Monday, October 31, 2011

Sell Me!

Do you love Twitter? 

Hate it? 

Like it a little? 

I was on Twitter a few years ago but decided to get off. 


Reason # 1 - It didn't interest me.

Reason # 2 - I had a few undesirable followers (those with unsavory websites). 

Reason # 3 - I didn't have time to add one more thing to my schedule.

Why am I telling you this?

Reason # 1 - Many of you use Twitter and rave about it.

Reason # 2 - I've heard it is a useful social media tool.

Reason # 3 - I'm told that you can screen followers.

I've been thinking about it lately and I'm curious. 

If Twitter is so fabulous, 

then maybe I need to consider getting back on.  

This is where you come in. 

I need you to sell me on Twitter.

Why do I need to return to Twitter? 

What makes it so great?

Or, if you don't care for it, tell me why.

I'm awaiting your thoughts.

Go ahead.

Sell me!

P.S. On a Non-Twitter Note...

Congratulations to Melissa Sugar, winner of Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin! 

Thanks to all who stopped by for the interview and giveaway.

Happy writing,


Image credit: Stock Exchange

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Do You Like Your Change?

"Change is good, but dollars are better."


I saw this on a t-shirt years ago and had to laugh. I agree. 

But then, if you get enough change, it adds up to dollars, right?

 Joking aside, how do you handle change? 

Do you embrace it or chafe when it pops up?

I handle certain kinds of change well. You know the kind -

Hubby says, "How about we go out to eat tonight?"

"Yes, dear!"

I'm totally there, you know? I'm all for being flexible in that respect,

but not so great with other kinds of change. I like a routine and

prefer to know what's up ahead. But we don't always know, do we?

That's why I'm thankful that God is in control. No matter what happens,

nothing takes Him by surprise. He's still on the throne.

  What kind of change do you embrace? What kind makes you run for cover?

What keeps you balanced and on track?

Have a wonderful weekend,


Don't forget, there's still time to enter the giveaway for a copy of

Sarah Sundin's Blue Skies Tomorrow.

Hop back to Monday's post for details. Giveaway ends this Saturday at noon.

Image credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sarah Sundin - Interview and Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming Sarah Sundin, author of the Wings of Glory Series.

It’s great to have you back, Sarah! Congratulations on your latest release, Blue Skies Tomorrow. How did you feel completing the three book series? What was your original inspiration for this series? 

Sarah: Writing the final chapter was difficult and required several drafts. The Novak boys and the women they love had been my constant mental companions for almost a decade. It was hard to say good-bye, even if they did have their happy endings.

The idea for the first book, A Distant Melody, came out of a “what if” question—what if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I was hooked. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.

Karen: Of the three books, which character is your favorite?
Sarah: That’s like asking which is my favorite child. I have three children, unique and lovable in their own ways. Some days I like one better than another. Don’t gasp. You do it too. But I love them equally. It’s the same with my characters. I adore them, am exasperated by them, and try to figure out how they tick.

I am sure that you found a lot of interesting facts with your research for these books. Was there anything that you unearthed that really took you by surprise?

Sarah:  In Blue Skies Tomorrow, the heroine experiences the Port Chicago Explosion, where 320 sailors were killed in the largest US Home Front disaster in the war. Most of the men killed were black. I thought I understood the explosion and the mutiny trial that followed (it happened in my home county), but my research changed my mind. I knew there was a great deal of racism and discrimination at the time, but the details of this disaster really brought it home to me.

Karen: Did I hear something about you and your family going to Italy and France this summer? It must have been fabulous! Was the trip writing related?

Sarah: It was fabulous! My husband and two younger kids and I went to Provence and Italy, part family vacation, and part research for my next series. Not only did we see tourist places like Pompeii and Rome and Avignon, but I was able to see the ancient Greek (yes, Greek!) temples at Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno, where the 93rd Evacuation Hospital was based, sink my toes in the sand of the Anzio landing beaches, and get remarkably close to the active French military airfield at Istres le Tubé, where the flight nurses were based. There was something special about being able to smell the air and feel the sand and hear the cigales (the cicadas in Provence).

Karen: Sounds like a great trip! Tell us, what is your favorite aspect of the published author’s life?
Sarah: My favorite part is being able to do what I love most and call it a job. There’s so much I love—when an idea sparks, when the story flows, when a sentence sings. And when readers say that God used words I wrote to change their hearts—well, that just gives me goose-bumps.

Karen: What is your least favorite aspect?

Sarah: I’m not fond of marketing plans, and I don’t care for some aspects of promotion—it often feels like bragging to me. But it’s a necessary evil.

Karen: Congratulations on your new three book series, Wings of the Nightingale. I’ll look forward to reading all of them! Can you tell us a little about it? 

Sarah: The Wings of the Nightingale series follows three World War II flight nurses who discover love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean. The first novel in the series, With Every Letter, will release Fall 2012.
Loner Mellie Blake longs for adventure as a flight nurse, while Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver tries to overcome the legacy of his infamous father. In North Africa and Sicily, Mellie pioneers air evacuation while Tom builds airfields under fire. An anonymous pen pal correspondence helps them unlock their true identities.

Sounds like a winner. :) Thank you for stopping by to see us today. I’m sure my followers would join me in wishing you all the best with your upcoming books.

Sarah: It was a pleasure, thank you!

Stop by and see Sarah at her blog, Under His Wings, or at her website. She'd love to see you!

Giveaway Details - Please Read Carefully :)

  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this post.
  • Gain bonus entries (+1 each) by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment.
  • Open to residents of the United States and Canada.
  • Deadline to enter is noon EST, Saturday, October 29, 2011. Winner will be notified via email and will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, October 31.

Do you have any questions for Sarah? What genre do you like to read for pleasure?



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do You Follow?

Blogging is a great experience, isn't it? We get to express ourselves and connect with others in our area of interest. I've tapped into a wealth of knowledge and discovered fabulous links through writing posts and following blogs. The biggest plus, though, is the terrific people I've met. I've gained critique partners, and more importantly, treasured friends.

In addition to the general blog experience, I've been thinking about my blog following policy. When I gain a new follower, I usually follow their blog too - if they have one and I can locate it. There are a few exceptions:

  • If I cannot embrace the content, such as something I find offensive or contrary to my convictions.
  • If the blog is written in another language. I am only fluent in English; I know just enough French and Spanish to be dangerous. :) I've tried the translating feature but the results (for the ones I've tried) were, shall we say, rather interesting.

While we're on the topic, Jody Hedlund shares her insight in this post, How Important Are Blog Followers? Jody discusses making connections and measuring worthy content through followers. Does she think the amount of followers a blog has indicates success? Hop over and see!

This is completely off topic but wanted to share...

Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents' blog offers great info for writers and is featuring a few book giveaways this week. One deadline I spotted was October 22, so if you're interested, scoot over soon. I was thrilled to learn I won a copy of the 2012 Guide to Literary Agents. Click here for more details.

What is your blog following policy? Do you reciprocate when someone follows your blog?

Have a great weekend,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Foot in the Mouth?

How many times have you stuck your foot in your mouth lately?

Not so bad, perhaps, if you have feet like this:

But rather lousy if you have feet like this:

I wonder what Abraham Lincoln was thinking when he said,

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”          

Wonderful advice, and very helpful if we heed it.

As writers, we have an advantage. Putting pen to paper adds more more hoops to jump through before we risk a foot or two in the mouth.

Pondering this, I mentally listed the things I do to avoid this dreaded occurrence.

  • Spell check - It may not catch the foot before it heads into the mouth, but it can signal something wrong or out of place, making me slow down and rethink it.
  • Reading my work aloud -  Spots rough or awkward text, one more opportunity to think about what I said before tossing it out there.
  • Critique partners - Another set or two of eyes, what a blessing! I have a handful of people I trust for good, honest input.
  • Letting it rest - I try to give finished work at least a day to rest, then check it again before sending it out. If I don't have a day to spare, then whatever is possible, even if only an hour or two. I can lose my objectivity (and just get tired of looking at it) after working on something a while, so a step away is a big help.

So, okay, I still stick my foot in my mouth on occasion, but I have noticed that my writing has enhanced my awareness of what comes out of my mouth. Most of the time. Just ask my husband. :)

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Rhonda Schrock, the winner of The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund! Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week for the interview.

How do you keep from putting your foot in your mouth with your writing? Care to share any foot in the mouth episodes with us?

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review - A Whisper of Peace

A Whisper of Peace       

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bethany House

Lizzie Dawson is determined to fulfill her mother's dying wish - that Lizzie reconcile with her grandparents. Once peace is made, Lizzie plans to go to California to live with her father. The mountains of Alaska have always been her home, though. She is concerned about fitting into 1898 society in San Francisco. Surely it will differ from the wilds of the Yukon, won't it? No matter, she must join her father.

Clay Selby and his stepsister Vivian are headed to minister to a native tribe near Fort Yukon. Visions of converting the masses swirl though Clay's mind; he'll start by starting a mission school and church. Vivian makes the trip to assist him, hoping to redeem herself for past sins.

In any other world, Lizzie, Clay, and Vivian might not be friends, but they forge an interesting bond out of need and loneliness. The natives tolerate the Selbys, curious about their ways. When the head of the tribe learns of their alliance with Lizzie, he orders them to break ties with her. Lizzie has long been ostracized from the tribe because of her mother's so called transgressions. Faced with the ultimatum, Clay and Vivian must make a hard choice.

Does this book contain action and adventure? Yes. A bit of romance? Yes. Surprises? Oh, yes! Sawyer weaves yet another wonderful story that will engage most historical fiction fans from beginning to end. Vivid detail, unexpected twists and turns, and fabulous characters all add up to a heartwarming and entertaining tale.

I always look forward to new books by Ms. Sawyer, and this one did not disappoint. I finished it in record time; it was a great read.

Are you a fan of historical fiction?

Happy weekend,

I obtained this copy from Bethany House for review purposes, no compensation was received.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jody Hedlund - Interview and Giveaway

I'm excited; author Jody Hedlund is visiting us today! She's also offered to give away a copy of her latest book, The Doctor's Lady. Check out  giveaway details below.

Karen: Welcome to Write Now, Jody! I’m thrilled to have you back. Congratulations on your latest book, The Doctor’s Lady! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and getting to know Priscilla and Eli. What was your inspiration for this book?

Jody: This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return so that she could help start a mission among the Nez Perce natives.

It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

Karen: Are there any characters in your books (The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady) that you identify with more than the others?

Jody: In The Doctor's Lady, I probably relate the most with Eli. I'm incredibly independent like he was, and I think I can do a lot in my own strength. I have a hard time asking others for help but have been learning to rely on others (especially my husband) during these past few years of juggling a writing career, homeschooling, and mothering. 

Karen: How much time did you spend researching before you wrote each book?

Jody: Each book tends to be slightly different in the amount of time it takes me to research. The Doctor’s Lady took me approximately eight weeks of reading, plotting, and understanding the time period before I was finally ready to write. My first book, The Preacher’s Bride, took me longer—closer to twelve weeks—simply because the time period and the setting were more foreign.

Karen: As a wife, homeschooling mom, and writer, I imagine that spare time is hard to come by, but when you have a moment, what do you enjoy reading?

Jody: I always enjoy reading historical fiction of all different eras. In fact, I recently read Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran which is set during the time of ancient Rome. I also branched into a young adult series that my daughters were reading, River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren.

Karen: If you could offer one tip on time management, what would it be?

Jody: Be intentional. The one thing that has helped me the most over the years is setting a daily word count goal and sticking to it. I started with only 500 words a day during my earlier books. Eventually I moved to 800 words, and now I’m at 1000 words per day.

I think it’s important to find what’s manageable but then challenge yourself just slightly above that. At the minimum, I think most writers can squeeze in 300 words per day. Consistent writing day in and day out will eventually lead to a completed book.

Karen: Okay, I must ask, what’s your favorite writing snack?

