Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mom Fail

It was a mom-fail sort of night last night. That moment you look back and wonder who that horrid woman is who calls herself a mother? That moment you make your 3 yr old little boy cry and your 5 yr old little girl run from the room in tears.

My day started fine and quickly spiraled into a day of demands. Jaime this. Jaime that. Jaime. Jaime. Jaime!!! And then by the time I left work and headed to a charitable dinner my head was spinning. A few more Jaimes and it was time to get my kids. Daddy was away for the evening so I was going solo. And my cell phone was going off for work. I normally ignore it , but there were some critical problems and I am out of office today. 

Insert a million "Mommy, Momma, and MOMMYs" and I lost it. I did. I had no more energy to give. My brain reached the dry zone of no life left and yet the demands were still there and very real. 

Then Peter Pans bedtime snack bar broke in half and he started to cry. "It's just a bar!" I yelled. Yes. I yelled. Sigh. And my sensitive Peter Pan cried so hard he did the whole forget to breathe thing. Meanwhile, my daughter is crying on the couch and I realized the day had robbed me of energy and emotion for my own precious children. 

I don't even have a great profound ending to this post. It was just a mom fail of a night finished by composing this post on my phone cause my computer battery is dead. 

Ever feel like the worst sort of human? Yeah. Me too. Sigh.


_______________________________________

Jaime Wright -
"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing


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

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Doubly Blessed

When we chose the name Emily for our newborn daughter more than twenty-one years ago, no one was named Emily.

Zilch.

Well, okay, we knew of one or two. So we conspired to keep the lovely name to ourselves until the appointed day. Well, we must have lived in a bubble where only Ashley's, Jessica's, Sarah's, and Brittany's existed. For when we proudly announced our uniquely chosen name: Emily Elizabeth (and no, we didn't know about the Big Red Dog)...that's when we discovered Emily had shot to the top of the name charts!

No matter how many Emily's are in the world, there's only one who is ours and we love her very much!!!


So, when it was time to name child #2, we just chucked the idea of being unique and went with our hearts. And along came Calvin Benjamin.

From the start, we've prayed for their future spouses.
Over the years, there've been moments when I wondered what those prayers were accomplishing.
How many days and nights of puking, stinking diapers, screaming toddler wars, skinned knees, and after- school broken hearts had our prayers effected?
Will Emily's heart be pursued by a man of God some day?
Will Ben know her when he's found her?
What tragedy or illness have we prayed through unwitting?
What seeds of faith were born on the wings of our hopes and prayers?
Will the ones the Lord brings to each of them honor the heart of our daughter, our son--as we have, as the Father does?

We've emptied our nest last year.
I was focused on me and how I was navigating it all.
Silly me.

Because then this happened....


Our son got engaged on Saturday!! And suddenly, we've gained another Emily! Ben's Emily!
Yay! Our nest is fuller, not emptier!

When Emily's mother sent me a great little note, reminding me that they'd prayed for Ben since Emily was born--I got weepy. Suddenly I realized, I was the recipient, Ben was the recipient, of two decades of prayers. How comforting to know we were not alone in our child-rearing, and that God watches over the plans of those who turn their hearts to Him.

And we pray for Ben and his Emily, and our Emily and her "Mr. X" (identity yet unknown, though we are sure he's not been thrown under a bus somewhere!): 
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Readers: 
Do you pray for your children's future spouses?
Do you have favorite verses to pray over your children?
Did you ever imagine while in the thick of parenting trenches, that another mother somewhere was praying over you and your child?
-------------
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, June 26, 2015

Interview & #Giveaway with Christine Johnson - Love's Rescue

This novel has been on my radar for awhile as a definite TBR! I'm super-dee-duper excited (as my daughter would holler) to have Christine Johnson join us today with a beautiful historical romance that has such a to-die-for cover!!

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1. What inspired your story idea for Love's Rescue?


The location (Florida Keys) and their history. My husband and I have been spending time there for decades, and I loved the stories of wrecking and wreckers. I had to create a story with a wrecker hero!

2. What is your favorite characteristic about your story’s hero and heroine?

Their adherence to honor, even when it could cost them their heart’s desire. What a choice!

3. Please tell us about the spiritual theme of your story you hope every reader is challenged by:

Forgiveness and how a person can extend forgiveness to someone who profoundly hurt them.

