Posts Tagged ‘Contest’
Posted on May 15, 2013 - by Brenda Anderson
How many of you have ever watched the TLC show, What Not to Wear? I’m a little embarrassed to admit I thoroughly enjoy the show. What the co-hosts, Stacy and Clinton, do is surprise someone who has no fashion / make-up sense with a $5000 shopping spree and a make-over. (Someone like me who can’t fill a pinhead with her fashion and makeup knowledge. Seriously. Now if you want to talk baseball … Well, I digress.)
The catch is, their *victim* must turn over all the clothes in their closet. Now, while this show can be a bit humiliating for the person being targeted, it’s also often an eye-opener for them. It seems that that many of the people spotlighted share a singular issue: low self-esteem or poor body image. And they hide behind their clothes in one way or another.
They don’t see themselves as beautiful. The don’t see themselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Part of the problem is, we live in an image-driven society where exterior “beauty” is lauded. The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch is on record saying that his clothing line intentionally excludes the not-good-looking, the uncool people: Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks. It’s a disturbing article. I can proudly say I’ve never purchased a single item from A&F, and I never will.
Here’s another perspective from a Christian woman on body image: http://www.prodigalmagazine.com/my-wedding-night/. Can anyone else relate?
1 Samuel 16:7b says,
“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Are you seeing what God is seeing?
Recently, Dove released an emotional and very telling video that demonstrated women’s self-image issues. I encourage you to take three minutes to watch this:
How many of you see yourself in that video? I’m slowly raising my hand.
Psalm 139: 13-14 says,
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
Do you know that full well?
From what or whom do you derive your value? Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you truly believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Do you see a beautiful child of God? Are you seeing yourself through God’s eyes or the worlds’?
Personally, I’m working on it.
If you struggle with self-image, if you have trouble seeing yourself through the eyes of God, here are a couple of reading suggestions:
MOM IN THE MIRROR: BODY IMAGE, BEAUTY, & LIFE AFTER PREGNANCY by Dena Cabrera, Emily T. Wierenga, with a foreward by Emme.
Other encouraging music:
HOW CAN YOU WIN A COPY OF WEDDING ON THE ROCKS?
Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks and TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s four chances to win a book every time you post here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.
Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.
Posted on May 7, 2013 - by Shannon Vannatter
Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a lifetime primper. I love makeup. I love big hair. Oh, if only the 80′s big hair would come back. And since Rose’s heroine from Wedding on the Rocks is a beauty advisor, I’m certain we would bond.
From the time I knew what makeup was, around nine years old, I wanted to wear it. And I do. I don’t go anywhere without it. Not even to the mail box and definitely not Walmart.
My love for makeup and big hair sent me to cosmetology school. Oh, was I in my element training to make women beautiful. It would be so glamorous. But, it wasn’t. I ended up with hair in my teeth, my bra, and embedded in the bottom of my foot. You haven’t felt pain until you’ve had a freshly clipped piece of hair stuck in your foot like a splinter. I worked as a hairdresser for ten years and hung up my non-glamorous scissors.
But I still love hair and makeup. Many moons ago, when I was 7 months pregnant and on bed rest with nothing else to do, I watched a Dr. Phil episode. He had a lady on there that never left the house without her makeup. I saw no problem with that. I decided she was insane when Dr. Phil talked her into taking her makeup off–ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!!!
I’ve compiled lots of tips over the years–from experience and cosmetology school and you’re getting them free. I usually share these when I’m the speaker at ladies’ retreats. So listen up:
Beauty Tip #1 – Moisturizer doesn’t work on a dry face. Steps: Cleanse your face. Pat water on. Let air dry and apply moisturizer.
Beauty Tip #2 – Always apply moisturizer every morning and every night. Dry skin causes wrinkles. Seal the moisturizer in with foundation.
Beauty Tip #3 – Dry skin = wrinkles. Tanning = dry skin. Don’t tan your face. If you tan the rest of your body and you end up pale-faced, use a bronzer.
Beauty Tip #4 – Eyeliner defines your eyes. Even if you don’t take the time for eyeshadow, line your eyes.
Beauty Tip #5 – Foundation seals moisturizer in. It doesn’t do any good to moisturize if you don’t seal it in.
Beauty Tip #6 – Get your hair trimmed every 6 weeks. Getting rid of split ends maintains a sleek look and keeps hair healthy.
