Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A bit of Inspiration . . .

No better way than to start the day than with an inspiring story of making a difference with the little things. How will you impact those in your week?

Check out this man's tale and be inspired to make a change, to tell the ones you love how much you love them!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Post with Becky Wade: Adoption + Genealogy = Inspiration

Anne here. I am so excited to  in introduce Becky Wade to our coffee shop this week!

I've been a genealogy geek since I was thirteen, and in search of deeper ancestral connections my husband tested his DNA in 2010 and I followed in 2011. So the idea that Becky is not only an amazing person, but that her new release is inspired by the mysteries of genealogy research--rocks my genealogy geek-ness and my ancestry.com-nerd-ness. I can't wait to read her new story!

So, take it away, Becky....

Becky here.
Are you adopted? Do you have friends or family members who are?

My Aunt Carole and Uncle Bill adopted their two children, Chris and Aimee.

Chris and Aimee are very close in age to my two sisters and me. We grew up together. I knew that they'd been adopted, but it didn't really factor into my thinking or feelings. They were our first cousins, just like the rest of our first cousins. We all hunted for Easter eggs on Easter and wore construction paper pilgrim bonnets and Indian feathers on Thanksgiving. We had tea parties with grandma. We went on trips together. And we all took part in the annual Christmas Eve nativity play.
Here we are at one such homemade nativity play. Chris is the brown-haired boy. 
Aimee is in the yellow blanket on the far right. I'm standing. 
The girl in the middle and the baby are my two younger sisters.

Fast forward to 2010 and the debut of a new TV show called Who Do You Think You Are. Have you seen it? It ran on NBC from 2010-2012 and has since aired on TLC.

On the show, celebrities research their genealogy. Inevitably, they uncover all sorts of delicious surprises and scandals along the way. The show is a lovely blend of history and sleuthing and family and I find it fascinating!

Who Do You Think You Are gave me the idea to write a genealogist heroine. Which, in turn, made me wonder, Who can I pair her with? And what "project" can she and the hero work on together?

When he was in his twenties, my cousin Chris searched for and found his birth mother. Which made me think, My hero can be adopted. And because of an... hm?... inherited medical condition... he can be searching for his birth mother. But he's had no success finding her. So who does he call for help? Why, his friendly, smart, and single neighborhood genealogist.

That seed of a story idea became True to You, my new release.

While researching True to You, I read the below book, which speaks with sensitivity and depth about each member of the adoption triad: adoptees, adoptive parents,
and birth parents. It also provided numerous case studies of adoptees who'd been reunited with their birth parents, which was extremely helpful to me as a writer.

I spent quite a bit of time on sites that provided information on birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates. I researched city directories. I viewed plenty of pictures of old census records, like the one below. Doesn't this make you wonder about the lives of the people listed?

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed researching the subjects of adoption, birth mother search/reunion, and genealogy. In part, because of my own family connection through Chris and Aimee. In part, because — very simply — I find these topics intriguing.

True to You is a love story. But I also hope it's a story that will honor the members of the adoption triad and the genealogists whose work connects us to our ancestors.

Many thanks to the ladies of Coffee Cups & Camisoles for inviting me to visit! Because Nora Bradford, the heroine of True to You, loves books and tea, I've put together a giveaway with that theme just for you. Best of luck!

Well readers, that's it!! Leave a comment for a chance to win. 
(Limited to U.S.)
Are you adopted?
Have you ever researched, or wanted to research your family ancestry?
Favorite tea?
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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, April 21, 2017

interview & Giveaway: Cara Luecht

We're pleased to have Cara Luecht back on our blog with her latest release!! 

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Cara has four published novels: Soul Painter, Soul’s Prisoner, and Gathered Waters, and Devil in the Dust. Soul Painter and Soul’s Prisoner will be joined by a third novel in the series, Soul’s Cry, in 2017.


Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

Christian Fiction is called Inspirational Fiction for a reason: it should inspire the reader. Duh. But after going through a tough time in my own life, I noticed that the characters in the Christian Fiction books that I picked up usually experienced a happy ending. I don’t know about you, but not everything in my life always ends perfectly, and what I had been dealing with was the opposite of short term. So I began playing with the idea of why we seem to need a happy ending in order for something to be inspirational. Eventually, I decided that if I wanted to write something truly inspirational, it should look like real life.

