Friday, May 29, 2015

11 Questions: A Response to the Liebster Award :-)

Though I don't always have the time to respond to blogging awards, they're sometimes a lot of fun! :-) You get the opportunity to link with other bloggers whose blogs you can recommend... You learn more about people whom you only know via media... and it's a delightful call-back to that childhood game of tag. ;-) Raechel at "God's Peculiar Treasure Rae" tagged me with 11 questions.
Here it goes - Enjoy! :-)

1) What is the driving passion of your life?

The driving passion of my life is, to paraphrase Philippians 3,to know Christ, to gain Him and to be found in Him, not having my own righteousness but the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ. I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death so that I might be counted among those whom He raises from the dead. Christ. In comparison to that, everything this world has to offer is worthless!

2) Do you have a (few) favourite books? If so what are they?

Just a few!?!? ;-) Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites - As you'll see, my reading is very varied :-) -- 

3) Characters. How do you feel about them? Do you write them, or enjoy them from ‘afar’ (reading, movies, etc. Which really isn’t from ‘afar’. One can get really attached to characters…like I do!)?

Usually, I feel like I really know the characters I write about. :-) Sometimes, because they're more often than not historical, I catch myself thinking about them as if they really lived and died. I always feel terrible if I completely close a story to any sequel; that's seems to be the equivalent of saying that everything written before was only pretend. :-) I create Pinterest boards with some of my characters, too. Here are some that I'm writing about now: Sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums Pinterest board
and I'm looking forward to returning to this young lady in the near future - Jemima Sudbury:

4) How do you like to spend your free time?
A winter sunset near our home
All sorts of ways. :-) Writing is "work" for me, so I don't count that as part of leisure-time. I love to go for walks; we live by the sea right now, so that's a lovely place to see the sun set. I enjoy watching good movies like the Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South and Miss Potter (which is a striking film based on the life of Beatrix Potter - love that one!). Occasionally, I do craft projects and concoct ways to get around using a sewing machine. :-) Oh, and read, of course!

5) What got you blogging in the first place?

I became interested in blogging several years before I actually started, but what propelled me forward was the publication of my first novel, The House of Mercy. I wanted to have a front-porch, if you will, to sit with readers, friends, and other authors, discussing what makes books and our lives tick.

6) Are you a tea drinker or a coffee drinker?

Both, actually. I know, most people are one or the other, but, like Elizabeth Bennett says, "I take pleasure in many things." :-) I do NEED well-brewed coffee in the morning - preferably hazelnut, but I'm not super-picky as long as it contains caffeine. In the evenings, bring me some peppermint tea as-is, and I'll find it delightful. :-) No iced tea, though. Iced coffee? Yes, please.
Time for coffee on a day-trip!

7) How many novels/stories have you written (unpublished, or published)?

Yikes! I have no idea, if we're including unpublished. I wrote a lot of short stories from first-grade onward, but most of those are all filed away. By God's grace, I have three novels published as of today. Here they are: 

8) Favourite animal?

Can I have a grumble? Pretty-please? ;-) {A herd of pugs is called a "grumble." Really. I promise.} Just kidding; pugs aren't my absolute favorite. But I'm not sure that I have a "favorite." I love all sorts of animals. Getting to know them individually is wonderful. Right now, we have house bunnies {Yes, they romp somewhat freely around areas of the house.}, a cranky cockatiel, a neurotic zebra finch, and an emotionally-troubled pug. We have a tendency to collect anything no one else wants, so there you go! There's lots of love - and feathers and fur - to go around. :-)
The emotionally-troubled (but festive!) Mr. Pinch,
named after the character in Martin Chuzzlewit

9) Do you have a favourite Fairy Tale?

Oh, yes! George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin, The Prncess and Curdie, and also his Phantastes.
 If we're talking more along the lines of Disney, then Sleeping Beauty is my all-time favorite.

10) How about a favourite book of the Bible?

The Lord speaks to me through different passages at different times, but I always tend to return to the Psalms, the Gospel of John, and Jeremiah.

