Friday, November 21, 2014

Coffee Chat with Cindy Thomson ~ Giveaway

Erica Here: It is my pleasure to introduce you to Cindy Thomson, historical writer and fellow baseball fan! :) Here is a little bit about Cindy...

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at

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

Tea. I’m not totally opposed to coffee, though.

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

Dark chocolate. Enough said.

1    Jaime is all about the selfies, so we’d love to see a selfie of you. J
I call mine, Writer Thinking…

    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 live in a small town, but I’m within driving distance of Columbus, Ohio, and The Ohio History Museum. I was there a year or so ago when they had a special Ohio in the Civil War exhibit. They often have costumed presenters, special presentations, and even a real trolley car inside where you can sit and hear about the history. Lots of cool stuff going on. It is on the same campus as Ohio Village, a recreated village from the 1860s, and the research library.

Can you tell us a little bit about the research you did while writing Annie's Stories?

Prior to the first book in the series I visited New York City, walked in Battery Park, went to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Police Museum, New York Public Library, and other sites. I really felt as though I walked in my characters’ footsteps. While NYC is a modern city, it is still filled with history and historical sites that were there in the time period my novels are set. I also got to visit an author I’d met online in the offices of her publisher—Harper Collins and attend a cocktail party at the invitation of the American Irish Historical Society ( at the Police Museum ( Quite an experience.

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 love my office. It’s the only room upstairs reached by a spiral staircase. It looks out over the treed lot, like a treehouse!

What are you reading right now? 

The Quaker and the Rebel by Mary Ellis, and I’m listening to The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean. So I’m in 19th century America and 17th century Scotland. J

Here's a little bit about Cindy's newest release: 

Annie’s Stories:

The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.

Here's where you can find Cindy online:

Cindy is graciously giving away a copy of one of her books to a CC&C reader! And she's making it reader's choice! Sweet! Just follow the links in the rafflecopter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preparing to Be Thankful

Hey! How are you? Welcome to the table. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee. It's been a great year here at Coffee Cups & Camisoles, but as I prepare for Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say how thankful we are for YOU our readers. You're what makes this blog so enriching for Anne, Erica and I. we thrive on reading your comments. My heart jumps a bit every time I see someone has commented and even when I'm swamped at work and don't have a chance to reply, I'm soaking in your presence.

So today, as I speak for the three of us here at the CCC Blog, can you just leave a comment? Let us know you're there, who you are, something cool about YOU? Because to make this a true coffee chat, a true place of friendship, we need to know. So, introverts and extroverts alike, even if all you say is "hi", please leave a comment. And know, we are thankful this season for YOU!


Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Four Hobbies that Fuel My Writing Creativity

Erica here:

I love writing. I love the exhilaration of meeting the characters, crafting the story, discovering what happens.

But writing, while it charges me up, also depletes me.

Writing fiction is an act of creativity that comes from somewhere deep inside me, some well of emotion and thought and word-smithing that is finite and that needs refilled from time to time.

And fiction writing isn't the only writing I do. I also blog, keep up with email correspondence, try to stay connected with friends and readers on Facebook, pin stuff on Pinterest, and all the other online social stuff that is available out there. All of it takes time and mental energy and creativity.

I love it, but it can be draining.

I've found that when the well gets dry, one of the best ways for me to replenish my stores is to do something else creative that isn't related to writing.

Here are four hobbies that I have that help me refresh:

1. Cross Stitch - This one is probably my favorite. I love the colors, the intricate designs, and the feeling off accomplishment that comes from finishing a big project. (You can find a lot of my cross stitch designs, the ones I've made and the ones I would like to make on my pinterest page here:

I made this for my dear friend Mary Connealy. If you haven't read her books, treat yourself! You'll love them!

I made this sampler for myself. So much fun!

This is one of my largest projects. A quilt cross-stitch for each month, assembled into a wall hanging quilt. This took me several years to finish, but I love it. If you click on my pinterest link, you'll see the individual cross-stitch blocks.

This is what I'm working on now. It's one of four samplers that I have to complete. When they are all done, I will put them into a wall hanging.
2. Quilting - I'm fairly new to quilting. I've done some major projects, and some smaller projects. At the moment I have some baby quilts to sew up to be given to a charity that provides baby items to moms in need.