The dust bowl was a natural setting. The people in the center of the country suffered the drought for a decade! That’s long term suffering! But they also kept their faith. I began asking what faith in times of that kind of hardship would have to look like, and Devil in the Dust was born!

Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I loved writing Emma. Because she is a mother and just trying her best to keep her family together, and struggling with how to encourage and guide her oldest daughter, Jessie, I found I had a lot in common with her. Emma is real and she is tender, but there is a resilience about her that creates a solid foundation for her family.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

I should warn you that sports and entertainment fight for the lowest score on my trivia crack profile, but I’ll give it a go.

For Lillian, the pastor’s wife (the first voice in the book), I envision a Nicole Kidman inspired character (in her 20s).

For Jessie, I see someone who looks like young Emma Stone.

For Emma (Jessie’s mother), I think the actress should be Kirsten Dunst.

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

For this one, I chose the location because of the severity of the drought.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?

I don’t think there is. There may be genres I don’t see myself writing, but not subject matter. I probably will never write a YA novel because I always tend to complicate things beyond what the YA genre requires.

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?

I have to admit that I just googled “literary charter quiz,” because I’m an idiot with these kinds of questions. The answer? Mr. Darcy. Which, strangely enough, rings pretty true.

I tend to be a bit of a loner. I like to spend time thinking. Most people might consider me a little standoffish when they first meet me, but if I let them in (something I am working on!), they see that I actually am quite sensitive and empathetic.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?

No to the head standing and teeth writing. Yes to temporarily uninstalling Facebook so that I can concentrate. Yes to chocolate. Yes to needing a clean desk.

Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

The authors who have inspired me would have no idea, because I’m an introvert, and introverts just don’t do that kind of thing. LOL. In my mind I have a lot of mentors…they just don’t know it!

We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

My faith has affected every aspect of my writing because I am a Christian, and what I create can’t help but be a reflection of who I am. I do not write Christian Fiction out of what I feel to be a calling, and I do not write it because I think I have some sort of special message the world needs to hear. Rather, each novel becomes an echo of my experiences as a wife, mother, teacher, student, musician, professional, friend, and follower of Christ. I write it because I have stories in my mind, and I have a desire to put them on paper.

I believe that we are all created in the image of God—which means we all have the ability to create different things. We can choose to use that ability or not to use it. I simply choose to use that ability.

Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

I told you I was sick.

Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?

My own <3 I met my husband the weekend I turned sixteen. We’ve been together ever since…married for 23 years. He is amazing.

Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?

Romance influences every part of my writing because there is a push-pull rhythm that I feel is essential to compelling writing. Every scene for me, even if not romance, is a love scene. If my characters are dealing with loss, it’s a love scene. If they are fighting, it’s a love scene. If they are afraid, it’s a love scene. If you think about it, everything we do is based on love. We go to work or stay home because we love our families and want to give them the best life possible. We do their laundry, or teach them to do their own laundry, because we love them. I try to write every scene with that same kind of tension.

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! Please share something below:

