchase an ornament that looked like a pickle. On Christmas Eve, you’d hide the pickle on the tree, and come Christmas morning the kids would get up and search for it. The first one to find it would get a gift.

This was all I knew about the Pickle ornament. Nothing else. So I happened to come across the ornament and decided to implement the tradition in my own home. Not knowing who would find the pickle, I’d purchase a gift that would suit everyone. Usually a movie or one of those obnoxious holiday stuffed animals that sing and dance. The kids quickly caught on, having a blast with it.

A few years into someone did the unthinkable…they broke the pickle ornament. Yikes! I thought, what were the odds of ever finding another one. So I had a mission…to search high and low, whatever it took to find another pickle. And search I did, and found I had. I wasn’t about to let that happen again and purchased not one, but several.

Each year I purchase my kids a new ornament for the tree, usual pertaining to something they did that year, like played baseball, karate, started playing an instrument, or things they were really into like Hannah Montana. That sort of stuff. On each one I write their name and the year it was purchased. One day when they marry, they’ll be given to them for their own tree. That's where the extra pickles came in. Why not purchase each of them their very own pickle ornament as well.

My kids have such a blast each year taking out the ornament, remembering specifically each one and why they received it that year. They make sure they get to hang their own ornaments and no one else. They love it so much they insist on taking them down as well.

Each year the kids promptly remind me about the pickle ornament. They so love to search for it. It’s been fun over the years to see how it’s evolved. I have four kids, the age difference between the first two is almost eleven years, and then comes four years and lastly, less then two. For several years my older two would help the younger ones, allowing them to find the pickle. Now that their older, it’s every kid for themselves.

But with this family Christmas tradition, there was the ignorance of how The Christmas Pickle Ornament originated. So with the first pickle being broken, the purchase of the new ones provided us with the story behind it.

THE CHRISTMAS PICKLE ORNAMENT

In Old World Germany, the last decoration placed on the Christmas Tree was always a pickle…carefully hidden deep in the boughs. Ledged has it that the observant child who found it on Christmas Day was blessed with a year of good fortune…and a special gift.

Friday, December 14, 2012

IT'S ALL GOOD


Title: All in Good Time

Author: Maureen Lang
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (April 1, 2013)
Pages: 400

I’m a huge MAUREEN LANG fan, so it was never in question if I was going to like ALL IN GOOD TIME. I have yet to read one of her novels that didn’t captivate me from the first page to the last.

Dessa Caldwell is on a mission. A mission that not many would believe to be a wise choice, but that hardly mattered to her. God has placed a calling upon her and she means to obey. Only problem is she needs to acquire a loan from Hawkins National Bank. The owner is less than happy to approve her much needed loan for the Pierson House, a refuge for prostitutes.

Henry Hawkins has a secret that has kept him at a distance from others. One he fears will destroy all he’s built over the years. When Dessa Caldwell enters his bank with the intentions of obtaining a loan for a crazy mission she is determined to carry out, Henry is not too pleased when his uncle tricks him into giving her the loan.

I have to say I fell in love with Henry and Dessa, and dare I say for a moment, Mr. Foster. MS. LANG has the most amazing knack for brining to life the characters in her novels that will have you turning the pages, and not wanting to set the book down.

MR. LANG does an amazing job at subtleties. Characters that seep into your heart, and change so gradually and realistically over the course of the book that you feel they are someone you know. Faith is gently sprinkled throughout, never preachy or forced. Just the right amount to get the sense of one’s belief and transformation without feeling as though you just stepped out of a sermon.

The drama and tension is tangible. As a writer, one of the things you are taught is to end your chapters with a hook. MS. LANG certainly has that down. I found it difficult to put the book down, taking me away from my daily duties as I thought, “just one more chapter”.

I loved the unique storyline, and how the ending came together. Once again MS. LANG has produced an amazing story, one that will stay with you for a very long time.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

SAFE HAVEN?



Title: Safe Haven
Author: Nicholas sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
Pages: 432

I’ve only read a few NICHOLAS SPARKS books, and each one was triggered by a movie. Not the typical way I pick out a book to read. The first was A WALK TO REMEMBER. Being one of my all time favorite movies, I just had to read the book to see how it was written. Unfortunately I was disappointed. Not that it wasn’t written well, or a good story, just too different from then the movie.

The next book by MR. SPARKS I read was, DEAR JOHN. I saw the movie trailer, and knew I had to see it. I made the mistake of rushing out to get the book to read beforehand, finishing it the day before I went to see the movie. Once again I was disappointed. They had changed something, in my eyes, something major. I couldn’t get past that. The movie also lacked the emotion the book did (what a surprise). The book was amazing. The movie okay. Perhaps I saw the movie too close to having read the book.

I have THE NOTEBOOK, but have yet to read it. Loved the movie. Have THE LAST SONG, have yet to read it. Loved the movie. I guess you might say I’m a little hesitant to read AND watch something by NICHOLAS SPARKS. If I don’t read a book before watching a movie, the chances of me reading it afterwards is slim. Yet each time I see a great movie like one of MR. SPARKS, I yearn to read the book.

As soon as I saw the trailer for SAFE HAVEN, I knew I’d have to see it. Once again I wrestled with the idea of reading the book first. The writer in me wants to read how a great movie is played out in words. So I did it. I purchased the book and read it. And loved it!

Katie Feldman slips into a small town in North Carolina, hoping to move in unnoticed. All she wants is to live out the rest of her life in peace. Meeting a man is the last thing she has on her mind. She’d doing just fine on her own, and that’s the way she prefers it.

Alex Wheatley is kind hearted and genuine. He’s also a widow and father of two young children. When Katie steps into his quaint family store, he’s immediately intrigued. Not only is she beautiful, she seemed to have a secret. One she isn’t about to let Alex in on.

