Monday, July 21, 2014

Giveaway! Abandoned Memories by MaryLu Tyndall!

Welcome to Writing for Christ MaryLu Tyndall it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I actually don’t think I ever decided! As far back as I can remember, I’ve always lived in a secret story world in my mind. Believe me, it was a far better place, more adventurous, romantic, and fun than the real world I grew up in. Some of those many stories I wrote down, others are still rattling around in my head. I’m just grateful that someone decided that a few of them would be worth putting in print!

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers.  I rarely keep a book after I’ve read it, but this one sits proudly on my shelf. The heroine’s faith and perseverance under such dire circumstances prompted me to take a deeper look at my own faith walk.  Read it, you’ll love it!

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


Don’t worry about the small stuff: the endless rules, publisher requirements, reader expectations, reviews, contracts, sales, marketing, and a host of other things that can completely stifle creativity.  Just write what you love, what makes your skin tingle, what you’re passionate about. And most of all, keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the world.

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? Homemade
Email or snailmail?  Email
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online shopping!!
Books or movies? Both!
Note-taker or memorization? Notes rule. :- )
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

The Ransom, released just last March. I felt like I finally came into my own with this novel. As I was writing it, I felt like a kid remembering how fun it was to play in the sand again. I had lost that feeling after writing so many books.  Besides, it’s just a fun story with great characters. I truly love it.

Places for readers to learn more about you?


Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks so much for having me!!

Readers, enter to win MaryLu's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.


For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 1st
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Don't Want To Be Your Friend

I don't want to be your friend.

Keep reading. I do plan to explain myself. 

I have realized something recently. I want to be friends--best friends--with my future spouse. There is not one question in my mind that this is something I want above many, many other things. 

But so often I hear this one simple phrase: "let's just be friends". And I have to admit, it makes my skin tingle, my pulse throb and my vision go blurry. 

Keep reading. Don't get upset with me yet, I plan to continue explaining myself. 


Guys and girls can't truly be just friends. I do believe in special and certain circumstances that yes, guys and girls can be friends. I'm friends with several different guys, but we aren't friends like I am with several special and dear girlfriends. I don't IM them funny thoughts or serious questions. I don't text them throughout the day or specifically seek out time to chat with just them. 

There is a difference. There needs to be a difference. That guy? He's someone else's husband. He's not my husband. As a Christian sister, it's my job to protect myself and him in how we interact. How we communicate. Because he's not mine. 

And that's okay. 

So I don't want to be "just" friends. 

In a culture where we struggle to embrace commitment is it no wonder when a guy and girl are paired up, that our first defense to protect our hearts is to say, "let's just be friends"?

What if it doesn't work out? What if something happens and this person doesn't turn out to be "the one"?

Well, then God is protecting both you and him. 

But honesty is not our first level of communication in our society. Instead we stumble and stutter. I don't lay this blame at any one particular door. But I do blame it on the path we have stumbled off. Our culture is so saturated in "hooking up". Dating. That we have forgotten the way it should be and we are slowly trying to muddle our way back to that place...many times unsuccessfully. 

What if we were honest with ourselves? With each other? What if instead of thinking--or saying--"let's just be friends", we sat down, met the other in the eye, and said "I think there is something here. What would you think about getting to know each other better?" 

What if we said that; took this "relationship" seriously, and started walking in Godly wisdom and discernment, the path of direction and open communication?

So often, guys and girls don't know what the other is thinking. "Does he like me?" "Does she think I'm worth her time?" It's the mantra of our dating-minded society and miscommunication is the #1 reason for nearly all breakups.  

What would happen if we communicated openly and honestly? If we allowed our hearts to be a little bit more exposed? And got to know the opposite sex through the lens of "could I marry this person?" If we were cautious. Bathed every interaction and connection in prayer. And were intentional about we got to know the other person.

These are just thoughts. By no means absolutes. But things I think about frequently. Have happened to me. And now I'm considering the future. The people around me. And our society in general. 