4. Jaime & Anne are coffee addicts. Erica & Gabrielle are tea lovers. What about you? Coffee or Tea?
Tea. Black, green, white. I love them all, though Earl Grey is still my favorite. When I set foot in a tea shop, I’m in heaven. The aromas! Ahhh…

5. Favorite historical movie? Or mini-series?

This is so difficult! I love the BBC/A&E version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. It was true to the book while adding depth through Darcy’s perspective. With my husband, we love the Horatio Hornblower movies put out by BBC/A&E. I can’t get him to watch any of the Jane Austen movies or
miniseries, LOL. And then…I could go on and on. My shelves are stocked with DVDs of historical movies and miniseries.

6. While Jaime loves to take selfies, and Erica & Gabe love museums, Anne loves Pinterest and food pics. Share a food pic, a favorite family recipe, or link us to your latest pin on Pinterest.

Here’s a twist. This is a photo of my grandmother’s old (1920s) cookbook open to the recipe for English Plum Duff. Think “plum pudding.” She traditionally made this for Christmas dinner. It was so rich yet so memorable that I can taste it now, many years after my grandma’s passing.



7. Always wanted to be an author? Or surprised your path led you to publish?

Some part of me always loved writing, but I never considered it a profession until many, many years later. After numerous jobs, I settled into librarianship. All those beautiful books spurred me to press forward with writing.

8. Favorite century to read? To write? To watch on TV or in a movie?

This is tough to pin down. I love to read and watch movies set in late medieval, renaissance, and Regency through the Roaring Twenties time periods. My writing reflects that. Before publication, I wrote medieval and 19th c. My published books range from 1850 to the mid-1920s.


9. Favorite heroine of all time, and why?

Another toughie! I love Elizabeth Bennett, of course, because she acts decisively even when wrong. She’s smart yet doesn’t quite see herself clearly, something we all struggle with. Then there’s Jo March in Little Women, filled with spunk and enthusiasm.

__________________________________

Connect up with Christine here:

Website: http://christineelizabethjohnson.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChristineJohnsonAuthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ChristineJWrite
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ChristineJWrite

Here's a little about Love's Rescue: 

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her crippled brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the upright man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to do her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws readers into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy south. Readers will cheer for Elizabeth and Rourke as they battle the odds and the elements to secure their future.

Enter to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Love's Rescue and a closet sachet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner of Karen Witemeyer's A Worthy Pursuit: Trixi!! Watch for an email!
_________________________________


Jaime Wright -
"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing


Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Director of Development & Associate Relations and specializes in sarcasm :)


- Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Practice Hospitality: Love in Action

Hospitality:
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
 
I've always loved gathering a crowd together. It started when I was a young girl and my parents hosted family holidays. My mom is from a family of ten and my dad is from a family of nine, that means dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Every weekend there was someone at our house visiting.

I loved being with people and creating good memories. One day, I wanted to host my own guests, and I imagined how wonderful it would be.
 
But then I grew up and I quickly realized hosting is a lot of work! Not to mention it's intimidating. Suddenly, I felt insecure about my home, my cooking, my ability to converse. Frankly, it stressed me out and I shied away from the idea.
 
But then God reminded me of the Bible verses my husband and I chose for our wedding day.
 
Romans 12:9-13, 15
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality... Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."  (Italics mine)
 
Share...Practice hospitality...Rejoice and mourn with others...
 
Share. It doesn't matter how much or how little God has given us, He still tells us to share what we have. The boy in Matthew 14 only had five loaves of bread and two fish, yet he offered them to Christ and Christ multiplied the little he had to feed five thousand people. Can't God do the same with the little I have? Even if all we can offer is our love, sometimes that's all someone needs. Sharing doesn't have to mean we share our home, our food, or our resources. Sharing can simply mean a listening ear or an understanding heart. We can do this anywhere, at any time.
 
Practice Hospitality. The key word here is practice. I was afraid to entertain, because I wanted everything to be perfect, and it rarely was. God reminded me of this verse in the Book of Romans and I realized all He asked me to do was keep practicing.

Eventually, I learned to relax and let the event flow naturally. I've found that my guests can relax if I'm relaxed. My guests are always good-willed and kind. Even if something doesn't turn out how I had planned, they don't mind a bit and I chalk it up as practice. :)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. This is maybe the most important reason for being hospitable. I love celebrating with friends who are reaching milestones or achieving accomplishments in their lives. It's fun to be there for all the high points. New babies. New jobs. New homes. Completing marathons. Children's successes. But I also want to be there for friends when life isn't going as planned, when they're mourning the loss of a pregnancy, when they don't get the job they had hoped for, when they lose a home, when they can't race because of an injury, or when they're struggling with their children.

True friendship is made up of all the highs and lows of life.