SAVE HAVEN is definitely going on my list of favorite books. MR. SPARKS is an amazing story teller. I realize number one bestselling authors can get away with just about anything, but as an aspiring fiction author; it kind of annoyed me that he didn’t keep his point-of-views straight. One sentence was one character, and the next another. More than a handful of times I had to go back and reread it to figure out whose point-of-view it was. To the average reader this may not be an issue, but to a writer that has been taught to not head hop/switch POV without indicating doing so with a break, it’s distracting. I have to wonder why such a brilliant storyteller would do so. I admit there are a few times in many story that it might be helpful, but on the whole, it’s not good to do so.

Other then the head hopping, SAFE HAVE is an amazing story. Not a lull in the book, though I could have done without the overly descriptive details at times. I loved both characters, Katie and Alex. I was both surprised and pleased when the story shifted to Katie’s past. The characters were three-dimensional, coming to life off the pages. After seeing the movie trailer, I could only picture the cast from the movie, which wasn’t a bad thing. They fit the profile perfectly … minus their hair color. I really liked how the abusive relationship was played out. It painted a realistic picture of what too many women go through. I have to say, I did feel sorry for Katie’s husband at one point, wondering what happened in his life that caused him to do what he did.

SAVE HAVEN is a fast paced, entraining read that will tug at your heart, and cause your heart to race with a few twists and surprises.

Next on my list from NICHOLAS SPARKS … THE LUCKY ONE. Now on DVD, I’m still deciding whether to read the book before seeing the movie. I guess time will tell.

Monday, December 3, 2012

EVER TRY TO EAT A POMEGRANATE?

I love these…




But I don’t love trying to get out the juicy seeds to eat.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third child that I discovered Pomegranates. And then it became one of my pregnancy cravings. Ever since I’ve loved them. Up until then I had never even heard of them, naively thinking they were a new creation. So you could imagine my surprise when I was reading my Bible and ran across the word POMEGRANATE! And not just once, but several times. It seems they used them for decorations quite often.

Each year when pomegranates are in season, I pick up one here and there. And each time I kind of regret my purchase.

Why?

Because it’s so much work to eat them! It’s slow and tedious, not to mention a messy process.

The other day while at the store in the produce section, I spotted the largest, shiniest, reddest pomegranate I’ve ever seen. I just had to have it … yet I hesitated. Would it just sit on my counter, calling my name while I dreaded the process to eat it?

Then I saw it! A green plastic contraption. I picked it up and read the label. Right! Sure it will do that. But hey, it was worth a try, so I stuck it in my cart and headed for the cashier, along with the pomegranate made for the Incredible Hulk.

So here it is. Noting fancy, right?



























After a few days of sitting in my kitchen, I finally decided to see if I had wasted my money.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

I could hardly believe my eyes.

The process, trim off crown, cut in half, score four or five places around the edge, turn upside down on grate, tap (I used an ice cream scoop), and ta da! All the seeds dropped below to the plate.

There were a few pieces of the flesh that I needed to pick out, but once I did, I dumped all the juicy red seeds into a bowl and dug in, eating them by the spoonful. Something I’d never been able to do before. What a treat.



You can bet I’ll be buying many more pomegranates then ever in the future. Give one a try. You'll be amazed.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

TIME FOR THE HAPPY DANCE

Look what just arrived!

My name may not be on the cover, but I have 13 stories on the inside. I feel so blessed to have my dream of being published in book form come true. I’m looking forward to reading each and every story.


This inspirational book is a collection of true stories laid out in a daily format; one per day for 365 days. Each story will tell about a work of God in the lives of those who have experienced some aspect of prison. A single scripture verse will accompany each writing, pointing to the hope and truth found in God’s word.

While incarcerated, many inmates spiritually hit bottom and come face-to-face with the choices they have made. Thankfully, God uses Christian volunteers, prison chaplains, family members, outside friends, Christian pen pals, and other inmates, to share His love and truth with the lost behind bars. Regardless of how they are offered hope, inmate’s testimonies, along with their daily walk challenges, are moving and inspirational.

You will read amazing stories including Brandon, a prisoner who had a prayer warrior mother, and was also visited by a Christian volunteer. Brandon came to Christ while incarcerated, and witnessed constant gang activity behind bars, including preying upon the youth on the outside. Since his release, Brandon often risks his life in his ministry of intervening in the lives of youth who are at risk to become involved in gang activity.

The battle for the souls of inmates is fierce. One female prisoner said, “When I first arrived at prison in 2002, Christianity was openly practiced and Satanic practices were underground. Now it is just the opposite.” This inspirational book will remind Christians of their admonishment by Jesus to visit the imprisoned, to pray for them, and to share the gospel with them (Matthew 25:36). These collective, true stories will especially touch those who are uncomfortable with prison ministry, helping them to develop compassion for the shunned souls of society.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon, or an autographed copy on Connie Cameron's website, http://conniecameron.com/,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

WELCOME AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATER SUE V DALY



I started seriously drawing around the age of 5 when I began making my own coloring books.

I dabbled in drawing & painting in various mediums and found pen & ink to be my favorite. I concentrated on detailed sketches in ink until I mastered the technique using Rapidograph pens.

Sue graduated from the U of PA, Kutztown in Advertising/Art. She worked in the advertising field for over 15 years. During this time she continued to draw homes for people, usually to be given as gifts. Soon Sue was illustrating for builders, architects and Realtors all over the United States. She's been at it now for over 25 years winning several awards for my pen and inks at various art shows.

Sue has exhibited in N.J., VA, CA & IL in the past but now only participate in art shows in the Chicago area. She will post listings of my shows in this site. I hope you will stop by & say hi sometime.

Visit Sue's website at, http://illustrationsbysuedaly.com/



Dude attempts to be a brave and heroic hunter alongside an experienced beagle hunting pack but soon finds he would much rather make friends with his prey than hunt them!

'Dude the Hunter' is the first in a series of fun-loving books for children about a sweet, ordinary beagle who lives a tremendously adventurous life - if only in his dreams.

Friendship, kindness, compassion, understanding, reassurance, humor, and just plain old fun are all in here!

Note to Parents. This book has a concentration on first to third grade vocabulary words. It will help guide your children through important learning experiences with antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and compound words.

