Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday's Post-Turkey Devo by Anne

One thing I've asked of the Lord. To have life, and life abundantly.

I was never interested in just a little of God.
I never wanted anything stale, short-lived, or empty.
Faith and life have to be so much more than pipe dreams.
I never assumed abundant life would require anything less than the sacrifice of my full heart.
That which gives much, requires much.
Emptying. Filling.

When you keep your heart soft, you are continually aware of that ache in your soul only God can fill.
And I for one, would much rather dance the dance of emptying and refilling with my Lord, than succumb to the constant emptiness of a closed and hardened heart.

This week, I'm not sure I could be more full and running over.
The fridge was full. The table set. And yes the food was good, and our tummies were full.
But it is my heart that remains full as I survey God's faithfulness.
Hearing my husband and father tell stories of God's redemption.
Listening to Dad read "When Father Carved the Turk".
Singing around Mom's table, "Great God the Giver". Twelve voices full in rich, four part harmony.
Memories that fill me.

Now the house is empty. The food decimated. Trash taken out.
Time to turn thoughts to the work week. Get set for more outpouring.

Emptying. Filling.

Have you noticed?
The best coffee mugs have chips, stains, and spittle stuck on the rim from frequent use.
The most used vessels are reheated when the contents have been left stagnant and cold.
It's the nature of cups, to be emptied out. And then the filling up, once more.

Because that's the thing with abundant life. You have to empty out to be filled up.
It's the constant use that makes me sure of the Father's love and life.


John 10:10 from The Message tells of this abundant life meant for us. Don't settle for less. But be ready to go all-in.

"Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

Readers:
Dare to dream. Dare to empty yourself out for His filling.
-------------
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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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


"The First Thanksgiving" (1915), by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (American painter, 1863-1930)
(See more at: http://www.incredibleart.org/links/thanksgiving.html#sthash.6fm3Zqep.dpuf)

Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of Thanksgiving Days
 from the ladies at Coffee Cups & Camisoles.
 
Jaime
Anne
Erica
Gabrielle

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give Thanks





Psalm 100 


Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.





What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Freddy Krueger Finds Your Manuscript



If you're unfamiliar with how a book is written, in all honesty, every author has their own process. For me? It's a series of first draft, content edit (which means: make the first draft make sense), and then detail edits. This is the part where I am now. I'm a speed reader. So my eyes rarely read every word, rather my brain assumes and is usually correct as to what words compose a sentence, so it auto fills them in without needing to see them. Great for a reading, bad for editing. So by printing it out, I can FORCE myself to read every word and it's crazy what I find.
So HOW DOES AN AUTHOR edit honestly and not end up balling, quitting, or becoming self-absorbed? 


1. Realize you must be blunt, vicious, and go completely Freddy Krueger on your manuscript. It might be horrifying, but in the end, everyone remembers what Freddy Krueger did and blockbuster hits come from it. See? Freddy-it!

2. Invest in wood heat. If you burn wood in your house over winter it makes for super dry air, which in turn, removes any excess moisture from your eyes. So those self-inflicted tears? They dissipate before hitting your face. Or, just develop a thick skin and tell yourself that deep down inside, Freddy Krueger cares and it's in your best interest. Go Freddy!

3. Be a narcissist. Like when you read a sentence that takes the cake and makes Freddy run away. Love on it!!! I mean, you only run the risk of looking like a narcissist, it doesn't actually make you a narcissist. Who wouldn't high-5 themselves if they escaped Freddy?? Die, Freddy, die!



Yep. So that's where I am this week. Freddy and I are really bonding this week. I think we might fall in love. 







_________________________________

Professional coffee drinker, Jaime Jo Wright, resides in the hills of Wisconsin. She loves to write spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense. Her day job finds her as a Director of Sales & Development. She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting Pre-K teacher, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl, and a little boy she fondly refers to as her mischievous “Peter Pan”. Jaime completes her persona by being an admitted social media junkie and coffee snob. She is a member of ACFW and has the best writing sisters EVER!