Talking points: do you agree or disagree that guys and girls can be "just" friends? 

Do you have a problem with today's model of young people meeting and "hooking" up?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For the Foodie In Us All ~ A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge ~ Review

A delight to a foodie’s heart and soul. A sweet sigh for the romantic reader. A depth of writing for the admirer of good women’s fiction. This book has a taste of it all to make it a worthwhile read.

I am a foodie. Yes, I am. However, in being a foodie, I’m more of a snob about where my milk and chicken comes from. Juliette, however, is a foodie on a whole other level and even for the mac&cheese reader, I do believe they will be salivating by the time they’ve finished book. And maybe tempted to try a recipe or two.

Juliette is one of those characters I would love to sit down with over tea and cookies and get to know her. She had depths I don’t feel were fully reached in this book—which is actually a good thing in this case since there is a #2 coming soon. The romance is simple and sweet, yet complex. Something hard to pull off without leaving the reader unsatisfied. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to like the ending. I loved it. It was perfect, while leaving me hungry for more. Like a good meal should.

I thought it was well balanced between characterization and action, though at times it did feel as though the plot plodded a bit. But those moments were few and the book overall a quick read.

An easy four stars with an eagerness for the second release, hopefully in the near future. I’ll be looking forward to returning to Juliette’s kitchen.


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy to review. 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
More about the novel...

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love 
 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life
negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?
 
After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story. 
 
Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?



Monday, July 14, 2014

Giveaway! The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Welcome to Writing for Christ Kristy Cambron, it is great to have you here!

Hi Casey – Wow, am I glad to be here! These first interviews as an official author have been a long time coming. :-)

So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. I’ve always loved story, that’s true. In fact, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a Disney animator. I used to go to the library and sit on the floor in the art section, surrounded by art history books. I think this dream really started then, but I had no idea what to do with it. Fast-forward to college and the moment I stepped into my first Art History classroom and I was hooked on tying stories to what I loved.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Without question – the Bible. But if I had to pick a book outside of The Word, it would have to be Night by Elie Wiesel. It’s a short but very heavy read, a non-fiction piece of true art written from the point of view of the author’s teenage self, and how he survived the horrors of Auschwitz. I admit that the first time I read it, I sobbed my way through to the back cover. Now, I read it at least once a year – not because it’s easy, but because it makes me consider the human condition. Who am I as a mother, a woman, a follower of Christ… and who would I be had I not met Him? It always makes me think how God grieves what we do to each other.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


I actually wouldn’t change anything about my journey. I had some amazing highs (contest wins, contract offers) and some really tough lows (contest crash-and-burns, publishing rejections) along the way. And even though the rejections and those truly humbling moments managed to sting in the moment, I’m glad I experienced every one of them. They helped me to stay close to Christ along the journey, to remember why I write and to continually pray for the readers I hoped to have some day. They also kept me in a place of learning the craft of writing, which I am extremely grateful for. I would however, love to go back to 2011 and tell that younger version of me one thing: “You are not going to believe what God’s about to do in your life!” I never would have guessed that I’d be published by my dream publisher, and get the chance to have readers reach out and tell me they were blessed by the words I wrote. It’s the greatest kind of satisfaction an author can imagine, I’d wager!

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? I think I love a good old-fashioned potluck where everyone brings their grandma’s best recipe, baked to perfection and just waiting for my plate and tummy to come along and enjoy it! (P.S. Please bring Italian and dessert. You do that, and were are friends for life.)

Email or snailmail? Snailmail. I have a pen pal – we write letters back and forth a few times per month. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to open the mailbox and find something other than a bill or advertisement for a change.  

Online shopping or Black Friday deals? I’m not a great strategy shopper like many of those who venture out on Black Friday, so I always look for deals online. I know what brands I like and what will fit. I do most things on the go – including shopping. It works!

