Tuesday, October 21, 2014

San Diego & Sun

Hello from San Diego!! Sunny, 70's and so not the Wisconsin autumn I'm accustomed to. I'm here for a work conference, although one may argue I haven't been doing the a-typical work normally associated with a conference. (Especially if you've been watching the nauseating amounts of selfies I've posted to my FB page).

When I haven't been yachting or hanging out on the baseball field in Petco park, I've been attending sessions about coaching for performance, managing managers, and developing statistics that make sense to your sales front. Which is ironic, because for me to do that, I'd need to make sense of statistics first and that, my friend, is not happening any time soon.

So what's the point in this horribly self-centered blog post where you're all saying "PLEASE stop talking about your trip"?

Here's a few bits of wisdom I'll impart to you:

1. Always, always wear sunscreen on a yacht. Always. Or you'll end up looking like a red glow stick on steroids.

2. Always, always refrain from drinking at parties in Petco Park. The entertainment garnered from folks well on their way to brilliant idiocy is awe-haw-some....and a tad sad.

3. Never, ever call your four year old little girl. It puts her into tears when she realizes you're not coming home today and makes what was a tolerable situation for your husband, much much worse. (Hey, I can't help it if I'm popular with my kids!)

4. Never, ever forget your moisturizer unless you want to walk ten city blocks to the nearest pharmacy
-- or borrow cuticle cream from your male coworker and slather it on your forehead. (yes. yes, I did)

All in all, I am garnering a lot of info for writing. I might have to switch to writing a contemporary romance with suspense because I thought up about fifty ways to murder someone on yacht. Really. It's quite ingenious.

What are your off the wall travel "always" and "nevers"? C'mon. I know you have some! I need at least  ten comments on here (1/per) and if I get them, I'll draw for a random winner of some coffee!

Monday, October 20, 2014

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"

Happy Monday! I hope you enjoy our northern Indiana Fall colors. They reminded me of a poem by James Whitcomb Riley about the Fall season. I discovered that Riley is an Indiana native, and he was  thought of as the "Hoosier Poet" or "Children's Poet" because he often wrote verses for children about  rural life in Indiana.

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and the gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin'; of the guineys and the cluckin' of the hens
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O it's then the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock

They's somethin kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here -
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny monring of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock -
When the frost is on the punkin and fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries - kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below - the clover overhead! -
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!

I don't know how to tell it - but if sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me -
I'd want to 'commodate 'em - all the whole-indurin' flock -
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
~~by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

  Riley was known for writing in the vernacular, and though he only completed the eighth grade by age twenty, he went on to leave a great legacy of words. I learned that Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, is named in his honor, and in 1915, his birthdate was proclaimed Riley Day. I was also surprised to learn he wrote a poem with the title of a nickname I often heard growing up: "Little Orphan Annie". Some of his works were compiled into children's readers like this one: 

Enjoy the scenes of Fall in your "neck o' the woods"!

Does your state have a famous author?

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Coffee Chat With...MARY CONNEALY!

I am so thrilled to have my friend Mary Connealy here at Coffee Cups and Camisoles, and that she's kicking off our very first Coffee Chat! The plan is to have an author Coffee Chat every other Friday to introduce our readers not only to some great fiction, but to the authors behind them.

By way of introduction, I've known Mary for a long time. She was one of my first author friends. I met her at the first book signing I'd ever attended, and we talked for a long time. :) 

So, without further ado, here are Mary's answers to the Coffee Chat questions:

Here at CC&C, we’re all about the coffee and tea. What is your beverage of choice?

 I love Tetley’s Earl Gray tea in the drawstring bag. HOWEVER that’s hard to find AND we got a Keurig last year and I now have a little box of K-cups of Twining Earl Gray. It’s so EASY to find them. It’s like technology couples with my laziness to deprive me of my favorite drink. (Also, the Twining is very good)

All coffees and teas are better with a snack or two. What’s your go-to snack?