"The Cowgirl's Lasso", The Cowboy Bride's Novella Collection - Barbour Publishing - COMING MARCH 2016


"Gold Haven Heiress", California Gold Rush Romance Collection - Barbour Publishing - COMING AUGUST 2016


Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

Visit Jaime's web site: jaimejowright.com

Email Jaime - jaimejowright at gmail dot com

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Psalm of Thanksgiving


Yesterday's sermon was on thankfulness. Not the run of the mill kind.
But the kind that reminded us that unthankfulness is a sin that takes root where entitlement is fostered.


I deserve none of the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon my life. Yet He bestows.
Grace and Mercy.
My cup runneth over.

We were asked to write on a sticky note the things we are thankful for.

I ran out of room to write. Not that life is all roses. It's not always been. It won't always be.
Tears slipped. Joy bubbled up.

Better than all the turkey in the world.
Better than all the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Greater is His presence to me than anything in the world.

Take time to list your thankfulness this week.



Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

-------------
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, November 20, 2015

Interview & #Giveaway with Erynn Mangum!


We're delighted host Erynn Mangum today which marks the RELEASE day of her latest novel! SO exciting :)  She's answered some more questions for us and is offering a giveaway of her new novel.

Erynn, how did you begin writing?

I have been writing since I can remember! I have always loved making up stories – even before I could actually write, I would spend hours creating these imaginary storylines for my dolls and stuffed animals to act out.

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) ;)

Ha! My life is pretty much the opposite – I wake up to two small boys demanding their breakfast and the day goes from there. ;) We usually spend the mornings playing or running errands or doing laundry. Then, when my youngest goes down for a nap after lunch, I have the oldest do a shorter rest time and I start writing as soon as he gets into his room. Depending on the level of severity as far as making the deadline, I will occasionally go write for a couple of hours after my husband gets home or have my parents watch the boys. Things are about to get even crazier because we are expecting a little girl in January, God willing! We cannot wait!

Tell us where you got the idea for your latest book and why you developed a passion to write it?
My latest is called Katie in Waiting and it’s about a girl who has spent her whole life wanting to get married and have babies. Now she’s in her thirties and nothing is happening. She hasn’t met anyone and there doesn’t even seem to be anyone on the horizon. She’s struggling big time with the waiting and with God’s plan for her life. This is something that is near to my heart – waiting is such a hard, hard thing to do! I have been in multiple seasons of waiting throughout my life, as have most of us, so Katie was a character who was very easy to relate to.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
I love Katie, my main character, but I also really loved Eliza, one of her good friends and the main character in the second book of the series, Once Upon Eliza, that releases this summer! Katie is in the middle of a hard lesson and her character was much more serious. Eliza is totally carefree and fun. They make for a fun pair.

What is the most important takeaway from your book that you hope your readers see?
I want my readers to see that even when it seems like He’s forgotten about you or His plan is one that isn’t good, God loves you and cares for you and has things planned for your life that are so much better than you could have ever imagined. Even in the incredibly hard things, God knows. He’s working out the details of your life to bring you closer to Him.

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?

Well, to borrow a phrase that one of my dearest friends says, it’s called camping if it’s anything less than three stars. ;) And I’m only kind of kidding. Ha! I am not exactly an outdoorsy person. I love to hike, I love to take walks, I love to be outside, but at the end of the day, I want to come home, take a hot shower and sleep on a real bed. Is there the option to send someone in my place and just look at the pictures? I bet my husband would go in my place. ;)

 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)
Coffee. I love, love tea but unless I’m sick, I love it after I’ve had my coffee. :)

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?

A Sharpie fine point! I love those markers! I always wish my handwriting was a little better though.
Your favorite flavor of pie … because we’re heading into pie season!
Pecan pie. I love homemade pecan pie. It’s the best pie of the season! And I love how it makes the whole house smell like the holidays when you are baking it!

What are you currently working on in the book world?

Right now, I’m taking a much-needed break. ;) Katie in Waiting just released (sooo excited!!) and now, I’m taking the last couple of weeks before baby girl joins us to get a few things done for her and around the house. I’m also trying to make myself rest every day and soak in the holiday season! After she’s born and, God willing, we’re all adjusting to life with three kids, I’ll get back to work.