Beauty Tip #7 – Translucent powder smooths and gives the illusion of perfection. After applying makeup, pat with loose translucent powder.
Beauty Tip #8 – Neutral brown or gray shadow looks good with any skin tone.
Beauty Tip #9 – Skin and hair fade as you age. If you color your gray, go about two shades lighter than your used-to-be natural color.
Beauty Tip #10 – Chlorine and sun dry skin and hair. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Beauty Tip #11 – Never pull down on the delicate skin underneath the eye. Not to apply makeup or put in contacts. Causes bags.
Beauty Tip #12 – Bangs soften a long forehead.
Beauty Tip #13 – Hair parted down the middle draws attention to your nose. Which is fine, if you have a pretty one.
Beauty Tip #14 – If your jaw is square, wear your hair in a rounded style to soften angles.
Beauty Tip #15 – If your face is round, wear your hair in a blunt, squared style to soften.
Beauty Tip #16 – Test foundation on your wrist for color match.
Beauty Tip #16 – Test foundation on the inside of your wrist for color match.
Beauty Tip #17 – The secret to great eyeshadow: blending.
Beauty Tip #18 – The secret to great blush: blending.
Beauty Tip #19 – Get your eyebrows professionally waxed. Then pluck what grows back in.
Final Beauty Tip #20 – Embrace your age–whatever it is. If you feel good about yourself, you look good.
HOW CAN YOU WIN A COPY OF WEDDING ON THE ROCKS?
Rose is generously offering not one but TWO copies of Wedding on the Rocks AND TWO copies of her previous release Rose of Sharon to readers who comment during the next two weeks and let us know about their most unusual job or a beauty secret and/or mishap. That’s 4 chances to win a book every time you comment here at Inkspirational Messages in the next two weeks.
Contest closes Friday, May 17 at midnight (central time). It is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada only.
Posted on May 1, 2013 - by Brenda Anderson
Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters! (Singing yet?)
Admittedly, that’s an easy song for me to sing. You see, I am richly blessed with sisters. Not only do I have two sisters by birth, I also have seven sisters-in-law!
Even better, we all get along. How many extended families do you know can spend the day after Thanksgiving shopping together? It’s a years’ old tradition that started with my mom, my sisters, and me that now includes sisters-in-law and our daughters. The picture you see below doesn’t include everyone–we’d have to extend our table three times to fit the rest of the women and girls in my family alone.
Yeah, we’re blessed!
We have a built-in support system for the bad times, a vocal cheering section for the good times, and we’d do anything to help each other out.
But, best of all, I count my sisters as friends, perhaps the greatest blessing of all.
Now its your turn. Every time you share one of your sister stories in the next two weeks, you’ll be entered in the drawing for a copy of When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad for yourself and a matching copy for a sister. Contest closes at midnight, central time on Friday, May 3, 2013 and is open to those in the U.S. and Canada. Name chosen by Random.org.
Posted on April 30, 2013 - by Stacy Monson
I grew up in a family of four kids – girl, boy, girl, boy. Raised by a single mother who was working full-time and putting herself through six years of college, it could have been a recipe for disaster.
Not so, Grasshopper. All four of us actually turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Sue, the oldest, has been in Human Resources for her entire career. Steve, second born, has been a highly successful and recognized college track coach. Me, third born – well, you can decide. And Scott, the “baby” is a popular college professor on the East coast (and a PhD to boot).
My sister and I are four and a half years apart. She’s the typical first born – responsible, focused, driven, big heart. The “put your head down and work” kind of person. The family protector. I’m the typical third born – a peace maker, afraid of my own shadow growing up, happy to just go along so we’d all get along. But even being so different, we were still good friends. (During thunderstorms, when we were young, she’d let me crawl into her bed. Her twin bed!)
She married a year or so out of high school, when I was just barely into high school, and went off to live a grown-up life while I was still growing up. When she moved to Chicago, we kept in touch often. She came home for visits, I went there for visits. Our first-borns are just seven months apart.
I was thrilled when she moved back here. While “the boys” have lived away their whole adult lives (one in Iowa, the other in Virginia), Sue and I were happy to be back in the same place, raising our kids together, hanging out with our mom. Little did we know we would become each other’s lifeline during a particularly difficult and painful journey.
The four of us siblings have stayed close all these years. When we’re all together, which is about every other year, we cram in as much life as we can. Makes our spouses crazy but we love it. Our greatest bonds have been around our faith, our mom, and our shared sense of humor (which our mother had in spades).
