Archive for the ‘Writing news’ Category

TUESDAY TEA-The Emerald City Writers’ Conference & Cherry Adair’s tea

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

In October, I attended my first romance writers’ conference, the EMERALD CITY WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, sponsored by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America chapter. It was FABULOUS! The experience far exceeded my expectations. I was blessed by my daughter-in-law, author Kira Brady, who accompanied me and was the helpful voice of conference experience.

ECWC with DIL Kira Brady

ECWC with DIL Kira Brady.

 

We picked up our registration packets and tote bags FILLED with goodies–books, pens, notebooks, promotional items and motivational buttons, plus some candy. 🙂

Bag of goodies from ECWC.

Bag of goodies from ECWC.

Now, where to begin? Since this is TUESDAY TEA, I’ll start with the Cherry Adair Tea and First Timers Welcome Reception. Cherry Adair, an author from the sponsoring chapter, gives generous support to this conference and offers encouragement to writers. Her tea is a “meet and greet” time at the conference where tea sandwiches and scones were served amid lively conversation and charming autumn decorations–and there was chocolate. 🙂

Cherry Adair Tea at the ECWC.

Cherry Adair Tea at the ECWC.

Major take-away thoughts from the conference:

  • Self-Publishing is a way to go
  • Develop a series
  • Keep writing, never give up
  • Write a great book, then keep writing
  • Chocolate is a writer’s friend 🙂

It was such fun to be with a welcoming group of writers who understand the language of HEA, WIP and GMC. The keynote speakers were inspiring. The food served was delicious. The workshops presentations were informative, with chocolate available to snack on. 🙂

Here are highlights from some of the presentations:

Learn to Rewrite: Finishing the manuscript is just the beginning with Anna DeStefano–Print out your completed manuscript. Use Post-it notes to flag each character’s POV passages in a different color. Then read that character’s story from beginning to end. You should see the character evolve in each scene.

Craft of the Short Story with Anthea Lawson–The market for short stories is on the rise, ranging from flash fiction of 300 to 1000 words to anthologies ranging from 5K to 7K. Short fiction needs to give an emotional payoff to the reader.

Secondary characters with Pam Binder–Secondary characters should only be in the story if they have a purpose. This purpose can be to help the main character recognize and overcome flaws by mirroring these flaws or being the complete opposite. Look at the motivation of secondary characters–why are they in the hero or heroine’s life?

Writing Active Setting with Mary Buckham–Details of setting must matter to the story to be included in your writing. Setting can be used for characterization, to reveal emotion, foreshadow conflict, tell backstory, anchor the reader or act as a character. The primary goal for setting is to capture the reader’s attention.

Navigating the Wild West of Publishing with Marie Force and Shelli Stevens–The publishing world is changing and now may be a good time to enter into self-publishing. Timing is extremely important–along with some luck. It is suggested to have many projects ready to publish in quick succession to stay engaged with the reader.

Building a Successful Series with Robin Carr–Series are in the spotlight at this time. A series needs a running theme, then begin with a place which challenges the characters, giving plenty of sensory details. Be sure there is a reader payoff in each book and a hook to entice the reader into the next book. It is best to be authentic to your own personality when writing.

Christopher Keeslar of Boroughs Publishing Group offered wise advice: Spend time outside of your writing cave, living a life full of everyday activities because your writing will be enriched by all your experiences.

Next time, I’ll write about the Book Fair featuring many authors signing books (and giving away chocolate) and the amazing raffle baskets (many of which contained chocolate). (I won one, and, yes, it had chocolate!) 😀

THANK YOU to all the volunteers! Their hard work made the Emerald City Writers’ Conference simply AWESOME!

Thank you, Emerald City Writers' Conference!

Thank you, Emerald City Writers’ Conference!

 

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 with Valerie Comer

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake via Valerie Comer

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake via Valerie Comer

Today we’re having raspberry tea with Valerie Comer at the Valley Co-op Farm Shop, sitting outside on the deck with a view of their organic fields of ready-to-pick veggies.  As we talk about her book, Raspberries and Vinegar-A Farm Fresh Romance, we’re snacking on Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, (Valerie has linked her recipe in the comments) which is perfect for our tea today to celebrate her newest book. Another time I’ll serve her Raspberry Vinegar punch. Valerie includes a recipe for this refreshing summer drink at the end of the book.

Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie ComerHere is some information about the series and the first book.