Books or movies? Both! Books first. Classic, 1930s-40s movies second. J

Note-taker or memorization? At last year’s ACFW Conference, I attended an amazing session presented by author James L. Rubart and Allen Arnold, former publisher for Thomas Nelson. It was so impactful that I took 17 pages of notes! I found them the other day and went right back to the awesome take-aways from that workshop because I’d taken notes like a mad woman. The truths I found there are still lifting me up.

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

Before we received a contract, I’d written nine novel-length manuscripts. I suppose I’m biased though, because The Butterfly and the Violin will always be special to me. It’s not just because it’s my debut novel (thought that’s a big part of it). I think it’s more because my entire family was wrapped up in this first book. An hour after our publishing contract came through, I received a call that my Dad may have leukemia. The larger part of the book was edited at our local cancer center while he was undergoing chemo. The remainder was edited in the weeks after he passed away. So when I say it’s special – that’s an understatement. It’s the book I’d always hoped to write and it’s the first and only one my Dad got to be a part of. It’s why I dedicated the book to him and why I will always praise God for giving us the journey together just in time.


Places for readers to learn more about you?

Any aspiring authors out there? If so, I’d love to hear from you. I’m another author who was walked the path to publication and am happy to encourage you along the way.
You can connect with Kristy at:
Twitter: @kcambronauthor – Facebook: Kristy L. Cambron – GoodReads: Kristy Cambron


Readers, enter to win Kristy's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on July 25th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Get Cured of the Hopeless Romantics!

Being a hopeless romantic is unnecessary right? I mean, it’s difficult to always be viewing the world through a pair of rosy glasses. To sigh over all the sweet and enduring moments during a book or movie. Or sob into your soaked hankie at weddings, either because the bride is so beautiful (and she always is) or because we’re convinced a married life is
Photo Credit
never for this romantic. We are also prone to be very dramatic. (I am, of course, the exception. ;-)

So how do you retrain your hopeless romantic self?

#1: stop watching romantic chick flicks. Just stop now. Turn off the Hallmark channel, pack up the Jane Austen movies and fill your DVR with plenty of cooking episodes, murder mysteries or 20/20-Dateline type shows.

#2: Biographies are your new go-to reading material. Either that or science fiction. You’ll probably still get the whole happily ever after factor, without muddling through all the mushy, gushy, kissing romance type stuff.

#3: Stay off Facebook. With all those people announcing their engagements, marriages and relationships, it really isn’t wise to be saturated in their happiness, dreaming for the day you can update your status in the same direction.

#4: For pity’s sake stop Googling wedding pictures! (and no hopeless romantic has ever done this, I’m sure) Sighing over strangers is really quite…well…strange, no matter how much you think the pictures speak for love and happiness.

#5: Beware of Pinterest. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should follow all those wedding and cute couple boards. It will really only continue to feed this hopeless romantic notion we are trying to squash here.

Enough with the fun and games.

(I hope you laughed a time or two during this ridiculous list!)

Hopeless romantics really can’t change. We are who we are and we see the world with a wonderful rosy glow that makes everything a little bit more lovely. We take pleasure in the cute couples with their little pig tailed darlings and dream of the day, that it’s us with the ring on our finger, the handsome man at our side and our children playing around us.  

It’s easy to dream these things and wander down the path of Hopeless Romance. We shouldn’t try to stop enjoying this part of who we are. But we also can’t fall into the rut of constant hopeless romance. When our dreams consume our every waking moment (speaking to yours truly right now) then we miss out on the life we’re living now.

We miss connecting with God.

We miss connecting with friends.

We miss seeing new places. Enjoying the gifts of spring, summer, fall, winter, life.

We miss the joy of children and families that are not ours that we can send home with their own parents. ;-)

Dreams are amazing. It’s my “one word” for 2014. I love to dream. It’s hanging on a metal tag under my rearview mirror in my car. But we should be jealous of these dreams. Pray over them. Give them back to God and not let them warp or forget where and what we’re enjoying now.

