Wednesday, September 30, 2015

With an Open Hand

Erica here:



When I was in high school, a missionary came to speak in chapel during our church's missionary conference. (I went to a small Christian school in a conservative Bible church in central Kansas.)

This missionary gave us an object lesson that has stuck with me all this time. Every so often, I recall the story and illustration, and I am reminded again of the simple truth taught so many years ago.

This missionary took off her necklace, wound it into her palm, and closed her fist over it.


"This is often how we treat the treasures God has given us. As if we must hold onto them at all costs, as if losing them would be the worst thing ever. We hide the treasure. Nobody else sees it, nobody gets to enjoy it, and neither do we."

Then she opened her hand and displayed the necklace.


"God doesn't want us to fret and obsess about the gifts he gives us. When our fist is clenched tight over our gift, there are two truths we must understand.

1. If God has to pry that gift from our clenched fist, it is going to hurt.

2. If our fist is clenched, God cannot put anything else into our hands."

She closed her fist again and asked a young boy to come up and try to get the necklace. When he'd wrestled a bit and she'd made faces and and said 'ouch!' a few times, she let him stop trying. Then opened her fist and invited him to take the necklace again. This time, it came right out, no pain, no drama.

Asking him to hold the necklace, she dug into her pocket and pulled out several more, piling them on his open hand until he had to use two hands, and even then, chains and pendants and beads were dangling over the edges of his grasp.

It's a lovely picture, isn't it?

Last week, as I attended the ACFW Conference, I was reminded again of this story. All around me sat men and women who had a gift from God. The gift of story, the gift of words, the gift of fiction. I wondered how many were holding it in a closed fist, how many were holding it on an open palm. How many would have more poured into their keeping, and how many would God remove the opportunity from?



Then I brought it a little closer to home. How tightly was I holding my own gift of fiction-writing? Would it hurt badly if God decided to take it away? Would I be open and ready if He chose to pour more blessings into my hands?

I had to admit that I was holding on rather tightly to this writing dream. Thinking more about the gift than the giver. So I'm working on loosening my grip, easing open those fingers, relaxing my hold. Remembering to be grateful for the words, the stories, the opportunities I've been given, and ready, if God so chooses, to put it aside in favor of another, better gift of His choosing.


How about you? How closely are you holding the good gifts God gives? Are you ready for more blessings? Is your fear of losing what you have keeping you from receiving more good things?




Erica Vetsch:
Executive Assistant
Earl Grey Aficionado 
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

4 Things to Keep You Young

I'm sure NO ONE can relate to this, eh? The whole day-job thing? Confession time: sometimes I struggle with being adultish. It's hard. And, you know, I'd like to venture a theory. A very mature, well-thought-out theory:

WE WEREN'T MEANT TO COMPLETELY GROW UP

There. I said it. Of course we have to in some ways. The whole living with our parents thing can't go on forever. Well . . . ok, never mind about that one.

But, there's the car, the house, the electric bill, medical insurance, the kids. It's no wonder we grow up and become so darned serious. It all has it rightful place. But, let's not forget our smiles and that insatiable joy that comes from being carefree like a child. My kids teach me everyday, to find the excitement of inhibition.

I believe God created us to live in wonder. Why else would he have created such an amazing a miraculous world? Yet, we drive to work and hardly notice the beauty around us. Stress tightens our muscles of patience until they spring in irritation. Music becomes background annoyance to our concentration. Birds tweeting outside our window makes us slam it shut so we can think. We even send the kids to their rooms to play for the moment of respite. Oh wait. Maybe that's just me. :/

Okay, so I get reality. It IS a factor in our lives. We cannot escape stress or the to-do list, and we'd be irresponsible to skip work and read all day (well, if we did that for the majority of our day to day lives). Life happens. It's a fact.

Which is why I choose to be intentional. I choose to allow myself to not always be serious. To not pay attention to the mom-look in my own head that shushes me into responsible silence. There are four things that I've learned to embrace in moments when I need to be reminded of that childlike joy.