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?

I would love to!!! Here’s a scene featuring Katie and Eliza:



“Do you have dinner plans?”

I snort. “Do I ever have dinner plans?”

“I sense some bitterness.”

“Not bitterness. Just…” Actually, maybe bitterness was the right word, but saying it out loud just sounds so…so…

Well, bitter. It’s not a word that a good Christian girl is supposed to have as part of her description.

“Well, you have plans tonight,” Eliza declares. “We are going bowling.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Bowling? You know, that sport where you chuck a shiny, marbled-looking ball down a very slick runway and it crashes into a bunch of white things that look like a weird play on a turkey leg?”

I grin. “I know what bowling is, Eliza. Though, I’ve never heard it described like that before.”

“They do look like turkey legs.”

Now that I’m thinking about it, I can kind of see it.

Thank you so much for having me on here!! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

______________________________

Enter to win your choice of an e-book or paperback copy of Erynn's new novel!!


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Are You Coming?

"Mom! Are you coming to read to us?"

"Mom, are you coming to sew on my AWANA badge?"

"Are you coming to volunteer at the church this weekend?"

"Are you coming to work out at the gym tonight?"

"Are you coming to Bible Study?"

"Are you coming to the whole foods store with me?"

"Are you coming to get the laundry out of the washer so it doesn't stink? Are you coming to start the washer?"

"Mom, are you coming to my game, my play, my practice?"

"Are you coming to volunteer at the school?"

"Are you coming to the homeschool co-op?"

"Are you coming for your annual physical?"

"Are you coming to clean the park?"

"Are you coming to serve at the senior center?"

"Are you coming to story time at the library?"

"Are you coming? Are you coming? Are you coming?"


Phew! I get exhausted just writing this!

Do you ever get tired of answering this question?

One day, I was making my family supper when I had three family members, from three different parts of the house, all saying: "Are you coming?!"

In complete exhaustion, it dawned on me that I'm asked this question hundreds of times a week, in numerous different ways. Almost always, I want to say: "Yes!" Because most of the time, "Are you coming?" is an invitation to something good, meaningful, and productive.

So then, why am I left feeling drained when I say "Yes!"?

Because the One voice, who speaks the softest, is the One I often answer: "Hold on just a minute. I'll get to you when I've done all of these other good, meaningful, and productive things."

But the problem is, nothing else in life can be as good, as meaningful, or as productive as spending time in God's Word and in prayer. Often, when I've neglected God, all of the other things lose their goodness, their meaningfulness, and their productivity, and I'm left feeling frustrated, stressed out, and overwhelmed.

So I've had to learn (the hard way) how to prioritize. I don't always do it well, and many times I forget, or get lazy...but I try.

God. Family. Writing Ministry.

When I put God first, His Word fills me up and gives me the energy I need to face the rest of my day. It helps me be loving, kind, understanding, patient, and so much more. It gives me the right perspective to see things through other people's eyes. It gives me wisdom and knowledge to answer tough questions. It gives me encouragement to offer to others who are struggling. It gives me hope to share with a hurting world. It gives me patience to deal with day-to-day frustrations.

God is my Living Well that never runs dry. He is my Bread of Life that never stops nourishing. When my thirst is quenched, and my hungry is satisfied, I am ready to offer my life in the service of others.

It really is a remarkable plan that God designed.

I don't know about you, but I needed this encouragement and reminder today. It's so easy to let the cares of this world weigh us down. It's so easy to lose sight of the One who is willing...waiting...to take those burdens from our shoulders, if we'll only answer "Yes!" when He asks: "My beloved, are you coming?"

What about you? Do you have a hard time saying "Yes" to God's call? Are the cares of this world weighing you down? Is it easy to discipline yourself to stay in the Word? I'd love to hear your heart on this topic.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Research Books!

Erica Here:

I had a wonderful delivery arrive this weekend. I've been researching Civil War Medicine lately, and I went cyber-shopping at The Museum of Civil War Medicine bookstore. You can find out more about the museum HERE: http://www.civilwarmed.org/

I have definitely put this museum and its two satellite museums on my bucket list!