So when Mom started showing signs of forgetfulness, we burned up the phone lines sharing our concerns, making plans, and being worried together. Sue and I, however, had the job of physically caring for Mom. And we did it in tandem.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a particularly difficult disease because there’s no treatment, no way to slow it down once it starts. From her early seventies until she died at 79, Mom slowly faded into someone we didn’t recognize. It would have been unbearable dealing with it alone, but together my sister and I were able to face it side-by-side, even finding things to laugh about. (If you don’t laugh sometimes, you’ll cry the whole time.)
From having Mom’s license taken away, to moving her into assisted living, then memory care, then behavior care, Sue and I made all the hard decisions together. Paring down Mom’s belongings. Finding the right next place for her to move. And making sure she always had cookies available – when she got ornery, the staff could wave a cookie in front of her and she’d change her tune in a heartbeat. (They called her the Cookie Monster.) And while “the boys” couldn’t be with us often, they were always there in spirit, agreeing with our decisions, encouraging us, appreciating us from afar.
Through years of watching Mom change from an extremely independent, bright, articulate social worker to a tiny, confused, toddler-like being, Sue and I held onto each other. God did an amazing thing during that time – when I had reached my limit and simply couldn’t deal with one more issue, Sue was there to take care of it. And when she was at the end of her rope, I stepped in. Over eight years, that pattern never wavered. We held each other up while walking the awful journey of Alzheimer’s with Mom.
During the week Mom was dying, we were with her nearly every minute. If there had been a baton, we’d have been handing it to each other as one came to give the other a break. At the end, all four of us kids (along with a mix of spouses and grandchildren) were there to say goodbye with laughter and tears. It was an amazing end to an amazing journey.
The best part? Sue and I are stronger because of it – as individuals, as sisters, as friends. While we’d all like Mom back as she used to be, we know she’s in a far better place now, healed, whole and talking God’s ear off. And Sue and I? We know without a doubt we have each other’s back. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
**REMEMBER – Each time you share a sister story during this Sisters series, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of When Love Calls for yourself and a matching copy for your sister. Contest closes at midnight central time on May 3rd, and is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Name to be chosen by Random.org. **
Posted on April 17, 2013 - by Brenda Anderson
*Book Giveaway – See below*
Oh, my favorite topic again! Books! It’s so much fun reading all the other posts these past couple of weeks, seeing what everyone’s reading, adding titles to my overfull list. The problem for me is, deciding which book(s) to talk about.
It goes without saying that I’m very excited for my fellow bloggers who have new releases or coming releases (WHEN LOVE CALLS by Lorna Seilstad, WEDDING ON THE ROCKS by Rose Ross Zediker, and RODEO REGRETS by Shannon Taylor Vannatter), but we’ll hear more about them later.
So, I had to make a decision and whittle my To Be Read list (37 books on my wish list at Christianbook.com) down to a nice square number like 4. Just because.
Just finished reading:
Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?
A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.
The sophomore work from Katie Ganshert is even better than her brilliant debut last year, WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER. (Read my review of Wishing on Willows here: ) If you’re looking for a romance that’s redemptive, unpredictable, and heart-tugging, pick up this one.
Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world. Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn’t know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy’s listening ear until the day she suspects Anna’s tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They’re fragments of Anna’s disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can’t resist tugging, Ivy records Anna’s memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman’s emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories. Is Ivy’s answer buried in Anna’s past? Becky, Ivy, Anna–three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.
I just started this book, and can’t put it down! Once again Cynthia Ruchti has created a page-turning story woven together with beautiful prose.
Next On My List:
Winsome and Romantic–the Perfect Summer Read!
When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted–more interested in art than in oil–she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father’s empire.
The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.
Bo’s determined to resent the woman who’s decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them–her wealth, his unworthiness, her family’s outrage–and earn the right to love her.
But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their love–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?
Becky Wade’s CBA debut last year, My Stubborn Heart, was a Favorite of mine in 2012. I have little doubt that Undeniably Yours will make my Favorites list for 2013.
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family— which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother— he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
William Kent Krueger is known for his Corcoran O’Connor series about a half Irish, half Ojibwe Sheriff in northern Minnesota. While those novels are not Christian, Krueger has always had an element of faith to them, so I’m very curious how he’ll deal with grace here.