For a chance to win an autographed copy of DUDE THE HUNTER:

For each of the following, your name will be entered into the drawing:

1) Leave a comment with your email address or check back later for the winner. If you won, you’ll need to email me your information.
2) Become a follower on this blog.
3) Leave a comment on my Youtube video.

Make sure to let me know with your comment what you’ve done.

I can only ship in the US. Drawing will be done on November 29th, 2012. Please check back to see if you've won if you didn't leave your email address. If I don't have your email address and haven't heard from you by the December 4th, 2012, I'll draw another name

Monday, November 19, 2012

HEART TO HEART WON MY HEART



Title: Heart to Heart
Author: Lurlene McDaniel
Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (March 13, 2012)
Pages: 224

I didn’t fine HEART TO HEART by LURLENE MCDANIEL, it found me. Due to receiving a gift card to a bookstore I typically don’t shop at - way too expense – I searched for a book to purchase. My oldest daughter introduced me to several YA books. Each one I’ve loved. So much so that I’ve thought of one day writing a YA book myself. So it wasn’t a surprise to find myself searching the YA books at the store.

After reading the back cover of HEART TO HEART, I decided to give it a try, though I’d never read any of MS. MCDANIEL’S Books before. I was immediately drawn into the story. The writing was wonderful, the characters real to life, and the storyline unique and well thought-out.

Kassey Messecheck and Elowyn Eden are close friends. Kassey thought she knew everything about her best friend, so after a fatal car crash, Kassey was surprised to discover Elowyn had checked the donor box on her driver’s license.

Arabeth ST. Clair has lived the latter years of her life lonely and isolated. But all of that was about to change when she receives a call that a donors heart is available. The last thing she expected was to meet the loved ones of the girl who donated her heart.

I highly recommend HEART TO HEART to kids and adults of all ages. There’s a great lesson to be learned from this wonderfully written story. It will tug at your heartstrings and bring you to tear.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

WELCOME AUTHOR MOLLY NOBLE BULL



Molly Noble Bull, Christian novelist, is a native Texan, and she is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Molly's father and maternal grandfather were ranch managers, making them real Texas cowboys, and she spent part of her growing up years on a 60,000 acre cattle ranch. She and her husband have three grown sons and four grandchildren, and all three of their sons are involved in ranching in Texas today.


Molly is a monthly contributor to a blog for readers of western fiction called Bustles and Spurs. She also writes a monthly column "Books That Inspire" for South Texas Living magazine--www.southtexasliving.com

Her novel, Sanctuary, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the inspirational category and tied for first place in the 2008 Winter Rose contest also in the inspirational category.

Cinderella Texas is the retelling of a famous fairy tale complete with a shoe problem for the lovely heroine, twenty-two year old Alyson Spencer, and a cowboy who is prince-like for a hero, Robert Lee Greene IV—called Quatro. Quatro is a handsome rancher, an oil baron and one of the riches men in Texas, and he is also a widower with two school age children. How could Alyson have guessed that when she couldn’t find a teaching job in Dallas, she would eventually accept a position home schooling Quatro’s children and be paid a tremendous salary for doing it?


Alyson likes historical novels, antique furniture and city life and never cared for rural settings. However, she expects life on the huge Greene Ranch in South Texas to be idyllic. She will be living in Quatro’s home along with his children, his parents and his grandfather, and she visualizes a majestic mansion surrounded by well-tended gardens—a swimming pool, a tennis court, perhaps a private movie theater and servants at her beckon call.

What she actually finds causes her to want to fly back to Dallas, immediately. Quatro and his family believe that modern technology corrupts, meaning that the rundown two hundred year old house they live in is without electricity and all other necessities of normal American life. Alyson tries to get out of her teaching contract, but it is unbreakable. How is she expected to do her job as a schoolteacher without a computer and a working telephone? And why is Quatro so pig-headed?

It was more likely that an attraction would develop between a country coyote and a city poodle than Alyson Spencer and Quatro Greene, and yet somehow it does.

To learn more about Molly and her books, please visit her website. www.mollynoblebull.com










Monday, November 12, 2012

A GREAT LESSON IN WRITING CHRISTIAN FICTION



Title: The Marriage Bargain
Author: Jennifer Probst
Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (August 17, 2012)
Pages: 212

I’m certainly not lacking in words when it comes to THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN by JENNIFER PROBST. First thing you need to know, I’m an aspiring Christian fiction writer. I primarily read Christian fiction. I’ve read my share of secular books, and have loved many of them, despite the lack of faith, and added content I could do without.

Alexa KcKenzie needs money … and fast.

Nicolas Ryan needs a wife …. and fast.

When Alexa agrees to marry Nick, she does so because she needs his money to save her family home. He asked her to marry because he’s in need of a wife to seal a business deal. What Nick doesn’t realize is Alexa never really stopped loving him, though she won’t admit to it.

THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN by JENNIFER PROBST is the first book I’ve read by this author, and most likely will be the last. But that’s not for lack of good writing or storytelling. Whenever I encounter a book that has me divided between loving it and having issues with it, I typically lay it out in pros and cons.

THE PROS:
-Amazing writing.
-Wonderful, three-dimensional characters.
-Great plot.
-Great lines.
-Great tension between characters.

THE CONS:
-Foul language – Though not what I call the worst of words, and not so much that I’d have to stop reading it.
-The sexual content – Yes, that was too much/over the top … though it could have been worse.
-The ending – After such an amazing story, and great writing, the author dropped the ball the last few chapters. It just sort of fizzed out, or maybe “rushed” would be a better word. Very disappointing after such a great read. If you kill the ending of a book, you pretty much kill the book. The reader is left with the bad taste, taking away from all the previous good you read.

I really loved the story, and thought the writing to be outstanding. Though there was foul language, it was tolerable. What I didn’t like was the sexual content. I don’t regret reading THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN, because it reiterated what I already knew, but needed to be reminded of …

WHY I WRITE CHRISTIAN FICTION.

The books I read sit around in plain sight so I can read them whenever I have the opportunity to sneak in a chapter or two. I don’t think much about it in regards to my kids because I generally read Christian fiction or basically “clean” secular books.