Here are some of the books I received.
So excited when I saw this return address label.

And inside was THIS return address label.


How charming is this? They sent the books wrapped in old fashioned twine. 





EEEEK! These sorts of special touches just thrill my soul.


I've already read this one, and it is fantastic. 

I had no idea so many doctors were court-martialed, discharged, and otherwise disciplined!

Heartbreaking, but so valuable as a primary source.
This books lists all the casualties treated at these temporary hospitals after Antietam.


Okay, so this one isn't Civil War medicine, but I'm intrigued, and it would be so helpful for other stories I write.


And most charmingly of all, the manager of the bookstore sent a sweet little note.



So, have you gotten any new books lately?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In lieu of my brain...

In lieu of my brain and the fact I am sick and have zero voice, I thought I'd ask one question today. My novella is almost completed and I'm heading into December with a wide open calendar to READ.
So...

WHAT ARE YOU READING THAT YOU'D RECOMMEND?

Jaime

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday's Mourning: Paris and Beyond


Paris: 129 killed, Friday.  
Beirut: 41 killed, Thursday. 
Baghdad: 26 killed, Friday. 
Kenya: 147 killed in April. 
Indianapolis: 1 pregnant pastor's wife, murdered during a home invasion, Tuesday. 
Mourners in Paris

...and many other senseless acts of hatred and violence in this global world we share with 7 billion others.

My soul cries out to Jesus like the disciples in the boat with him when a storm had blown up and threatened their safety: 
"wake up , Lord, don't you care that we are about to die!?"  

How could the Lord sleep with such a threat of life at hand? 

I read not long ago that Jesus rested so firmly in the knowledge of his authority in the Father's world, that it was this deep knowing that made his slumber possible. Rather than a cavalier lack of care. Or reckless abandon, the God-Jesus so totally understood his place with God and creation that he did not grow anxious, but embodied peace so fully that he slept. 


It's hard to comprehend the Lord being a fully divine person in the fully human man of Jesus Christ. It's hard to comprehend people so angry and hateful to treat their own humanity so heinously. But while we mourn with Paris, Beirut, Bagdad, Kenya, and Indianapolis--we cry out to a God we believe is still in our boat. He's not left us alone, and we remember he calmed the storm by his word. During such a time as this, we recall words from the Bible that give us hope. Words like "fear not" and "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" and "overcome evil with good" and "what you intended for evil, God intended for good." 


May believers cry out to God for restoration, softened hearts, and a greater indwelling of His Spirit to walk upon this earth in love. And in so doing, may our communion with the Father, and the Son--the calmer of storms--become a holy offering. For holiness and love cannot be taken away or destroyed by death, murder, or in acts of hatred. 


Readers: 
Our enemies have suicide bombs. We are an army of warriors who love and pray to a living God.
Let us rest in His peace, knowing He is in our midst. In our boat. Calming with His words.
Please write your prayers here for the United States, for Paris, for the Middle East, and for the world.
-------------
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, November 13, 2015

Interview and #Giveaway with Julane Hiebert

I am super happy to bring a new author to ALL of us, Julane Hiebert! Her debut novel releases on Sunday :) and I betcha she is just super-dee-dooper excited.

Julane lives with her husband in a wee cottage by a lake in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas. Her love of prairie comes from a childhood spent as the daughter of a cowboy, and she was named after a characters in a Western magazine. While encouraged to pen the family’s story of raising two handicapped daughters, she has chosen to incorporate the lessons learned into the lives of the characters in her novels. She enjoys music, reading, junk shopping, and chocolate—mostly chocolate. Julane has a passion to present God’s truth in everyday events, with ordinary not-too-perfect characters.

So let's take a minute to learn about this lovely lady and her exciting new story:

______________________________

· How did you begin writing?

I began writing partially out of need, partially out of survival. The need being our church was so small and we had problems finding even one-room Sunday School material that would work with the variant of ages—so I wrote it. Survival came because I was the caregiver for my mother, who lived with us, and writing helped fill the hours I needed to be in the house and available for her.

