Monday, March 29, 2010

Interview with Cathy Gohlke

The Grand Finale of my Blogoversary Month features an interview with Christy Award winning author Cathy Gohlke. Cathy is a wonderful writer, and I am so pleased to share her thoughts with you. 

Cathy has also agreed to share the Blogoversary fun by providing a copy of two of her books for a special giveaway. Click on the titles in the first question to read my reviews of these great books.

Interview, Part One:

Karen: Cathy, thank you so much for sharing this interview with my blog gang and I. Congratulations on winning the Christy Award for your books, William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires. You must have been so excited!

Cathy: Thank you for inviting me, Karen, and for your kind words. Writing has been an exciting and blessed journey.  I’m very, very thankful for the opportunity to do the thing I love for the One I love most.

Karen: How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to write historical fiction?
Cathy: I’ve wanted to write stories since I was five years old and learned, from my grandmother, that books do not appear by magic, but that “real people write books.”  --a huge revelation to a five-year-old!
As a child and teen I experimented with all sorts of writing.  In my twenties I did technical writing; in my thirties and forties I wrote for local newspapers, wrote plays and skits for local performances, essays and poetry as contributions for larger works, and short stories for public readings.  I was in my forties when I began writing William Henry is a Fine Name, and signed my first book contract on my fiftieth birthday.
Although I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, I had imagined that I would write mysteries—especially current day mysteries with historical twists.  Life is full of surprises!

Karen: What inspired you to write William Henry is a Fine Name?
Cathy: I was born on a farm in the North Carolina Piedmont.  My family’s very old farm house was believed, by my grandaunt, to have been a hiding place for runaway slaves before the Civil War.  I don’t know if that was true, but it made a great story, and sparked my lifelong fascination with the Underground Railroad. I knew that my first novel would have something to do with that topic.  I had expected to write a current day mystery having to do with secret passageways, caves or tunnels, and diaries or records of some sort from that era.  

But when I got the voices of two boys in my head, one black and one white, best friends, both confronting the issues of slavery in their own way—my story was off and running.  The “movie” played through my mind and I could not—did not want to—rein it in.
I loved the historical research—and had a difficult time knowing when to stop!  Bits of story and characters emerged from my research.  I allowed those characters to have their way in the time period in which they lived.  Often I felt that I was recording their story rather than creating.  It was that vivid.
Understanding the way in which people thought and responded to life in their own time period is a fascinating study all its own. For a story to ring true we need to understand, as best we can, their world and challenges from their viewpoint. I loved stepping into the 1850s world of my characters.  My love for writing historical fiction was born—naturally and unexpectedly.
Karen: How about I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires?  

Cathy: I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires is a sequel to William Henry is a Fine Name.  It came naturally as “the rest of the story.”  The time frame required that my characters confront the Civil War.  That provided an opportunity to explore the reasons people go to war and the variety of ways they respond to war—a topic that we deal with today.
History repeats itself with astonishing regularity, so finding a “historical frame” for a modern question is not difficult.  Historical fiction can provide distance for our difficult questions, and sometimes a greater perspective.

Be sure and visit on Thursday for the conclusion of the interview with Cathy

Giveaway Details:

Cathy has generously offered to send a copy of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires to the winner of this final Blogoversary Month Giveaway. To enter, kindly follow these simple steps.

1) Leave a comment. Include your email address. Entries without email address will not be eligible.

2) Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

3) Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave a comment telling me so.

4) Receive a bonus entry by posting this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment with the link.

*Entry deadline is Thursday, April 1, 2010 at midnight. Winner will be notified on Friday and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. 

Thanks for sharing in the fun! Happy reading and writing:)

 *Open only to residents of the United States. My apologies to my overseas followers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blessings for Your Week

Hello my blogging friends,

Sad news today, my Mom passed away this afternoon. Lots of details to attend to, so I'll be absent from things for a bit.