Every time you leave a comment on posts dated April 8, 2013 through April 19, 2013, you’ll be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of When Love Calls plus a $10 Starbucks card! Contest ends Friday, April 19, 2013 at midnight. Winner will be posted on Saturday, April 20, 2013.
Also, be sure to hop over to Lorna’s Facebook Fan Page and *like* it. She’s having a Likefest. After she reaches 800 Likes, her publisher (Revell) will have a giveaway for a complete set of her Lake Manawa Series! Drawing will be held April 30.
Posted on December 4, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
Shannon here: I’ve never met Shawna, but she’s Arkansas gal like me. And since she has a Christmas book out, I snagged her for my inksper interview. Shawna is giving away an e-book copy of A Hand to Hold and a cute pair of snowman earrings (pictured). Comment on any post dated Dec 3 – 7 to get your name in the drawing. Deadline: Dec 8th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Shawna:
1.) What is the biggest writing challenge you’ve encountered this past year – craft, career, writing life, etc? How did you solve it?
This biggest challenge for me this past year has been balancing life with my writing career. This past year has been a tough one with the sudden loss of a close friend, spiritual attacks within our circle of friends, and the failing health of both mine and my husband’s parents. With the holidays, conference, and my dad’s numerous surgeries I found myself traveling every couple of weeks from about late November through May. Apart from writing, I also work as an editor for two small presses, home school three teens, and manage the social media for The Wordsmith Journal Magazine and work as their submissions editor for short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. I had a book due at the first of August. I managed to get it written, and I absolutely love the story, but my constant state of stress this past year was hard on me and consequently also hard on my family.
My solution for now is a promise I made to my family to not sign another book contract based on a proposal without the book being at least half written. The second half usually goes fast because at that point the story is firm in my mind. If it’s not firm, that means I probably need to scrap the first half because clearly there’s no direction.
My hope is this will encourage me to make time for writing in shorter increments, but more frequently, like daily, or every other day.
Last year I kept putting it off, trying to create space in my mind by tending to everything else first. While I’m very proud of the story that finally came together, the path I took to complete it was littered with more than a few “freak out” episodes. I tend to be one who holds everything in, so these weren’t pretty. Lol! My youngest daughter told me, “Mom, for fourteen years I’ve never seen you cry, and now you can’t stop.”
I’m happy to say the leak now seems to be plugged.
2.) What is the one thing you’d like to share with other writers?
Remember that you love to tell stories. No matter how frustrated you may feel. Never forget that’s why you chose this path. It’s not about notoriety, money, or whether or not everybody just loves your work. You write because you have to; you love it, and you will explode if you aren’t able to get these stories out of your heart and head and into the written word. In a sense, you’re making your characters real because they no longer just live in your head.
Also, be true to yourself and write what you feel passionate about — what excites you. That emotional involvement carries through in your choice of words. Readers can tell.
3.) Where is the coziest spot in your home?
The coziest room in the house is the reading room. Our house was built in 1941 and renovated in 1980, and currently under never-ending slow renovation again. I’m fairly certain that the reading room was formerly a porch and enclosed at some point in the past. Now it’s the cozy little room with the book shelves and Victorian sofa off at one end of the house. Very quiet and isolated for settling in for some alone time.
4.) What is your most laughable dating story?
I once almost shot my date’s dad. This was before I met hubby.
My date had asked me over to his uncle’s ranch. Huge house, lots of land, four wheelers, swimming pool, equipment for every sort of outdoor recreation in existence. It was late fall, so it was too cold to swim. But after having a great time on the four wheelers, my date wanted to teach me how to shoot skeet.
His dad had come up for the weekend, so we went into the house and he asked his dad about the guns and clay disks. All three of us went outside and my date demonstrated how to shoot as his dad threw a disk. Then it was my turn, and he helped me position the rifle, explained the site and all that. When I said I was ready, he threw a disk. I watched it as it fell into the line of site and followed to make sure I had it. With very intent focus, I followed it down… and down… and just as I pulled the trigger my date hit the end of the rifle to knock my aim upward.
My response: “Why’d you do that?” Then I noticed his dad was lying on the ground on his belly looking at me with very large eyes. Apparently he’d been walking in front of me as I followed the clay disk as it fell. According to my date, my aim was about to line up with his dad’s head. Key words being “about to.” The date could’ve been much worse.
We went inside to watch a movie after that. Slim risk of injury while sitting idle.