And probably the most critical of all of those for me has been #2. BE in the moment. As a mom and a career woman, I'm often twenty-thousand steps ahead. It's like my brain never stops. Pro-actively considering all the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Planning for next week's lunches for my daughter, compiling files for work and identifying grids to best present the next step of company development, plotting out novels and oh yeah! I'm married!! Pay attention to the man in my life. Poor Cap'n Hook. He's been thrown over for "responsibility".

BE in the moment, I say. Stop. Right now. DO IT. Are you doing it? Identify four things you love but have forgotten to notice. I'm doing it too. I see:

1. The quilt a dear family someone made my daughter when she was born
2. That reminds me of my daughter when she was a baby and now I'm smiling at the memories
3. The trees outside the window are tainted with yellow ... Autumn is arriving
4. There's something mesmerizing about a clock ticking 

Did you do it? 

Tell me the four things you noticed . . . please. Leave them in the comments and today, practice the four things to keeping you young. Seriously. Don't just read this blog post and say "oh how nice was that". DO IT! :) Be young at heart today. Be in the moment. Play. Be Silly. 
Dance.


___________________________________________________________

Jaime Jo Wright - author of spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense

COMING SOON!

March 2016, "The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection, from Barbour Publishing

August, 2016,"Gold Haven Heiress", The California Gold Rush Brides Collection, from Barbour Publishing


Visit Jaime's web site: jaimejowright.com
Email Jaime - jaimejowright at gmail dot com
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Class Reunions & Small Towns

I'm not sure what it is exactly about high school class reunions that puts perspective, real or warped, back into a strange sort of focus.


We only get one life.

Sure, if today tanks, there's always tomorrow. Even in small towns, mercies can be new every morning. Yet, somehow when that class reunion rolls around, we tend to think of our lives not in daily portions, but in huge chunks, and we wonder who hit the fast forward button when we were busy setting our daily alarm clocks. Plodding through life one day at a time. Suddenly, we wonder what we've filled our time with, who we've really become, and if we're using our time wisely.


It's a mixed bag when we regather every five years. And it's been only a few years now...well okay, a few decades. We've had a chance to fall apart, dust ourselves off, and try again. Sometimes we like what we see in the mirror, sometimes not so much. And some of us just don't look in the mirror. Because, like class reunions, there's always the good, the bad, and the ugly to deal with when people ask what your life has been for the last several decades.

I'm always bummed when people who live locally choose not to attend. High school was a melting pot, for sure. But the myth is that we all have it together now. Of course we don't. And the dirty secret they never told us in adolescence, was that peer pressure isn't reserved for only those awkward years. But thankfully, laughter covers a multitude of ills...


And there's a certain sort of redemption that happens when you attend. You talk to people you might never have gotten to know back in the day. We laughed at ourselves. We listened to all the sad and the silly stories. We hope the best for each other.


Like it or not, we all shaped each other. And with the advent of FaceBook, we stay in touch across the years and the miles. In some ways FaceBook even lets us see each other for our truer selves. Many of our classmates have moved away from our small town, yet keep tabs on those back home.

Whether we've stayed on the same dirt road for decades, or adventured around the world to places like Australia or Thailand, we've all moved further down the road. 


And once in a while it's nice to know that my small home town has been a good place. My people are good people. And no matter how many years pass, no matter the water under the bridge, we can laugh, love, and give grace. 



Readers:
Did you attend a small town high school?
Do you attend your class reunions? Why or why not?
Home schoolers, do you even have class reunions?
What was your class size?

#YouMightBeFromASmallTownIfYouLiveOnADirtRoad  #YouMightHaveLivedInNorthernIndianaIfYouKnowAYoder
#NWHS1985
-------------
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, September 25, 2015

Interview and #Giveaway with @MiraleeFerrell

I'm thrilled to have Miralee Ferrell join us today for a fun interview and giveaway! Miralee is a contributing author to the upcoming "Cowboy's Bride" Novella Collection from Barbour releasing in March, and I'm so excited to share my first novella contract in the same collection as this gift writer.