This is on my "I want to try this" list. It's a rag quilt. I love the colors on this one.

This is a Red Cross Signature Quilt that my sister in law and I made. It is embroidered with the names of all the World War 1 Veterans of Dodge County, MN, and is on display at the Dodge County Historical Society in Mantorville, MN.

I made these gift baskets as prizes at some book signings, and in each one is a "Log Cabin" patterned hot pad. The Baskets are sitting on a "Log Cabin" table runner that was part of the grand prize in a 9 author giveaway to celebrate Log Cabin Christmas hitting the New York Times Bestseller list.

3. Crocheting - I crochet mostly baby blankets as gifts. The repetition of the stitches is soothing, and the yarn is so soft. :)
This was my first time using chenille yarn, and it was so fluffy! The pattern went super fast.

4. Scrapbooking - I do this with my daughter, and we make a new page every time I have a milestone event in my writing life. Each story gets its own page, as well as any awards, major events, etc. Currently, I need to make three new pages, One for the Dime Novel I'm currently writing, slated to release in March of 2015 and titled The Legend of Obadiah Walker: The Glorious Defeat of the Dickenson Gang, One for a novella releasing in a collection with RedBud Press this summer that is currently untitled (something I need to fix ASAP!) and one for Books & Such Literary my literary agency.

Here is the page for A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA. You can see the Red Cross Quilt, a cup of tea, since my heroine was a Harvey Girl Waitress, and horses, since my hero trained horses for the US Cavalry.

One of the best things about scrapbooking for me is that I get to do it with my daughter. She is a good page designer.

This is a page celebrating my story repackages. My publisher, Barbour, often repackages previously-released stories into anthologies and collections. The last of my repackaged Heartsongs, Colorado Dawn, releases in just under TWO WEEKS! We're going to have a party here at Coffee Cups & Camisoles the first week of December to celebrate, so be sure to come on back for the festivities!

How do you refuel your creative fires? What hobbies to you have?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Winner of Friday's Where Treetops Glisten giveaway: BONNIE ROOF

I'm speechless. Oh, wait, I had this moment memorized...where are my notes??
{big breath in, quiver, quiver}
A person can go nuts overthinking things...but I've pledged not to worry, and to let God lead...

I just signed with literary agent, Sarah Freese!!!!!!

Representation of a writer's work by a literary agent is akin to selling your house with a real estate agent---you have to be ready to sell, and the agent acts as intermediary on many levels.

I've been writing novels since 1999. This summer I was in the midst of novel number three and my life got so crazy I thought I'd never finish. My youngest was graduating, I was just off of deep open house planning, and my work partner took off for major surgery for a month. A close family member got sick, my daughters brakes went out, and we had several deaths close in a row. I was working 50 hour work weeks. My crit partners prayed for me behind the scenes and spoke softly about goals, secretly wondering if I'd just give up my goal to finish.

I mention none of this to break my arm patting my own back. Oh no. NO. Never. But only to give ultimate glory to God. It was like having the clouds part after a terrible storm, and suddenly the words just poured onto the page. THE END. It was finished, and I was stunned. My life swirled around me this summer and at the most intense tumult, the voice of God whispered----I'm not in the storm....I am in the still small voice...I am in you.

I showed up at ACFW not even knowing my pitch yet, but my story was in my heart. And sister Halee walked me through melt down as I finally stopped to realize the rush of the previous six months I'd scarcely had a chance to process emotionally or spiritually. My sweet husband is like Radar, he called at the perfect time for a pep talk right before I had to pitch. And suddenly the pitch was ready and I was on!

I'd asked for 2 agent appointments, and I was given 4--Sarah Freese was #4!!

Talking with Sarah is like having coffee with one of my sister chucks, Jaime Wright, Laurie Tomlinson, Halee Matthews, Kara Isaac, and Sarah Varland. I'm thrilled to be represented by you, Sarah! This is going to be great fun! Besides, how can you go wrong with the sweetest sweetheart on ACFW planet, Casey Herringshaw, is your new liaison! 