June 1933
The wind stopped. The house grew quiet. Lillian kicked the oil rag out of the way and eased the kitchen door open to listen, to see if it was safe.
A single drop of rain splashed down on the rickety porch, and for a brief second Lillian could remember what the wood once looked like. But too soon the drop remembered where it was, that it had no place in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and it rolled, following a parched crack in the ever-present layer of dirt. And then it disappeared into the ground.
Lillian took a step out of the house and stretched her bare toes against the hot, soft dust. The screen door no longer hung in the way, and with a diminished need for the protective layer, no one
felt the urge to retrieve it. The frail door had made it through the first summer. But the second summer, when the drought refused to loosen its hold, the winds had ripped it from its hinges, stretched the frail metal spring to the breaking point, and set the door down against the fence. There it rested, with one board broken and a ripped screen, leaning on a fence post that once marked the entrance to the garden.
Now the fence marked nothing. An entrance to nowhere.
When the dust settled, she could see for miles from her kitchen door. Miles that once cradled golden fields of wheat, dew-covered footpaths, acres of grasses, and the occasional neighbor walking through to visit. Lillian took another hesitant step, careful not to stir the persistent cloud of soot that coated everything. In years past, the dirt—the rich topsoil of the Oklahoma territories—had been the source of life. Now that hope, the black wealth the old settlers had risked their lives for, smothered the city. It seeped into every crevice, into every building, into their lungs and ears. Their most valuable asset, once under their feet, now smothered their tiny town.
Lillian reached up to shade her eyes from the sun, looking for the stray cloud that had mistakenly dropped its burden.
Another drop fell. And then, another.
Lillian shuffled out of the shadow of the small farmhouse and up the side to what had been their front yard. Now dominated by rippling drifts of fine dirt, there wasn’t much left of the grass that used to dampen the toes of her shoes or her flowers with their heavy velvet petals.
But a neighbor still lived across the street.
Her listless children, long since worn free of the desire to run and carry on with sticks and games, stood in the yard looking up.
They’d seen it too.
The sun burned against Lillian’s blonde hair. At least, it used to be blonde. The layer of dust covered everything, including people, and where there had once been defining characteristics, now there was likeness. The Negro man on the old shanty claim just outside of town was the same color as the horde of white children across the street. The dirt made sure of that. It was, if nothing else, an
Lillian watched the shoeless children. There were five, and no one left in town thought it strange that they traipsed down the street without shoes. Shoes filled up with the soot. Add to it the summer heat, and the ensuing paste meant the freedom of bare feet outweighed the humiliation of it. At least for the children.
Lillian looked up at the lumbering brown cloud overhead.
“Here, over here!” A young boy jumped up at the sky, waving his arms and stamping around as if performing some kind of rain dance. The others joined in, hooting and calling to the meandering cloud.
Another drop fell, and then another, and for a brief second they watched each other from across the street while the rain crashed against the dirt in impossibly huge drops and a cloud of dust rose and fell from the miniature impacts.
Rivulets of water ran down Lillian’s arms, streaking through the dust. She glanced across the street where the mother of the children stood in the middle of their undignified splashing dance.
Lillian lifted up to her tiptoes and waved to the woman.
And then, her arm still in the air, the rain stopped.
The cloud moved on, almost as if it had been a mistake. Where it had blocked the sun, suddenly it didn’t, and it took only a matter of seconds for the hot rays to undo the rain’s damage. Lillian looked
down at the unchanged earth and then back up to Mrs. Owen and her children, but she had already retreated into the house.


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An update

Erica Here:

Back in February, I posted about a project I had undertaken. In short, the largest cross-stitch I have ever attempted. You can read about the post HERE.

Although I haven't been able to devote as much time to stitching as I would like, I have made some progress. A tight deadline, March Madness, and a speaking trip to Milwaukee kept me from my floss and needle.

However, the deadline has been met, the Jayhawks exited the tournament in the Elite Eight, and the Milwaukee trip was taken and thoroughly enjoyed, so now I can stitch more. :)

Here is the project I'm working on:

It's Aimee Stewart's Heroes and Heroines. The finished piece will measure about 40" x 29" and be comprised of 713,286 stitches in 240 different colors of floss. I'm using 25 ct. fabric, which means there are 25 stitches per lineal inch. There are 625 stitches per square inch.

In February,  I had completed 2 pages of 170. Yeah. This is going to take me FOREVER!

As of April 15th, I had completed 6 pages.

I'm exited because the page I'm working on now finally has some people in it! I get to stitch Romeo and Juliet's kiss.

Because I know myself, and that I am bound to get tired working on the same piece for y...e...a...r...s... I have another one kitted up to start when I need a break from Heroes and Heroines. I can rotate between the two pieces and keep things fresh.

Here's my second project:

:) Isn't this one fun? I can't wait to start on it.

Both designs come from the amazing people at Heaven and Earth Designs. You can find their website here: http://heavenandearthdesigns.com/

So, which of the two do you like better? Which one would you want to hang in your house?

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Behind the Scenes: The Life of a Writer-Mom

Jaime here. I'm in the dark vortex of writing a novel, so my pal Teresa is filling in for me today with a fabulous behind-the-scenes look into life as a writer AND as a Mom. T? Thanks for being here!


“How do you find time to write as a mom?”
If I had a dollar for every time I hear that question…well, you know. I wouldn’t have to wait for bestseller stardom to quit my day job. The only consolation is watching regret slowly creep across the glazed eyes of the person asking when I launch into an explanation. It’s pretty amusing. (Listen, I laugh so I won’t cry. Well, who I am kidding? I cry, too.)