You can image my surprise when my sixteen-year-old pointed to THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN sitting on the kitchen table and said, “Wow, nice Mom,” in a sarcastic tone. I was both embarrassed and pleasantly surprised by her comment. Embarrassed because of her knowledge of what was inside such a cover, and surprised that she cared. That she HAD noticed what I read. Noticed enough to recognize that THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN was not the kind of book I typically read.

In the past my youngest daughter would pick up the current book I was reading and start to jokingly read it. I never flinched. That would not be the case if she had picked up this particular book and just happened upon a sensual scene between the two main characters.

It saddens me that I won’t be purchasing MS. PROBST books in the future, mainly due to the sexual content, when she is such a wonderful writer and storyteller. I guess there is always hope that one day she’ll decide to write a “clean” story.





Friday, November 9, 2012

WORTH GETTING UP FOR

I am so not a morning person, yet thankful I have a reason to get up early in the morning.







Look what I would have missed.

And this ...

And this ...


And this ...
And this ...

And this ...


And this ...


Just one of Gods many creation.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

IS IT POSSIBLE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH A FICTIONAL CHARACTER …



Title: Against the Tide

Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Pages: 368

AGAINST THE TIDE by ELIZABETH CAMDEN is not the first book I’ve read by her, nor will it be the last. The first was THE ROSE OF WINSLOW STREET, which was amazing. I immediately placed MS. CAMDEN on my list of favorite authors. When I was offered a chance to read and review AGAINST THE TIDE, I didn’t hesitate. I was both honored and excited.

Lydia Pallas has carved out the perfect life for herself after surviving childhood struggles. A nice place to call home, a job she’s proud of, everything in neat order … or so she thinks.

Alexander Banebridges, known as Bane, has a mission in life. And right now that mission requires the help of a beautiful female translator working for the U.S. Navy, and a friend of his.

As Bane and Lydia embark on a mission propelled by Bane’s past, he becomes painfully aware that the very thing he’s trying to stamp out has its grip on the woman he’s falling for. But Lydia if off limits. Bain’s doesn’t deserve happiness, much less a woman to share his life with. Not after what he had done ….

What I love about MS. CAMDEN’S books, aside from the amazing writing, great pace, wonderful lines, well thought-out, three dimensional, likeable characters, is her plots are intriguing, educational, and meaningful. Her stories stir up emotions, and leave you feeling as though you were right there, living beside the characters, fighting their battles. After reading the last word, I was intrigued to learn more about what I just read, along with a new understanding of the situation that occurred in the past.

Bane and Lydia seeped into my heart. I loved both characters. How often are you left feeling as though you personally know the characters and are greatly sadden when you flip over the last page? I was excited to discover Bane’s is in CAMDEN’S first novel, THE LADY OF BOLTON HILL. I can’t wait to get a glimpse into Bane’s earlier life.

If you want a great read, filled with a touch of mystery, intrigue, suspense, light, yet powerful romance, with just the right amount of faith woven in so naturally you don’t realize it’s there, then you’re sure to love, AGAINST THE TIDE.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A HEART MADE NEW by KELLY IRVIN



Title: A Heart Made New
Author: Kelly Irvin
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Pages: 336

A HEART MADE NEW by KELLY IRVIN is for those wanting a story about the life of a devoted Amish family, with a mix of faith, romance, suspense, and a few twists and turns.

Annie Shirack wants more than anything to marry David Plank, despite what he's going through. But David isn't so eager. He's been fighting cancer, and isn't willing to let Annie get too close. He fears hurting her if he were to die an untimely death, leaving her a young widow.

The characters in A HEART MADE NEW struggle with their faith, as often we do. Though bad things happen to good people, it's important to trust God through our trials and tribulations. A message worth hearing.

*Please see my disclaimer for more information on this review.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ACFW NOVEMBER 2012 NEW RELEASES

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee -- An heirloom quilt, secret messages, a hyper dog, and a possible treasure make for an unforgettable Christmas. (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press).

Freefall by Jodie Bailey -- A soldier teams up with a retired commando, an undercover agent, and her ex-husband to uncover a drug smuggler, and while one man wins her love, another tries to destroy her. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Christmas Stalking by Margaret Daley -- Bodyguard Ellie St. James has one objective : protect her client without letting her know, but there's an expected complication--Colt Winfield. They must trust each other to guard Colt's grandmother, but someone wants to stop them. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

The Greenfield Legacy by Amanda Deed , Paula Vince, Meredith Resce and Rose Dee -- How can one decision cause so much pain? Can it also bring hope? Four women. One story. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Even Before Publishing (Wombat).

Treacherous Skies by Elizabeth Goddard -- A test pilot turned Learjet recovery man retrieves a jet only to find the kidnapped daughter of a Colombian drug lord concealed inside. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher -- It's the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she's going to have to trust someone if she's to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband's half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door? (Historical Romance from Zondervan).

Christmas Countdown by Vicki Hinze -- FBI profiler, Maggie Mason and friend, Dr. Ian Crane, set out to catch a serial killer who's trapped them in a deadly game of cat and mouse. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Legacy of Love by Christine Johnson -- An unemployed housekeeper searches for a lost fortune in the home of the mysterious man who first of all evicted her from her childhood home and then gives her a job. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Judge by RJ Larson -- Biblical Fantasy Adventure: Kien Lantec struggles to fulfill his Creator's commands, and to save his love, Ela of Parne, from a deadly vision. (High Fantasy/Spec Fiction from Bethany House (Baker).

Parrish the Thought: A Christine Sterling Mystery by Catherine Leggitt -- The Golden Years have never been so dangerous! Unlovable people plague Christine Sterling's world. Most difficult of all is Amanda Colter, a surly Goth teenager accused of murdering prominent Nevada City matron, Bessie Parrish. (Cozy Mystery from Ellechor Publishing House ).

Love Will Find a Way by Pamela S. Meyers -- Someone doesn't want Lovin' Spoonfuls from April Love Catering to open and will go to any measure to stop it -- including murder. (Cozy Mystery from OakTara Publishers).

