Friday, January 30, 2015

Interview & Giveaway with Preslaysa Williams

I'm excited to introduce to you all to a fellow aspiring authoress. My beautiful friend, Preslaysa Williams. You'll find she's as awesome as her picture and ten times the sweetness.


So tell us what first inspired you to write your current book?

My current book, which is my second contemporary romance but the third book I’ve completed, came about when an image of an old, abandoned country church came to mind. I wrote in my spiral notebook about the church, describing it, pondering its story. Then a Bible verse came to mind:  “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I set my little writing snippet aside and went about my business, but that church stayed with me.  When something sticks with me, I delve deeper with it. If it doesn’t stay, I let it go. After I finished working on my middle grade novel, I created characters who had been affected by this old church. Right now, I’m editing the story.

2.       Who is your most favorite character (and yes, you HAVE to pick one J)

My favorite character is Havah in Tosca Lee’s Havah. I loved Havah’s perspective of life before and after The Fall. I was literally weeping when I finished the story because I could relate to Havah’s heart, her yearning to return to the Garden and have unbroken fellowship with her Creator.

3.       Is there a spiritual element or thread you hope your readers to catch as they read?

Hmmm…we don’t have to work to fix ourselves or our past mistakes. Jesus has already done the work. We simply have to receive it by faith and walk in His grace and His power. I once read a book that said God created man on the sixth day and on the seventh day, He rested. As a result, man began his existence on this planet from a position of rest, not work. The thought struck me as both obvious and profound. This idea came out while writing my current story.

4.       Where are you at in your writing career? Published, not published, searching, unsure?
Right now I am a pre-published novelist, and I’m training myself to be a book writing and editing machine. I call it training because it can be a challenge to write as a mom with small children. I’m gathering as many tricks in my arsenal as possible so that I can do this without sacrificing time with my family. (I had a light bulb moment when I discovered that limiting my time on the internet helps, lol.) I love writing fiction. I know I love it because I’ve stuck with it for seven years now-I can’t say the same for my multiple direct selling ventures :-/

Favorite color and why?
Pink because I’m a girl.

6.       Favorite restaurant?
I love Indian food. If you take me to an Indian restaurant, I’ll love you forever.

7.       On our blog, Erica constantly tries to introduce the concept of tea drinking. So, are you in her camp, or do you side with Anne and I as bonafide coffee drinkers?
Grr…why do I have to choose? Truth be told, I drink English breakfast tea with soy milk and two teaspoons of brown sugar at breakfast, and I have coffee (a Starbucks latte from their storefront or Starbucks coffee from my pantry) in the afternoon to ready myself for editing.  I am caffeinated for a good part of the day :-/

8.       Tell us about the last thing that scared you to pieces

My husband recently went on a getaway with the children for the weekend so I can have a quiet house to myself. (Yeah, he’s the best) I didn’t know what to do with myself! So I decided to listen to an audiobook in my bedroom and fold laundry. (I live a pretty wild life, huh?) Anyway, while I was listening, my back was turned to the door, and the door creaked open. I thought I saw the shadow of a person and FREAKED OUT. It was just my crazy cat.

9.       Your favorite all-time cartoon as a kid and what was it about it that you liked so much?
Thundercats. I had a crush on Lionel. I thought he was VERY HANDSOME. Don’t ask why a seven year old thought a lion was handsome. Maybe it was his commanding presence, muscled arms and chiseled cheekbones.

 They call me the Selfie Queen which sounds terribly self-absorbed. So can you save my reputation and share the honor by posting a selfie here? J

Sure! This is a selfie of me and my 4 yo right before we headed out to story time. I have on my Mom face, and he has on his kid face. It was also one of my first ventures into Selfie Land.

How do our readers connect with you, buy your books, or follow your writing journey?

You can visit me at I blog on Mondays and Thursdays about love in all its forms. I also welcome guest bloggers so if you want to be on the blog, feel free to contact me. 

It took me a while to figure out the purpose of my blogging and my novel writing, but it’s become clear to me as of late. Novel writing and blogging is my little way to bring light to a dark world. (Cheesy? Yes. True? Double yes.)