My favorite non-sweet snack is nachos and cheese.  My favorite sweet snack depends on my mood. Of course I like chocolate! But I also occasionally like pie (particularly Apple, Blueberry, Cherry pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company which is just around the corner from my house!).

Karen: I can’t wait to read your third book. Can you give us any hints about it?

Jody: I’m really excited about my next book because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

The heroine of the story is a young woman, Lily Young, who is looking for her sister who’s caught up into the degradation of lumber camp life. While Lily searches for her missing sister, she fights against the evil that runs rampant around her, and she fights not to lose her heart to the lumber baron who turns a blind eye to the lawlessness of the lumber business.

Karen: Thank you so much for spending a little time with us today. I wish you all the best with your future writing endeavors. :)

Jody: Thank you for having me!

Visit Jody at her website or blog. I am sure she'd love to see you!

 Book Giveaway Details
  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this or Monday's post.
  • Gain bonus entries by posting this on Facebook, your blog, and/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment.
  • Open to residents of the United States only.
  • Deadline to enter is noon EST, Saturday, October 15, 2011. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, October 17. 
What exciting things do you have planned for the weekend?

Have a great weekend,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review - The Doctor's Lady


The Doctor's Lady

by Jody Hedlund

Priscilla White planned on going to India to become a missionary. She'd prayed, planned, and prepared, sure that God was calling her to go. When her plans were sidetracked by the Missionary Board's newest requirement - that all missionaries be married couples - she was stunned. Surely there was a way around it. She'd vow to be devout, celibate, whatever it took to bring the Gospel to the poor heathens in that distant land. This was 1836, after all, and she was a strong, modern Christian woman.

Dr. Eli Ernest's visit to Priscilla's church in Angelica, New York was no different from any of the other church visits. He hoped to drum up support for his journey west to minister to the Nez Perce Indians in Oregon Territory. People were misinformed about the gentle Native American tribe, thinking that they were savages. Most church members sent missionary dollars overseas, perhaps unaware of this worthy cause in their own country. Eli wrestled with the Missionary Board's new decision too; he needed to return west before next winter. A wife? Out of the question. A woman had never traveled across the continent; she wouldn't survive the trip.

Sparks fly when Priscilla and Eli first meet. The pair publicly clash, revealing facets of their strong willed character. When a suggestion is made that they marry to solve the Missionary Board decision dilemma, they initially resist. Fueled by a desire and conviction to fulfill their callings, however, they relent, make a deal to be married in name only, and embark on the dangerous cross country journey.

Their journey is fraught with hardship, peril, and awkwardness (a fellow traveler is Priscilla's former beau). Priscilla is determined to brave the wilderness without being a burden to Eli. It is not long, however, before she questions whether her decision to go west was really God's will. Eli is happy enough to have a wife and the Missionary Board's support, but is not pleased with the burden that a woman adds to the trip. He tries to remain detached in case the rigors of the trip are too much and he must send Priscilla back to New York. Likewise, Priscilla keeps her growing feelings to herself, keeping their "business deal" in mind. Tension and misunderstandings ensue as they inch closer to their destination in the northwest.

If I were to rate this book, I would give it five stars. Jody Hedlund is a excellent storyteller; I was engaged from beginning to end. I view Jody's books as not only a pleasure to read, but as an example of fabulous historical fiction. As a writer, I observe plot, characters, style, description, and the other ingredients necessary to make a story great. Jody does it all well! I highly recommend this book. Can't wait until her next book comes out.

Jody Hedlund will be stopping by for an interview this Thursday, October 13. I invite you to join us! She's generously offered a copy of The Doctor's Lady to one of my followers. Please note the following details.

To be Eligible for the Giveaway:

  • You must be a follower and leave a comment, with email address, on this or Thursday's post.
  • Gain bonus entries by posting this on Facebook, your blog, &/or Twitter. Please include link with your comment.
  • Open to residents of the United States only.
  • Deadline to enter is noon EST, Saturday, October 15, 2011. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced Monday, October 17.

What's the latest and greatest book you've read?

Happy Monday,

I received a influencer copy of The Doctor's Lady from Bethany House. No compensation was received.