Friday, January 30, 2015

A chat with...Cindy Loven + GIVEAWAY

Hey everyone, weclome to Thinking Thoughts. This morning I'm excited to introduce you to author Cindy Loven. So go ahead and sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and join the conversation. If you're lucky, maybe you've got this view >>>

Here's a little bit about Cindy...
A life long reader, it has always been my dream to write a book. It often seems surreal to realize this dream is materializing. I love to read and review books, and I love thinking of ideas for new stories. I greatly enjoy the fun of thinking up new ideas to write about.

Married for over 29 years to her husband, Dave, they are the parents to two sons, Jarrod who is 21 and John, who passed away in 2009 at age 14. Since his death I have tried to help educate parents against the dangers of the "choking game." I reside with my family in Arkansas which is my home state.
So, how did you get started with writing? 
I have been writing things down all my life, I kept a diary as a teenager, I have notebooks all over the place with “stuff” wrote down in them. I started more seriously writing the year my son died, it was very therapeutic. What keeps me writing, is all the stories crowding around in my head wanting to come out.

I completely get that! I find comfort in writing as well. Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
That one is hard to answer, because they are all my favorite “children” so to speak, but I love Dianna's Wings since it is the first published children story.

I know you self published, but what was the hardest thing about publishing for you? The easiest?
I did self publish it. The hardest thing was getting the story to the point I was sure it was ready to go. I worked on this story for over two years from the start to finish. The easiest was the actual publishing. Create Space was very easy to work with.

That's good to hear! I know a lot of people are interested in self publishing and I myself have thought about it. Glad to hear you and a good experience. 

So, tell us a little bit about Dianna's Wings. Why did you write it?
The book I am promoting today is a book about self acceptance. Learning that God creates us perfectly.

I started this story with a focus on Trevor Turtle. He is the problem solver, but I realized very quickly the star of the show, so to speak was Dianna. This is a concept all children and most adults need to know.

Ah ok, great premise! Do you have a favorite character in this work?
I love Trevor because he is a fixer, a lot like I try to be. :-) But as far as the artwork goes, I am over the moon in love with the pictures of Dianna, my illustrator was awesome.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
That God created us each wonderfully and marvelously. And He created us in His image. We are made how He wants us.

I love that, Cindy! How did you find inspiration for this story? For your characters? Is it strictly from your imagination or do things in real life play a part too?
Both, most of my places come from combined names of neat places here in Arkansas. I have a series of children stories that I have based on my cousin's children and their antics.

From Pinterest
What are you hoping to create when you write?
A fun, happy story with a strong ethical moral lesson, without being preachy.

What would you tell aspiring authors about writing and publishing?

For writing, WRITE! For publishing, especially self publishing, learn to use the tools available to you by the publisher, it will make your life much easier.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2015?
More stories that are rattling around that need to come out, and great sales for the books out.

I think an important aspect of getting to know other writers is what they have found useful in their learning process. Can you recommend a craft book that you've found helpful?
I write children's stories, so it would have to be The Children's Writer's Word Book. This is my Bible for writing my stories. LOL.

Do you prefer New Years fireworks or a bonfire to celebrate with? Or something else?
I don't really celebrate New Years too much, usually by Christmas I am so worn out from all the work and busyness, I am just resting on New Years.

Oh, I understand that! I'm usually pretty tired by New Year's too! Well, thank you so much for sharing with us Cindy! I'm excited to offer your sweet giveaway to my readers as well. 

Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win this adorable pink and black hat (child size) and a copy of Dianna's Wings! 

*I'll announce the winner next Friday, February 6th!