So I'll stop gushing now and let you all get to know Miralee a little bit more....

_________________________________________________________

How did you begin writing? 

It was totally unexpected and not something I would have considered on my own. I truly got a nudge from the Lord via a special speaker at church who prayed with me and spoke into my life. He said he felt that God had His hand on me and I was supposed to write—not only for myself, but for publication. I took it seriously and my journey started there, ten years ago last spring. 

Take us through a day in the life of you, the author (because some us picture you rise from bed, calmly pour your coffee, sit in a sunny little alcove, and write for eight hours before getting ready for a luxurious dinner out with your special someone) ;) 

First, I am NOT an early riser—I tend to stay up late working and generally don’t get up until about 8:30. I have breakfast while I watch the news and check/respond to email, then feed the dogs & chickens, shower and get ready to face my day. It’s not always writing. Sometimes it’s hours of edits or proofreading. Sometimes it’s a horseback ride with my daughter or grocery shopping. Sometimes I don’t get to my actual writing until mid-to-late afternoon or after my husband goes to bed. One day rarely looks like another, and I tend to flex with whatever needs

Tell us where you got the idea for your latest book and why you developed a passion to write it? 

Mystery Rider is the third book in the four book series, Horses and Friends. The idea for the entire series came from an editor friend who loves horses, had read one of my western historical romances and suggested I consider a contemporary series of horse novels for kids. My passion comes from both my love of horses and my love for kids. 

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

My favorite character is thirteen-year-old Kate, named after my 2 ½ year old granddaughter who is the joy of my life. Knowing that little Kate can be a bit strong willed at times, I patterned Kate in the book that direction—but gave her a soft side that’s also quick to admit when she’s wrong and ask for help, traits that I believe little Kate will have as she grows up. 

What is the most important takeaway from your book that you hope your readers see? 

The importance of looking beyond the outward appearance and seeing into a person’s heart. Not judging but trying to understand why people act the way they do and make allowances if possible. These are two of the lessons the kids in the book struggle to learn as they investigate the mystery of the black horse and its rider. 

If you were to be offered the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or to back pack deep into the heart of the Swiss Alps, which would you do and why? 

Oh dear, neither! But if I HAD to choose, it would be the Swiss Alps, but I’m not crazy about heights. I also do not like snow and cold, so I’d love it if you’d offer a tropical location instead, LOL! Having said that, I’d love to visit Switzerland someday, and I do love looking at mountains—just not climbing them. 

And while you’re on this grand adventure, would it be necessary for you to have coffee or tea? (‘cause we’re split evenly in preference here at the CCC blog)

Definitely tea. You may want to kick me off your blog after you read this, but I’m not a coffee person—at all. Never could develop a taste for it. But I LOVE iced tea and hot is fine as well. 

If you had to write your novel long-hand, would you use a fine point Sharpie, a roller ball pen, a fountain pen, or a pencil? 

I prefer a roller ball pen for most writing, but for something like a book it would have to be a sharp pencil with a good eraser! Honestly, I’m not sure I’d write if I had to do it longhand. 

Your favorite flavor of pie … because we’re heading into pie season! 

Oh, definitely huckleberry!!! I have an excellent, never-fail crust recipe & I’m the pie maker 

What are you currently working on in the book world? 

Three different projects—a historical romance novella, a contemporary romance novella, and the first book in a three-book historical romance series. 

Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages? 