· 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) ;)
Oh, my!! Wouldn’t that be grand? Actually, I’m probably not so terribly far from that in that both my husband and I are retired. We live on a small lake nestled in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and I do most of my writing in front of our lake-facing windows. The luxurious dinner is out, though. Depending on where I am in my writing, either my very obliging husband fixes himself a sandwich, or we settle on very plain fare. More often than not, we grab something from fast food because we follow our grandkids and as many of their school/sporting events as possible.

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

The book that releases on November 15 is my debut novel, though it’s the first book of a three book series. The other two will follow in March of 2016 and July of 2016. The idea came from a silly play on words…Birds of a Feather, and I changed it to Brides of a Feather. The passion came from the realization that I could utilize lessons God so graciously taught us as we were raising our two daughters—both had an incurable neuromuscular disease—without actually writing a biography of that journey. The girls were both insatiable readers and especially liked historical/prairie romance. In a way, I did it for them.

· Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

My favorite is not a main character, but one who is present in all three books—Uncle John Wenghold, the owner of the Feather Ranch. He’s a crusty old bachelor, but full of sage advice that I wish I could say was from me, since I’m the writer. But, as other writers can identify, sometimes characters develop on their own in such a way that they become more real than anything anyone could just create. I’ve never been able to settle in my mind just how old he is. I’d have to say he’s timeless, but oh, how I hated to say goodbye to him. Spoiler alert: I did leave the third book a little tentative at the end, hoping that my readers will want yet one more episode of his life. And I do have it tucked away for a short story if they do.

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

From Robin’s character, it would be that God always has His best plan for us, even when it seems contrary by all outward appearances. From Ty’s, the hero, it’s integrity, the value of a person’s word and how that word defines our character.

· 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?
Without question, I’d back pack deep into the heart of the Swiss Alps. My maternal grandmother immigrated from Switzerland. In fact, a huge, homemade packing box with a heart-shaped keyhole that shipped their worldly goods from Switzerland to America sits in the living room of our wee cottage. The address is hand painted and shows the different ports that it traveled through to come here.

· 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)

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

*Jaime inserts: YAY YAY YAY

· 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?
Pencil. I change my mind too often to use anything more permanent.

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

Pumpkin, with our without the whipped stuff on top.

· What are you currently working on in the book world?

I just submitted a story that will be included in a Novella that is put out every February by my publisher, Wings of Hope. Currently I’m working on a new series, tentatively titled Another Spring. I have several chapters of all three books written. Again, historical/prairie/romance

· 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?

Her gaze met his, “I forgive you.”

Ty took a deep breath. “Robin…if we had more time—if things were different—would you give me another chance?”

Robin shook her head. “Time is not something either of us can promise. Any chance that might have been ours ended when Anna returned wearing your ring.” Her smile belied the sadness in her eyes.

Ty touched the dimple at the corner of her mouth.

One small circle of gold and jewels and a promise that threatened to become a noose.

One small indentation at the corner of lips he had no right to claim, and a promise he was not free to make.

He groaned. You are in so much trouble, Ty Morgan.


__________________________________

Catch up with Julane here, and enter to win a copy of Robin!


http://julanehiebertauthor.com

julane.hiebert@facebook.com

julhiebert@gmail.com



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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hard Pressed, but Not Destroyed

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
 
This verse has been in my mind and on my heart lately. It's been a tough week for several reasons, all of them personal, and I'm feeling hard pressed on every side. Each situation has brought me to tears and forced me to my knees, but God has reminded me that I may be hard pressed, but I'm not crushed. I may be perplexed by these situations, but I'm not in despair.
 
I believe that I'm in the Wilderness right now, walking through, and that maybe on the other side I'll understand some of this. I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass.
 
Yesterday, in the midst of it all, I received three amazing pieces of good news, from three different fronts. And I had a choice to make. I could either let the hard stuff overshadow the good news, or I could be thankful and decide to focus on praising God.
 
I chose to praise God.
 