How you can further connect with Cindy: 
Blog: http://cindylovenwrites.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8149888.Cindy_Loven
Facebook: http://facebook.com/authorcindyloven
Twitter: @cndloven
Amazon page: http://amazon.com/author/cindyloven
Link to Dianna's Wings on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/1503159884

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jennifer Slattery {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Jennifer...
-->
-->Jennifer Slattery is an inspiring contemporary novelist whose stories of hope, love, and grace resonate with real people. She also writes Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' It to the Streets, a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless. When not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her teenage daughter and real-life hero husband, as well as serving in her church. She is the author of Beyond I Do and When Dawn Breaks.
How to connect with Jennifer...
--> Website: http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3003937.Jennifer_Slattery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jenslattery
Purchase: When Dawn Breaks

Author Interview | Jennifer Slattery

**Leave a comment below for Jennifer to enter to win a copy of her novel, When Dawn Breaks.**
[Limited to Continental US only]

--> You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...Although I’ve always pittered around with writing, journaling, that sort of thing, I started writing largely when I began to become involved in various church ministries. I saw it more as a tool to further ministry goals, and other times it was a hobby. I didn’t pursue it as a career until around 2009.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I do! It’s one I thought would never go to print, mainly because it was my first real, fully fiction adult novel, and you know what they say about a writer’s firsts. It’s my favorite because I sensed God’s presence so strongly, and I really feel the message of the book encapsulates the desire of my heart—to surrender fully to Christ. I’m excited to say, I recently signed a contract with New Hope Publishers for this novel, and it will release in winter of 2016!

--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?

...I’d love to!

...When Dawn Breaks is about a middle aged woman who’s made some big mistakes in her life and is now paying the consequences, largely in terms of her relationships.

...As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?


You can read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1

Care to share what you're working on right now?
...I’m writing the first draft of a sequel to Beyond I Do, my debut novel. In Beyond I Do, we catch a less than admirable image of my heroine’s mother. She’s non-Christian, irresponsible, and often loses sight of the important people in her life. But… she goes through a major change that becomes the catalyst for book two. I wanted to show this change and in so doing, show that everyone is redeemable. I also enjoy writing about new believers. I think sometimes, as we journey with Christ, we forget what it was like to be new in our faith. To struggle, to still have areas of deception in need of truth, to feel as if we don’t quite fit. 

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I do, and that’d be the main character, Angela Meadows. I really love her heart and I can relate to her desire to fit in, to find authentic community, but feel like she’s “less than”. I think that’s something so many of us women struggle with, and I love the message God gives Angela. I think it’s something He’s saying to each of us. :)

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That God can use everything—every tear and regret—to bring about His glorious purposes, and there’s peace and joy in that.

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I’d say a bit of both, though I’m not sure I know where the line between the two is. Haha.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...To glorify Christ. Other than that, I just enjoy getting lost in the telling of a story.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Keep writing! Never give up, and always seek to learn as much as you can. Pay attention to every critique, no matter how painful, and put your desire to grow above your personal feelings. And most importantly stay connected to Christ, pliable to His Spirit, and tuned to His voice.

You

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2015?
...Going to the Mt. Hermon conference! I’ve always wanted to go, and this year will be especially memorable as my husband and daughter will be joining me. And because she’s a senior in high school, this could be our last spring break with her. They’ll have some one-on-one time in the San Francisco area while I learn and hang out with other writers. Then my husband will pick me up and we’ll head to San Diego for the remainder of the week.

Can you recommend one book that you think every writer should read about the writing craft?

...One? There’s two I really like. The Moral Premise by Stanley D. Williams and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. They’re both excellent; must haves.

Do you prefer New Years fireworks or a bonfire to celebrate with? Or something else?

...Bonfire, some board games with close friends, and hot tea. 
_________________
Great to have you on the blog Jennifer! You latest book sounds great and thanks for offering to give a copy away. I love you you mention to listen to the critiques even if they are painful. I also love how you will be celebrating your time in Mt. Hermon and San Diego. Sounds like a fantastic Spring Break to me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Right to Write, Right?

From Pinterest
I've been thinking lately...

Uh-oh, you may be saying. What is she thinking about now? Well, writing, of course. But, in more general terms than that, I've been thinking about the right to write.

Before I say that one more time (because it's fun) I'll beg your understanding that these are only my thoughts, musings, and wrestlings about the subject. No fingers pointed, only thoughts directed to spur honest conversation :)

The right to write 

Told you I'd say it again. What does that mean? It's more a question than anything else. I've been thinking about the publishing process and listening to interesting stories from writer friends - both good and bad - about their publishing experiences. It's quite the ride they go through. The question of acceptance. The agony of edits. The joy of holding a newly-born/printed book in their hands. Seeing their tangible legacy covered in paper and baring their name for all to see. The nervousness of wondering if book two will be as good...

