Saturday, October 26, 2013

Do You Make Christmas Ornaments?

With October coming to an end and Christmas around the corner, I thought I’d share some sites from the web that feature free Christmas ornament patterns and ideas.

Crochet patterns: click on the ornament name to see the photos.

Whether you’re be inspired to create your first ornament or help your children make one for Grandma. Have fun and let your creative juices flow!

Do you have other good links? Please share here...

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown

A Journey of Love and Hope

Carole has created a moving account of life in a cult created by self-centered and evil leadership. Caralynne Hayman carries a torch for her deceased daughter and the terror she experienced at the hands of wicked men. With a sense of urgency, Carole carries the reader through the unbearable journey of a mother’s sorrow as she mourns, yet rises to protect her other children. Caralynne must call on the faith she once knew and the man she once loved.

This is also the story of truth and how God’s love prevails. The book is not for the faint of heart, because Carole paints a true picture of how terrible life can be inside a group of misled people who believe so intensely in what they do that they will harm anyone who gets in their way. Well written and thought provoking, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman will not leave you for a long time. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

We have a Winner!

Diana Montgomery is the winner of a free copy of Anita Higman's, Winter in Full Bloom. Congratulations Diana!
Thanks to all who entered the contest.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Anita Higman answers questions about Winter in Full Bloom~read to the bottom and find a chance to win a free book

I enjoyed meeting Anita Higman at the ACFW conference in Indiana. She's as beautiful as the stories she tells. Join me in hearing what she has to say about Winter in Full Bloom.

Winter in Full Bloom is set in Texas as well as Australia. What made you want to set the novel in these two places?
Well, I live in Texas, and so I wanted to make use of my home state. After living here for about thirty years I have a soft spot for Texas now. Also, I’d visited Melbourne, Australia for about three weeks and had taken notes, and since it was such an exotic place and I’d had such an amazing time there, I wanted to share some of my experiences with readers.

The cover is beautiful. Did you have any input in this cover?
Yes, actually, I did. The publisher sent me a few samples to look at, and I chose this one. But the cover you see now was tweaked a number of times. One of the changes was the addition of the red tulips all along the snowy path. I’m so glad the publisher was open to changes. I’m very happy with the final cover. It reflects the story even better than before, and I think that bit of unexpected intrigue along the road will be eye-catching to the bookstore browser.

That title is unique. How did you come up with Winter in Full Bloom?
Sometimes I brainstorm titles, and then sometimes I use a phrase I find within the manuscript that works well as a title. Winter in Full Bloom was created during one of my brainstorming sessions. As a side note, there are a couple of meanings to this tile. The heroine’s name is Lily Winter. Also, half of the book takes place in Houston at the advent of winter, but when she flies to Melbourne at the same time of the year, Australians are experiencing the beginning of spring. So, even though Lily has begun getting ready for winter, she suddenly enters into a season of springtime—literally and in her personal life.

Are the characters from your imagination, or do they come from real life?
My characters are a mixture of both. I’ll be watching someone at the airport or the mall or at church, and I’ll think, “Wow, that gesture or laugh or walk is perfect for my character.” Then some of my character’s traits will come straight from my imagination. Usually, it’s a fun brew of all the above.

Do you and your husband travel a lot?
We travel much more now that we have empty nest. Last year we went to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. This year we’ve been to Mexico, California, and right now as I type this answer, my husband and I are waiting at the airport to fly to Ireland. Can’t wait. I’m hoping to set one of my future novels in Ireland.

Why do you write?
I have a real need to express myself creatively—guess I was born that way—and writing and I fit well together.

Your heroine, Lily Winter, is experiencing empty nest. Why did you add that element to the story?
I was going through this same rough phase of motherhood, and I thought it would be good to add this to the story. I hope it added an element of authenticity to the tale. And too, forcing myself to write about the pain surely helped me deal with it better.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been in this profession for about thirty years. It’s been a long, stumbly kind of journey. I’ve had some dark hours—those moments when I really didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. Moments when rejection swept me under like a scary undertow. Moments when getting published seemed pretty much impossible. But I never gave up, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve had thirty-four books published in many genres, and even though it’s been a rough ride, it’s also been deeply satisfying.

This story is about twin sisters? Are you a twin and do you have a sister?
I’m afraid I have to say no to both of those questions, but I’ve always wanted to have a sister. And that desire I suppose fueled the dialogue and some of this story.

Winter in Full Bloom is a love story but also a story of family reconciliation. Have you experienced that last part in your own life?
Yes, I have known the miracle of family reconciliation, and it has brought me great joy!

Any final words for your readers?

If you have ever taken the time to read one of my novels, I thank you with all my heart. I sincerely hope that Winter in Full Bloom inspires you and makes you laugh, and when you come to the last page and close the book, I hope your heart and your step feels just a little lighter. 

If you would like to win a copy of Winter in Full Bloom, leave a comment about your favorite season of the year by October 12. I'll choose a winner and let Anita know and she will send you a copy of this delightful story.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blessed by the ACFW Conference

Saturday September 14, I stepped into the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis. I couldn’t believe I was finally attending the writer’s conference that I’d prepared for for months, years really. Even with all the preparation, I still had butterflies fluttering.

At breakfast I met several writers from Ohio and Kentucky. What a joy to meet folks who live in my area. When we finished eating, the worship leaders led us in uplifting praise that echoed the reason we met together. 

After breakfast, I made my way to the third floor where classes and appointments took place. To calm my nerves, I sat in the hallway organizing the information for my appointments with an agent and editors. As I sat on the hotel’s bench, doubts crept in—did I really think I was ready to talk to editors? God heard me. He sent a lovely woman who sat with me and lifted me in prayer. She even let me practice my pitch. She’d come to the conference with her writer husband. Earlier she asked God to lead her to people she could pray with, who might need encouraged. I think I encountered an angel in disguise. What a blessing.

My first two appointments were in the morning. As I waited in line to meet with an agent, I ran into Anita Higman, a very talented author. She wished me well as I walked down the hall
Anita Higman & me
to the agent appointment. I wasn't a fit for the agent’s author list, but she did compliment my writing. Anita was kind enough to check with me after my meeting. Another blessing. I met with an editor just before lunch and I’ll just say that one was good practice. 

At lunch, I decided to sit at a table in the back of the room and prayed God would send me who I needed to meet. He sent two lovely young women and the editor I would be meeting at the end of the day. We all chatted about what we wrote, where we lived, movies and books and enjoyed the good company. God knew that I needed that boost of confidence. 
After lunch, I sat in on a class about the first fifty pages. The teacher shared with honesty and humor how to capture the reader’s attention right from the beginning. Then I met Deborah Raney, another wonderful, seasoned author. She’s as sweet as I imagined, and her class met all my expectations. I left Deb’s class for my last appointment of the day.
Deb Raney & me

Talking with the editor was fun. She asked me several questions about my characters and where they lived. I loved telling her about them. The people I’d imagined for years came to life. I walked away with a feeling of peace. The blessings continued. One of the ladies I sat with at lunch checked to see how the interview went. She did not know me until we ate lunch together. Yet, she cared enough to see how my appointment went. God's people are amazing. I walked away from the conference blessed in ways that I never dreamed.

In all of this wonder-filled experience, I can’t forget the people who prepared the conference, those who prayed for me for weeks or my husband who chauffeured me to Indy and back. We had a great time. Without a doubt I would love to do this again.