I've scheduled the week's posts, which feature my Blogoversary Grand Finale with an interview and book giveaway with Cathy Gohlke. Please stop by if you can; Cathy's interview is wonderful, and her books are just as grand. For the Giveaway, leave your comments as usual and I will draw a winner as soon as I can at the end of the week.

Thanks so much to all of you for your wonderful friendship.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Winner of Here Burns My Candle


Congratulations to Cecelia, the winner of the Blog Tour Giveaway! She will receive a copy of Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs.
Thanks to all who participated in this special Blog Tour Giveaway.

Click here if you would like to read my review.

Have a blessed and happy weekend!.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunshine and an Award

I hope that the sun is shining wherever you are today. If not, it will shine eventually. The sun always has a way of working its way through those clouds. Aren't you glad?

How do you put sunshine into your writing? Do you use humor? Or fabulous and elaborate illustrations? How about good old well written prose? Or do you infuse a little of all of these elements into your writing? What do you think is the key to bright and appealing writing?


Blogging and writing friend Jill Kemerer sent a little happiness my way with the Sunshine Award. Thank you, Jill! Be sure and check out Jill's blog, if you aren't familiar with it.

Here are the Rules to Accept the Award:

◦Put the logo on your blog in your post.
◦Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
◦Link the nominees within your post.
◦Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.
◦Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Congratulations to the new Sunshine Award winners:

Becky at Inside Out
Wendy at All in a Day's Thought
Carla at Writing to Distraction
Emily at Benedictions
Jessica at BookingIt
Susan R. at Christian Writer/Reader Connection
Diane at Diane Estrella
Elana at Elana Johnson
Dorothy at Ink Dots
Susan P. at Eternity Cafe
Susan W. at Writing Straight From the Heart
Charity at The Giveaway Lady

Congratulations and thanks to all of you! Your blogs bring sunshine into my life. No pressure, though. If you don't do awards, don't want to pass it on, have too many things on your plate or whatever, I'll not be sending out the award police to check on you. Just wanted you to know that I appreciate what you contribute to the blogging world.

Please check out these great blogs when you have a minute!


Last call! This is the final day to enter the Blog Tour Giveaway; I'm giving away Liz Curtis Higgs' latest, Here Burns My Candle. More Blogoversary fun comes next week in the form of an author interview and one last giveaway. I'd be blessed if you came back to join in the fun.


Please feel free to comment to let us know what adds sparkle and sunshine to your writing.

Blessings and Happy Writing! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Here Burns My Candle Review and Giveaway


This month's Blog Tour feature is:
by Liz Curtis Higgs

Check out the trailer here:

Liz Curtis Higgs fans can rejoice. Her newest book, Here Burns My Candle has arrived. No disappointments here; as always, Higgs treats the reader to a marvelous tale set in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1745.

The reader is immediately immersed into the Kerr family's world, a world laced with secrets. Lady Elisabeth Kerr and her husband Donald live with Donald's mother, the widow Marjory Kerr. Donald's brother Andrew and his wife Janet complete the family in residence.

Elisabeth, a Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, has secrets hidden in her heart and past. Donald's secrets are in danger of being revealed, and one of Marjory's secrets is buried under her bedroom floor. But wait! There are other secrets, and they are revealed as the story weaves its way around the events in which these intriguing characters find themselves. Marjory has not completely accepted Elisabeth into the family as Elisabeth's heritage as a Highlander stands in the way. Elisabeth struggles for acceptance and to find true peace in her heart.

To further complicate matters, Bonny Prince Charlie aims to capture the crown, and comes to Edinburgh as part of that quest. When Simon, Elisabeth's brother, appears on the scene, the plot thickens, much to Marjory's dismay. Will the ensuing emotional and physical battles take their toll on the Kerr family? Of course they do, for it would not be a classic Higgs' tale otherwise!

Joy and heartache and trials and triumph make this engaging story a pleasure to read. Readers will ponder their own faith, desires, and challenges as they venture forth into this historical tale. Higgs' fans will enjoy this, and new readers may find another favorite author. It's a lovely work of fiction from which we can learn much.

*This was book was provided for review and giveaway purposes by WaterBrook Multnomah.


Many thanks to the folks at Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers who have graciously provided an additional copy for giveaway purposes.

To enter this Blog Tour giveaway, follow these simple steps:

1) Leave a comment. Include your email address. Entries without email address will not be eligible.

2) Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

3) Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave a comment telling me so.

4) Receive a bonus entry by posting this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment with the link.

*Entry deadline is Thursday, March 25, 2010 at midnight. Winner will be notified on Friday and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen

Thanks for sharing in the fun! 

 *Open only to residents of the United States. My apologies to my overseas followers.

Happy Writing and Reading!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Creative Writng and Awards

How do you define creative writing?

I had a high school student tell me that she didn't think the assignment choices (that I offered in a recent Creative Writing course) qualified as creative writing.

Before I responded to her comment I took a deep breath. Some students work a bit more patience in me than others. :) This is the gist of what I told her:

Consider each assignment from this angle; you can add your personality to most anything that you write. Through illustrative, efficient, and thoughtful writing, one can express themselves in a unique way. No matter how dull or unappealing an assignment may seem, you have an opportunity to express something that no one else can - your thoughts, perspective, and personal style.

I was not offended by her opinion, but I did pause to consider the definition of creative writing. To me, the assignment fell easily into the category. To her, at first glance anyway, it did not. So back to my original question, how do you define creative writing? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts, so please share liberally.

Speaking of creative writing, I have the pleasure of being the recipient of a few blogging awards.

The Creative Writing Award came to me from Tyrean, of Tyrean's Writing Spot. Thank you, Tyrean! It was a wonderful surprise. It was so kind of you to think of me. I am glad that we've become blogging friends.

The award winner is supposed to share ten things that make them happy.

Here goes:

1) Pizza. I like the kind we used to get in NJ best, so I am still on the hunt for that kind here in Kentucky. We'll find it one of these days.

2) Sunshine. I like a sunshiny day, temperatures in the mid 50's.

3) A brisk walk. I love to walk and enjoy it with the above mentioned sunshine. If I go more than a day or two without a walk I get antsy.

4) Chocolate. Okay, so most of you knew this. My favorite is dark chocolate.

5) Writing. Just because it made number five on the list doesn't lessen its value and satisfaction to me.

6) Blogging. I love to blog, and love all the friends I've made through it. Thanks and blessings to you all!

7) My children. Tim, David, and Becky are blessings from the Lord. Add my daughter in law Jessica, wife of Tim, to the mix, and I am one happy mom.

8) My grandson. You know, I've had friends tell me that being a grandparent is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Guess what? They're right. When two year old Evan asks Grandma if she wants to play, this Grandma is happy to oblige.

9) My husband Jeff. Where would I be without my soulmate and best friend? He is my greatest earthly treasure.

10) The Lord Jesus. Without Him, I would be nothing. I am thankful everyday for the life and salvation that He has granted to me.

My next task upon receiving this award is to pass it on. I hereby bestow the Creative Writing Award to:       

Cecelia of Following My King
Jeanette of Audience of One
Heather of Balance With Purpose
Kathleen at Sassy Granny

Congratulations ladies! Your blogs provide inspiration, info, and wonderful insight. I'm blessed to call each one of you a friend.        

Lindsey Edwards of The Write Words surprised me with the Super Comments Award. Thank you, Lindsey! I enjoy Lindsey's blog very much; it is a great source of info to spark my creative writing process.

I pass the Super Comment Award along to these special blogging friends. Their blogs are full of wonderful goodies. Carol and Raymonde, you are treasured friends.