The thing is---
when you didn't do it by yourself in the first place--you've got nothing to lose!

My theme has been, and will be, Jamie Grace's "You lead, I'll follow": 
{it even came on the radio tonight on the way home before I signed!}

So, what's next?
My proposal goes out to publishing houses, and then...
you wait and let God lead...
...and get busy editing!
Sincere thanks to everyone who's influenced me along the way, there are many!
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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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary!

Monday, November 17, 2014

{I could write a book}

Introducing Halee Matthews....
If I had a dollar for every time someone said when learning I've written a book, they've "always wanted to write one..."

But the thing is...every one has a story...but few write them...

So I  asked my friend Halee how she got started.

I've always been a writer. From the moment I first wrapped my little fingers around a pencil, I've been scribbling thoughts and ideas. But I haven't always written fiction. In fact, if you told me seven years ago that I would write a novel, I would've smiled politely while thinking, Okay, crazy person.

I tried writing fiction when I was a kid. It wasn't very good. I was smart enough to realize that. And when you grow up in a competitive family, you either get good at whatever it is you attempt or you find something you are good at. I didn't know how to get better. And the one writing workshop I went to actually made it harder for me to write.

I figured it just wasn't for me. So at the age of ten, I dumped fiction and focused on poetry. Poetry was good to me. People liked my poetry. It came easily, flowed effortlessly.
And then, as with all great personal stories, things happened that changed everything.
In 2008, I found myself in a period of my life when I wasn't sure who I was or what career goal I should be pursuing. I was lost. And writing was tugging at my soul, calling me back.
At the same time, I was reading a lot. Because, well, I wasn't working toward anything, so I had the time. I kept thinking about Jane Austen, wishing I knew more about her and her life. {anne sighs at halee's answer...}

One particular day, I found myself wandering around the library, browsing the shelves for something new. A book at the bottom of the shelf caught me eye. Just Jane whispered the spine.
Curious, I slipped it out from the other books. Could it be?
It was. Penned by Nancy Moser, it was a fictional account of the life of Jane Austen. I took it home and drank in each page. Everything about this interpretation of Jane resonated with me—the way she described her characters, the way she couldn't wait to escape big social gatherings so she could return to the friends who existed only in her mind. {yes! introverts unite!}

It's the characters. The thought smacked me in the face. They're why I read books. Could they be how I actually write a book?
So I tried it. Why not? I had nothing to lose. I created a character; I gave her a personality, ideas, values. Based on those, I gave her a career. I gave her family. Next I asked, "Based on her personality, what can I do to completely shake up her world?"
So I did it.
I wasn't writing with the goal of publication. I didn't really have any plans for the book at all.

I was writing for me, just to see if I could.
I didn't draw connecting bubbles to chart out the action like that writing workshop said I should. I didn't follow the 1-2-3s or the A-B-Cs of plotting. I created a character. And everything flowed from her.

I'm not claiming my book is incredible. I still have a lot to learn, and I like that. I hope I never feel like I've reached the point where I've got it all figured out.
But Just Jane got me started. It took me from believing I couldn't write fiction to writing two novels, elbows-deep in a third. It opened me up to a whole world of story I didn’t even realize was locked away in my soul.

It's funny, how the moments that change our entire lives often feel so inconsequential at the time. I had no idea finding that book would change who I was. But it started this journey for me.

And on this journey, I've met my family. We may not share genes, but Anne, Jaime, Kara, Laurie, and Sarah have become my sisters in every way that matters. We share life--the good, the bad, and the what-in-the-world-is-happening. They support me and challenge me and help me figure out the best way to kill people. {anne explains: halee writes murder mysteries!} They understand my slightly murderous soul in a way no one else ever has. I am both a better person and a better writer because of them, and because I risked a venture I'd once doubted.


Halee Matthews started writing the moment she figured out how to hold a pencil, though her spelling has improved a bit since then. She has been a staff writer for several newspapers and magazines, and ventured into the freelance editing world in 2009. When she's not plotting murder, savoring a cup of coffee, or taking her purple chucks out into the real world, you can find her hanging out at her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

What about you? 
What journey has caused you to take a first step?
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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Find me on: Twitter

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Report: Where the Treetops Glisten #Goyer #Putman #Sundin

Who's in the Christmas mood? Me too. Sort of. It's building. Slowly, but surely, until BAM! It'll be here. Preferably Saturday, according to Kokomo Jo who is determined the decorating of the house for Christmas will also hasten the arrival of her fifth birthday on December twenty-ninth.