Prophetess by Keven Newsome -- One act of violence is not enough to fulfill Xaphan's plans. One near escape does not justify Winter's growing gift. There is more. She can feel it. The warnings swell within her. He's searching for someone. A person of promise...a person of prophecy. And Winter must find her first. (Supernatural Suspense from Splashdown Books).

The Return of Miss Blueberry by Rachael Phillips -- Callie Creighton ditches her Chicago lifestyle to be her hometown best friend's bridesmaid during Plymouth's Blueberry Festival. A decade after Callie fell off the Miss Blueberry float, will she fall for the gifted bad boy of her high school class who now claims he has turned to Christ? (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents.

Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart -- What if you could send your spirit into other people's souls to fight for their freedom? (Supernatural Suspense from Thomas Nelson).

Snowflake Sweethearts by Carrie Turansky -- Bringing her daughter to the one place she feels safe, single mother Annie Romano returns to Fairhaven, Washington. Though hoping to start a new life as a personal chef, Annie accepts a different job. Alex Jameson, the handsome man she secretly loved as a teenager, needs a live-in caregiver for his ailing grandmother. A big-city workaholic in town temporarily, Alex doesn't seem to realize how much he needs family, faith or love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA by Erica Vetsch -- As Harvey Girl Meghan Thorson waits on doughboys at the El Garces Hotel in Needles, California, she meets Caleb McBride, a local horse breeder whom the townsfolk have branded a coward and profiteer. Will threads of love unite this couple, or will pride keep them forever apart? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SIMPLY HEAVENLY


Title: Heaven
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; 1 edition (August 21, 2012)
Pages: 432

Since they first met it hadn’t been easy for Bethany Church, an angel, and Xavier Woods, a mortal. Despite the warnings from others, Beth and Xavier’s love couldn’t be denied. Making a brave decision to marry, crossing the line and doing what no others have done, a group of angels, the Seven, were determined to make them pay for their actions.

It all started with my daughter wanting to purchase, HALO. I have to admit the cover was intriguing, along with the synopsis. She read and loved it. Next it was my turn. I fell in love with the characters and the storyline. We waited impatiently for the next to come out, HADES, and finally, HEAVEN.

If I had to pick my favorite between the three, I guess I’d have to say it’s HADES, though the last half of HEAVEN is a close second (You can read my review for HALO and HADES on Amazon.). Overall I loved the trilogy. ALEXANDRA ADORNETTO is an amazing writer with a creative mind that produced an amazing storyline with three dimensional characters.

The first half of HEAVEN was a tad slow, but once you reach the middle it takes off. The slow pace was tolerable due to the wonderful writing. Having read the first two books in the trilogy, there was no way I wasn’t finishing the third one.

I loved the surprises and twists HEAVEN took. I hadn’t a clue how Xavier and Bethany’s story would unfold, but I loved how MS. ADORNETTO played it out. I could never have imagined what the author would do with one of the other characters I love, Gabriel. I’m anticipating with excitement a story about Gabe and Molly.









Thursday, October 25, 2012

MY FIRST EVER

I’m so excited! I have several stories I contributed to, STORIES OF FAITH AND COURAGE FROM PRISON, due out November, 9th, 2012.


Here's what Amazon has to say about STORIES OF FAITH AND COURAGE FROM PRISON:

This inspirational book is a collection of true stories laid out in a daily format; one per day for 365 days. Each story will tell about a work of God in the lives of those who have experienced some aspect of prison. A single scripture verse will accompany each writing, pointing to the hope and truth found in God’s word


While incarcerated, many inmates spiritually hit bottom and come face-to-face with the choices they have made. Thankfully, God uses Christian volunteers, prison chaplains, family members, outside friends, Christian pen pals, and other inmates, to share His love and truth with the lost behind bars. Regardless of how they are offered hope, inmate’s testimonies, along with their daily walk challenges, are moving and inspirational.

You will read amazing stories including Brandon, a prisoner who had a prayer warrior mother, and was also visited by a Christian volunteer. Brandon came to Christ while incarcerated, and witnessed constant gang activity behind bars, including preying upon the youth on the outside. Since his release, Brandon often risks his life in his ministry of intervening in the lives of youth who are at risk to become involved in gang activity.

The battle for the souls of inmates is fierce. One female prisoner said, “When I first arrived at prison in 2002, Christianity was openly practiced and Satanic practices were underground. Now it is just the opposite.” This inspirational book will remind Christians of their admonishment by Jesus to visit the imprisoned, to pray for them, and to share the gospel with them (Matthew 25:36). These collective, true stories will especially touch those who are uncomfortable with prison ministry, helping them to develop compassion for the shunned souls of society.



Monday, October 15, 2012

WELOME AUTHOR MARY ANNSLEE URBAN

ABOUT MARY
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, She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, will be released Fall of 2012.

Mary has also been a freelance writer for several local newspapers 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!

ABOUT TAPESTRY OF TRUST


Surrendered Hearts—Interwoven Grace Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie’s back, and despite Isabelle’s best efforts, she can’t ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he’s become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?

Q&A
Q. First, tell us a little about yourself.

A. I’m a wife of Gary, mother of five, Nina (Grandmother) of three, registered nurse, author and most of all child of God! I live in the Charlotte, NC area. When I’m not writing, I work part-time as a behavioral health RN. I love to travel, cook, spend time with family and friends.

Q. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

A. Yes. A variety of books. Mysteries, young adult love stories. I always love a happy ending.

Q. Why do you write?

A. It is my passion. I can’t imagine not writing, not creating an adventure. I love watching my characters come to life and the story about them evolve.

Q. Tell us about your latest book.

A. My latest book, She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, is a story about a young reporter who goes to visit her grandparents for Christmas. She ready to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery and snow. What she doesn’t expect is to be swept off her feet by her grandparent’s neighbor and his three year old daughter. A story of rising beyond the fears of the past and moving forward together into the future.