Well, honestly, do you think I got into my generally oval shape by being picky? I like pretty much everything and I try to keep it out of the house.

Jaime is all about the selfies, so we’d love to see a selfie of you. J

Mary Connealy and Erica Vetsch at the 2014 ACFW Gala

Anne and Erica are history museum addicts. Can you tell us a little about a history museum that is close to where you live or grew up?

I love history museums, too. This is a tough one because three come immediately to mind. I’m going with Fort Atkinson, an old,old,old restored fort about an hour and a half from me home. It existed in Nebraska in 1820-30 or there abouts. In 1820 Nebraska, as well as Iowa to the east were still Indian Territory. This fort is really fascinating, an era of history I don’t know much about. The ‘cowboy’ era is more post Civil War to about 1880s though cowboys can work fine much later than that, but 1820 was twenty years before the first wagon train rolled west on the Oregon Trail. I love wandering around that place.

Can you tell us a little bit about the research you did while writing 

I do 90% of my research online. I have a love/hate relationship with research because I love reading about history, but it’s such a time sink because I’ll start reading about one thing and start clicking links and before you know it, I’m on some rabbit trail and I haven’t added a word to my book for four hours. For Tried and True, I did love researching about women who fought in the war disguised as woman, so many fascinating stories, they really sparked my imagination.

What does your writing space look like? Do you have an office, a corner of the couch, or do you go to the library or coffee shop? 

I type about 75% of the time in a corner of my house we call The Computer Room. It’s a porch we enclosed trying to carve another bedroom out of our tiny house while our four daughters were growing up. So half of it is a bedroom and the other half has a desk and my desktop computer and 2000 books in it.

What are you reading right now? 

I am right in the depths of the Joe Pickett Series by C.J. Box about a park ranger in the heart of the Rocky Mountains who just wants to talk to hunters and count elk…and he keeps finding bodies. And then, because Joe is practically the only honorable man left on the planet, when he sees the authorities, who are all bungling bureaucrats brushing the crime aside as a grizzly attack, Joe has to step in, at the risk of his own life, and solve the case. I love it. 

Thank you so much, Mary, for being the first willing victim for our Friday Coffee Chats. :) 

About Mary:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. She is the bestselling author of the Wild at Heart series which recently began with book #1 Tried & True. This month she released a novella, The Advent Bride, available for $0.99 in all ebook formats. Part of a series of 12 novellas called The 12 Brides of Christmas.
She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas series, Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy, Sophie's Daughters Trilogy and many other books. The
Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters, three spectacular grandchildren.

Tried and True
Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister--and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk--they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"--but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

The Advent Bride

Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.

Here’s the place to put where readers can find you online.
Find Mary online at

Mary will be giving away TWO books today, her print book Tried and True and her Christmas ebook novella The Advent Bride. 

Leave a comment asking Mary a Coffee Chat style question along with an easy way for us to get a hold of you if you win. Mary will drop in throughout the day to answer questions. A winner will be announced here on the blog next week.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Erica here. I came across this picture this weekend, and it made me smile. This is me at age three. Back when I had blonde hair and blue eyes. My mom had put my hair in those pink sponge curlers overnight to help straighten it, since it was corkscrew-curly otherwise. When I look at this picture, I see my dad's features, the Bonam nose, the Bonam chin, the Bonam hands. And I see my children. Both of my kids have strongly Bonam features. (I was a Bonam before I became a Vetsch.)

Do you resemble one parent more than another? Do your kids look like you? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Hooks - A Novel in 30 Words

Okay, this picture is just for fun.
It has nothing to do with the post topic,
but I stitched it on Sunday, and it makes
me laugh.
So, one of the things a novelist has to do is take their entire novel, characters, subplots, settings, themes, etc. and distill them down to a 30-50 word hook. This is sometimes known as the elevator pitch (something short enough to garner the attention of an agent or editor in no more time than it takes to travel in an elevator) or a book blurb.