Then, in the corner, covered in dust and ashes are the authors who's hearts have been ripped out, much like zombies searching for...whatever it is that zombies search for. They struggle to be heard. They feel the bite of rejection. They cry a little, clutch their manuscript to their chest, and heave a great sigh thinking, "Maybe I'm just not good enough."

From Pinterest
Maybe they aren't.

That's not for me to say, nor is that really what this post is about. But I will say it's a scary thing to imagine. Which side of the divide will I fall on? How long will it take me to know which side I'm on? >Insert eerie shudder< I'm not sure that I want to know the answer to that.

But I have the right to write, right?

The overbearing question I'm finding myself asking is do I get to choose what I write? Do I get to be as creative as I want? Because, at the end of the day, if a reader isn't willing to take a chance and a ride with my wild imagination, then maybe it's best to tame it down. To change it. To imagine something else.

I'm sure if you're a writer who's considered publishing you've thought about this. How much do I write for me and how much do I write for them.

We all know who they are...the voracious, sometimes brutally critical, at other times loving and kind...READERS. But before we even reach them, we have to get through the other them. The publishers who decide to put money into our vision. Our imagination. Should our precious manuscript even make it that far.

I guess I don't really have a final say on this post. Like I said, it's more my thoughts about the matter, but it does beg the question:

From Pinterest
How much do you write for you, and how much do you write for them?

I'm not saying writing for the reader is a bad idea, or even a sell-out. We write so that others can enjoy--can read. But how much do we believe in what we are doing to do this well? Do we believe in our story enough to wait? To hear what others (the right people) say and put in the hard work to finish it? Do we strive to be the best we can be in craft and character development, or are we so focused on our own right to write that we ignore all but our own voices reminding us about that right.

I want to be a published author. I want to be good. And that's not because I want to sell a lot of books (though that would be quite fantastic). I want to be good so that I can take the barriers away for my readers. So that they can see why I deserve the right to write. So that they can experience the story as it should be.

What do you think? 

Readers: Have you read books that make you reconsider a writers "right to write"? Are you willing to take a risk on a story-journey that may be different than what you're used to? What's the pull for you?

Writers: Do you ever feel the weight of having to fit your story into a category instead of "just writing"? What sacrifices do you/have you made in order to "fit in" and was it better for your story?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Christy Barritt | New Novel News + GIVEAWAY



Announcing last week's winners of JoAnn Durgin's Prelude

Carol Smith & Olivia Roach


Congrats ladies, we'll be in contact with you!


*Just a fun little note from me: I'm currently reading this book and it's great so far! Make sure to leave a comment because you'll WANT to win this ;)

Dubiosity 
by Christy Barritt

Published January 13, 2015
Waterfall Press
Purchase: Dubiosity
Savannah Harris vowed to leave behind her old life as an intrepid investigative reporter. But when a friend raises suspicions about two migrant workers who’ve gone missing from the sleepy coastal town Savannah calls home, her curiosity spikes. As secrets emerge and danger closes in, Savannah must choose between faith and uncertainty. One wrong decision might spell the end…not just for her, but for everyone around her. Will she unravel the mystery in time, or will doubt get the best of her?
Get to know Christy...

What are the names of your pets?
I have three dogs. A standard Australian shepherd named Rusty (he’s a rescue and that was his name when we adopted him), a Maltese/Shihtzu named Molly, and a mini-Australian shepherd named Sparky (he’s actually my son’s dog, and I think he’s named after a Pokemon character.)

Do you have a nickname? Care to share?
Mo. My maiden name was Mohorn. When I was paired with another girl as my roommate in college, her name was Christy also. People began calling her by her last name, and they shortened my last name to Mo. To this day, when I hear someone call me that name, I know it’s an old, good friend.

What's one chore you hate doing?
Dusting. But really just housecleaning in general. I find it tedious, yet I don’t like to live in a messy house. It’s a conundrum. :)

***Christy is offering up a copy of Dubiosity (print -US only- or eBook)! Leave a comment below to enter to win. The winner will be announced next Monday.***

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flash Back To Childhood

I happened across a Facebook post from author Rachel Hauck asking about favorite book characters from childhood. It got me reminiscing about my childhood and all of books I read (or my parents read to me).