Here are my other social media spots:

Last but not least, what’s one story idea you’ve had that ventures out of your typical genre?
I’ll give you two!
My middle grade novel is about a Los Angeles based tween television star who gets her hit show cancelled. Afterwards, her parents divorce. Her show biz crazy Mama moves them to New York and enrolls her in a competitive performing arts school. She hates the school and she hates acting, but she has to navigate all that in the story.

I also have a half-written young adult novel about a teenage girl who descended from a fallen angel and a human. She struggles with the fact that her father (who is the fallen angel) is labeled as evil and is bound for hell because of his choice to love her mother. She has only seen her father’s loving side and just doesn’t get all of God’s rules. Man…that sounds good! I may resurrect it one day.


This is one swell lady!! So head over to her web site and FB and so on! Get to know Preslaysa! You won't regret it! AND!! Leave a blog comment to be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card from Prelaysa and some Wisconsin roasted coffee from me! :)

BIO: Preslaysa Williams (pronounced press-lay-suh) is a novelist and expert multi-tasker. She writes and edits fiction while her children nap and reads novels during her (almost) daily walks. A 2013 ACFW Genesis finalist and a 2014 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, she writes inspirational romance and middle grade fiction of the happily ever after sort. Visit her online at 


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, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday ~ Mayo Clinic Rochester

Erica here: I live in Rochester, MN, the home of the World Famous Mayo Clinic. The Clinic is huge here in Southeast Minnesota, and there are two satellite clinics, one in Arizona and one in Florida. Mayo employs more than 30,000 people here in Rochester, the campus is comprised of many, many buildings and two hospitals here in town.

But the Clinic wasn't always a behemoth. It actually started from humble beginnings. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi Heights Convent came to the aid of the city after a tornado ripped through and destroyed much of the town. In the aftermath of the storm, the sisters raised the funds to build a hospital, St. Mary's, and they asked Dr. William Worrell Mayo to be the attending physician. From these small beginnings, the mighty Mayo Clinic was born. Dr. W.W. Mayo's sons, Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie revolutionized medicine, encouraging doctors to specialize and become excellent in narrower fields of medicine. They pioneered surgical and medical treatments, clinical practices, and efficient patient/doctor interaction.

The above picture is of Sister Mary Alfred Moes, the woman who spearheaded the Franciscan efforts here in Rochester that changed the field of medicine forever. Each of the sisters who has served as the Superior General of the convent has a building at St. Mary's hospital named for her. Alfred, Frances, Joseph, Domatilla, Mary Brigh, and Generose. Sister Generose still has an office at St. Mary's.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is it okay to be SAD?

Gooseberry Falls, MN, frozen solid.
Sometimes I get SAD. In fact, every year for the past four or five. You see, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It arrives in mid-to-late November, and it departs in mid-April. My SAD takes the form of lethargy, disinterest, sleep interruptions, and mood swings.

Here is a clinical definition of Seasonal Affective Disorder from The Mayo Clinic. (You can read more about SAD by clicking HERE)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications.

My doctor is aware of my struggles, and he's very understanding. I'm also blessed with a literary agent who understands and encourages me. My family also helps tremendously.

One place I wish understood more about mental illness in all its forms though is the Church. "You just need to pray more." "You need to read your Bible more and claim its promises." "You need to examine your life for sin and repent." "You don't need a doctor, you need a pastor's counsel." These are all things I've heard said in church, or written by pastors, or blogged about by Christians.

I know I need to pray more. I know I need to read my Bible more and claim its promises. I know I need to examine my life and repent of my sin. For my spiritual health, first and foremost. But telling me that I need to be more spiritual to conquer mental illness is the same as telling someone who is blind that if they just prayed more, they'd be able to see, or someone who has cancer would be cured if they just repented of their sins.

Sigh. I don't know how many of these people have suffered from mental illness or had a close family member who has suffered from mental illness. I do know this kind of thinking has hurt many people, causing them to leave the church and seek out a place where they are understood and cared for.

There are a few things I wish believers would understand about mental illness.

1. Just because it isn't physical doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
2. Just because you can't operate on it doesn't mean it isn't a sickness.
3. Mental illness isn't a character flaw or a spiritual failing.
4. Taking medication for an illness, mental or otherwise, isn't a sin.
5. People with mental illnesses aren't loved less by God.

