Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

TUESDAY TEA with Amber Stokes

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

 

Tuesday Tea-Bleeding Heart-Cookies

Tuesday Tea-Bleeding Heart-Cookies

Today we’re having tea with Amber Stokes and talking about her debut novel, Bleeding Heart, an Inspirational Historical Romance. We’re sitting at a small wooden table amid the scents of cinnamon, butter and yeast in the Mended Heart Bakery. Please join us as we munch on heart-shaped cookies (with my homemade plum jam in the centers) and sip White Pomegranate tea from the Queen Mary Tea Shop. This tea seems fitting with the colors featured on the enchanting cover of Bleeding Heart, which was designed with Lena Goldfinch. The cover truly evokes the wistful feeling of this story. Please be sure to look for the charming giveaway items (and the entry form) near the end of my post.

Bleeding Heart cover

 

About Bleeding Heart:

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.

Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Inspirational Historical Romance

To purchase Bleeding HeartAmazon Purchase Link (Kindle Edition)

This is a fun website with more information about Bleeding Heart.

www.bleedingheartnovel.blogspot.com

Many bloggers have included great interviews and reviews about Bleeding Heart. I think you’d enjoy visiting the other blogs. Each one is different, giving a bit more insight into the book.

Blog Tour Page: http://www.bleedingheartnovel.blogspot.com/p/blog-tour.html

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT BLEEDING HEART:

Bleeding Heart, Amber Stokes’ debut historical novel, will take you on an epic journey. You will travel to the old west mining towns of Nevada, to the lumber camps of California and to the landscapes of Oregon. You will experience the journey of developing relationships, both enduring friendships and evolving love. This is not a light inspirational romance. It is a story with shattering heartache, but shows the maturing qualities of love and of faith. To me, this is a story of friendship—those people God puts in our paths to enrich our lives and to encourage our sacrifice for others. I cared for the characters as they struggled with the consequences of their decisions.  I’m hoping for future stories of these characters’ continuing lives. Amber Stokes is an author who creates fascinating characters and will deliver more great stories with emotional depth. Wonderful debut novel!

NOW FOR MY CHAT WITH AMBER. I’LL POUR YOU ANOTHER CUP OF TEA AND PLEASE TAKE ANOTHER HEART COOKIE AS WE TALK ABOUT BLEEDING HEART

SHERIDA: Amber, this is an amazing debut novel! How did you get the glimmer of the idea for Bleeding Heart?

AMBER: When I finished my first book (Forget Me Not – not yet published), I wasn’t ready to face edits, so I decided to just dive into a sequel. The “glimmer” came from a spurned suitor, a prostitute in a short but pivotal scene, and a secondary character who wanted to be involved in another story – all from book 1. I threw them together, tried to incorporate some advice given to me in the form of feedback for book 1 (from my dad and editor, namely), and then let the title I had chosen help guide the story. And that was the start of Bleeding Heart! It ended up taking some rather intense turns from there…

SHERIDA: Interesting that the “sequel” was published before the first book. (And Amber tells us that Forget Me Not will be published and is already listed on Goodreads. Yay!) Amber, you are a very busy person! So tell us, what do you do to keep the “sparkle” while you are writing?

AMBER: I suppose it varies, depending on the writing “season” I’m in! What helped me to keep the sparkle as I came to the end of the first draft of Bleeding Heart was being involved in a writing challenge (Seekerville’s “Speedbo” in March) and doing #1K1Hr sessions with other writers on Twitter (where we try to write 1,000 words in an hour).

What helped me when I was working on completing the first draft of Forget Me Not was sending e-mails to a dear blogging friend with writing updates. Her enthusiastic feedback and encouragement for new scenes truly helped to motivate me.

In both cases, it seems like having goals, both short-term and long-term, really have helped me get stuff done. Imagine that! *wink*

SHERIDA: I agree that writing friends really help keep us motivated. (Seekerville’s Speedbo was great encouragement for my WIP, also.) Beyond family, friends and your writing career, what jewel of a moment has God placed in your path during your life’s journey that you would share with us?

AMBER: My first semester of college, I did something very spontaneous. I was stressed with school work to do, practices for the musical I was in (just a small chorus part – but we still had to know all the group dances and such), and just the newness of being away from home for so long, on my own. So one Sunday night I bought a train ticket. It wasn’t for the destination – I just picked a spot in Washington state (I went to school in Salem, Oregon) that would allow me to have a day trip somewhere and back. While I probably could have been more responsible and picked a weekend date where I wouldn’t miss any classes or practices, I was still blessed by the experience – just me and God, on a train trip to nowhere that turned out to be refreshing, a jewel of a memory that I cherish. It was during that trip that I wrote the poem “Seasons of Humility,” which I ended up choosing as the title for my blog when I started it several months later. That poem has ended up shaping my blog and, to some degree, my business and my writing brand. It’s so cool that God can use little moments in big ways in a person’s life! And those little “jewels” God generously provides can really help us keep a proper perspective on it all, I believe.

SHERIDA: Amber, it is always interesting to hear of those “God moments” we have in our lives. Train travel seems perfect for quiet reflection when we need to enjoy the journey. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and blessings with us today! Bleeding Heart is an amazing debut book. I’m looking forward to Forget Me Not!

About Amber Stokes:

Amber Stokes

 

 

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word – from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber is doing a fun giveaway with the charming items shown in the picture below (plus a signed copy of the print edition of her book when it is available-soon). She picked items representing scene locations mentioned in her book. (The giveaway is for one US resident only.)

 

Bleeding Heart Blog Tour Package

Bleeding Heart Blog Tour Package

Giveaway Information

“Journey to the West” Giveaway! One U.S. resident (randomly drawn) will receive a signed copy of Bleeding Heart and a collection of items from the story’s settings, handpicked by the author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for joining Amber and me for tea today. Hope you enjoyed the additional information about Bleeding Heart. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

And here is a “shout out” to my dear friend, HH. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my TUESDAY TEA posts! 🙂

The cookie recipe can be found at www.allrecipes.com and then search for Easy Valentine Sandwich Cookies. (They are yummy cookies!)

The White Pomegranate tea is from www.QueenMaryTea.com. (It’s one of my favorite tea shops.)

I was generously given an e-ARC of Bleeding Heart for my honest review. (Thanks, Amber!)

TUESDAY TEA at Green Mountain Dude Ranch

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

This week, I’m attending a writing retreat at Green Mountain Dude Ranch with about sixty other writers from Seekerville. Beautiful scenery here at the Idaho ranch, where Jake has made us all feel welcome. We are free to saddle up a horse for a trail ride, pull on our hiking boot for a bit of adventure, or find a place on the porch to sit and write. We gather around the campfire to share goals or experiences at the end of the day. Sunday we attended cowboy church, listening to great old hymns. This morning, I took a hike down by the creek and gathered some leaves of wild mint, so today I’m serving fresh mint tea. (I just might have seen grizzly tracks in the mud by the stream. I’ll have to ask the cowboys if there are grizzly bears around these parts.) The cooks here rustle up some delicious grub, so I’ll let you help yourself to anything on the spread. (The strawberry rhubarb pie is a good choice, as is anything with peaches.) The Grammar Queen is here, so I’m hoping for an invitation to her suite for an afternoon tea. Take a moment to enjoy the mountain scenery and stay awhile!

 

Mug of mint tea 1

 

And let me tell you, a virtual retreat with this group of writers is awesome! The more the merrier! Let me know in the comments where you would go on a virtual writing retreat! Thanks for stopping by for mint tea!

 

For information about the retreat, visit Seekerville at www.Seekerville.net.

TUESDAY TEA: MY HERO-Celebrating Happily Ever After!

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

This week, my real life hero and I celebrate our forty-two years of Happily Ever After. We’re gathering at the Old West Book Shop today. In my husband’s honor, I’m serving his favorite Arbuckles coffee (strong) and his favorite treat, Oreo cookies. He’ll be reading his treasured Louis L’Amour books while we’re lingering over coffee.

 

We celebrate our forty-two years of happily ever after this week!

We celebrate our forty-two years of happily ever after this week!

 

This is the man who asked me to go to the Junior Prom with him for our first date.

This is the man who still wanted to marry me when I told him I wasn’t able to have children.

This is the man who stood by me as I went through many years of infertility treatments.

This is the man who calmed me as we went through high-risk pregnancies.

This is the man who was by my side both times we brought miracle babies into the world.

This is the man who comforted me when two of our babies went to heaven before being born.

This is the man who is a wonderful father to our two sons, who are amazing men.

This is the man who has always worked hard to provide for his family.

This is the man who delights in being Granddad to the most adorable grandchildren in the world.

This is the man who strives to live a Christian life every day.

This is the man God created to be my best friend, my companion along the trail.

This is the man who is my hero.

This is the man I love.

Blessings to you, DEAR HUSBAND of forty-two years….and forever!

TUESDAY TEA in the Wilderness

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

We went hiking recently….in a land that looks like wilderness.Wilderness 1

 

The trail starts innocently enough…a dirt path with unnecessary cairns marking the way.Wilderness 2

 

But as we hike further, the trail turns into the stone of old lava flows.Wilderness 3

 

The cairns become vital to showing us the correct direction.Wilderness 4

The black layers of lava are pushed into mounds. Deep crevices split the rough surface.Wilderness 5

 

But here among the rocks of the wilderness,  bright desert flowers grow.Wilderness 6

How perfect an example of God leading us through the wilderness…with a gift of life at the end.