Carol of Everything Home...With Carol
Raymonde of Every Day I Walk With You

I also received the Prolific Blogger Award from Susan J. Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Thank you, Susan! Your blog was my first example and inspiration. You are a fabulous friend.

Stop by these blogs and say hello. You'll be glad you did!

Don't forget to leave a comment about your thoughts on creative writing. I really want to hear what you have to say.

Happy Creative Writing!  :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are You Moving?

Moving, in one form or another, has been the topic around here lately. This past weekend, my husband, kids, and I moved my mother in law into a new home. It wasn't a long distance move, just several miles down the road from where she'd previously lived.

It got me to thinking, am I moving forward with my writing? I guess that you could call it a delayed New Year's resolution musing. In some ways I think I'm making progress, in others, not so much.

What is considered a good writing move? A long one? Short ones? I've made short moves forward, such as writing blog posts or an article for a women's magazine. I think that a long move might be to enroll in writing classes, or write in a completely different genre, or to start a novel and see it through to publication. I think that the long and short moves add up to the finished product. We need the long, the short, and everything in between to get to where we are supposed tobe. What do you think?

While we're on the topic of moving, here's a site with info if you are planning an actual physical move, like my mother in law just did. New York Movers offers moving services for an across town or cross country move. Their concept is interesting; the site matches people with moving companies. Consumers post details about the move, location, how much stuff to be moved, etc. and they provide bids from moving companies. This would have come in handy when we moved from New Jersey to Kentucky six years ago.

Well, enough of my musings. Please share your thoughts, digressions, and musings, and tell us about your latest writing moves. Moving out of state, out of the country, out of a genre, or out of the computer chair? :) Hoping that you are, like me, moving forward.

Happy writing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Promise for Spring Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Susanne Dietze, the winner of A Promise for Spring 
by Kim Vogel Sawyer! 

Thanks to all who participated in the Blogoversary giveaway. Be sure and stop by often; there are two more giveaways scheduled for this happy Blogoversary month.

Happy reading and writing!

The Time Factor


Time. It's been on my mind for a number of reasons. I've been stressing a bit while juggling my writing and teaching schedules, family and other commitments, and blogging, So I was pleased to see Jody Hedlund's post on Friday entitled What to Do When Overwhelmed with Blogging.

Jody's advice renewed my perspective - and what a blessing that was! In addition to general observations like what blogging can do for the pre-published writer, she offers three constructive points to help avoid that swamped feeling. Thank you, Jody! Your post was timely.

Jody's post reminded me that I'd been meaning to ask you all your thoughts regarding time management and writing and blogging. Here goes:
  • Does your writing always come first? 
  • How do you manage to fit writing and blogging in? 
  • Do you have a method that helps you fit in weekly visits to your favorite blogs? 
  • Do you schedule your posts ahead of time, or write them and post immediately? 
  • What benefits have you reaped from blogging? 
  • What drawbacks, if any, have you found?
Okay, I know, we're not playing twenty questions. I'm just curious and want to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to share as much as you like.

Don't forget, I'll be announcing the winner of the Spring Blogoversary Giveaway later today. My Blogoversary month continues with a few more giveaways and special features, and an author interview, so stay tuned!

Happy writing:)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Self Published?

Have you self published a book, or know someone who has? Check out the Writer's Digest's Self Published Competition. The Grand Prize Winner gets $3000. That's not too shabby! First Place winners are awarded $1000 and the Honorable Mention winners receive a $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books. Genres include fiction, non-fiction, children's books, reference, and poetry, among others. Books self published between 2005 and 2010 are accepted, and an entry fee applies. Click here for more details.

Is a self published book among your writing credits? Have you considered self publishing? What do you think that the pros and cons of self publishing are? Share your thoughts about it; I'd love to hear what you think.

Speaking of contests, don't forget to enter this week's One Year Blogoversary giveaway. Check out Monday's post for more details.

Have a good weekend. Happy Writing!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Musings and Promises


Is it spring yet?