This past weekend we had over forty friends and family at our house for a summer get together. We swam in the river, played games, ate a delicious potluck meal, made s'mores, watched fireworks over the water, and laughed for hours.

Did everything go as planned? No. A tree fell down in our yard two days before the party. A big project we had hoped to finish in the backyard was still torn up. It rained the night before and part of the lawn was a mud pit. But we made the best of it and created wonderful memories. I've had enough practice at this hospitality thing to be relaxed and have fun.
 

 


 
Your Turn: Do you enjoy entertaining guests? What is your favorite memory from hosting a party? What do you enjoy about going to a friend's house? Do you have a fun tip for hosting? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Do Book Reviews Matter?


This past week, I finalized the list for The Vetsch Posse, a group of my readers who have agreed to become "Influencers" for my books. (Influencers use their social media platforms, book clubs, library contacts, etc. to get the word out about an author and his/her books.)

I wound up with about 25 super-awesome folks who have saddled up with me to scour the prairie for new readers.

As posse members, these fine folks have many important jobs, but one of the most important is leaving reviews of the books they read. Amazon, B&N, FictionFinder, Goodreads, ChristianBook, and anywhere else they shop or talk about books.

When putting together the posse, and what expectations would be on both sides, I knew I wanted my posse to review books, but part of me wondered if those reviews mattered to anyone but the author of the book.

So I considered my own habits. When looking for a new book to read, I browse amazon or Christianbook, and if I am not familiar with an author, I scroll through the reviews to see what other readers are saying.

I also did a little online research looking for information on the effectiveness of product reviews. Did you know that a whopping 88% of shoppers check reviews before they make a purchase? According to econsultancy.com, almost 90% of shoppers sometimes or always check reviews, and 60% of shoppers are likely to purchase from a site that has reviews. Yowza!

Word-of-mouth has always been the best way to sell books, and WOM used to be just a friend's recommendation, but now word-of-mouth also encompasses online reviews. Your book can suddenly have a lot of 'friends' talking about it. (Hopefully in a positive way!)

I have been blessed to have some lovely reviews on my work, and I am grateful for them. I also try to review books I read, sort of paying it forward. (In a future post, we can talk about how to write a review and what makes for a good, helpful review. :) )

So, a few questions for you:

Do you review books online?

Do you read reviews before making a purchase?

How influential are reviews in your online buying experience?

Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Be A Hater


I have learned to hate.

Hate is a driving force that spurs me to action, opinion, and determination. Weirded out yet? Yeah. I guess that’s not your typical opening statement for an inspirational blog. .But hate — in the correct context — can make a lot of sense.

Paul the Apostle stated it best when he said: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)

I do the very thing that I hate. There is so much of my sinful self that I have come to despise. My impatience is one of them. When I have projects to complete, I become driven — focused — and my kids suffer. The other night Kokomo Jo was following me close on my heels, like a needy little puppy dog. I turned and snapped “go watch Strawberry Shortcake!”

Like really — what kid doesn’t want their mother to tell them to watch TV? The look in her big baby blues just about killed me. Sadness. Mommy didn’t want her help, or her prancing on tiptoes singing. Mommy was too busy. She hung her head and without question returned to her banishment on the couch and the cheerful cartoons went over her head as she buried her face in her Blanky.

I have come to hate the darkness inside of me.

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18 ESV)

As humanity, we have formed a culture that fights for the right to act on our fleshly impulses. It is an attitude of entitlement. But as Paul defines, those impulses are “nothing good”. Strangely enough, in our fight for human rights, we have also fought for the right to damage, wound, impale, break, and scar those around us. For sin does not only affect ourselves. It does not only affect our relationship to God. It touches others in a rippling effect of pain.

“I have the desire to do what is right…” — I do. I really do. “…but not the ability to carry it out.” 

Failure. Morbid utter condemnation.

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a ESV)

I stared at my daughter while I was consumed with hatred for the sin inside of me that caused me to selfishly snap at my child, wounding her spirit of joy and creating even a smidgeon of doubt that I wanted her presence in my life.

“Are you mad at me, honey?”

She nodded.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered it. She turned and her cheeks stretched into a smile. Sitting up, she patted my knee with all the motherly love she could muster.

“It’s okay, Momma.”

She understood. Why? Because she’s already been there too. In her own tiny sinful self, she knows what it’s like to wound. She knows what it’s like to ask forgiveness.

Thanks be to God … to Jesus Christ our Lord … for in and of myself, I will continue to wound, to scar, to walk in darkness. But in Jesus, I find life, healing, strength, and the ability to claim His victory over my sinful self.

I have learned to love. I have learned to love life — and the righteousness found therein.

What have you learned to hate about your old nature and/or what new character has God recently taught you?

______________________________________________

Jaime Wright -
"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing

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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Monday, June 22, 2015

Wait, It's Monday??


It's Monday. Here's a blessing to start your week. 
Quite simply, my weekend was so full, I need an extra day between Sunday and Monday!
But there's coffee for that!


Have a great week everyone!
-------------
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, June 19, 2015

Interview & #Giveaway with Sandra Orchard

Fun stuff today!!! Fun stuff today!!! We have author Sandra Orchard here and man oh man, I want to read her book. The cover alone gripped me. So here's a little bit about who she is, what she writes, and whether she drinks coffee or tea :)

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1. What inspired your latest story idea?

This story is the culmination of the previous two books in the series—Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust—inspired by herbal medicine research, questionable pharmaceutical company practices, and small town quirky characters. Each book is a standalone mystery, but since a budding romance between the main characters, Tom and Kate, and an underlying suspense plot arcs the series, the mystery in this final book, is centered around that suspense plot, namely Kate trying to figure out what is so special about the plant her father sacrificed his life for, hopefully without getting herself or anyone else killed.

2. What is your favorite characteristic about your story’s hero and heroine?

Kate’s loyalty to her friends and to her father’s honor and memory, despite appearances, is my favorite. And for my hero, Tom’s incredible patience. Kate is… shall we say, a tad impulsive. Her act-first-reconsider-later tendencies are a challenge to Tom’s need to investigate by the book, or at least in close proximity to it.

3. Please tell us about the spiritual theme of your story you hope every reader is challenged by:


The series as a whole involves the heroine coming to terms with the choices her father made twenty years ago and how she can reconcile them with his declaration to her the last time he saw her that no matter what happens or how things look, she needs to remember that he always loved her. At some point, we all come up against a side of God, the father, that’s difficult to accept. Our circumstances might seem to suggest He doesn’t care about us, but we need to decide are we going to believe what He says in His Word or are we going to let circumstances steal our faith.

4. Jaime & Anne are coffee addicts. Erica & Gabrielle are tea lovers. What about you? Coffee or Tea?
Like my heroine, I love the aroma of coffee, but don’t drink it, and instead enjoy a variety of teas. It helps that my daughter is a Steeped Tea rep. :)

4. Favorite historical movie? Or mini-series?

Hmm, we enjoy watching a lot of the PBS mini-series and watch many of the Jane Austen and Little Dorritt again and again. But probably The Sound of Music is my favorite.

5. While Jaime loves to take selfies, and Erica loves museums, Anne loves Pinterest and food pics. Share a food pic, a favorite family recipe, or link us to your latest pin on Pinterest.

In my bonus features, I’ve shared a recipe to go with each novel in the series. No pics, unfortunately, but here are the links to the recipes: Kate’s Calendula Tea (for female troubles); Julie’s Favorite Muffins (taste like donuts); Patti’s Favorite Chocolate/Cream Cheese Muffins

6. Always wanted to be an author? Or surprised your path led you to publish?

Always wanted to be an author, but didn’t think it would be of fiction

7. Favorite century to read? To write? To watch on TV or in a movie?


This is my favorite century to read and write. In TV and movies, I prefer the last century…nostalgia, I think.

8. Favorite heroine of all time, and why? 

Hmm, a hero would be easier to pick than a heroine. Since I write mysteries, I’m going to go with my most inspiring heroine, Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote…although it has been a couple of decades since I’ve seen the show!
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Subscribe to Sandra’s newsletter to receive a subscriber-exclusive mini-novella. Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features, as well as writer helps, and check out her blog at www.SandraOrchard.com. Connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Enter to win a copy of Desperate Measures!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


_________________________________________________

Jaime Wright -
"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing

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, June 18, 2015

Determined & Persistent

Last week I shared a word I've been contemplating, contentment, and I had a number of amazing conversations here on the blog, as well as by private messages and in person based on that post. What I love about the Coffee Cups & Camisoles blog is that I truly feel as if I am sitting across a little café table with each of you, discussing the things that are on our minds and hearts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as we strive to bring you new, insightful, knowledgeable posts every week.

In the spirit of last week's post, I thought I'd share another word (or, rather, words) I've been contemplating this week.

Determined: 1. resolute; staunch: 2. decided; settled; resolved.

Persist: 1. to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc. 2. to last or endure tenaciously.