I though it would be fun to share some of my favorites here and then to see what you readers loved when you were young.

Enid Blyton | The Adventure Series

Dating back to 1944, this amazing series by British author Enid Blyton had more than enough to satisfy my adventurous, reading spirit. I remember my mom reading these to me and wondering... Why is there food in tins? What are biscuits? And then dreaming night and day about being on and adventure like Philip, Dinah, Lucy-Ann and Jack got to be. 

Purchase: Enid Blyton Adventure Series Set Collection




Nancy Drew

In keeping with the adventure, mystery theme, I loved the Nancy Drew books. And yes, you caught me, I still do :D I was given an almost complete set of them and can't wait to someday have the shelf space to display them (haha).

Purchase: Nancy Drew Complete Series Set, Books 1-64


The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys may have been boys, but that didn't stop me from enjoying their adventures. These were books my dad would read to me and I loved them just as much as Nancy Drew.

Also, did you know that they made a really fun (though slightly cheesey) TV series about Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys?

Check it out here: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Season One
Purchase: The Hardy Boy Books

The Boxcar Children

Imagine this: a long road trip, the front cab of a truck (we're talking no back seats here), and a small child. What do you do? Well, you read of course?

Whenever we would take road trips I was insistent that we had enough books to make it to our destination. I'm so glad my mom never got car sick, though there were a few times we're pretty sure she fell asleep while reading to my dad and I.

Purchase: The Boxcar Children Bookshelf (The Boxcar Children Mysteries, Books 1-12)

Frank Peretti | The Cooper Kids Adventure Series

Hum, are you sensing a theme here? Yes, adventure was definitely what I wanted to read when I was a kid. Makes sense why I like it now as well, and why I write Romantic Suspense ;)

Purchase:
Cooper Adventure Series




Robin Jones Gunn | Christy Miller Series

I got into the Christy Miller Series in my early high school years - introduced by my dear friend Steffani. I picked up the first book and was hooked. I love that they took you through to the college years and now I hear there's a married years series too! Definitely going to check that out.

Purchase:
Christy Miller Sereis

J.K. Rowling | Harry Potter

What childhood reading experience could be complete without Harry Potter? I recognize there is a lot of debate around the books in Christian circles, but one of the things I appreciated about my parents was how they handled things like that. My mom is a various reader who loves Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I took my cues from her and she read Harry Potter as well. For me as a child it was never about anything more than letting my imagination go.  The world Rowling created is simply amazing and fostered a lot of creative thinking on my part while also pointing out the very real fight between good and evil.

Purchase: Harry Potter Series


So, what about you? What books did you read as a child? Did you have a favorite series? Did you parents ever read to you?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winner of Do You See What I See by Delia Latham



Last week I hosted Delia Latham on the blog and she was gracious enough to offer up Do You See What I See? as a giveaway.

The winner is...


Cherie Kasper


Contact me so we can get you your copy, Cherie. Congrats!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow Day

Sometimes we all just need a snow day. Today, {Writer Wednesday} is going to be postponed due to...well, we'll call it snow ;)

So, in light of that, I'll share a little bit about my day. You see, it started off nice and early. Ok, some of you will laugh and say that 6AM isn't really early. But hey, if I'm waking up and the sun isn't up yet, I call that early.

I rolled out of bed, thankful the heat had come on because everyone knows how awful it is to get out of bed when it's freezing cold, and began my morning routine.

The difference in this particular morning was that I was going to see a friend! Yes, I have friends :D

Snow Selfie
Well, long story short, I met up with my friend Natalie and guess what we talked about for over four hours? Writing, of course. And you know what? It was great! We shared about frustration with our writing, excitement about possibilities, shared discouragement, encouragement to one another, and a lot of talk about fictional people (the best kind, in my opinion).

Sometimes you just need to talk about stuff with a friend who understands. It doesn't have to be about writing. It can be anything that you're passionate about, but the beauty is the shared experience.

Then I got to walk home in the snow, smelling overwhelmingly of coffee, and smiling to myself about the fresh sense of purpose I feel as a writer just for having talked about writing.

What or who inspires you? What are your passions? Do you like the snow?