Sure, I’d love to. This is in the first chapter: 

Colt’s long stride took him out of the room in a couple of seconds, but he hollered over his shoulder, “Hey, come see this. Weird, if you ask me.” Kate bolted into the kitchen first, with Tori on her heels. “What’s up?” Colt moved to the sliding glass door and pointed. “A black horse. That’s not a big deal, but the rider looks strange.” Tori crept up beside him. “The horse is gorgeous!” Colt grunted assent. “But what’s the deal with the person riding him? You can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman, and it’s awful warm to be wearing a full slicker with a hood.” Kate shaded her eyes against the glass. “I wish it wasn’t dusk so we could see them better. Look, they’re trotting now and moving on up the road. I think it’s a woman or a teenager. Doesn’t look big enough to be a man, and he’s all hunched over the horse’s mane. Do you think he’s sick or something?” Colt slid the door open. “Maybe we should make sure he’s okay.” Kate and Tori slipped outside with Colt following. He nudged Kate in the side. “You going to holler or just stand there?” Kate made a face at him but took a few steps toward the gravel road that ran behind their house. “Hey,” she called toward the horse and rider, “are you all right?” The horse slowed for a second. Then the rider bumped him in the side and took off at a Tori stepped up beside Kate. “That was rude. He had to have heard you, but then he Kate nodded. “It’s a mystery. I’ve never seen that horse before, but maybe we should ask around and see what we can find out. It sure seemed like the rider had something to hide.” She faced Tori and Colt. “The person was the same size as Melissa. You don’t suppose that’s why she had to hurry home? But why wouldn’t she stop and show us her new horse?” Colt scrunched his brow. “It doesn’t make a bit of sense. I say we keep a close eye out tomorrow night in case the person comes back. What if they stole that horse?”

The best way for a reader to contact me is through my website or Facebook. 
Here are the links, as I’d love to have them stop by and sign up for my newsletter (form on my website) or join my Author Fan Group

www.miraleeferrell.com –website/blog and newsletter signup


www.twitter.com/miraleeferrell    To follow on Twitter

Enter to win a copy and a super cute headband to go with!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


_______________________________________________________



Jaime Jo Wright - author of spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense

COMING SOON!


March 2016, "The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection, from Barbour Publishing

August, 2016,"Gold Haven Heiress", The California Gold Rush Brides Collection, from Barbour Publishing


Visit Jaime's web site: jaimejowright.com
Email Jaime - jaimejowright at gmail dot com
Like Jaime on Facebook
Friend Jaime on Twitter
Meet Jaime on Pinterest
Don't forget Instagram

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Permission to Be My Mommy-Self

When I became a mom, I had an unspoken list of things I thought "good" moms did for their children. The more children I had, the longer the list became, and the more guilt poured onto my head when I didn't accomplish each item.

The funny thing is, I wasn't aware of this list until I failed at it.

Here are just a few things I've felt guilty about over the years (if you do these things and enjoy them, I applaud you, because you've given yourself permission to be your mommy-self):

1. I don't bake birthday cakes. I made two or three before I realized how much stress this brought into my life while I was trying to host a party for my children. The first time I *gasp* bought a store-bought cake I almost cried.

2. I don't scrapbook or keep track of childhood milestones. I tried, desperately, and my oldest has a beautiful book with all this information from her first year of life...my second child has about half of the information (and that was added by memory months later)...my twins have no books to speak of.

3. I hate playing board games, and Barbie Dolls, and Legos--and almost anything that has to do with toys. I've tried, numerous times, but I think I've lost my imagination and patience for these things.

4. I like cooking by myself, usually because I'm in a hurry, so I was horrible at letting my kids help me in the kitchen when they were young.

5. I don't often bundle up and play outside with my kids in the winter. I think this one is self-explanatory.

6. I don't do art projects with my children at home.

These are just a few things I don't (or didn't) do, and for many years I felt horrible about myself as a mother because of them. When I talk to moms who love having their kids in the kitchen, or who have "art tables" and "art corners" in their house full of lots of fun art supplies, I would chastise myself. When I saw a mom romping through the snow, or playing a board game, or sharing pictures of their children's scrapbooks, I would ask myself why I was such a failure...and don't get me started on the mom who makes a masterpiece out of flour, sugar, and eggs...