A friend from elementary school recently posted a picture of my first published book on Facebook, and said this: "Of all my friends, Gabe would have always been my vote for Most Likely to Write and Publish Historical Christian Romances...because she knows what she wants and goes out and makes it happen."

After I read her words, I started to think about what they truly mean. I would call myself a determined and persistent person. My friend was right. I know what I want and I go out and make it happen. I've never been one to sit back and wish for things to come my way. I'm one of those people who knew early on what I wanted my life to look like.

So what exactly is determination and persistence? Where does it come from, how do we get it, and how do we hold on to it?

I'll admit, I don't have all the answers. Sometimes I wonder where my determination and persistence comes from. I believe part of it came from watching my parents (who are very determined and persistent people!), part of it I was born with to do the things God has planned for me to do, but more than that, I believe it's a conscious decision I have to make every single day.

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."

My parents were married at the age of seventeen and eighteen. They had absolutely nothing to their names when they said "I do." They worked very hard to make a good home for me and my three siblings. We didn't have much growing up, but we had everything we needed, and my parents made the best of every situation. Eventually, they went on to become very successful people. My mom was the mayor of our town for eight years and my dad is highly respected where he works. They built a lasting legacy, teaching me the way I should go. This reminds me how important it is for me to teach my children. I wouldn't be where I am today if my parents hadn't taught me how to be determined and persistent.

Romans 12 says that God has given each of us a measure of faith. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He knows the plans He has for us. Psalms 139 says all our days our marked out for us, before one of them was lived. Hebrews 12 says that we must run with endurance the race God has marked out for us.

All of these things tells me that I am equipped to do the work God has placed before me. He has given me the determination I need to get it done.

I remember a night a few years ago, before I left for my first ACFW Conference, when my husband and I were sitting on our back deck, watching the Mississippi float by. He said to me: "Will you give up if you don't get this story published?"

I cannot tell you what a strong reaction I had to that question! It almost scared me with its intensity. Something deep and beyond myself responded with a resounding NO! I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I would not give up my dream. By the grace of God, I have the determination to keep trying, no matter how many rejections I receive.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
 
My determination is also a decision I make every single day. It's a decision I believe we're commanded to make when we're in the service of the Lord. We are to let nothing move us from the calling God has placed on our hearts. I have many callings, as I believe others do, one of them is publication. Whether I want to or not, I cannot walk away. I must finish the race God has laid out for me to run.
 
I believe this video is a perfect example of determination. It's also a reminder that God comes beside us to help us in our weakness.


What about you? Are you running the race God has marked out for you to run? Do you struggle with being determined and persistent?

Gabrielle Meyer:
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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rosemaling ~ I want to learn!

The winner of Keli Gwyn's Family of Her Dreams is: Gail H. Please email me at ericavetsch at gmail dot com so we can get your your prize!!!!

When I visited Vesterheim in Decorah, IA, a few weeks ago, I was drawn to the beautiful Norwegian folk painting called rosemaling.

The Norwegian people used wood for many things, eating utensils, storage, furniture. And every inch of it is ornamented with painting or carving or both. Because wood was so plentiful and inexpensive, it was used extensively in Norwegian life.

Every room we entered, every display we saw exquisite examples of rosemaling. The colors are vibrant, and the subject matter is botanical. Flowers and leaves and ivy. Acanthus leaves often. There are often mirror images, and paisely-sorts of swirls. Reds, blues, greens, and yellows.






I also learned that different styles of rosemaling can be traced to different regions of Norway. My favorite style is from Valdres, and one of the characters in my current Work in Progress is from Valdres and paints beautifully.



Which Style do you like the best?

Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reader Feature -- Getting to Know You


One of my favorite things about being a writer? It's getting to know YOU! Anne and I started Coffee Cups and Camisoles several years ago because we love our coffee chats over hot brew, random conversation, a warm atmosphere, and good company. I think we've accomplished that here, and we even added tea to our chalkboard menu when we added Erica and Gabrielle.

But one thing is missing ... YOU! 

So we party it up over my Facebook page. Lots of fun daily interactions and weirdness going on there. The other night we had a Best Fishy Face contest and we all posted selfies of us making fish face. It was hysterical? The prize--of course, there's prizes, that's what adds to the fun--Swedish Fish! Only the best candy known to man!

My prize? Getting to feature a fishy face here on my blog (and I have another fishy face coming later this month too).

It's time to know YOU are beloved readers who hang with us in our little online coffee house. So lift your mugs, whether a flat white and extra shot of espresso like I have today, or some Earl Grey tea... and say hello to:

Karen Johnson! Fishy Face Extraordinaire! Ain't she adorable??