So to get into the season, I picked up Where Treetops Glisten. Here some major reasons why I picked it up:

1. I love Sarah Sundin
2. I love Cara Putman
3. I love Tricia Goyer

Ok, clarification: I've never read Tricia Goyer, but have become friends with her on Facebook and we share other commonalities within the writing community. So, two strangers meet within the warmth of Facebook and HELLO! Here's my first review for Tricia.

Sarah and I ... well, we go way back. Like at least three years. She's a stitch to hang out with. Her background is in pharmaceuticals. I KNOW! Who would think a pharmacist could be a stitch? Me, that's who. And she is. LOVE this woman. Fiercely. Mess with her? I'll take you down.

Ok. That was a little weird. Almost obsessive. Sorry, Sarah.

Cara is the woman I aspire to be. Ok, maybe not a lawyer and definitely not a runner and nope, not having five kids, or eighteen, or however many she has. She has more than my two. Oh and she homeschools. That in itself says WONDER WOMAN! So, while we share the love of Wonder Woman tshirts, coffee, working full time and running a house, plus writing, and yeah ... she's still got me topped. And you know what's totally astounding? In the midst of all that insanity?? She's actually NICE! I mean, Cara hasn't drifted to the dark side of stressed and peeved. She's warm, friendly, and I think she's the BOMB.

Which segues neatly into my book report of a WWII set of novellas. Ok. Bomb. Cara. She's not destructive, she's ... impacting... ok. I'm so going to stop and let them write their own author bios.


Where Treetops Glisten is perfect for amping up for Christmas. I always associate Christmas with carols, many of which were written during the War. I'll Be Home For Christmas, being one of my all time favorites. Yep. A wartime heart-cry. White Christmas. Wartime, or slightly after, a staple at my family Christmas.

I love the warmth with which these three authors write. It's indicative of the era, and when you're finished reading, you feel as if you should ration your coffee and be hugged by a soldier. Wounded heroes and broken hearts find healing within the pages of Where Treetops Glisten.

The novellas touch the lives of three siblings, all severely affected by war and the after-effects. Abigail Turner lost her beau to the war and is gun-shy to begin again. Her brother Pete is a fighter hero who is captured by the precociousness of a little girl and her widowed mother. And, Merry Turner is still overseas as a combat nurse, going face to face with her deepest betrayal. The stories are sandwiched between Christmas gatherings and the heart of a mother who holds them all in prayer.

This is a Christmas must-read. Must must must.

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, 
filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future? 

Leave a comment about your favorite Christmas memory and enter to win YOUR copy!

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Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

On this day in History #TBT

On November 12, 1892, William "Pudge" Heffelfinger becomes the first professional football player when Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Athletic Association pays him $500 to play as a ringer in a game against its rival Pittsburgh Athletic Club. Before Heffelfinger, players had traded their services on the field for expense money, "double expenses," or trinkets that players could pawn back to the team--but no one had ever openly accepted a cash payment to play football. (Baseball, on the other hand, had been frankly professional for almost 25 years.) For his part, Heffelfinger never acknowledged that he’d taken the payment. He went on to become a prominent insurance executive and congressman from Minnesota.

We love football around our place, and we're a two NFL team family. I'm a Kansas City Chiefs fan and have been for as long as I can remember. I love Arrowhead Stadium, the loud and proud crowd, our history, and the awesome tailgating tradition.

My husband is just as big a fan of his Minnesota Vikings. The Purple People Eaters, The Purple Pride, The Black and Blue Division, and Ragnar, the only non-comic-book mascot in the NFL. When he gives me grief about my Chiefs though, I remind him of who has the most Super Bowl wins: (It's the Chiefs. they have one, which they got by trouncing the Vikings!) 

Ragnar...yup, the helmet, the fur, everything.


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Earl Grey Aficionado 
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