5.) Which amusement park ride is your favorite and why?
Roller coasters. They scare me to death and I love it.
6.) Would you rather live a week in the past or a week in the future?
This is a hard question for me. I’m completely intrigued by the past. I love history and spend a fair amount of time researching and broadening my knowledge on it. But what you don’t know about me is that I grew up with a Trekkie mom. We were raised watching Star Trek, Star Wars… First in line at the movies to see Close Encounters or any other Sci Fi flick that came out. Some of them were real stinkers too.
Now that I have my own family, we have Star Wars marathons, Firefly marathons, Stargate marathons, Battlestar Galatica marathons, Lord of the Rings marathons… Oh wait, that’s fantasy, not future. Well, you get my point. I enjoy the escapism that comes with imagining futuristic possibilities and adventures. Except Stargate is actually current day science fiction, and hmm… Star Wars was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Okay, I digress.
As fun as the futuristic fantasies may be, I’d have to go with the past — ancient history. There are so many mysteries to speculate about and I’d like to know how it really was. Might need more than a week. The Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires didn’t exactly coincide. If I had to choose one, I want to see what Pharaoh Akhenaten, Queen Nefertiti, and their new capital city el-Armarna (abandoned and dismantled after his death) was all about.
7.) How do you balance writing, exercise, home, etc.?
Not very well. My house is never as clean as I’d like these days, and as far as exercise goes, I have very fit fingers.
8.) Who is your biggest cheerleader?
That would be dear hubby. He’s not really a fiction reader, and for awhile after I started writing he didn’t want to read my stories. He was afraid they’d be sappy and he’d be bored. He’s blunt, so he’d tell me, which is actually why I wanted him to read them. I didn’t want to write sappy or boring and I needed to know. If I could hold his attention, then maybe I had some skill.
The biggest boost I ever got was one Saturday morning when I was sleeping in, and hubby woke me up by shaking my shoulder while holding my Kindle in his other hand. He’d woken up early and decided to read my latest WIP (work in progress). I’d loaded several chapters onto my Kindle to review. Well, he got to the end of those and couldn’t stand not knowing what happened next, so he woke me up to get me to hurry and load the next chapters so he could continue.
He’s always encouraged me, even before he read anything I wrote, but now he also believes in me, and he lets everyone know it. That feels really great.
9.) What is the best book you’ve read recently, and why did you like it?
I’m a huge Francine Rivers fan. The Mark of the Lion series is my favorite. I really can’t decide between the three books because they’re all just wonderful. I think God has really blessed her with the ability to portray human nature: our fears, longings, frailties. She also writes with great compassion, and the theme of Grace is continual throughout her stories. She never compromises on principal though, even the characters’ failings add to the underlying theme through both consequence and redemption. Her stories just fill me with hope. Who doesn’t need that?
10.) What is your favorite season and why?
I adore late fall and early winter. I just love crunchy leaves under my feet, the smell of burning wood in the fireplace, and the stillness that settles in after a good snow. When it snows, I bundle up, go outside and walk until my limbs are numb, come inside and thaw, and then do it again. Just love it! It’s so cozy and peaceful and something about it makes me feel appreciative of everything around me.
11.) The biggest challenge in writing this book?
The biggest challenge in writing A Hand to Hold was time and space. Head and heart space. I can’t write a story with an uninvolved heart, and for my heart to be involved, I need to immerse myself in the setting and with the characters and their journeys. That’s hard to do when your world is in turmoil and head cluttered.
My dad has Parkinson’s disease, and he also has a degenerative spine. He’d had surgery last Nov to fuse discs, but he fell and the screws all pulled out of the bone. The other issue with my dad was that something about the anesthesia and his meds caused him to hallucinate and not be rational at all. His advanced Parkinson’s contributes to this but after his surgery it was far worse, and for a while we didn’t know if we were going to get him back. This pattern continued following his next three surgeries, and well into his recovery. My sister and I both live eight hours from my parents, so we were trying to balance life with our own families and see that our parents’ needs were met.
This plus other struggles here in our community and financially kind of cluttered my mind, kept me busy, and then other duties I’d put on the back burner while looking after my dad took priority. I kept thinking, “Just let me get this out of the way, then I can focus.” Next thing I knew, I had two months to my deadline and nothing written but a synopsis and the first two chapters of the book — lousy chapters I might add.
This is where God stepped in because I swear, writing this was such a blur. He brought me to that place where I could immerse myself and somehow a story was formed. Rewrote the two lousy chapters and the rest just followed. I really love how it turned out. I think readers will too.
12.) What do the Post-Its around your computer/screen/ bulletin board say?
I don’t do Post-Its. I’m a random file maker. Every time I think of something I make a file. Sometimes I send myself emails. My documents section is loaded with files titled, “To-do list number 35″,”Confused character ramblings” (I use these a lot to work out my character’s mindset) “Story title outline # 10″, “To-do list number 36″, “Christmas list”, “Stuff to remember”, “CLEAN YOUR HOUSE schedule”, etc.
13.) If you could have free unlimited service for one year from a cook, chauffer, personal secretary, housekeeper, or masseuse, which would you choose and why?
Housekeeper, hands down! I hate having a messy house and I can’t seem to get on top of it.
14.) Which character in your books is the most like you? How?
Hmm… This is a hard question. I know that there’s some of me in each character. I probably identify most with Pennye and Jakob. Pennye is the heroine from my book The Good Fight, and Jakob is the hero in No Other and In All Things. He also has a fairly large role in The Good Fight as Roger’s once rival now determined to be his friend.
With Pennye, I think I can relate to the underlying insecurities she struggles with. Despite how confident I may try and convince you I am, I struggle. She’s the same. I think we all have those little areas of sensitivity we try and conceal because it really hurts when they get poked! At the same time, these very things make us who we are, and give us the ability to empathize and show compassion. I wouldn’t want to lose that ability, and if having a few sensitive spots helps me to be more caring and understanding of others, I’ll take it.
Jakob is actually similar. His character feels very deeply, not just for himself but for others, and he wants to fix everything for everybody because of this. When he can’t, he views it as an inadequacy on his part. Of course, that’s twisted and wrong, and learning to rely on God for this role is the major part of his journey in the books No Other and In all Things. I guess that might have been a journey for me too.
About Shawna: Having never considered becoming a writer, Shawna K. Williams’ path changed in a single night all because of a dream. Her early writings were a mere attempt to fill in gaps within the dream and satisfy her curiosity, but later became the inspiration for her first two novels. She is a content editor for Desert Breeze Publishing and Solstice Publishing, acquisitions editor/social media specialist for The Wordsmith Journal Magazine, speaker, homeschooling mom and multi-published author of twentieth century historical fiction. Shawna enjoys books in almost any genre as long as they contain strong characters tackling real-life grit. She also has a thing for dogs and pygmy goats, and believes the world would be a better place if people aspired to be the person their pet believes them to be.
Shawna’s books: No Other, In All Things, The Good Fight, Orphaned Hearts, and coming in Dec. 2012: A Hand to Hold. All books are available as ebooks. No Other is also in print, In All Things releases in print in November 2012, and all other books will be available in print in 2013. Learn more: http://shawnakwilliams.com/, http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/, https://twitter.com/shawnakwilliams, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shawna-K-Williams/236629884245
About the book – A Hand to Hold by Shawna K. Williams:Having come to Brady Hill as an orphan, Caleb Langley cherishes his memories of growing up in a place where he was embraced, nurtured and loved. With the zinc mine closed and the town in near ruin, he agonizes over what can be done to save his home.
Sarah Sheldon, the little girl Caleb adopted in his heart as a sister, has lived life in the shadows of a once glorious town. She’s resentful those around her are held captive by old memories, and refuse to let go and move on. To Sarah, the demise of Brady Hill may be the best thing that ever happened.
Caleb is dismayed that Sarah’s view of growing up in Brady Hill differs so much from his own. In his determination to save the town, he also sets out to alter her perception. In doing so, might he learn to see Sarah in a new light as well?
Posted on August 22, 2012 - by Brenda Anderson
Brenda here: I discovered Becky Wade this past spring when her debut novel in Christian fiction, My Stubborn Heart, released. Her book hooked me from the enchanting prologue and kept me fascinated until the end. I love her authentic characters and situations–they come across as very real. This is one of those rare books that should appeal across genre lines. My husband even enjoyed it. It’s become so popular that it made August’s CBA Bestseller List! I cannot wait for Becky’s next book!
So, I’m very excited that Becky agreed to an interview. And she’s offered to give away (1) autographed copy of My Stubborn Heart to one lucky commenter. I’m also throwing in a small box of See’s Candy, Becky’s favorite. To enter, leave a comment below. The contest ends this Saturday, August 25th at midnight. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 26th.