It's not easy, but it's so important. It didn't take care of the problems, but it made them a little less draining. It didn't stop me from thinking about the other things, but it gave me a better perspective and reminded me that God is in control, and no matter what, He's beside me all the way--in the good and the bad.
 
I may be hard pressed, but I'm not crushed. And maybe, just maybe, the pressure I feel is God's hands molding and shaping me into the vessel He wants to use.
 
Your Turn: Do you ever feel hard pressed? Can I pray for you today?
 
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Writing in the Wilderness


Erica here:



This last week, I received an extra special blessing. I turned in a manuscript. 

I wrote this manuscript during a time of drought. In a two-year period where I had no writing contracts and was wondering if I would ever have another one.

I wrote this manuscript because my agent was on my side an encouraged me. During this time of drought, she asked what she could do to help me. I said, "Give me a deadline. Tell me you want a manuscript on your desk by a certain date."

So she did. Without this goal, I probably wouldn't have finished anything. Knowing she had expectations of me kept me writing.

And then, nothing happened with the story. She submitted it to the targeted publisher, but there was no movement on it.

So it sat on my hard drive.

I moved out of the season of contract drought (Thank you, Jesus!) and wrote other stories. I had new deadlines.

Then, a few months ago, my editor emailed asking if I had anything that might fit a new line of books they were hoping to launch.

My mind went to my 'writing in the wilderness, please give me a deadline' story.

To my complete joy, the editor liked the story, only asking for a rewrite of the setting. And this last week, I turned the story in.

There's a tentative release date of January, 2017, which sounds like a long way off, but is only 14 months.

I'll have more details on this release when I can, but for the moment, I'm saying a big thank you to my agent for helping me stay on task, and to my editor, who now has the story and will be working her magic on it.

Thank you, Rachelle and Becky!



What unexpected blessing have you been given after a period of drought?









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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What to do when you're caught in the deep black

It's been nuts around my place. El sickos in my family have me hoppin', work has kicked into high gear with end of year company goal planning for 2016, and oh yeah, I have a novella due on December 15th.

So, I'm caught in the deep black hole of too much to get done and too little time. I'm digging myself out. Oddly, I like stress, but yesterday I finally crashed in bed after being awake for 39 hours straight.

This was me:


What do you do when you're stuck in a deep hole of so much to do??

I drink coffee.

And a lot of it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Coffee Table Lineup: What are You Reading?

Happy Monday, Everyone! 

Monday's have the distinct pleasure of week-planning. I like to use Monday morning to give myself and my family a quick schedule run-down.

Monday and Tuesday are basic work catch-up days.
Wednesday I have lunch with a friend and get my van  serviced.
Thursday is a church meeting after work.
Friday is TGIF day, and usually date night.
Saturday is our church's Holiday Bazaar.
Sunday there is an evening business meeting.

Somewhere between there I have some reading I want to tackle from my coffee table. When life was more simple, I used to read one book at a time, start to finish. But as life has grown more complex over the years, I tend to have multiple books cooking at the same time, with several waiting in the wings.

I'd love to hear your book line up this week. Here's mine: 

Roseanna White is one of my favorite authors! If you haven't read her work yet, The Lost Heiress is a good place to start. Be watching for a book report sometime soon!

I like to keep some faith-reads in play and work my way through them at a pace that lets me digest.
Johnson's Host the Presence is reminding me about heaven on earth, and what it looks like to let God dwell in me daily. I haven't cracked open Allender's To Be Told yet, but I'm thinking of ordering the workbook to really dig into understanding what it means to let God write the story of my life.


Between fiction and faith, I love to add in some historical research. 
First hand accounts can be very interesting. 
I'm learning about the fur trade in 1803 along the Brule and St. Croix Rivers. 


Then, of course, there's the bathroom read! (okay, right, not exactly on my coffee table! Heehee.)
Dr. Remen says things that make you go: "hmmmm...."  Like this quote: "Accidents and natural disasters often cause people to feel that life is fragile. In my experience, life can change abruptly and end without warning, but life is not fragile. There is a difference between impermanence and fragility."  Hmmmm...right?  Good stuff.