A FARM FRESH ROMANCE. This unique farm lit series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of three college graduates who move onto a reclaimed farm where they plan to take the rural area by storm with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods.

Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance (1) by Valerie Comer

Sweet and tart Josephine Shaw is on a mission to rid the world of junk food and chemicals by promoting local foods and sustainability.

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can’t handle? And surely there’s something sweet beneath all that tart.

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the first “farm lit” book I’ve read. Reading it brought back fond memories of spending time at my aunt and uncle’s farm in Kansas. Raspberries and Vinegar was fun to read as I dreamed of all the fresh produce we enjoyed when we belonged to Turkey Hill CSA in Colorado.

With believable characters, good pacing and a faith thread running throughout, Valerie has written an “opposites attract” romance, showing that every person and every issue is composed of multiple shades of positives and negatives. As in real life, there are sad moments in this story and joyful celebrations. If we let God direct us, our dreams can become something much more that we imagined.

The last line in this book is perfect, but please don’t peek ahead!

I’m looking forward to two more books in Valerie’s Farm Fresh series.

SHERIDA:  Welcome, Valerie! This coffee cake is delicious. As is your book! How did you get the glimmer of the idea for Raspberries and Vinegar?

VALERIE: It came to me in a dream. Seriously! I pretty much never remember my dreams, but this was a noteworthy exception. My first few manuscripts were speculative fiction and I’d decided to make the jump to contemporary romance as fantasy was (and still is) such a hard sell in Christian circles.

But so many contemporary novels focused on city girls, and I live on a farm with no interest in urban life. I’d spent a few days mulling what angle I could offer that meshed my chosen genre with things I actually cared about and knew about as I prepared for my first writers’ conference and a pitch session with an editor. What could I present?

That morning as I was coming awake, I remembered sitting across from Tina James of Love Inspired, Harlequin’s inspirational imprint. I pitched her this three-book idea and she loved it! She bought it on the spot. Then I realized it was just a dream, but my eyes popped open wide when I realized I remembered the idea I’d pitched.

To make a long story short, I did, in fact, pitch the idea to Tina at the next ACFW conference. Instead of buying it (or even loving it) she told me Love Inspired readers don’t want issue-driven fiction—and what else could you call a story that pits an opinionated local-food advocate against a junk-food addict?

I’d already gotten a solid start on developing the story and still loved it, so I finished the novel and began sending it out. After a few close calls and a lot of waiting, it found a home, along with the other two books in the series, with a new small publishing house, Choose NOW Publishing.

SHERIDA: I love that you had a God-inspired dream, leading you to a perfect story! What do you do to keep the sparkle while you are writing?

VALERIE: It takes a long time to finish a novel, but I think you already know that. (Sherida: Yes, I do!)  I set myself daily and weekly goals while I’m in writing mode (which I need to get back into soon, writing the third book in the Farm Fresh Romance series!) Little rewards include checking Facebook and chatting with writing friends on Yahoo Messenger. They’re quite likely to ask if I’ve achieved my goals for the day and if not, WHY NOT??

For added sparkle, a few minutes with my granddaughters, one of whom lives next door, reminds me why I write stories about foodie issues. I’m compelled to do what I can to make these little girls’ lives the best I can. This includes both helping to provide local, organic, seasonal food for them, and raising awareness to the public of the changes needed for a sustainable future for everyone’s grandchildren.

Oh, and a mocha helps with the sparkle, but I don’t need the calories or the caffeine so limit myself to one a day. I can savor those sips for a long time!

SHERIDA:  We have two precious little grandchildren, so I completely understand your motivation of providing a good future for all little ones. 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?

VALERIE: My husband was raised on the West Coast of BC, Canada, but we currently live many hours’ drive inland so don’t get to visit all that often. On our first visit to Vancouver Island, we camped a couple of nights near Tofino along the Pacific Ocean. After parking the truck, we headed for the beach. I made a beeline for the sand and the waves, only to look around for Jim. He was already clambering over the rocks, searching out tidal pools for interesting flora and fauna.

We discovered that “going to the ocean” held different meanings for each of us and now make sure there’s time for both. Though he’s right: the tidal pools are much more fascinating than just plain sand!

That camping trip was an interlude when time stood still.

SHERIDA: Camping always brings us a sense of being surrounding by God’s majesty. The cover of Raspberries and Vinegar is charming. Please tell us the story behind the cover design of your book.

VALERIE: My daughter, Hanna Sandvig, is working toward a career in freelance illustration. She’s created the headers for both my blogs and has completed numerous commissions for other people, as well.

Once my novel had made the rounds of all the big Christian publishing houses and come home with some very nice rejections, I started toying around with self publishing it. Hanna asked to read the story then began sketching a cover. She just couldn’t help herself!

A few weeks later when I entered discussion with Choose NOW Publishing, I showed the initial sketch Hanna had done, and the publisher agreed to hire her to create the cover. This is a dream come true for both of us, and my daughter blogged about the process here.

It’s especially fun because we’ve both been published in book form before, but not as the feature. My novella “Topaz Treasure” is one of four novellas in Rainbow’s End. Hanna’s artwork of wedding cakes appeared in the pages of Sandra D. Bricker’s novel Always the Baker, Finally the Bride. It’s really cool for both of us to have our first solo novel—together.

I think she’s very talented!

SHERIDA: I agree! I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in your series with the stories of Sierra and Claire. Thank you for sharing your Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake with us today.

ABOUT VALERIE COMER

Valerie Comer
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at http://valeriecomer.com.
You can buy Raspberries and Vinegar through www.Amazon.com or through Choose NOW Publishing at www.choosenowpublishing.com.

Connect with Valerie at her website: www.valeriecomer.com. You will find Valerie’s recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake at her website if you click on “Kitchen” then “What’s Cooking” or look in the comment section for a link to this yummy (and easy) recipe. (Thanks, Valerie!) I didn’t have 1 cup of milk, so I used 1 cup of plain yogurt which worked just fine, but made the batter a bit thicker.

SHERIDA: It’s a delight to host Valerie today. I’m very hungry for farm fresh food, so I’m off to find the nearest farmers’ market!

 

TUESDAY TEA with May the K9 Spy and KC Frantzen

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

 

 

Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait

Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait

I’m excited to have May the K9 Spy and KC Frantzen with us today for tea. We’re at the dog-friendly Tea Terrace overlooking Doggie Park. May and KC volunteer at Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways, so in honor of their contributions to this organization, I’m serving a patriotic Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait with blueberry tea. Help yourself to iced tea if you prefer. It is HOT out there! For our canine guests, we have refreshing water and special “Pooch Dog Peanut Butter Treats” from Joshua’s Pet Treat Bakery.

Take a look at May’s two books (and note the dates each will be available FREE for Kindle!) Then please join us as we chat with May and KC and enjoy our treats. (And be very sure to check below about the blog tour information and giveaway…sleuthing involved!)

My thoughts:  I just finished May’s first book, May On The Way, and loved it. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with sweet May, and I completely enjoyed her tale about how she became a K9 Spy. I love suspense, and this book has suspense along with May’s interesting point of view—a dog’s point of view! A fun read for pet lovers from ages eight and up. This would be a paw-fect book for your family to read together during the summer. I’m looking forward to reading book 2, May Finds a Way about her adventure in Paris. It is good to know that May and KC are busy writing a third book.

 

May On The Way

 

May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy

Sometimes I start with a well-thought out plan, and sometimes, me being me, things just happen. In my imagination I’m on my way, heading anywhere. Because anywhere’s better than here.

Which is why I’m staring at this latch. I’m going to escape today. I’ve been watching closely to see how they work it, though no one’s noticed.

Humans… So unaware…

Available in Kindle format for $2.99 on Amazon.com.

FREE for Kindle: July 16-20, 2013

May Finds A Way

 

May Finds a Way: Peril in Paris

An enterprising escape, a perilous mission…
After going astray during K9 Spy boot camp, May tries to find a way to the American Embassy in Paris.

Join her and Léonce, a feral cat, as they sniff out an evil plot leading from Benjamin Franklin’s park through the historic Passy Cemetery to The Pantheon…including a journey under the city!

Available in Kindle format for $3.99 on Amazon.com.

FREE for Kindle: July 23-27, 2013

Now for our conversation with May and KC!

SHERIDA: How did you get the glimmers of your ideas for May on the Way and May Finds a Way?

KC: It was a combo for May on the Way. Rescued from abuse, May could be a snippy little dog, but no! She assumes everyone will love her, greeting each with enthusiasm. The more we enjoyed her, the more we thought others could benefit from her story. We watched her “work” on some die-hard cat people. May insisted they offer her a pat or quick game of toss-and-fetch.

A flicker.
When May was about six, a friend came by, with a friend who worked in law enforcement. After meeting May and getting a good throwing arm workout, she remarked (paraphrased), “May would make an excellent bomb-sniffing dog. She is focused and small enough to go where others cannot.”

A gleam.

About the same time, I was about ¾ through the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice Course and was encouraged to do more with one of the lessons by my mentor, the pawmazing, Sandra Byrd.

The gleam passed from glimmer to glow and I got to work. About 5 years later, the first book became a reality.

And writers may find this humorous… I fully intended to have the Christian Writers Guild scene in the first book, and it was, but as the Sneak Peek bonus chapter for book 2! It became the basis of how May is dognapped in May Finds a Way, but really, who’d a thunk she’d have ended up in Paris?

I enjoy history and how God weaves His story throughout, so I strive to make our books full of interesting tidbits where all details are accurate. Research is So. Much. Fun!! (Yes, there was a 28 hour visit to Paris for book 2.) Plus it’s pawmazing to see how seemingly disparate events, places, actions come together as a unified whole.

Adults seem to enjoy them as much as the kids. This is why we’ve changed the series description. We used to say they are for “Middle-grade, readers 8-12 years old,” now its “Enjoyed by animal lovers 8 and up!”

SHERIDA: Oooo! Research in Paris would be fascinating! What do you do to keep your sparkle while you are writing?

KC: It depends on which phase of the writing process…

As a history major, I ADORE research. This writing gig lets me do that full-time! For example, at a recent craft fair I remarked on a gentleman’s military submarine cap and said we have a nuclear submarine in our third book. He then put me in touch with a fellow, not too far away, who was gracious enough to spend an hour and a half sharing ideas and experiences. Can’t get much better than this.

Editing and rewriting is a joy for me too, mostly… Once words are on the page, you can tinker. Blank pages are fairly difficult for me. I’ve morphed into a “planster” – a hybrid of pantster (writing by seat of the pants) and a plotter (plotting each scene). I’m just on book 3 so my style is still developing.

But the sparkle in any project has to be May herself. She is always near as I write and occasionally reminds me to take a break and toss the ball, even though she just celebrated her 13th barkday on June 13, 2013!  🙂

SHERIDA: Yes, I can just see from May’s website photos and her pawmazing adventures, that she is a sparkle girl! A treasure! 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 like to share with us?

KC: The Lord has graced me with an entire box of jewels. We do a fair amount of traveling and one of the highlights has to have been visiting Salto Angel (pronounced SALTo  anHEL), also known as Angel Falls in Venezuela. I’d wanted to see it since World Geography in elementary school. Had to wait until my 40’s but it was worth it on soooo many levels. You haven’t lived until you spend a wedding anniversary under a pole tent in hammocks with about 30 others. When one shifts, all hammocks on your pole swing. What an experience…

Seriously, it was an amazing adventure into La Gran Sabana. Once you fly into the small airport, you board large canoes (with motors) and go upriver for hours. Incidentally, the river is the color of root beer, no animal sounds… But the flora is spectacular. Upon arrival at base camp, you offload luggage and follow the guide, scrambling up the side of the tepui for several hours. Just a couple of minutes before we got to the observation area, the Heavens opened and we were absolutely drenched.

We managed to retrieve only one photo. My husband snapped it of me standing on a rock holding a red anniversary rose, mists of Angel Falls in the background. That has to rank right on up there!

SHERIDA:  Wow! What an experience! My husband was born in Venezuela, but left when he was six-weeks old. He’d like to visit sometime, and we’ll put Salto Angel on our to-do-list of adventures. And now to ask May a question! What jewel of a moment in your spy adventures would you like to tell us about?

MAY THE K9 SPY:  Miss Sherida ~ I’m wiggling my whole self! You saved best for last! BOL!

There are so many things I could mention but then, they’re classified.

The best thing I can say is, no matter how dark things look, there is always hope. Opportunity is on the way, and usually when and where you least expect it. Like when Dad and Mom rescued me from the evil Rukan. In real life, it happened pretty much the way we tell it in my first book. Things were bleak but the Creator had a plan that I was unaware of. I thought He’d forgotten about me but not at all. He’d already set into motion events that took me away from that awful caged existence, into a pawmazing home and now… I’m a K9 Spy and author of a series of books! (I try to humor Mom and say she’s the author but… she’s just the transcriptionist. She has to type, since I have no thumbs.)

Thank you for your thoughtfulness to include me and my FURiends with the dee-licious fresh water and pawmazing pet treats. Yummo!

And now, hint-hint – it’s past time for toss and fetch, don’t you agree? *prance prance* Here’s my ball! Let’s go play!

I adore answering questions, and Mom does too. We’ll be at the ready to chat whenever you like.

Thank you again for asking us to be with you and your readers today!

SHERIDA: It’s been so interesting to hear about your rescue with the reminder that God has a plan for us all. Thank you so much for joining us for tea and water.  Now May and I will head to the doggie park with her ball for a bit of exercise. Be sure to find out about May the K9 Spy’s Scavenger Hunt with the information given below and check out the link for Joshua’s Pet Treats for your FURiends!

Giveaway Information:

Check out the rules and join May the K9 Spy’s Scavenger Hunt at May’s Blog Tour HQ!

May also has a “Lucky 7 Rewards for Reviewers” drawing happening this month! Grab a copy of the book(s), submit your review(s) on Amazon.com, and enter to win super cool prizes. Details can be found in May’s latest newsletter, or contact May’s publicist at amberstokes@editingthroughtheseasons.com.

KC and May

About the Author:

KC Frantzen learned to speak critter at a young age. She and her husband volunteer with a variety of projects, including the Joni & Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway. They enjoy traveling just about anywhere, which helps formulate ideas for May the K9 Spy. The family lives in the country hills of middle Tennessee with two Arabian horses and several rescue dogs, including the real May.

 

Learn more about KC and May at www.maythek9spy.com, and connect with May on her Facebook page.

Learn about Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways at www.joniandfriends.org.

Learn about the special doggie treats at www.Joshuaspettreatbakery.com.

A FINAL NOTE: I fell in love with suspense and mystery novels when my sixth grade teacher let me read her treasured Nancy Drew books. That is when I wrote my first story, Mystery of the Diamond Mountain Men, filled with romance and treasures! What mystery novels do you enjoy? Please leave a comment! Thanks for joining May, KC and me for TUESDAY TEA!

May working on edits.

May working on edits.

 

 

TUESDAY TEA – My Writing Travel Bag

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

For tea today, we’re on the road! I’m serving Bigelow’s Constant Comment tea in a leak-proof travel mug along with a Kind almond walnut macadamia bar.

What's inside my writing travel bag.....

What’s inside my writing travel bag…..

Writing time is difficult to find. I’m learning I need to use little bits of time whenever I can grab them. For long stints, I pack my laptop, but for camping or quick trips around town, I’m going low-tech. My Writing Travel Bag has become very important to take with me so I can be productive. What do I keep in my bag?

  • notebook with lined pages for writing and an interior pocket for a print-out of my WIP for editing
  • craft book I’m currently reading  ( Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point Of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson)
  • portable plotting board with lots of sticky notes (I got mine from Pikes Peak Romance Writers a few years ago.)
  • extra pens
  • turquoise notebook which goes with me always to keep ideas about current and future writing projects
  • packet of jelly beans for a writing reward

The bag from Little Miss Matched  (www.littlemissmatched.com) is just the right size with handles which fit nicely over my shoulder for carrying.

Pam Hillman posted about how to organize conference tote bags in Seekerville yesterday. www.seekerville.net  My Writing Travel Bag seemed appropriate for today.

I’m ready to grab my bag as I head out the door to another writing adventure–any time, any place.

What do you carry in your writing travel bag? Please leave a comment with your ideas! Thanks for having tea with me on the road!

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-Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes, the cover reveal!

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Bleeding Heart cover

 

I’m delighted to reveal the beautiful cover for Amber Stokes’ debut novel, Bleeding Heart. I “met” Amber in Seekerville (www.seekerville.net) and enjoy her enthusiasm and helpfulness. Amber has been writing her first book which I am looking forward to reading! First, the cover reveal! The heroine is sitting on the hillside with the sunset in the background….lovely! Then look at her dress and the flowers she holds….perfect! I was drawn to this story by its cover, but as I read about the book and then the excerpt (see below), I’m intrigued by Miss Clay and her future plans!

We’ll have a tea celebration and chat with Amber when Bleeding Heart is released in August 2013. But for now, enjoy the cover and a bit about her Inspirational Historical Romance, while you sip some iced tea with a touch of lemon sitting on the patio with me! Thank you for your visit!

GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment with your thoughts about this cover, AND be sure to look at the end of this post to see the perfect Bleeding Heart gifts and enter the giveaway using the form.

About the Book

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.

 

Teaser from Bleeding Heart

Prologue

 

Breaking hearts should be considered a crime. That would make Elizabeth Lawson an outlaw and Joe Clifton the victim. And that wasn’t a far stretch in Joe’s mind. She had rounded up his heart, branded her name across it when it should never have belonged to her, and then left him high and dry. Still, he was getting sick of hanging around the scene of the crime. He just didn’t know where else to go.

Lake Tahoe had once been his favorite get-away destination, a place where he could go to just sit back and enjoy the view of water as clear as a shined-up mirror. Now those crystal depths and the unmoving boulders along the water’s edge taunted him, bringing back memories of a happy proposal and a less-than-happy scene where his heart was handed back to him on a silver platter – bruised, broken, and bleeding.

He didn’t want to make any more memories like that. So he made a promise to himself: He would never let anyone break his heart again.

 

 

 

Amber Stokes

About the Author

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. You can connect with Amber on her blog, Seasons of Humility.

 

BTW, on Amber’s blog, www.seasonsofhumility.com, I think you’ll enjoy her thoughts on how this cover came to be while working with Lena Goldfinch.

 

 

 

About the Cover Designer

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of “sigh-worthy” romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.Lena Goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book’s Blog

In conjunction with the cover reveal, Amber’s doing a “blog reveal,” as well! You can find all the latest news about Bleeding Heart, along with book extras, at the Bleeding Heart blog.

 

And Amber has a giveaway with these beautiful gifts….see the form below.

Bleeding Heart Note Cards for Cover Reveal Giveaway 2

Teardrop Earrings for Cover Reveal Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TUESDAY TEA with Sandra Leesmith

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Love's Miracles

 

We’re having tea today the with the author of LOVE’S MIRACLESSandra Leesmith. We’re at the Wildflower Gazebo Tea Garden, serving Lavender Scones with wildflower honey and an exquisite blend of English tea, The Queen’s Earl Grey Jubilee, from the Queen Mary Tea Shop in Seattle. The tea includes delicate lavender blossoms. Please pull up a white wicker chair and sit with us while we talk about Love’s Miracles, where wildflowers bloom, hence the flower-flavored scones and tea I’m serving today.

Lavender Scones and tea served in the spring garden with blooming columbines.

Lavender Scones and tea served in the spring garden with blooming columbines.

About  Love’s Miracles

Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli’s mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love.

 

My thoughts on Love’s Miracles

Reading Love’s Miracles helps us remember the sacrifices our military members and their families make to secure our nation’s freedom and the freedom of others who are not able to defend themselves. Love’s Miracles is a story of the post-Vietnam era, but is still relevant to current times. Sandra Leesmith writes of the emotions involved with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her words are written with the care and the consideration deserved by those who suffer from this condition. As I read this story, I was concerned about Zane and Margo as they worked through the issues they must face, their love blooming over time and through difficulties. The detail of both scenery and action is vivid. The ending left me in tears and with a profound appreciation for the sacrifices made during wartime.

As I read Love’s Miracles, my thoughts went back to 1971 when my husband headed to Fort Lewis, Washington, for Basic Training. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corp of Engineers. During this stressful time, he was prepared to go to Vietnam. I dreaded my husband being affected by the war, because I knew the possibilities. My father is a World War II veteran, having been in a German POW hospital after having a leg amputated, an injury which was caused by “friendly fire.” My father handles his disability with grace, helping others through amputee support groups. In my husband’s situation, the United States forces were withdrawn before he was called to go to Vietnam, though he continued to serve in the Reserves for many years.

Soldiers face extreme hardships and each person handles these situations differently. Love’s Miracles is a powerful story offering hope and understanding….and a reminder of those we owe thanks.

With thankfulness, my prayers go out to soldiers past, present and future.

 

Talking with Sandra Leesmith

SHERIDA:  Sandra, I’m so happy to welcome you to Tuesday Tea as my first guest. After “meeting” you and your editor, Amber Stokes, in Seekerville, I am delighted to review the re-release of your book, Love’s Miracles.