11) What are some of your hobbies, in addition to writing? :)

I don't have too many regular hobbies anymore - not enough time! :-) But I enjoy watercolor painting, playing piano, reading, and baking. Here's a yummy recipe I found recently:
Amish Cinnamon Bread - It tastes so good! :-)

Thanks for the questions, Raechel! If anyone would like to join in this game, consider yourself tagged. :-) Answer the eleven questions above on your own blog and link back here!

Grace and peace,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Amanda Tero's COFFEE CAKE DAYS: Author Interview and Release Tour! :-)

It's tremendously uplifting to meet other authors who are dedicated to providing refreshing and creative literature, especially for children and young adults. :-) 

Today, I'm so pleased to introduce you to Amanda Tero. Amanda's stories are contemporary, yet her style and substance reminds me of an old-fashioned storyteller along the lines of L.M. Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott. Her work provides not only entertainment, but food for the spirit.

"Coffee Cake Days," Amanda's most recent short story, releases Friday, May 29, 2015 in e-book form. Like a hearty slice of sweet breakfast bread, "Coffee Cake Days" brings a delicious reading experience, either as a family read-aloud or as a treat that you might savor all by yourself! :-)

Here's the description of this new release:

Meg has finally graduated and has the time she’s dreamed of for months: time to “sit at the feet of Jesus” and soak up His Word as she seeks what future plans He has for her.

She soon runs into a problem: her family. Unwanted interruptions and household duties tear her away from the time she longs to spend in the Bible. Journey with her as she strives to learn the balance of spending time in God’s Word and applying it to her daily life.

Sounds excellent, doesn't it? I'm in the middle of devouring it myself! :-) 

Amanda has graciously dropped by for a "visit" today so that you all could get to know her a bit better. So, pour yourself a "cuppa tea" as Eliza Doolittle would tell you, and let's chat with this author.

How did you get the idea for Coffee Cake Days?
Amanda: It was actually on one of those "good days" where I was serving my family. :) I had been thinking about the Lord's conviction over my selfishness prior to that day and how amazing He helped me. Somehow with that, the Lord placed the idea of Meg's story in my mind.

Have you based characters in the book off real-life people and/or events?
Amanda: Oh definitely! I would say that this is probably the most auto-biographical short story that I have ever written. Though I love making coffee cake for my family, there have been many times when doing "that one thing" just irks me. And sometimes, it is the smallest, silliest thing yet satan allows it to become a stronghold in our lives.

Would you describe your target readers for Coffee Cake Days?
Though the lesson is one that is applicable to any believer, I would think that girls 8-18 would be the target audience.

What's the message that you'd like readers to take away from Coffee Cake Days?
Amanda: Servanthood. Selflessness. It doesn't matter how often we think that we "have it together," it is always good to stop and examine our hearts in following God's Word in these areas.

Now for some split-second questions! :-)
1. Favorite book?
The Bible. :) Other: one is a very hard choice, but I really like Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose

2. Favorite movie?

3. Favorite place to write?
Outside on the swing under our magnolia tree.

4. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice cream!!!

5. Favorite/special Bible verse?
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:5-7

6. Dream vacation location?
I'm not a big dreamer. :) But if I were to choose one place... probably Hawaii.

7. You have the ability to time-travel. What century and country do you choose? AND
8. You may meet anyone, past or present. Who is it?
This answer goes for both: I have always wondered what it would have been like to meet Jesus Christ face-to-face while He was here on earth. To see His miracles, to hear all that "even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25) Wow!

If you'd like more info on Amanda and her work, she's laid out the welcome mat:





Her official bio: Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate whose desire is to provide God-honoring reading material. Her current projects include short stories and novels-in-progress. When she was a young teenager, Amanda was obsessed with writing. However, the Lord helped her to realize that she was writing for her personal pleasures and purposes - not His. For several years, she put away "pleasure writing" and wrote mainly Biblical articles for several years (which she still continues). She found the time of writing silence beneficial in gleaning from God's Word and strengthening the focus of why she writes. Since 2013, the Lord directed her to begin writing fiction again. Her desire is to glorify and exalt God in all of her writing. She desires to challenge girls to focus on their relationship with God and grow in Him and His Word. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

This post is part of Amanda Tero's "Coffee Cake Days" blog tour. For more information and to view other participants, visit Amanda's website! :-)

Friday, May 8, 2015

If You Were a 16-year-old Girl in 1935...