Mental illness is a scary thing for most people. They don't know what to say, what to do, how to act. Everyone's experience is different, but it's always all right to ask how someone is doing and give them a word of encouragement.

Gooseberry Falls, MN

Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello from Disney World

Hello from Disney World and Orlando Fl! I'm writing this blog post on my phone so forgive the formatting and huge pictures. Lol

It's a fun vacation with just my Kokomo Jo and her Aunt and cousin (same age). Swimming, roller coasters and PRINCESSES!!

I look forward to being back in full form for the blog next week! Don't forget to check out Anne's tax survival kit!! Saweeeeett!!!

What's your favorite vacation spot?

Tax Survival Kit

Okay, I was going to be all like reflective and ooey about how to survive the Tax Season.
Nuts to that! This is what we really need to survive the tax season!!

Easy Suppers

So, I'm not telling you how to survive, I'm giving away your survival kit!!

To enter the drawing, leave a comment about tax season, or FAFSA forms, or organizing your desk, and filing---how do you survive it??

Who does all the paperwork at your house? You? Your spouse? 
The Taxman?

How do you resist the desire to shove it all through a giant shredder? LOL.
Are you paperless? Or a hardcopy-type? Which is best?
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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Report & Give-away: The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Winner of last week's "A Side of Faith" by Krista Phillips is .... MERRY!
The second novel from budding author Lori Benton, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is as delightful as her first.

Only it's even better. It's layered and believable, and a feast for the soul who loves rural country life and history.

~~Last of the Mohicans meets 2014 new movie release, Belle
~~Sweeping & Romantic
~~Fascinating History & Wonderful setting

Tamsen Littlejohn, is nothing if not brave. Though desperate, she would rather embark into the unknown with a man she hardly knows yet believes honorable, than compromise her hand in marriage to a man she's been promised to by her stepfather, a man who would toss aside the care of a lesser man in pursuit of her beauty. For freedom and a better life, she would run. For safety from violent murderer, she would flee and shed her cultured life.

Jesse Bird would never so much as hesitate to act for the defense of a noble cause. Though his name is a burrowed one, his roots unclear, and his identity a mystery, there is one thing he knows. He would marry Tamsen to save her.

When Tamsen and Jesse run from a murderer to save her life, they are entangled in the post Revolutionary War political battle for the statehood of Tennesee, then known as Franklin. And little known to either of them, the unknown roots of each of their identities reveal secrets each of them must face as their past unravels on the road to freedom as Tamsen's pursuers are on their heels.

Will they have to run forever? Will they marry for love or for safety?

I thoroughly enjoyed Lori's winsome writing style. I love the back woods and rural historical living. Lori's wonderful descriptions will fill your senses and make you think you've just taken a walk in the woods with Tamsen and Jesse. The romance is believable and tender, and Lori's "less is more" scenes are sweet and lovely. I only wish I could see it on the big screen someday.

Lori's Bio: 
"Lori Benton was born and raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back to the 1600s. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace."

Lori's debut novel, Burning Sky, earned the 2014 Christy Award for First Novel, Historical, and Book of the Year.

Her next release is set for April, 2015, The Wood's Edge.

Have any of you heard of the historical Battle of Franklin?

The term "over-mountain"refers to frontiersmen who pushed west beyond the Appalachian Mountains after the Revolutionary War.

Sycamore Shoals, Nolichucky, and Carter's Valley are locations mentioned in this story. Can anyone name the modern city names for these historic places?

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Son!

Hard to believe you're turning 19 this week. That January day seems so long ago and yet, just yesterday. The temperatures were in the deep freeze, double-digits below zero, snow was piled up higher than our house, and the Vikes were not in the Super Bowl...again. :)

Our family has been so blessed to have you. I can't believe that baby boy has turned into such a strapping young man.

It's hard to let you grow up, and yet, exciting, too. You'll always be my baby boy, but you're my grown son, too. I remember you as a snuggly little bundle of wiggles with a ready laugh and a desire to run everywhere, and I eagerly anticipate what God has in store for you as you complete your education and launch out into the world.

Happy Birthday, James!

Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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