All writers encounter road blocks, obstacles that keep them from maximum efficiency. I’m sharing today about being a writer-mom because it’s my perspective. Here are some antidotes about what the life of a writer-mom is like. If you’re a mom-writer too, then go change into your yoga pants, fill your mug with the now cold coffee left over in the pot….and laugh/cry with me.

The Time I Kicked My Kid

We currently reside in an apartment. The luxury of not having yard or repair responsibilities is not lost on me. But this means we’re limited on space. And so, I most often write at the kitchen table. My eight-year old daughter is in a phase of wanting to be near me all…the…time. It’s sweet, really. One evening, to be close by while writing she camped out under the kitchen table. With a blanket, pillow, iPad, snack, and the dog. When she finally went an entire five minutes without squirming, I became immersed in a scene and inadvertently kicked her in the head. Pretty hard. I waited to laugh until she got settled on the couch.*

The Time I Was Kicked Out of an Establishment

My husband, who is wonderfully supportive of my writing endeavors, works very long hours. Usually including evenings, leaving me on solo-parent duty during the week. But on the weekends, he often sends me too to write somewhere for several hours. My favorite place is a cafĂ©/bakery near our apartment. They know me now—know what I’m working on, my usual order, that I prefer half and half for my coffee, and that I write there to escape the distractions of home. So, imagine my horror when the cute boy-man waiter approaches one late afternoon and tells me they’re closing in fifteen minutes for some insane corporate meeting or training or some insanity. “I promise I’ll be quiet. I can’t go home yet. They’ll be watching Frozen and the laundry won’t be done yet and I’ll have to talk to them.” No doubt I looked desperate, but he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled sheepishly. On my slow walk toward the front door, he handed me a bag with a blueberry scone and coupon for free coffee on my next visit. Poor boy-man….he tried.

The Time I Told a Little White Lie

I love the weekend days I get to write for several hours in one sitting. But most often, my writing time happens between the time my daughter goes to bed and my husband gets home from work—usually about 8:30 to 11:30pm. One school night I was feeling the pressure of an editing deadline. So, I might have taken advantage of my daughter watching her show on the TV and not the iPad (where she can check time easily) and told her that it was bedtime a whole 45 minutes earlier than it really was. “Wow, Mom, tonight went by fast.” *Side eye.* I know, I know! But those edits were hopping like little monkeys on my back, folks. I needed the house dark and quiet and primed for super stealthy word-ninja’ing. Thankfully it didn’t backfire and everybody won. I stayed on deadline and my daughter was extra rested the next morning. Win-win. Right?

The Time It All Paid Off

Just a few days ago, I finished content edits and was ready to send my book back to my editor for a final edit. To my surprise, my daughter excitedly asked if she could be the one to hit “send” on the email. She did, then we danced around the dining room together. She graced me with “Mom, I’m so proud of you. You’ve worked so hard.” And just like that, the late nights, wishing I could be a full time author, and writing in undisclosed locations suddenly didn’t feel so burdensome. She was watching my hard work and determination despite the inconveniences. Maybe one day she’ll have her own stories to tell about how she did something hard (and worth it) despite the obstacles.
Just maybe this writer-mom thing is the perfect predicament for me.

*Disclaimer: No children, animals, or husbands were injured in the making of this author’s writing career. I obviously love them very much – but we’ve got to laugh about this thing called life, yeah?
Are you a mom- or dad-writer? Or maybe a full-time day jobber…multitasking word ninja? How do you find time to write despite your obstacles?

About Teresa Tysinger

Check out Teresa’s debut novel, Someplace Familiar, coming out late this May! Download a free sample chapter here (http://teresatysingerfreebies.com). Find Someplace Familiar on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34496657-someplace-familiar) today. Available on Amazon soon!

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That's what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old mountain cottage in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon's Supplies, and once again the town's most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance. 

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!

May this Easter Season bring you hope and assurance. 
Have a blessed week!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Giveaway with 45+ Inspirational Historical Romances

Do you enjoy reading Inspirational Historical Romances? Here at Coffee Cups & Camisoles, that's what we're all about. Erica Vetsch and I are part of an amazing giveaway with over forty different authors. If you enter, you have a chance to win dozens of great books and a Kindle Fire!

Just click on the graphic and it will take you to the website to enter.

Here's a closer look at the books Erica and I have in the giveaway.

I hope you get a chance to enter. There are some wonderful authors represented in this group.

Your Turn: Have you ever won a prize? If so, what was it?

Gabrielle Meyer
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