And last, but not least, is my TBR pile. To. Be. Read. At that top of that list is Laura Frantz's new release: The Mistress of Tall Acre. I may hold this one to savor over the holidays.

Your turn! 
What's on your coffee table lineup? (er, or even your bathroom reads...?)
Have you made a Christmas wish list?
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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, November 6, 2015

Author Dana Mentink

Erica here: We're so happy to introduce you to author Dana Mentink today! I remember sitting in the audience when she won at least one of her Carol Awards. She's a talented and creative writer, and I know you're going to love her! Read on, and be sure to enter the drawing to win a copy of her latest release! Here's a little bit about Dana so you can get to know her before diving into her interview:

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and she has also been honored with a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and Harlequin Heartwarming. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

 And now, here' Dana!

   How did you begin writing? Well...it was all on account of the babies! I was an elementary teacher until the Mentink cubs came along, and then I found that I missed having a creative outlet. My husband said, "Go do something you love." I'd always loved writing, so I took a class and things progressed from there.

   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) ;) My life is pretty glam, you know. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I get up very early and write like crazy until the teens awaken. Then it's carpooling, and back to writing, promotional duties, etc. On Thursday and Friday, I teach third grade so I'm too exhausted to do any writing on those days. Saturdays are split between family time, a bit of morning writing, and chasing Mentink cub #2 around to various marching band events. Sundays are for church and letter writing, seeing family, etc. I don't write on Sunday. See? What did I tell you? Glam, huh?

   Tell us where you got the idea for your latest book and why you developed a passion to write it? I came up with a series idea to write about the California Coast which is near and dear to my heart. That caused me to pitch the idea for Pacific Coast Investigations. Having visited Coronado Island, I thought it would be the perfect place for a suspense novel and from that, Dangerous Tidings was born.

   Who is your favorite character in this book and why? I'm partial to Radar the German Shepherd. He's a bundle of fun and he never judges anyone.
  
   What is the most important takeaway from your book that you hope your readers see? Guilt is a waste of time because we've already been forgiven. It's a lesson I'm still learning myself.

   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? Er, could I possibly choose a less mountainous destination? I'm thinking a nice, flat stroll through the redwoods is more my pace. I'm not inclined to sleep in the wilderness and such. Back problems, don't you know, and I'm afraid of raccoons. They're not to be trusted. They wear masks, after all.

   And while youre on this grand adventure, would it be necessary for you to have coffee or tea? (cause were split evenly in preference here at the CCC blog) Coffee, wherever I am. Whenever I drink tea I'm disappointed because it just doesn't taste like coffee.

   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? Pencil. Oy vey! I can't write anything in pen. You should see me attempt to write on the white board at school.
   
   Your favorite flavor of pie because were heading into pie season! I've never met a pie I didn't like. Pumpkin, chocolate, peppermint, apple, even mincemeat. I'm in!

   What are you currently working on in the book world? I'm writing the next book in the Pacific Coast Investigations series for Love Inspired Suspense, and working on a dog themed lighthearted series for Harvest House. The first one is Sit, Stay, Love which launches in April, 2016. My first ever book series of cozy mysteries (Trouble Up Finny's Nose) is being made into audio books. That's pretty exciting for me.

   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?

Snippet from Dangerous Tidings:

He listened. A slow scraping sound teased his skin into goose bumps.
           
"Where's that coming from?" he murmured.

"Below," she whispered, looking to the narrow staircase in the corner of the kitchen. "There's someone down there."

He heard it then, a long slow movement, the sound of someone dragging a dead weight in the basement.

(Now, don't you want to know what was in that basement?) Thanks for having me!




If you'd like to find me in the cyber universe, I have a Dana Mentink's Reader Page on Facebook, or you can find me on Pinterest and Twitter (@danamentink). My website is www.danamentink.com and you can sign up for my newsletter there if you'd like. If you'd like to know more about Dangerous Tidings, you can check it out on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1GNRPzx.


Thank you again for having me! 

It has been our pleasure, Dana! 

Readers: Dana is giving away one copy of her ebook to someone who leaves a comment, and she'll also give away a print copy to someone who uses the rafflecopter form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway