Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

#TuesdayTea Review of A ROSE SO FAIR by @MyraJohnson with a #giveaway!

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

#TuesdayTea with A ROSE SO FAIR by Myra Johnson

Welcome to Tuesday Tea and our chat with author Myra Johnson about her newest release, A Rose So Fair. This third book in the Flowers of Eden series by Myra Johnson is an inspirational romance set during the Great Depression. The reader experiences the difficulties encountered as people struggled with economic challenges. If you’d like to enter the giveaway for a Kindle ebook, please make a comment and complete the Rafflecopter entry form at the end of this post.

For me, the story recalled my grandmother’s snippets of her life during that time….the failing of my grandparents’ hardware store, food given to hobos passing by, my grandfather scrambling for odd jobs, and the “making do” with simple things as was necessary. I admired Rose Linwood, a heroine so typical of the strong women who carried on during those trying situations. Caleb Wieland is a great hero, persistent and loving. The story is filled with strong faith and courageous characters…as was required for life during that period of history.

Chatting with author Myra Johnson:

Myra kindly answered my questions about the inspiration for her book, her writing experiences, and one of the ways God has touched her life. Thank you so much, Myra, for joining us to talk about your newest inspiration romance novel!

SHERIDA: How did you get the glimmer of the idea for A Rose So Fair?

MYRA: The idea first began to form a few years ago as I was finishing up my Till We Meet Again series. The editor I had been working with expressed interest in a Depression-era series, so I started brainstorming. Already familiar with the Arkansas setting, I began there. While perusing research materials, I soon found myself homing in on the hardships farmers endured during the Depression. I began imagining three sisters and what their individual personalities would be, and so the Linwood sisters, the “Flowers of Eden,” began to take shape in my mind. Rose, the youngest, developed her own kind of spunk and determination, and she was certainly both challenging and enjoyable to write about.

SHERIDA: What do you do to keep the sparkle while you are writing?

MYRA: I’ve developed a fairly consistent writing routine. Weekday mornings are set aside for the “busy work” of writing—social media, marketing, recordkeeping, blogging, etc. So after lunch, my mind is freed from obsessing over those kinds of tasks, and I can concentrate on the book. I’ll usually reread the last scene or two from the previous writing session and do minor editing. This gets me back into the flow of the story and helps to sparks ideas for what will happen next. I work in Scrivener, which allows me to pin character photos to a sidebar, and glancing at the images from time to time helps me stay grounded in the characters’ mind and voice.

SHERIDA: 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?

MYRA: When I think about “jewel” moments, it’s hard to come up with just one, and most of them would include animals and nature. I remember one in particular when my husband and I were enjoying lunch and quiet conversation in our screen porch a few summers ago. Our home is surrounded by trees, and suddenly a barred owl flew in and landed on a branch right outside the porch, not even ten feet away. He sat there staring at us and our two dogs for a long time, almost as if he were trying to decide if Gracie, our 90-pound Lab mix, would be too big to carry off as “lunch.” Since then, we’ve heard many owls hooting in the distance but have never enjoyed another up-close-and-personal encounter like that one. It was very special.

A ROSE SO FAIR by Myra Johnson

ABOUT A ROSE SO FAIR

Plucky Rose Linwood grew up on her grandfather’s Arkansas tenant farm, a life her two older sisters never cared much for. Working alongside her grandpa, though, Rose learned to love the land as much as he did. Now her sisters have married and moved on, Grandpa has gone to his eternal reward, and Rose is determined to make a go of the farm on her own. But crops have been slow to recover since the drought of 1930-31, and the whole country struggles in the grip of the Great Depression. Drifters looking for work or handouts roam the countryside, some of them up to no good, so Rose keeps her trusty Winchester rifle at the ready. Caleb Wieland, Rose’s best friend, isn’t the farmer his late father was, and he’s about to lose his cotton crop to boll weevils. He’d let the farm go and search for work he’s more suited to, except he can’t desert his widowed mother. Besides, he’s been quietly falling in love with Rose since they were in grammar school, and the thought of leaving her behind is too much to bear. He’d give anything to win her heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named.

MY REVIEW

A Rose So FairA Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Rose So Fair is a gripping and heart-touching story!

This book truly brings to life the difficult days of the Great Depression, where daunting problems arose to test people’s fortitude, but also helped reveal the strength of faith and the ability to overcome trials with the help of others.

I admired Rose Linwood with her fierce loyalty to her grandfather’s farm and the dream she shared with him. She singlehandedly struggles to raise a cotton crop in order to satisfy the requirements of the leased property. Caleb Weiland is a great protective and persistent hero. He is torn between his financial responsibilities and his desire to have his love accepted by Rose. Both of them go through extremely difficult situations. I wasn’t sure how their differences and problems could be resolved since they were both such strong people, but after many emotional hills and valleys, the end is beautiful…sweet and satisfying.

I also enjoyed the other members of the family, including the two older sisters whose earlier stories evolve in this third book. Both drifter Quimby and the stray dog, Delano, add to the impact of the book. All the folks of Eden, Arkansas, felt so real.

The romantic tension is sweet, the thread of faith is comforting, and the message is thoughtful. With friends and family, along with trust in God, we are stronger together. I deeply enjoyed this book with its portrayal of life in the 1930’s with love, faith, and strength overcoming difficulties. I highly recommend A Rose So Fair.

Favorite quotes:
“No matter how far away they send me, you’ll always have my heart.”
“God doesn’t want or expect us to carry our burdens alone.”
She said it reminded her nobody’s perfect, and that loving someone takes a whole heap of forgiveness.

*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a positive review. I’m honored to offer my honest opinion of this book.

TEA TREAT

Grandmother’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

In the story, Rose has tea and pound cake served by Mrs.O’Neill. As I mentioned earlier, I heard about the Depression from my grandmother who had a recipe for a sour cream version of pound cake. I’m sharing this with you today. Please help yourself to a couple of slices while I pour you a cup of tea.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

Blend sugar, sour cream, and eggs together. Add flour and baking soda and mix. Divide batter into two greased mini-loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

BIBLE VERSE

And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.     Ecclesiastes 4:12 (KJV)

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

We are grateful for the abilities You have given authors like Myra Johnson. They bless us with their talent, giving us inspiration and hope as we read their words. Please continue to bless Myra Johnson as she writes to reach readers with Your message that strength comes from trusting You and working to uplift others.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~~

Visit Myra at Myra Johnson’s website and consider signing up for her newsletter. In addition, writers will find craft information and fellowship at the Seekerville website where Myra is one of the amazing Seekers, blessing writers with great encouragement. Visit SEEKERVILLE!

~~~

Thank you for joining us for Tuesday Tea. May your life be filled with the treasured blessing of strength through working together with others.

~~~Sherida

GIVEAWAY

If you’d like to be entered in the giveaway for a Kindle ebook of A Rose So Fair, please make a comment and complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Don’t be concerned if you don’t see your comment immediately. I moderate comments and with my busy schedule, it may take awhile for your comment to appear. Check back next week to see if you are the winner. Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

Want to improve your writing? #writingtips and #amwriting advice…Review of Excelling at the Craft of Writing.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Not attending #ACFW2016? You can do a writing-conference-in-a-book with Excelling at the Craft of Writing. This collection of writing advice essays is filled with 101 mini-workshops to make your writing glow. Each contribution is written by an author from the WordServe Literary agency, giving us suggestions on many facets of writing. As I read each one, I felt like I was attending a conference session on writing craft, complete with takeaways and inspiration. For your writing sessions, grab a big mug of your caffeinated tea of choice, or coffee if you prefer, as we study ways to improve our craft.

Excelling at the Craft of Writing

Excelling at the Craft of Writing

 

Excelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next LevelExcelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next Level by Greg Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many treasures of writing advice fill this book!

Excelling at the Craft of Writing is a book filled with multiple gems of writing advice. This is a conference worth of writer workshops all in one resource. The essays are written by successful authors of the WordServe Literary agency and reflect their wordsmith talents.

Divided into eight sections, the first part is Nonfiction Essentials. Even though I’m a fiction writer, I found useful information in this section. Essays on devotional writing inspired me to develop my skills in this area.

The middle sections cover essential information for fiction writers…characterization, dialogue, plotting, timing, structure, setting the scene, style, language, voice, and process. There are many ideas for making your novel shine…to keep readers turning the pages. I especially liked the excellent pointers for creating strong, reader-involved characters.

The ending chapters give tips which apply to all writers…revising, editing and pitching. These essays suggest many ways to edit your manuscript, with a final part covering query letters, pitching and proposals.

Whether you are a nonfiction author or an author of fiction, you will find great tips for improving your writing so your work moves to the next level. You’ll be encouraged with inspirational thoughts, such as “There may be people out there who need what you have to write.” (Laurie Short) From my needle-crafter and writer’s perspective, my favorite inspirational line from this book is Jan Drexler’s comparison of a quilter to an author: “But the thing quilting and writing have most in common? The finished product is a work of your heart that you share with others.” Exactly!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review. I’m pleased to offer my honest opinion.

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

We pray for all those attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conference this week. We pray for their safe travels and for their encouragement as they are inspired by what they experience at the conference. We pray for the authors and publisher of this collection of essays, Excelling at the Craft of Writing, for providing the blessings of knowledge and motivation for writers. May You bless all Christian writers and readers as Your message is spread through the written word.

We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you for joining me for this review post about Excelling at the Craft of Writing. If you’re like me, and not attending a writing conference this year, you might consider studying a craft book such as this one. Conferences are amazing experiences, but we can learn to take our writing to the next level by reading advice written by experienced authors.

Maybe a conference will be in our futures for next year! May your writing and/or reading be inspired by God’s treasured blessings!

With warm regards and blessings,

Sherida

 

Seven tools to spark ideas for writing historical fiction. #amwriting #historical

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Are you writing historical fiction? Do you sometimes need the spark of an idea to move your manuscript forward? I certainly do, so I’m sharing these tips for what works for me.

While writing historical romances, I find inspiration in some fascinating places. Maybe it’s the history buff in me, or maybe my interest in how other people lived years ago, but ideas popped up when I did these things:

My grandmother is second from the right. This is probably around 1910.

My great-grandparents’ family photo. My grandmother, Mabel, is second from the right. This is probably around 1910.

1.LOOK AT OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

Pinterest is a great place to search for the time period and subject you are writing about.  Photos from historical societies and history books also provide setting ideas. Family photos are other good places to find gems. I found a picture of a stiff-faced family which sparked the idea for a flashback memory for my heroine. Of course, you need to be sure the scene propels your story forward, but reflecting on a moment which adds important elements to the story can be useful.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Silverton, Colorado 1905

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Silverton, Colorado 1905

2. VISIT HISTORIC SITES

A wealth of valuable ideas can be found in old towns and historic districts. I find ideas for the settings of my stories by taking walking tours of places I want to write about. Often, there are guide books available which give intriguing details about the people and their occupations to  spark further ideas.

Durango-Silverton steam engine

Durango-Silverton steam engine

3. EXPERIENCE LIFE IN ANOTHER TIME

This is truly the best way to get the feel of a bygone era. My stories always seem to involve train travel, and since we love tourist railroads, riding an excursion train is always on our agenda. There is no better way to experience the stench of coal smoke, the grit of cinders, the thrill of the whistle, while relaxing as the train rocks down the tracks. I suggest heeding the “All aboard!” call of the conductor whenever possible.

Someday I hope to try a wagon trail camping trip to experience the trials of the Oregon Trail. Read

Staying at a historic hotel also immerses you in the setting so you can imagine life during a different time…but the beds are more comfortable now and private bathrooms are good additions.

Wyman Hotel and Inn, Silverton, Colorado 1902

Wyman Hotel and Inn, Silverton, Colorado 1902

4. READ MEMOIRS

Recently, I found an obscure book written by a man who had lived in the area I was writing about. The violence during his time period impressed me, and his use of language was helpful. Reading the man’s remembrances of his early life in New Mexico sparked the idea of adding a raspberry picking adventure to my story. This was authentic to the time and something I hadn’t considered. If you can’t find a memoir through your library, this type of book can sometimes be found in local independent bookstores in a location you’re interested in writing about.

5. SCROLL THROUGH OLD WORD DICTIONARIES

Since a historically accurate novel should contain words used during the time, I found the Online Etymology Dictionary helpful to check when a word was first used. Looking through the word lists also gave me ideas for interesting words to add to my story. Tizzy wasn’t in use during my time period, but scatterbrain and hare-brained were used. I find word etymology fascinating…and sometimes skitter off into too much research.

Click here for Online Etymology Dictionary.

 

Antique shops

Antique shops

6. BROWSE ANTIQUE SHOPS

Looking through antique shops can give you an idea for an item to add to your story which gives your writing an authentic feel. I like old tea-cups, bottles and cans of items available during your time period, and kitchen utensils. Just a mention of an Arbuckles’ coffee crate can put your reader in the Old West setting of your story.

Arbuckles' Coffee Crate

Arbuckles’ Coffee Crate

Also, printed materials from your era give glimpses into everyday lives if you can find a newspaper or magazine from the time period you are interested in.

 

Historic museums

Kit Carson Home and Museum, Taos, New Mexico

7. VISIT HISTORIC MUSEUMS

Small towns often have museums which are idea treasure boxes, offering glimpses into the lives of early citizens. Seeing the personal belongings which were important enough to bring to new homes out west reveals the characters of real pioneers. The gift shops often have great books for research.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by. What tools do you use to spark ideas when you’re stuck during your writing process?

Please share your thoughts and your idea-sparks by commenting on this post. May your day be filled with God’s treasured blessings as you write and/or read a historical novel!

Sherida

Seekerville to host MY ONE WORD author! Pick a word!

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Seekerville will be hosting My One Word author, Rachel Olsen, on Monday, January 5, 2015. The “one word” concept is intriguing because of its simplicity in focusing efforts for resolutions for the year and changing your life. Hope to see you in Seekerville on Monday, where I’ll be sharing the “one word” I’ve selected for my actions for 2015….and it may change my life. (Plus I’ll bring a cup of tea to savor…which always helps with the thought process!) www.Seekerville.com

SEEKERVILLE

SEEKERVILLE

TUESDAY TEA: Buildin’ the Dream Conference Review

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

 

Buildin' the Dream Conference-Author Tool Kit

Buildin’ the Dream Conference-Author Tool Kit

Writing conferences are like treasure chests filled with gems of inspiration, education, and fellowship. The Buildin’ the Dream conference held on May 29 and 30, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona, was indeed a treasure. The sold-out conference fulfilled its advertised agenda:  “Authors Helping Authors” by “Equipping writers with the tools to build and live their dream.”

MY REVIEW

Inspiration: The Thursday night event started with keynote speaker, Diana Gabaldon. Attendees were impressed with her gracious manner and candid encouragement as she discussed her writing journey. Her wise advice to writers: READ, WRITE, DON’T STOP.

Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon

Education: Friday was filled with workshops in three areas to suit the needs of all attendees–Craft, Publishing, and Business. Scheduling allowed for participants to attend six session. The following are the valuable presentations I attended with a quick summary of what I learned.

Crafting the Dark Moment with Deena Remiel: What is your protagonist’s biggest fear? Show this confrontation and escalate this fear along the arc of your story.

Self-Publishing Pitfalls with Morgan Kearns: You need strength to survive the publishing process, and you need know when to seek professional help.

Adding Humor to a Manuscript with Kris Tualia: Use humor to make your characters believable and to relieve tension.

Covers to Get Attention with Anya Kelleye: Your cover needs a strong focal point which conveys the genre with emotion.

Carve Out Time to Build Your Dream with Camelia Skiba: Learn to use snippets of time effectively.

Sprinting-It’s All About Word Count with Virginia Nelson: Write as fast as you can for 15 minutes (no editing), take a 10 minute stretch/do chores break, then repeat as necessary. As a test exercise, I wrote 300 words in 15 mintes….longhand, without a computer!

Many other workshops were offered. I wish I could have attended ALL!

 

Goodie bag

Goodie bag

Fellowship: It was good to find new-to-me authors and to connect with other writers…people who “get it”….”speak the same language” …. “understand me.”

Other information: We all got goodie bags with notebooks, pens, and promotional items, including a lip balm stick, a thoughtful item considering the location in the sunny desert of Arizona! I love the purple and yellow colors used as the theme colors—bright and cheerful for our successful writing journey! Arizona Dreamin’ is held after the writing conference. It is a romance reader event where attendees have the opportunity to chat with various romance authors. I wasn’t able to stay for the second conference, so regret I didn’t get to meet inspirational author Hallee Bridgeman, one of the featured authors at the reader event. There was a bookstore, a photographer offering professional author headshots, and publishers taking pitches. A yummy box lunch was provided by InD’tale, an online magazine serving self-publishers. www.indtale.com

Beautiful purple and yellow dessert table.

Beautiful purple and yellow dessert table.

 

Highland Blend Tea from Scotland

Highland Blend Tea from Scotland

Today, I’m serving Highland Blend tea from Scotland in honor of Diana Gabaldon’s new release in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, published on June 10, 2014. Help yourself to the imaginary dessert treats of chocolate brownies and cheesecake bites. (REAL ones were served at the conference, but my picture of the filled dessert table were too fuzzy.) I’d recommend the Buildin’ the Dream Conference scheduled for May 28-29, 2015, in Scottsdale, Arizona, if you live in the area. It is affordable, right-sized, and provides great opportunities to learn from other authors. Information about both events can be found at www.arizonadreaminevent.com. Thanks for joining me for #TuesdayTea!

TUESDAY TEA in DISNEYLAND with earthquakes, deadly fumes and a flat tire!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Breakfast with the Disney Princesses!

Breakfast with the Disney Princesses!

 

Praise God for the blessings of precious family!

With an invitation from our son and DIL to visit Disneyland with them to celebrate Granddaughter’s 4th birthday, we excitedly traveled to Anaheim, California. The night before our son’s family was to leave on the trip, our DIL hurried to pack up baby items for one-year-old Grandson and princess dresses for Granddaughter. She noticed an off odor in their house, so as a precaution, she put batteries in their carbon monoxide detector. Awaken by the alarm in the early morning hours, they called the gas company. Her actions saved not only their precious family, but also the unconscious neighbors who had left their car running, filling both townhouses with deadly fumes.

Moving on pure adrenaline, they made their 9:00 am flight,  arriving in Disneyland with Granddaughter and Grandson. Celebrations of being together and having birthday breakfast with the Disney princesses was even more treasured than we had planned. We know how quickly a moment can change lives.

Additionally, there were two earthquakes and many after-shocks while we were there. The first earthquake, a 5.1 magnitude, made our hotel creak and sway and woke Granddaughter who asked why her bed was shaking. Grandson slept through all the action. During that first earthquake, our son and DIL were in Disneyland. All the attractions were closed as a precaution. DIL took the oddly eerie picture shown below (which fits with my blog’s tea theme):

Disneyland teacup ride is empty after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Kira Brady.

Disneyland teacup ride is empty after the earthquake. Photo courtesy of Kira Brady.

We even added a flat tire to the happenings! But we were so blessed to spend treasured time with our family enjoying the discoveries of Disneyland.

Then on to Las Vegas where we joined our other son and his fiancée while they looked at wedding venues for next year’s marriage. This was a special time with them. I even found two Inspirational Romance books that I hadn’t been able to find at my home stores: The Guardian’s Promise by Christina Rich and The Agent’s Secret Past by Debby Giusti.

Everyone arrived home safely, but I learned to check the carbon monoxide detectors, travel with an emergency kit, and thank God for each precious day spent with our family! Blessings to you! Please give your loved ones an extra hug!

“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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.

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