Q. What inspired you to write this particular book?

A. I love a cozy Christmas story.

Q. Where do you get ideas for your books?

A. My mind is always spinning with ideas. I may hear something or see something that sparks a thought and then presto, a story begins!

Q. In three words describe your style of writing.

A. Romance, witty, wholesome.

Q. What themes do you write about?

A. Inspirational romance. Finding love, overcoming life issues.

Q. What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

A. I have an office in my home and I write whenever I have a moment. Much of the time late into the night.

Q. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations?

A. Yes. Yes. Yes. I work part-time as a nurse, also have a small real estate company. I have 5 kids, 3 grandchildren and a husband. Life gets hectic, but I’m not a tv watcher so when I have down time, I writer.

Q. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A. Pantser absolutely. Although I have an idea of where I want the story to go, how I get
there is always an unknown journey.

Q. Does your faith affect your writing? How?

A. All of my writing reflects Christian values. My characters do or learn to depend on the
Lord. I am eternally grateful that the Lord allows me to write and has opened the door
to be published.

Q. Do you put yourself in your books?

A. Threads of my life evolve in my characters.

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. I am revising and re-editing a Contemporary Inspirational Romance. My hero and heroine are both attorneys. Matti my heroine is a law school intern, she has a strong faith. My hero, Brock is an accomplished attorney whose pain from the past has soured him on Christianity.

Q. If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be?


A. Probably Isabelle in Tapestry of Trust. She’d lost so much in her life, including trust. What kept her going? I believe she’d answer with, “hope.”

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A. Believe in yourself. Allow the Lord to lead your path. Perseverance, prayer, patience!

Q. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done.


A. When we were adopting our daughter, I flew down to Lima, Peru. My aunt and I went a week earlier than my husband, so our other three kids wouldn’t have us both away so long. The country was very volatile at the time. When we arrived even the taxi driver told us to go home. The lights in the city had been turned off because of riots and there were water cannons in front of our hotel. But, I couldn’t leave, my baby daughter was waiting for me.

DUE OUT THIS WINTER

She Came to See the Snow:
A Colorado Christmas Romance,
White Rose Publishing


CHANCE TO WIN

Now for a chance to win a copy of Mary Annslee Urban's book, Tapestry of Trust.

For each of the following, your name will be entered into the drawing:

1) Leave a comment with your email address or check back later for the winner. If you won, you’ll need to email me your information.

2) Become a follower on this blog.

3) Leave a comment on my Youtube video.

Make sure to let me know with your comment what you’ve done.

I can only ship in the US. Drawing will be done on October 22, 2012. Please check back to see if you've won if you didn't leave your email address. If I don't have your email address and haven't heard from you by the October 25, 2012, I'll draw another name











Thursday, October 11, 2012

A SONG FOR MY NOVEL

The current novel I’m working on is titled, DON’T WALK AWAY. Being the huge music lover I am, I decided to see if there was a song with the same title. To my surprise there were several. I listened to each of them until I came across one I thought fit my story.


"Don't Walk Away"

By the Moffatts

Look in my eyes and let the moment begin

You make me feel like I can do anything

One look fron you just sends my troubles away

What I would do, to be with you

[Chorus:]

Don't walk away

Why don't you stay I've been waiting for somebody like you

Please don't walk away

Why won't you stay

That you're ready and you're feelin' it too

Cause if it's love If it's love

Then don't walk away I wanna show you I've got nothing to hide

Don't be afraid of what you're feeling inside

Deep in my heart there is nobody but you

What I would do, to be with you

[Chorus]

Monday, October 8, 2012

A BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS


Title: Christmas Roses

Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2012
Pages: 172

Celia Anderson is recently widowed and has no thought of remarrying, especially not to the two men that have shown her interest in the past months. If she were to consider marriage again, it would be for love this time, not as an arrangement by her parents.

In search for his father, Mark Williams finds himself in a small town in Wyoming. What he hadn’t expected to find was a woman and child that win his heart. With his carpentry skills, Mark crafts a gift for Celia, along with a question, in hopes of winning her heart.

At only 172 pages, CHRISTMAS ROSES by AMANDA CABOT, is a quick read. A sweet and heartwarming story, just in time for Christmas with a surprise ending.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

THE ENDING CAME TOO EARLY


Title: Dawn Comes Early
Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012)
Pages: 352

Kate Tenney fled the city she was raised in for what she hoped would be a new life. One that would earn her the respect she sought her entire life. Kate would need to prove to the ranch owner that she was worthy of inheriting her ranch, and learning to ride a horse first would come in handy.

Luke Adams is not one for fancy words, but when he meets the educated Kate Tenney, he’s willing to learn. But learning new words is not his greatest challenge. Convincing Kate that she shouldn’t throw her life way by accepting the ranch owner’s agreement to never marry in exchange for inheriting her land, is.

So what do you say about a book that blows you away, and that’s exactly what DAWN COMES EARLY by MARGARET BROWNLEY did. This is not the first book I read by MS. BROWNLEY, but it is the first book in fiction I’ve read by her, and it won’t be the last.

What an unbelievable blessing it is when you run across a book that contains every aspect of writing that is needed to produce a brilliant story. I am convinced that the top priority in a great book is good writing. Without it, no matter if the rest of the qualities are there, it will fail. I cannot finish a book that isn’t written well, or at the very least, okay.

I have read countless of what I call, cowboy books. I have a few authors that are my favorites, that I believe get it all right, and thus I can’t get enough of their books. I have now added MARGET BROWNLEY to that list.

DAWN COMES EARLY is different than other romances I have read. Typically the hero and heroine meet right at the start, and continue to encounter one another on a regular basis throughout the book. Stories that don’t have the main characters meeting often can cause me to lose interest.

What makes DAWN COMES EARLY unique is the amount of encounters the two love interest have in the first half of the book. Oh, he was there, but the main focal point was the heroin’s story. It took me awhile to realize the hero wasn’t coming back around every corner, and once I did, I couldn’t help but become immersed in the heroine’s story.

MS. BROWNLEY does an amazing job of weaving an incredible story, one that will not soon be forgotten. Every character is three dimensional, one that you will come to love, with individual personalities. The author’s attention to detail brings the story to life in an educational, fun, and realistic way. You are lucky to have one of those moments in a story where you reread a line because it’s that good. With MS BROWNLEY’S story, there were many. As an aspiring author, I ate up every word she wrote.

I loved how the author was able to create a character that allowed her to weave faith in, in a powerful, yet non-preaching way. It wasn’t the author who gave reference to scripture and prayer, but the character. I have read several books where the main character is a writer, but never have I read one as well done as DAWN COMES EARLY. The way MS. BROWNLEY referenced the main character’s fictional story she was writing at the beginning of each chapter, as well as throughout the book, was refreshing and exiting.

Every aspect of the story was remarkable, from the very first page, throughout the middle, right up to the very last line. I can’t wait for the next book in the LAST CHANCE RANCH series, THE BRIDES OF LAST CHANCE RANCH, WAITING FOR MORNING.

Hurry up January and get here!



Thursday, October 4, 2012

ACFW OCTOBER 2012 NEW RELEASES

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Garters for Lace by Brandi Boddie -- Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man. Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe's family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her? Can this small-town saloon girl trade her fancy garters for a respectable life? (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

Guardian by Heather Burch -- The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. (Young Adult from Zondervan).

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden -- A woman struggling to create a respectable life in 19th century Boston is derailed when she falls in love with a dashing spy. When he draws her into his dangerous world, she must find the courage to infiltrate a remote wilderness mansion to unravel a plot that threatens to destroy them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Shattered Silence by Margaret Daley -- When a serial killer is targeting illegal aliens in southern Texas, Cody Jackson, a Texas Ranger, and Detective Liliana Rodriguez race to discover who is behind the murders and bring peace to the area. (Suspense from Abingdon Press).

A Lady in the Making by Susan Page Davis -- David Stone sets out to claim his estate and title, and finds himself a fellow passenger with the woman who tried to cheat him out of his fortune. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson -- A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart? (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts)).

The Carpenter's Inheritance by Laurie Alice Eakes -- In 1893, Lucinda Bell is that rarity--a lady lawyer, but her choice to take on only civil cases might not be the safest choice for her life or her heart. (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour).

Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes -- Cassandra may be more interested in balloon flights than ball flirtations until Lord Whittaker is near, when love seems a fine alternative to the physics of flight until disaster strikes. (Historical Romance from Revell (Baker).

Colonial Courtships by Laurie Alice Eakes, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson, and Amber Stockton -- Set during the years 1752-1762, will adventure thwart the four Ingersoll brothers' plans or set them on a course of love?

(Historical Romance from Barbour).

Love Finds You at Home for Christmas by Annalisa Daughety and Gwen Ford Faulkenberry -- Love finds a home in two heartwarming stories of Christmas past and present. (Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts)).

Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson -- Love lost doesn't mean love lost forever. Can unexpected romance deliver a second chance for two deserving widows? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House).

The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter -- Horse trainer Annie Wilkerson must write a write a lovelorn column to make ends meet. There's only one problem--Annie's never been in love so she turns to ladies' man Dylan Taylor for help but ends up with more trouble than she bargained for. (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

A Heart Made New by Kelly Irvin -- Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who's struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin's lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House).

The Preacher's Bride by Laurie Kingery -- Can a woman who has lost her faith, and the town's new preacher find happiness together, or will Comanche raiders destroy all chance of peace and a love that lasts forever. (Western Romance from Love Inspired).

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig -- Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, a devoted sister sets off on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker)).

Accidentally Amish by Olivia Newport -- With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie Friesen runs from her fast-paced life straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley's Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she's ever known? (Contemporary Romance from Barbour).

Critical Condition by Sandra Orchard -- Book 3 in Undercover Cops series A nurse. An undercover cop. A killer who'll stop at nothing to avoid being caught. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Trapped! The Adulterous Woman by Golden Keyes Parsons -- Completely unaware she is a pawn in a complicated scheme to frame Jesus, Anna's foolish heart plunges her into a role that goes into eternity as a poignant example of the compassion and forgiveness of the Messiah. (Biblical Fiction from WhiteFire Publishing).

The Doctor's Defender by Terri Reed -- Fearing for her life, Dr. Brenda Storm must trust handsome bodyguard Kyle Martin to keep her safe, but can she trust him with her heart? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Dead Wrong by Susan Sleeman -- Book two in the Justice Agency series. When a killer threatens private investigator Kat Justice's life only one man can help her say alive. A man who once broke her heart and it's never recovered. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Love in Three-Quarter Time by Dina Sleiman -- The former belle of the ball must teach the dances she once loved and risk her heart in order to restore her family. (Historical Romance from Zondervan).

The Women of Valley View: Callie by Sharon Lynne Srock -- A baby is dead and Callie feels responsible. Can she put her self-imposed guilt aside long enough to help the two girls who need her now? If she'll step out on faith, God will rescue her as well as them. (General Contemporary from Harbourlight Books (Pelican).

Stealing Hearts by Amber Stockton -- Grace Baxton struggles to forgive a thief who took precious family heirlooms, yet threatens to steal her heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson -- Tessa Bowen reluctantly agrees to trades lives--and situations--with pampered Jacquie Abingdon, a London socialite. This decision places Tessa aboard the Titanic for a journey destined to change her life forever. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts).

His Love Endures Forever by Beth Wiseman -- God has plans beyond what Danielle's mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never goes away but endures forever. (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall -- Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, and restoration. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House).



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WELCOME AUTHOR SHERRI WILSON JOHNSON







Sherri Wilson Johnson is from Georgia and lives there with her husband, who loves to fish and build guitars, her children, and two dogs. She homeschooled for fourteen years and now dedicates much of her free time to writing. She loves Jesus, the ocean, eating ice cream, and laughing. She has been writing for practically as long as she could put words down on paper but fell in love with writing Inspirational Romance in her late teens.