She and I sat down and chatted and it was SUPER neat getting to know her. So I thought you should too.

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How did you hook up to my FB page/blog and why on earth do you follow this weirdo writer? 

I honestly don't remember, probably a reader scavenger hunt. But I love good, clean, historical fiction. 

Jaime's response: ME TOO!! Historical fiction is one of my faves among many other genres. So glad you found us on the scavenger hunts!

What was your favorite book as a kid? 

The Little House books. Also The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, although I did not get the Christian meaning until I was about 12. And Where the Sidewalk Ends, other than Silverstein, and Suess, I was not a fan of poetry.

Jaime's response: I wasn't a fan of poetry either, unless it was Tennyson. I did love me some classic Tennyson. LITTLE HOUSE!! The classics!! Love them so much and I'm only an avid Narnian, so probably passed by the lamp post at one point in our past :)

If you could be one fictional character, which one would you be and why? 

O.k, I usually am guilty of asking authors this, so I suppose it is my turn. 

Jaime's response: call it author pay-back ;)

Anne of Green Gables. Although I would not want to be an orphan (My husband was orphaned by the time he was a teen, although he got to live with family, it is an awful thing to go through) or have had her life prior to living with Marilla and Matthew, I was a Tomboy, and have a wonderful imagination that could/ can get me into or out of trouble. I am a substitute teacher. I like to read and write and have won writing contests, although I do not know if I could still handle her enjoyment of poetry. And I did not have that Bosom friend that was a kindred spirit until college. 

Jaime's response: I hear you!! and relate on many levels. Your husband must have quite a story, and hopefully it has found a happy middle to it! I didn't find my bosom friend until later too. Now I have five of them. My writing sisters, and I just short it to "sisters" because that's really what we are. I'm glad you have one too!

What inspires you to read?

My son would say insanity. 

Jaime's response: LOL!! he and my husband must have collaborated on that answer

He does not like reading. Probably my parents reading to me got me started. But now when I need an escape, I suppose. Reading is a mini vacation that is more affordable.

Jaime's response: I love that quote!! An affordable mini-vacation. SO TRUE!

Why do you think reading is important? 

It allows you to experience and learn new things. No way could I ever actually be a Civil War soldier. So I read. I could never actually be Black Beauty, but I could empathize with how a horse might feel. Or how it might have been to live in those times.

Jaime's response: I can tell you're an avid reader, you're very insightful, Karen!

What is currently by your bed or on your Kindle to read? 

I am prepping myself for living with a teenager, we have a 10 year old. So I have borrowed Have a New Teenager by Friday. My 10 year old son is already arguing over everything, etc. Which I guess is typical, but at school the boys out argue each other. He will actually have you double checking if the sun is out, or argue that it it 78 degrees out because you say it is 80. That is the book that is up on my Kindle.

Jaime's response: Eeek! I might have to borrow that in 7 years when my Peter Pan decides to leave NeverLand and grow up 

Coffee or tea?

Tea. I am not even crazy about the smell of coffee. 

Jaime's response: *Gasp*

I am trying to grow blueberry bushes in our yard for the first time. Used coffee grounds are supposed to help them grow. I am having to get this from our neighbors. My husband rarely drinks coffee at home. He doesn't like tea. He drinks coffee from a gas station or at work. So this the request from the neighbors. One of whom works at a coffee shop, so I figured at least she drinks it. Tea is more relaxing and I like the different flavors. I once found dark chocolate strawberry tea. Heaven.....

Jaime's response: Well, I'll let you and Erica bond over tea ;), altho I HAVE been known to imbibe on occassion.

You have a choice to enter the world of Harry Potter, a Louis L’Amour western, Dr. Seuss, or Nancy Drew … which one would you visit and why? 

Dr. Seuss. With Harry Potter, I would probably end up as a Muggle, half of what was going on with the Death Eaters would be terrifying, even as a wizard, let alone with He Who Should Not Be Named. Although it did have a lot of learning to stand up for the people and things you love and the value of friendship. Dr Suess had a lot of wisdom and morals, from trying new foods, taking responsibility for your actions but not being afraid to having a little fun, value others, kindness, etc. No one tries to kill you or turn you into something else or hurt you. And I have not read Louis L'Amour.

Jaime's response: And just think of all the places you'll go ;) with Dr. Seuss!!

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Man!! I had so much fun with this and I can't wait to bring another reader and his fishy face to the blog soon too! 