The purpose of the hook is to grab a reader's attention, to set up the characters and the premise of the story in such a way that a reader would want to know more.

This can be a daunting task for a novelist. After all, a novel is a complex thing with many characters and settings and subplots and themes. I've found though, that if I can't distill my plot into a short hook fairly easily, then I don't know what my story is about.

Here are some blurbs from popular movies. Can you match the movie to the blurb?

A boy from distant planet finds himself on earth with super powers and in love with his reporter co-worker. 

 A child befriends an alien being whose only desire is to return to his native planet.

 An archaeologist searches for a fantastic biblical artifact and finds that the Nazi government is involved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How To Deal With Chaos

Because I have all the answers, I decided to discuss chaos today. Actually, I lied. I don't have all the answers except HOW to create chaos. One of the questions several of you have asked me is: how do I find the time to write? My answer? I have no clue.

As a full time Director of Sales, Development and Associate Relations in a company of 60+ employees, I am kept hopping at work. My husband is a youth pastor -- welcome to life on church staff, your time is now no longer your own. (But we love our church!) We have Kokomo Jo's daily runs to preschool now and Peter Pan is still stuck in "I'm a baby" mode. And then, there's the whole, nobody stays at home issue, so the laundry still needs done, the house still needs managed, the wood still needs cut to heat the house, the toys still need picked up, and the spiders still need killed before I have a heart attack.

So how do I deal with chaos, might be the more accurate question.

You know. The answer is simple. It's the applying it, that's often not. I purchased a plaque at the Christian bookstore lately that is intended to slap me in the face everytime I walk into my kitchen.

Be Still.
I am God.


We TRY to control chaos. Or deal with it. At least I do. But it's all for naught really. It often becomes more chaotic, stressful and horrible as I go. I have two planners, a iPhone, and a family calendar. Chaos. I have weekly meetings with my husband to go over our agenda. Chaos. I have school/parent meetings. Chaos. I have employee meetings. Chaos.

Until I stop.

God is in control. I know it sounds simplistic. Cliche, maybe. But it's true. When I have book deadlines due, (and I've had five in the last six months between a book and novella proposals), somehow, when I offer my writing up to the Lord, the time just ... appears. Or it doesn't. And when it doesn't, I am forced to step back and instead of demanding "why", I look to find what He wants me to see.

My children.
My husband.
My eternal investments.


Sometimes our chaos is sinful. Really. Not that we can control IT, so much, but that we can submit US. To the Lord. In the middle of the storm. Let Him calm. Allow Him to bring from it what HE wants, not what I want. The idea that I have any impact on the outcome of my life is prideful. The stress I put on my husband when my writing and personal agenda takes center place in my heart is ... black and evil. But, when, fully submitted, to being still and letting the world swirl around me I find these truths to be ...well, true:

1. God is more real, more alive, more poignant
2. My husband is more invested in my writing and my personal goals
3. My children are less whiny and more content.
4. I am happy.

How do YOU deal with chaos??

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Coffee Cups?

Why not? 

Is it really a question? We don't think so.

Here at CoffeeCupsAndCamisoles, we strive to create a virtual coffee shop feel. We want our readers to come away with the feeling of having just sat in the coffee shop with us for a while, talking about life, faith, and the written word.

Why do we post daily?

Isn't a coffee shop open daly? How else will we get to know you?

We decided there are plenty of blogs by writers that talk about writing. Our goal is to get to know readers, and to create a community of book lovers here.

At home, I have two favorite coffee houses I like to frequent to write or meet a friend. In my home town, the coffee house is on the main square: Main Street Coffee House in Nappanee, Indiana.

I love the cozy feeling when you step inside,

and the smell of freshly ground coffee beans...

My favorite order is baked oatmeal, and a bottomless mug of coffee!

I love it that the coffee house is the new front porch of our century!
Just imagine we are all huddled around a table together, sharing about life, faith, and words.

Share your favorite local coffee house.
What is your favorite thing about going there?