My newest book, Song of the Meadowlark, is a contemporary romance about a woman named Cora who has been abandoned by her husband after his arrest on drug trafficking charges. She waits a year for him to return and when he doesn’t she decides to go back home to Florida to mend her broken relationship with her parents. On the way there her car breaks down and she’s temporarily stranded in a South Georgia town, which is experiencing missing and murdered women occurrences. She falls in love with the town and the people she stays with while there. Little Susie O’Reilly finds an immediate place in her heart but her widower father, Rex, tries to stand in the way of the two bonding. After Cora is abducted, she decides to return home and that adds to Rex’s opposition to her since Susie is already attached to Cora. When Cora arrives home she finds the repair of her relationship with her parents and her ability to forget about Rex nearly impossible. Cora struggles with doubt, rejection, fear, and anger on her path to peace and forgiveness. I hope readers will learn that it’s okay to experience periods of doubt and confusion while searching for the truth.



Book Blurb: To Dance Once More is the story of Lydia Jane Barrington, a Victorian debutante. Lydia lives on a plantation in Florida under the watchful eye of her father. She’s quite an independent young lady who does not want to fall into the trap (as she sees it) that her mother and sisters have fallen into—marriage and motherhood. She wants to travel the world and experience life before giving her heart to a man. One day, her eyes are opened to love and no matter what, she cannot forget the blissful feeling it causes. She begins to believe that love isn’t such a bad thing after all. Then she discovers a secret that prohibits any of her dreams from ever coming true. She begins a quest to free herself and her family from a future of bondage. Hearts are broken and lives are torn apart because of Lydia’s own selfishness. Will she surrender to a call that God placed on her life and be able to experience love after all?

Q&A TIME

 
Q: Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?

A: One of my favorite books as a child was The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Red_Lighthouse ). It came with a vinyl record, which turned the book into an audio book. I loved it because the lighthouse was tiny and hid underneath the George Washington Bridge. He felt like he wasn’t important but actually he was extremely important. Without him, ships would have slammed into the bridge at night. The story makes you feel hopeful that you can make a difference in this world. The sounds of the tugboat and other ships were fascinating to listen to as a child (a long time ago). My favorite book as an adult (except the Bible, of course) is hard to pinpoint. I love Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby. I love so many books and I dislike probably just as many.

Q:. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?

A: John 14:1-3 has always been my favorite scripture. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This makes life worth living. James 1:2-4 has been an encouragement to me in my adult life and in my writing. It says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I could not get through the ups and downs of this life and of trying to complete my writing projects without this encouragement.

Q: If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
A: There are a lot of places I would like to visit just for fun. If I could go anywhere to visit for research, I suppose it would be to England or Sweden to research the places where my ancestors lived.

Q: I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?

A: One of my main issues with technology is the fact that I have a hard time resisting the urge to use it. I waste a lot of time that could be used writing. However, I can’t imagine not having technology. Although I often handwrite with pen and pad, I definitely enjoy being able to type something and make corrections without having to rip a piece of paper out of a typewriter and start over or use correction fluid. My first novel was written on a typewriter. In a melancholy moment, I decided it was no good and I burned it in my fireplace. That novel was lost forever. But the more I’ve learned about the craft, the more I realize that the fireplace probably was the best place for that book. One of the best advantages of technology in the writing industry is the convenience it brings to marketing and also in the submission process. When I first started writing, it was expensive to make copies, mail manuscripts, and include a SASE and getting the word out about your projects was impossible unless you hired someone to do your marketing for you. I think technology has changed the face of writing for the better and as long as we as writers remember to use it in moderation, we’ll be successful.

Q: As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

A: Letting go of my work and submitting it to publishers and agents and letting other people read my words has stretched me. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and face rejection and correction. By doing that, I’ve realized that everything I want to say isn’t necessarily important and is subject to editing. I’ve learned to say things in as few words as possible.

Q: What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?

A: Oh boy! I don’t think there is room enough on your blog for this. I guess one thing I would advise a beginning writer would be to be patient. If you don’t have patience, you’ll never persevere on the long road to publication. Also, get lots of practice, practice, practice every day—or at least several times a week. In this industry, you need to be as polished as possible. The more you write, the better your writing will be. I also recommend that all writers read the works of other authors (good and bad) to see how they can improve and how they can avoid big mistakes that will lead to rejection. Probably the most important thing would be to write with a message. Know what you want people to walk away from your words with and strive toward getting that message across in everything you write.

Where you can find Sherri:
http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com
http://sherrijinga.wordpress.com
http://sherriwilsonjohnson.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/#!/swj_thewriter
http://nicoleodell.com/sherri-wilson-johnson-on-inspiring-purity/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5233294.Sherri_Wilson_Johnson

Monday, October 1, 2012

ON CRITIQUING


I recently ran into this issue of how honestly we critique ones work. For me, it’s a no-brainer. I really don’t know any other way to critique then to be honest in what I’ve learned over the years, and believe to make a story the best it can be. I wouldn’t be doing the other person any good, rather an injustice by not being completely honest. I wouldn’t expect anything less from others.

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that my word/edits/critiques are “law”, but there are several “rules/do’s and don’ts” of writing that are not based on ones opinion or writing being subjective. And those are the edits that one needs to pay close attention to.

I have found that if ones story is flooded with writing errors, their voice will be greatly compromised. This can be very discouraging, but if you learns from the critiques you receive, it will result in better writing in the future, thus your voice will rise up and become your own.

I believe it is vital to have a “second pair of eyes” that have never seen that particular work before. Those eyes can catch things we missed, and offer a fresh perspective on our work. One that will often separate good writing from amazing writing.

In order for a critique to really work, the person critiquing needs to be honest, yet with a gentle heart. Equally, the person having their work critiqued needs to receive it with an open and accepting mind. Don’t take it as a personal attack, but as a gift to better your writing.

Anyone who has been writing for some times knows that you need tough skin to write. Those without will never make it.

Keep in perspective there is a difference between mistakes that can be corrected once the rules are learned and mastered, vs not having a talent to tell a story. If you believe that God has called you to write, and it’s in your blood, don’t let satan win. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep writing.