SANDRA:  Good morning, Sherida! Thank you so much for inviting me to join you for tea. I love tea. My dad’s family was from England so I always enjoyed tea time with them. Dad’s wife was British and she gave me quite a few lessons about the difference between a tea pot and a tea kettle. Makes me smile thinking of her.

SHERIDA:  Readers like to know how an author gets started with a story. How did you get the glimmer of the idea for your book, Love’s Miracles?

SANDRA:  Ideas rumble around in my head all the time. Characters talk to me and demand their story be told. I have always been a daydreamer so I figure my imagination is overactive. I like to think the stories come from the Holy Spirit.

This particular story was written in the eighties when there were so many after-effects of the Vietnam War. Veterans had a tough time when they returned home. They not only had to deal with public anger and hatred, but had to process the horror they had seen in battle. My brother was a Vietnam vet and my heart ached for the trauma I saw in him and so many others. The story emerged from those emotions.

SHERIDA:  You wrote about this difficult situation with compassion. I’m learning that writing is demanding work. What do you do to keep your sparkle while you are writing?

SANDRA:  What keeps me “sparkling” when I write is plenty of rest, exercise and healthy snacks. I start out my day with a morning walk and let the ideas swirl in my mind. I also walk when I’m stuck. Somehow the process of walking keeps my left brain busy enough to let my creative right brain have a say.

SHERIDA:  Interesting. Many of my story ideas are formed when I’m hiking. I like your thoughts on keeping the left brain busy. Sandra, 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?

SANDRA:  This was a tough question because I have been so blessed with so many jewel moments. One that sticks out to me is the time right after I retired from teaching and started writing again, and I hit a wall. I had written Cody the Coyote, my children’s picture book, but I couldn’t write much more because of an intense set of family crises. I took a hike and sat down in this field thinking, “I guess I just wasn’t meant to write.” All of a sudden a coyote showed up about forty feet away and started singing and yipping. He stood there and pranced his front paws and sang to me for about fifteen minutes.  I’ve never seen anything like it. But I knew that he was telling me that my writing was okay and that I would be fine.

Cody the Coyote finally did get published last winter. All of this simply showed me that even though we may have a glimmer of what we are supposed to do, we need to trust and have faith in the timing. 🙂

SHERIDA:  I love your special moment! God’s perfect timing! Cody the Coyote sounds like a great book for my two grandchildren. FYI-Sandra’s children’s books are written as Sandy Wardman.

SANDRA:  Thank you, Sherida.  It has been a pleasure. And the tea hit the spot.

 

Sandra Leesmith

About the Author

Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle, and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a toy poodle. During the hot summer, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

You can learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.

LOVE’S MIRACLES can be ordered from Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Miracles-ebook/dp/B00CVFZEVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368994615&sr=8-1&keywords=Love%27s+Miracles+by+Sandra+Leesmith

Here is the information for the blog tour giveaway which is open to United States residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you all  for joining us for Tuesday Tea!

If you’d like a recipe for the scones, go to www.allrecipes.com and search for Lavender Scones.

If you’d like to order tea, go to www.QueenMaryTea.com.

Amber Stokes blogs at www.seasonsofhumility.com.

You can find the encouraging authors of Seekerville at www.seekerville.net.

 

COVER REVEAL—-A BEAUTIFUL COVER! Mountains, forests, wildflowers and glowing love…Perfect!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

I am delighted to share this beautiful cover with you–Love’s Miracles by Sandra Leesmith. Sandra is one of the authors at www.seekerville.net. Seekerville was recently named as one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. I “met” Sandra and her editor, Amber Stokes, in Seekerville.

 

Love's Miracles by Sandra Leesmith

 

 

About the Book

Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli’s mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love.

FYI

The blog tour for Love’s Miracles is scheduled for May 20th – 31st. Be watching the Seasons of Humility blog (www.seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com) for more information in the coming weeks! The book will be released in Kindle format in late May.

About the author

Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle, and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and Labrador retriever. During the hot summer, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project. You can learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.

 

About the Cover Designer

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of “sigh-worthy” romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.

Thank you, Sandra Leesmith, for sharing this beautiful cover! I want to hike the trail to that mountain and read about Margo and Zane!

I will admit, I have picked up a book because of its cover. Have you ever chosen a book based on the appearance of the cover? If so, what elements of the cover attracted you to that book? (I love mountain scenes!)

 

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)