When I was feeling especially guilty, I would try my hardest to do these things. I would buy the supplies to make a fun snack (cooking AND art in one!). But I didn't have fun, and would end up crabby or irritated before the event was over.

Finally, I realized something very important. It wasn't my job to be the "perfect" mom, or even a "good" mom.

It was my job to be the mom God created me to be, for the children He created them to be.

Other moms enjoy all the things I just listed above--but I don't--and that's okay.

1. My children still get birthday cakes (and they're much prettier than I could ever make them!).

The boys' third birthday. I paid a friend to make their cakes,
and they loved them!
2. My children don't have scrapbooks, but I have a journal for each one, which I started during my pregnancies. Every few months, I pour out my heart on the page for each child. I talk to them about what they're doing, what I'm feeling, what my hopes and prayers are for their futures, and unique things about each of their personalities. This, for me, is part of my love language, and a far better gift I can offer than estimated milestones on a calendar.


3. I don't play with the kids' toys, but I take my children to historic sites, and to museums, and to the park, and on walks, and swimming in the lakes and rivers. I read to them, and talk to them, and listen to them. We have campfires with s'mores, and we watch classic movies, and go to the library, and we invite friends, neighbors, and family over. We go to amusement parks, and waterparks, and we play mini-golf. I have found ways I can spend quality time with my children that we both enjoy, and in the process, I'm teaching them and loving on them. Just last night, as I was reading one of my favorite books to my daughters, one of them did a little squeal and said: "I LOVE this book!"

 
4. My kids didn't spend much time in the kitchen as young children, but we spend time at the table together during meals (even meals in restaurants), and now that they're older, I've taught them how to cook age-appropriate meals (so I don't have to do so much cooking!).
 

 
5. Even if I don't go outside in the winter, my children do. Sometimes, as a parent, we have to do things we don't like, but then there are other times we can find alternatives! I bundle up the kids, send them out to play, and then make hot chocolate for them when they come inside. :) We're all happy.


6. My children don't do art projects with me at home, but I spent nine years in early childhood classes with my children, making art projects at school! (That way, I didn't have the mess at home, or have to be creative.) Again, this one goes back to #3. My sister loves to do art projects with her children, because she's an artist. I found what I love, and do that with my children. We've never colored Easter Eggs at our house! Never. We do this at Grandma or Nana's house. I felt guilty the first couple years, but now I embrace this tradition and the grandmother's love having the kids around their kitchen counters.


I had to give myself permission to be my mommy-self. Other moms may look at some of the stuff I do, and run away in horror--but that's the point. We should never look at what other moms do and create expectations for ourselves. We should embrace the uniqueness in each of our personalities, and learn how to share that with our children.

I still work hard to be a good mom, to find things that interest my children, and get our family involved. Through my kids, I've learned so much more about the world and I've come to enjoy things I didn't know about before. It's not all about me, or all about my children, it's about our family and finding ways we enjoy spending time together.

Your Turn: What are things you enjoy doing with your children? What things did you think a "good" mom did that you don't enjoy? If you don't have children, what are some things you enjoyed doing with your mom growing up?

Gabrielle Meyer:
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where do authors' ideas come from? Museums!!!

Erica here:

One of the most frequently asked questions writers get is "Where do you get your ideas?"

The standard answer is "Everywhere." Ideas for stories can come from anywhere. News stories, tv shows, people you meet, a song on the radio, a house you drive by.

But for me, most of my stories come from visiting history museums and reading history books. I love weaving actual historical events into my stories, particularly lesser-known historical events.

This past week, book-ending the ACFW Conference in Dallas, my husband and I toured seven different history museums together (and my husband fit in three more while I was at the conference.) Now I am brimming with ideas for new stories.

Here are some of the places the Vetschs visited this last week:


The Truman Presidential Library and Museum (This is a replica of Truman's Oval Office.)