I'm getting more and more excited about sharing with you all the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums. :-) One of my favorite parts of writing historical fiction is - you guessed it - the everyday-type of history, and I've loved learning the tidbits of day-to-day living for a lower-class family in 1930s Rhode Island.

Now, if YOU were an adolescent in 1935...

You'd wear:

You'd read:
{Nancy Drew}

You'd put this in your hair:
{finger waves}

You'd have this for supper:
{fried potatoes & hot dogs}

Your little sibling might sleep here:

Your classroom experience might look like this:

Maybe you'd have an after-school job as an oyster-shucker:

You'd think he was the cat's pajamas:
{Cary Grant}

You'd want to look like:
{Loretta Young}
I'm looking forward to bringing you exciting news about the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums sometime next week. :-D. If you'd like to be among the first to hear the tidings, you might wish to sign up for my newsletter {upper right-hand corner}.

Thanks for visiting with me, friends!
Grace and peace,

*All images from my Pinterest boards. Please refer to them for resource information/citations. :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lessons from a Sheep Dog: Giveaway Winner!

Just popping over here to announce the GIVEAWAY WINNER for a hardback copy of Phillip Keller's wonderful book LESSONS FROM A SHEEP DOG! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway *Winner has been contacted and has until May 19, 2015 to respond.

A big thank you to everyone who entered! If you didn't win and would like to purchase the book, it is available on Amazon and (These are not affliliate links at the date of posting.)

I'm off to work on the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums. Nearly at the end! :-) See you all on Friday!

Grace and peace,

Friday, May 1, 2015

First Friday: May 2015

This post is part of a once-a-month series on A Brighter Destiny. Each "First Friday," I'll glance over my mental list for that month and reveal to you some of the things to which I'm looking forward this month - both writerly and more personally.


As a side note: Spring seems to be flying by, doesn't it? 

What I'm thankful for: The way our God is ever patient with His children.
2014's lilacs, obtained from an obliging graveyard!

What I'm anticipating in nature: The lilacs blooming so very soon! :-) They're my favorite spring flower - except for crab-apple blossoms, but those are so short-lived. (sigh)

For those of you who are wondering what crab-apple blossoms look like, here they are! :-)

What I'm writing: I've nearly finished the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums! Excitement to share this one with you all is making my lips turn up into a grin every time I think of it! :-) Right now, I can see the end in sight and believe that the rough draft will be complete by early next week. Then, while my first readers utilize their red pens on that, I'll work on outlining and writing the next Jemima Sudbury book. :-) Thanks to those of you who have waited for book 2 so patiently! :-)

What I'm reading {fiction}: Right now, I'm almost done with Beverly Lewis's The River. So far, it's been excellent, and I'm hoping to get a review up when I finish it. Definitely, I'll put one up on Goodreads; if you're not following my reviews and you wish to, here's the link - Click here. After I finish The River, I should revisit my TBR list and start checking some off!

What I'm reading {non-fiction}: Still some research materials for the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums, plus I'll be picking up some more for the next Jemima Sudbury book. 

What I'm reading {devotions}: I just finished the Book of Isaiah today {perfect timing!} and believe that I'll be starting a New Testament book tomorrow. I'm also continuing with Oswald Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest.

What I'm baking: Wait! Before I tell you what I'm going to make this month, can I show a picture of the Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecake from Easter? Pretty-please? :-) Alright, if you insist! ;-) If anyone would like to make it, I found the recipe here: click here.

Due to the enormous number of birthdays in our family in the spring (no complaints!), I'll be making another cake this weekend - blueberry-lemon... Oh, I am so excited!!! :-)

What events I'm looking forward to: My brother-in-law's seminary graduation, a nephew's birthday, Mother's Day, of course, and the true arrival of flip-flop season (shh... don't tell, but I've been wearing them since the end of March).

What I'm pinning: Lots and lots to my "Sequel to the Fragrance of Geraniums" board! Take a peek (clickable)!

How about you? What are you thankful for this past month, and what are you looking forward to in the month ahead? I'd love to know! :-) And thanks to each of you who lift up my writing - and me - to our Heavenly Father.

Grace and peace,