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God.  Isaiah 35:1-3 (NKJV)

So enjoy a trail bar and sip some iced tea from your water bottle as we marvel at God’s blessings.

MEETING ALONG THE TRAIL…..

Friday, April 26th, 2013

          Show me Your ways, O LORD; 

          Teach me Your paths.                     Psalm 25:4 (NKJV)

 

Blog-trail

I believe God has a purpose when He puts people in our path as we travel our trail in life.

Years ago on a backpacking trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, we were hiking a trail through a meadow. We hadn’t seen anyone for three hours since we left the trail that circled Green River Lake. We came to a woman  standing right in the middle of the trail–not to the side to let us pass or off the trail a ways where her husband was finishing up dinner at their campsite. She waited for us to reach her and said excitedly that she was SO glad to see someone else out there in the wilderness. She hadn’t camped outside of campgrounds before, so just having someone else in the area was a comfort to her. We talked with the two of them a bit, then went just a few more feet up the trail and put our tent up, just over the slight ridge. The next day on our way out, we passed them as they waved while taking down their camp.  We crossed paths with them a couple of times as we returned to the trail head.

We learn from others who we meet along the way. At times we help others we find crossing our paths.

Two Love Inspired Inspirational Romance books I have read recently mention this same thought, Mending the Doctor’s Heart, by Tina Radcliffe, and Georgia Sweethearts, by Missy Tippens. These are stories of finding love in our lives, but I think the thought also applies to meeting new people as friends or acquaintances.

Sometimes I don’t understand why a person is entering my life, but God has a plan for us. It’s not my path, but God’s path I am following.

It is good to have companionship along the trail. May I be open to learning from this path God has prepared for me. Blessings to you as we meet along the trail.

 

Show me Your ways, O LORD;  Teach me Your paths.           Psalm 25:4  (NKJV)

 

LIGHT is “My One Word” for 2013…….

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Sunrise

Sunrise

 

LIGHT is “My One Word” for 2013

 

I subscribe to Seekerville (www.seekerville.net), a blog that helps aspiring writers sail from “Unpublished Island” to the mainland of successful publication.  Their blog is always timely and of great encouragement.  They had a virtual party on New Year’s Eve, featuring the book My One Word, by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen.  (www.myoneword.com)  They challenge Christians to “Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.”

 

Their message called to me.  After some consideration, I have chosen LIGHT as my word for 2013.  The main reason, or the first one that came to mind as I decided on this word, is that I want to glow in the LIGHT of God’s love for He is the LIGHT of the world.  This is a good choice for many reasons which I will discuss in future blogs.

 

May you walk in the LIGHT of our Lord!

 

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

I LOVE THE LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

I love all the lights of Christmas!

I love the multi-colored lights sparkling on our tree.

I love the icicle lights hanging from the homes in our neighborhood along with bushes decorated with tiny flowers of light.

I love the dancing flames of our fireplace.

I love the glowing luminarias lighting the path for Mary and Joseph.

I love the flickering candles.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is attending church on Christmas Eve as child…..the pageant, the carols, the story of Jesus’ birth….but especially holding the white candle lit by passing the flame from the candle on the altar to each person from the front pew to the back.  As we silently left the church, we would shelter the flicking light wanting to arrive home with our candle still shining.

Jesus is that light. 

There is a lighted cross in our window this year, a reminder that there is a light in our lives—always.

Our prayer for you this Christmas is that your path is always lighted.

Blessings to you for a shining Christmas!

 

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Book recommendation…..”HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” by Todd Burpo

Monday, November 26th, 2012

 

Heaven Is For Real

I recently read a book my husband recommended,  “Heaven Is For Real:  A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip To Heaven and Back” by Todd Burpo, a Wesleyan pastor from Nebraska.  This is the “astounding” story of his son Colten’s experience in heaven when the boy was near death.  Yes, it reaffirms what I believe and gives me a picture of heaven as seen through a child’s eyes.  I have thought about Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3-4.  “And he said:  ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”  NIV  The revelations in this book helped my eyes to see heaven like a little child–a simple, trusting belief.

My husband and I go to a local care center one Sunday a month to provide a church service for the elderly residents.  Yesterday, my husband used the message in this book during the worship service.  One of the staff members thanked him for the message.  As we asked the folks what special prayers they would like for the following week, we had more meaningful conversations than we had before.  One lady told us of the angels that surround her bed at night.  Another asked for prayers for her parents who she hopes are in heaven.  I believe that the reinforcement of my beliefs helped to comfort the woman who told me of her pain.

I am thankful that reading “Heaven Is For Real” helped us to offer comfort and hope to others and gave us the experience of seeing the world and heaven as little children.  I pray that we continue to be like little children.