The Steamboat Arabia museum in Kansas City, Mo.

Fort Scott, KS

Dallas Heritage Village 

This place was AMAZING!

Peter visited the Bureau of Engraving and Printing

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The Sid Richardson Museum of Russell and Remington Art

Fort Smith, Arkansas home of the Federal Court for Western Arkansas and Indian Territory

More about this one in another blog post, but this is Miss Laura's Bordello, also the home of the Fort Smith Visitor's center. Yeah. You read that right. :)

Sadly, this one wasn't open on the day we were there. This is the US Marshal's Museum.

The John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa

I'll be blogging about some of these places in more detail in the future, but as you can see, I now have LOTS of new information and history to peruse and take in. It was another amazing trip with my husband, who takes me to museums and photographs everything. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Big News = Contract Announcement :) and a #Drawing

It was a HUGE week last week for us here at the CCC blog. You all know how much we loved conference. SO MUCH, that I totally spaced doing any giveaways 'cause I was so busy running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Aside from the conference, meeting with editors, laughing until my sides hurt, cozy-ing up to copious amounts of coffee, and spending quality time with my agent and sisters, I also did this:

Yep. I signed ANOTHER novella contract. This one is for "The California Gold Rush Brides" collection by Barbour Publishing, due out in August of 2016. My story, "Gold Haven Heiress". When a soiled dove settles in a gold mining ghost town, her private world is threatened by a wealthy miner whose intent to rebuild the town might also save her heart.

It has been fun to start researching the Gold Rush, and an era I'm no where near as familiar with: the 1850's. And did you know that ghost towns popped up overnight when gold ran out and miners hightailed it for fresh country? So interesting. I can't wait to tell the stories of Jack and Thalia and Ounce, the mouse of Gold Haven, California. I must say, I never pictured having a heroine with a pet mouse, but when one lives in a ghost town, who else is there to keep you company?


So to celebrate this momentous occasion and the fact I stiffed you all a drawing last week, I'd love to have you join me today for an impromptu giveaway. It includes: A copy of "The Long Ride Home", by Louis L'Amour (because classic Westerns are only fitting for this giveaway), some coffee to go along with your read, and super special bookmark made just for you. 

And thanks for helping me celebrate my latest contract!


a Rafflecopter giveaway ___________________________________________________________


Jaime Jo Wright - author of spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense

COMING SOON! 

March 2016, "The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection, from Barbour Publishing 

August, 2016,"Gold Haven Heiress", The California Gold Rush Brides Collection, from Barbour Publishing


Visit Jaime's web site: jaimejowright.com
Email Jaime - jaimejowright at gmail dot com
Like Jaime on Facebook
Friend Jaime on Twitter
Meet Jaime on Pinterest
Don't forget Instagram


Monday, September 21, 2015

#acfw2015: Soul Food

By now you've been bathed in an endless stream of head shots, goofy smiles, selfies, and foodie pics from the writing conference the four of us attended this week at
American Christian Fictions Writers 2015 in Dallas, Texas. 

Jaime promised to give me selfie lessons, but she forgot. So there was this:


Another view you might not have seen is lunch time with nearly 500 men and women, okay, mostly women. After lunch, imagine this entire room standing, arms raised in awe of our God in deep worship as this group is comprised of people from all 50 states and several countries, yet in Christ, in worship, and in writing--we unite. The holy communion was palpable and I wish I could share it with all of you:


But the things that filled my soul and spirit on my 12 hour travels home today were not just selfies, foodie pics, and pretty dresses. No. What filled my mind were the snippets of things I want to sink into my soul and not forget. Writing is art. It's art we create with God. 


Each of us is given blank pages to write the story of our lives upon, as are you, whether you write or not.

These snippets sprinkle the pages of my notes...