What would you say some of these questions? Which question was your favorite?

Winner of Last week's coffee from What Literary Character are You?: Kate June! (Kate, please contact me, I didn't see your email :)

Winner of Victoria Bylin's latest novel: Gail Hollingsworth!! congrats!!
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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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"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday's Musing: Golfballs, Groundhogs...and Jonah?

Ever have a week where God has to bonk  you on the head? 

Okay, maybe most of my weeks are like that.

But this week seemed to have a theme: 
~~get out of the harbor, get ready to get out of your comfort zone.

Bear with me, because it came in fragments.

So, my husband left for a sea-faring adventure trip this week. I didn't want to go, because I really don't love water enough to dive 80 feet below the surface breathing through a small tube. Ted is all about adventure. I just write about it. (Think the movie, Nim's Island: I'm the writer of the hero, he's the actual hero). But it seriously made me think about my comfort zone.
Ted's Adventure 

He left on Thursday afternoon while I was at work. This is when it's not good to have a writer brain. Because writer's brains write the worst scenarios. So on the way to work, I was brain-writing his eulogy. Once he called between his connecting flights, I'd talked myself out of the necessity of writing his eulogy, only to have my heart pound while watching his flight on my flight tracker app over the Caribean when my phone rang with the caller ID that read: Washington DC.  I was now sure it was the TSA calling to inform me of flight-down in the Gulf of Mexico. (Again, think: crazy writer woman!!) But alas, it was someone with a thick accent trying to sell me a credit card--seriously?Unbelievable, that never happens. Finally, happy that I'd seen his little airplane icon land on my flight tracker app, I breathed a sigh of relief---but still wondered what happens on a flight tracker app when a plane goes down? A little burst of flames icon?? Kicking myself, I thanked God and hopped in the van hoping to dodge an incoming thunderstorm carrying hail with it, grateful that a mere thunderstorm was far safer than hurricane waters of the Gulf. But alas, out of the sky fell a huge golfball sized hail ball and broke my windshield. Oh wait, it WAS a golf ball. No hail. Tragedy dodged. Phew. I would live to face tomorrow, very happy to be in my "safe harbor" thank you!


The next night on the way home, I turned on the local Christian radio to hear a preacher talk about getting out of my comfort zone...seriously, again? I sense a theme here, Lord. The speaker even said to the audience, "what's the opposite of keeping it safe?" The first person to respond on air, actually shouted my thoughts: "adventure!" Hmmm, how did my thoughts just broadcast on public radio, God??

Next day, Saturday, I was sitting on the patio (AKA back yard sanctuary, AKA safe harbor) talking to God about writing my next book.
I asked Him to please inform me what the spiritual theme might be. He basically said, haven't you gotten that yet? Adventure vs. safety. (duh) Stepping out in strong, courageous faith. Ok, got it. So I closed my eyes, and tried to be a good listener, absorbing the instructions....when off to my left I heard a little scurrying. Probably a chipmunk (writer brain: epic FAIL). The scurrying came closer, and louder, and I opened my eyes to find a ginormous groundhog look up at me two feet away from my bare feet!! AAAHHHKKK! I screamed and he just looked at me and ambled away...as if I thought my back yard was a safe harbor.
Very funny, God! Ahaha! I hear you. Nothing like a God who brings the adventure right to the feet of the skittish type!

Sunday morning. Up early to study the Sunday School lesson. Oh boy. "Be Strong and Courageous." About the children of Israel entering the promised land. Something I didn't know....they'd been there 38 years before but didn't enter into the promised land....because they were too afraid. Hmmm. (get out of the safe harbor, even if you are afraid? or risk missing something huge?)  And the sermon? Oh, yes. It was Jonah. (very funny, God, didn't you know my husband's the one on the boat?) Yep. Because if I don't listen, there's always a three day time-out vacation in the belly of a whale. Or the only person I might have a write a eulogy for would be, ah, me? Hmmmm.


So, adventures happen even when you weren't the one to get on the plane.
God has a sense of humor, and apparently doesn't mind using groundhogs to make His point.
When God opens a door....walk through it...because it might not open for another 38 years...or you might get swallowed by a fish (or attacked by a groundhog...or golfball?)
God is at work in His Kingdom, why should I be so afraid to go see what He's up to? 
And why should I let my pride & fear get in the way when He's the one doing all the work?
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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, June 12, 2015

Book Report & Giveaway: A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer


Another star performance by Karen Witemeyer with her latest release, her 10th novel:
A Worthy Pursuit!
A teacher on the run wasn't the bounty the Texan had been paid to track down.