It seems to be the constant prayer of this hopeless romantic. :- )


Do you have a hard time dividing real life from your hopeless romantic tendencies? 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Fine Story ~ Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis ~ Review

What lengths would you go to find your daughter if she was brutally kidnapped from you as an infant? I can’t even begin to imagine the pain, the panic that would come from such an event.

“Child of Mine” has a fantastic premise and one I was curious to delve into. You think you have the book figured out about until about ¾ of the way through, but keep reading—it has a fantastic twist at the end. Though at times I was wondering when I was going to stop being redirected from what I thought was my ultimate destination.

The book was about one hundred pages too long. I felt there were moments when the tension could have been seized and was left to dangle without a purpose. I will admit at this point of the book, much as I wanted to take my time to enjoy, I did skim.

Besides the one hundred too many pages, Natalie is a doll. Laura is the complex Amish nanny that I truly didn’t figure out until closer to the end of the book. And secondary characters play well against the story’s backdrop. I appreciated that the romance between Jack and Kelly felt natural without the usual “drama” surrounding the breakup and getting back together of the typical contemporary romance. (smile)

All in all the plot is attractive. The writing good. The pacing a bit slow, but still a good story. Solid three stars.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

                                                                                 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
More about the book...

Bestselling Author Duo Delivers Heart-Stirring Drama 


Jack Livingston has been raising his nine-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. While he travels for work, Natalie is lovingly cared for by Laura, an Amish nanny who loves her as her own. 

Kelly Maines is nearing the end of her rope. Her baby was kidnapped, the apparent victim of a black market adoption ring, and for eight years, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. Now, there's one last lead from a private investigator: Just a few miles away lives a girl who matches the profile. Could this, at long last, be her beloved child? 

Desperately, Kelly initiates a "chance" meeting with Jack Livingston. It goes really well. So well, in fact, that Jack asks her out. One date leads to another, and before she can come clean with her original motives, Kelly realizes Jack is falling for her--and she for him. 

Now how can she tell Jack why she's really here? And having gotten to know Natalie, what if she isn't her long-lost daughter, after all? This was all supposed to be so simple.
 
But nothing in Natalie's world is simple...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Giveaway! A Match of Wits by Jen Turano!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Jen Turano, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Thank you so much for having me, Casey!  And, as for what prompted me to begin writing, well, it all started with a horrible book about birds that my son and I were reading together back when he was in elementary school.  It was a series, you see, and not a very good one, and by the time we finished book number six (I have yet to own up to the fact there are more books in this series to my son) I was not liking these birds.  When my son made mention that he enjoyed the stories I’d made up for him as a little guy while he sat in his jogger stroller as I ran – I had to entertain him so that he’d actually sit, we decided to write our own story.  It was a hoot, and although nothing came of that story, it was the beginning of a fabulous journey for me.


What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Oh, that’s a tough one.  I tend to shy away from books that are emotional, they just stay with me far too long, so I’m going to say that all the Nancy Drew books had a great impact on me.  As soon as I discovered them, I couldn’t read them fast enough, and they were instrumental in turning me into a voracious reader.



If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

That publishing is a very daunting business and that rejections are going to come fast and furious, but they’re just part of the business.  Books that don’t sell shouldn’t be considered failures, simply stepping stones, and the more you write, the more likely it is you’ll improve and hopefully, someday, attract the attention of a publisher. 


5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out?
I’m a horrible cook, so take out is one of my favorite things :- )

Email or snailmail?
Email – because besides being a horrible cook, my handwriting leaves much to be desired.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals?

Books or movies?
Books – although I do enjoy going to the movies.

Note-taker or memorization?

Note-taker – even though I’m notorious for losing those notes in a variety of notebooks.
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

A Match of Wits – coming out in July.  Miss Agatha Watson has been with me through three previous novels and a novella, so I’m pretty attached to her.


Places for readers to learn more about you?

Readers may learn more about me on my web – www.jenturano.com – but I do more interaction with readers on my author Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor

Thank you for being with us today!


Thank you for having me!  It’s been fun.

Readers, enter to win Lynne's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on July 18th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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