It may not feel like spring is here, but take heart, it will show up eventually. I must admit, I prefer cooler weather and even I am weary of the extra frosty temps and cloudy skies. While it still may be cold outside (depending on where you live), we can create some warm and wonderful writing inside. 

What? That little pep talk isn't inspiring you to crank out something fabulous? Okay, then check out Hope Clark's recent post. In  
Don't Hunt For It...Create Your Market Hope shares an interesting idea for generating writing opportunities that may be right under your nose. It gave me several ideas; perhaps it will inspire you too.

Another Springtime Giveaway

How about another Blogoversary giveaway to brighten the day? In case you happened to miss last week's announcement, I am celebrating my One Year Blog Anniversary this month and I am including several giveaways to celebrate.

A Promise for Spring by Kim Vogel Sawyer is the featured giveaway book this week. What's it about? I'm glad you asked!

Emmaline Bradford is nervous. Why? She came to the states to marry her fiance Geoffrey Garrett. Problem is, they were betrothed several years earlier when Geoffrey left England to start a ranch in Kansas. Emmaline was a starry eyed teen at the time and now has few memories of Geoffrey.

A series of interesting situations arise when Emmaline arrives at her new prairie home. Will things work out or will Emmaline return to England? Enter the giveaway and you can find out!

To enter this Blogoversary giveaway, follow these simple steps:

1) Leave a comment. Include your email address. Entries without email address will not be eligible.

2) Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

3) Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave a comment telling me so.

4) Receive a bonus entry by posting this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment with the link.

*Entry deadline is Monday March 15 at midnight. Winner will be notified on Tuesday. Thanks for sharing in the fun. Happy Writing!

*Open to residents of the United States, only.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blogoversary Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Rose McCauley, the winner of Monday's Blogoversary Giveaway
I've emailed a happy note to Rose to let her know.

Thanks to all who participated. Stay tuned for other fun giveaways and events for my Blogoversary Month.

Blessings to all.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Page Turner

Suspense is key! 

At least, that's what Elizabeth Sims tells us in her article, How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner. Ever heard of the Heart-Clutching Moments Plotting Method? Hop on over and Ms. Sims will enlighten you with the finer points of how to build a fabulous and suspenseful plot. I don't know about you, but I want my novel to be a page turner. As a matter of fact, I'd like it to be the kind that readers stay up into the wee hours of the night to finish! 

Not only does Sims share this interesting method, she highlights ways to supercharge your characters. She's a great proponent of ending chapters with a bang, too. In addition, she encourages us to "Use mood like a scalpel." In her opinion, action is the artillery we use to accomplish the novel writing task. I'm thinking that she's right. I may not endorse each and every method that she mentions, but I love her thoughts on this topic.

What helpful novel or other writing tips do you have to share? Please share them with us!

Don't forget, tonight at midnight is the deadline for entering my Blogoversary Giveaway. Click here to enter.

Happy suspenseful writing!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Blogoversary


March 2010 - One Year of Blogging

Guess what? My blog turns one year old this month! To celebrate this wonderful occasion, I have a few special features to share throughout the month.'s the best part...I will be having several giveaways. What am I giving away? You'll just have to wait and see.


The first week's giveaway - well, we must start with chocolate. I cannot have an occasion such as this pass by without a little chocolate indulgence and inspiration.

So, the first winner will be awarded a Cadbury chocolate bar and a copy of Tamera Alexander's Beyond This Moment. Click on the title to see my review.

To enter this delectable giveaway, follow these simple steps:

1) Leave a comment. Include your email address. Entries without email address will not be eligible.

2) Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

3) Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave an additional comment telling me so.

4) Receive a bonus entry by posting this giveaway on your blog. Please leave an additional comment with the link.

*Entry deadline is Thursday, March 4 at midnight. Winner will be notified on Friday. Thanks for sharing in the fun!

Happy writing, blogging, and reading:)

*Open to residents of the United States, only.