But when Miss Atherton's sweet hidden smile filled the field glasses he spied with, Stone Hammond might have been a bit more thrilled than usual that he'd never come home empty-handed from a man-hunt in his life. And he wasn't about the break his record this time!

When a wealthy investor has hired him to find the abductor of his granddaughter and bring the girl back, Stone is eager to track down an enemy. But nothing will stop Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, from fulfilling a pledge to keep little orphaned Lily from her unscrupulous grandfather. Especially not the handsome bounty hunter with unusually honest eyes who come looking for them.

When Miss Atherton reveals proof of documentation that shows she is Lily's legal guardian, Stone must decide if she is villain or victim.


Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?
Can Stone protect what he once vowed to tear apart and still win Charlotte Atherton's heart?





Karen Witemeyer:

Christy Award finalist and winner of both the ACFW Carol Award and HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.



Q & A with Karen:
  1. What inspired your latest story idea?
There is usually a single spark that get's a book idea started. For A Worthy Pursuit, that spark was the idea of incorporating gifted children—child prodigies, each having a gift in a different field. And the one who doesn't consider himself gifted ends up being the one who saves the day, proving he is, in fact, remarkable.

I also wanted to play with the idea of opposites attracting. So I chose a refined, educated headmistress who doesn't trust men and paired her with a man of action and intrigue who practically walks off the pages of a dime novel. Charlotte has to learn to trust the man who was sent to destroy her in order to protect the children in her care, and Stone must dig deep to unearth the patience it will take to win the heart of the plucky woman he comes to admire.

  1. What is your favorite characteristic about your story’s hero?

All right. I admit it. The heroes in my books are always my favorites. I suppose it's because I'm a romance reader first and foremost, so when I write, I create heroes that I, myself, would fall in love with if I was the reader. My philosophy is to write heroines that I wish I could be, and write heroes that make me fall in love with them.

So, in A Worthy Pursuit, Stone is my favorite. He was orphaned at a young age and forced to toughen up in order to survive. He found a career that suited his skills and became the best in the business. However, he's not a shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of bounty hunter. In fact, he leaves the outlaw chasing business and hires himself out as a retriever in order to use his brain more than his gun. He's intelligent enough to piece together clues to find things/people nobody else can find. And he's a man of honor. That's why when he finds Charlotte and the kids he's open to hearing her side of the story instead of focusing solely on the paycheck at the end of the job.

He also woos Charlotte with a patience and gentleness that goes completely against his action-oriented nature. There is a scene where he takes her on a walk to watch the sun set, and the triumph he experiences when she finally relaxes enough against him to lay her head on his shoulder always makes me melt. His relentless yet patient pursuit wins not only Charlotte's heart but mine as well.

  1. Please tell us about the spiritual theme of your story you hope every reader is challenged by:

I tend to focus on spiritual themes that I myself struggle with as I strive for a deeper relationship with God in my own life. The overarching spiritual theme in A Worthy Pursuit is one that appears to some extent in many of my novels—trust. Learning to surrender control and trusting God to lead. Trusting God to turn tragedies into blessings. Trusting God when you can't see what lies around the next bend instead of succumbing to fear and worry. So many iterations of this single spiritual discipline. It's so hard to master, yet so crucial to a joy-filled walk with God.

Charlotte, my heroine, struggles with trust, especially when it comes to men. Betrayed by her father, a past flame, and her employer, she has learned to rely solely on herself and her own judgment. The trouble is, that this self-reliance leaks over into her spiritual life as well, to the point that when God tries to lead her in a direction she doesn't want to go, she balks. She must learn to submit to the godly wisdom of Proverbs – to trust in the Lord with all her heart, and lean not on her own understanding.

  1. Jaime & I are coffee addicts. Erica & Gabrielle are tea lovers. What about you? Coffee or Tea?

I never touch coffee. I do enjoy a nice cup of tea, but my tastes are very plain. Give me good old Lipton sweetened with honey, and I'm a happy camper.

  1. Favorite historical movie? Or mini-series?

Jane Eyre. The 1996 version with Charlotte Gainesbourg and William Hurt.

  1. Favorite heroine of all time, and why?


Also Jane Eyre. From my favorite literary classic, she just personifies all I admire. She's strong enough of will to endure horrible circumstances, godly enough to extend kindness to her enemies, and a romantic example of how true love really can conquer all.

Readers: For a chance to win a free copy, leave a comment for Karen.

Which of her books is your most favorite? Click here to look at them: Karen's Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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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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Find me on: Goodreads