 #HaveFunLoveGod
#CreatingIsSupposedToBeFun
#YouCan'tWriteABetterStoryThanYouAreLiving
#BeDisruptedByGod
Dead Poet's Society scene quoting the great poets: "This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your heart and soul..."
Allen Arnold: "Fiction is to show them a higher Godly reality, not an escape from reality."
#don'tbeanorphancreatives 
Because orphan creatives don't know their story, their stories have been stolen...
#choosetobeabohemiancreatives
Bohemian creatives know their true identity in Christ
#thetrueyou #thetrueryou
Are you a fisherman, or a fisher of men? 
What's my bandwidth?--what's my ratio of talking vs. listening to God?
#SpiritualManna 
Find it. Daily.
"Remember, you are on a wild journey with God."

Make mental boundaries~~Mary Weber
#mindyourownmentalbusiness #thatsthelordsbusiness
Separate yourself, don't overthink. Don't obsess.

Come back to your validation source. Again. And again. And again.
 #KeepANonfictionInPlay ~~Katherine Raey
Keep pressing your soul deeper.

Mentors: "surround yourself with your own board of directors." 
#horizontalbohemians #sisters #mentors #beamentor

Invite God into, and consecrate your writing/creating
#makesomesoultime

#bekind
#beauthentic
#becurious
#beexpectant

#examineyourheart
#knowyourownlifestory
#abideinChristalways
#takenotesbecausewehavesmallmindsandshortmemories

Every conference is different. This year, I fed my soul.
I pray you find ways to feed yours.


-------------
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.
Find me on:Facebook
Find me on: Pinterest
Find me on: Goodreads

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dallas Bound

As I write this blog post, I'm winging my way to Dallas, Texas for the annual ACFW Conference. This will be my fourth ACFW conference and it will be held in the same hotel where I went to my first.

Dallas is where I met many of my writer friends for the first time in person, where I began to make contacts and build relationships with agents and editors, and where I began to truly believe in my dream to be a published author.

This year, I return to Dallas as a "multi-published" author, with two publications under my belt and one new contract. I have an awesome literary agent, and I've met even more outstanding authors and readers along the way. I can hardly believe all that has happened since the last time I was in Dallas. 

Getting away for five days requires a lot of planning and preparation. There is a team of people back home, headed by my husband, keeping everything running smoothly. I truly couldn't pursue this dream without the belief and dedication of my husband, family, and friends. 

As you read this, Jaime, Anne, Erica, and I will be together in person! We have a photo shoot scheduled for a group picture, which I'm really excited about! I know we'll spend time talking about all of you and how much we love and appreciate your support here on Coffee Cups & Camisoles. You make this blogging and writing adventure a wonderful experience for all of us. 

If you're so inclined, please be in prayer for this conference and all who are attending. Please also keep our families in prayer as we're apart. I have a special prayer request for my mom who is scheduled for spine surgery while I'm away. I had hoped to be with her, but her surgery was scheduled after I made my flight and hotel reservations. I am confident all will go well. 

I'm watching the sun rise on a new day right now. By the end of this evening, I will be with my amazing writer friends, pursuing this dream together. I won't have a chance to check comments right away, but I will be sure to stop back here as soon as I get a chance. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Deep In the Heart of Texas!

Erica Here:  I am currently in the great state of Texas! It's ACFW Time. I'm taking classes, seeing friends old and new, pitching projects to editors, meeting with my agent, attending some parties and gatherings, and generally getting my writing tank filled up!

As you can see from the pictures below, ACFW is about being with other writers and people who love fiction! It can be both glorious and stressful!

This year, Jaime, Anne, Gabrielle, and I are all together in the same place! We would appreciate your prayers as we make business contacts, take classes, and gather with other writers. Pray that we will be good listeners, that we would serve one another, and that we would rest secure in the peace that passes understanding. Thank you, and remember to come back on Friday for a big "We Are At ACFW Conference" giveaway!


The lovely Georgiana, Gina, and Betsy.

Sweet Keli Gwyn and our savvy and super-smart agent.

Gabrielle and Cynthia!