Now, without further delay, here’s Becky Wade.
Hi Becky, thank you so much for stopping by Inkspirational Messages today. We’re excited to get to know you! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
I’m a California girl who attended Baylor University where I got a degree in business (Ha! Never used that.) and met a college boy from Texas. After graduation, I married the Texas boy and he and I lived overseas for four years in the Caribbean and Australia.
When we returned to the U.S., we settled in Dallas. My husband is the Athletic Director at a racquet club. We have three children (a daughter who’s 11, a son who’s 8, a daughter who’s 3). I spend most of my time keeping the planet of my household spinning. This includes glamorous tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, driving kids places, chasing my toddler in circles, and nagging my older children until they finish their homework.
Oh, I can relate to the job of keeping that household planet spinning, albeit my children are a tad bit older. Somewhere amid your household planet spinning, you found time to write. I love hearing about authors’ journeys. Could you describe your path to publication?
I’d always been a reader, but it was during my years abroad that it first occurred to me to try my hand at writing. From the start, I loved it. I loved the creativity it demanded, the challenge inherent in the work, the joy of dreaming up people, conflicts, settings, dialogue.
Like most beginners, though, I wasn’t any good at it. Not at all!
What I did have? Determination.
I wrote, went to conferences, solicited critiques, wrote, sent off query letters and proposals, wrote, entered contests. I completed four long historical romance manuscripts in four years and compiled a towering stack of rejection letters until — on one magical day — a New York city editor called and told me she wanted to publish my novel. I eventually released three historical romances for the general market.
I understand your historical releases were published several years ago. Why did you take the time off between writing them and My Stubborn Heart? And Why did you change to the Christian market?
I’d been writing for six years straight, the last two years under the pressure of deadlines, when my first child arrived. Well! That threw me for a loop.
In those early weeks of caring for a newborn, I felt overwhelmed, sleep deprived, frazzled, and burned out on writing. When my publisher declined my proposal for a new contract I knew that God was telling me that He didn’t want me to write any more secular novels. I also knew, in that season, that He wanted me to concentrate on mothering.
I quit writing. On the one had, to let go of that responsibility came as a relief. But on the other, a heartbreak. I’d abandoned my career as an author, with all it’s early hope and promise, on the side of the road. Broken.
For seven years, I didn’t write a page. It was all I could do, usually more than I could do, to take care of my little ones. I was certain I’d never write again. But God has the authority to bring things back to life, does He not?
Gradually, over time, the Lord began to move in my heart during church services. I’d be standing, singing praise songs, and I’d sense Him telling me, It’s time, Becky. It’s time to try to write again. You’re not done. I have plans for you.
So I cleared my schedule during the hours when my kids were at school and pre-school. I sat down at my computer, kicked off the rust from all those years away, and wrote.
This time, I knew for sure that God meant for me to write for the Christian market. What’s wonderful to me is the way that He equipped me. Once He called me back to writing, He met me faithfully day after day at that computer. He assured me that my past mistakes were forgiven and that He delighted in giving me a second chance. He supplied everything, including a renewed passion within me, for the work. He let me know that my job was to pen the novel, and that He’d take care of the rest.
Sure enough, when I finished My Stubborn Heart, the first agent I sent it to agreed to represent it. And the very first editor she sent it to bought it for publication.
It’s about a single girl (Kate) who sets out to renovate an old and charming estate that’s been in her family for generations. When she meets the contractor for the project (Matt), she learns that he’s an ex-pro hockey player still devastated from the death of his wife three years prior.
Kate quickly realizes that Matt needs even more restoration work than the house. So she determines to help bring him back to life and to hope.
Matt has no intention of leaving his prison of grief. Nor does he want to open his heart to Kate.
But as we all know….
God’s will is unavoidable.
Apparently I’m not the only one who loves My Stubborn Heart as it made CBA’s August 2012 Best Seller List! Congratulations!
Thank you! My Stubborn Heart’s placement on that list came as a wonderful surprise.
To what do you attribute its success?
God’s grace, first and above all.
I think the book appeals to readers for two reasons:
1) It’s a Love Story. Capital L, capital S! In My Stubborn Heart the romance isn’t a sub-plot. It is the plot. I believe that there are lots of women out there who are (like me) crazy about emotional, gripping, and satisfying love stories.
2) It’s a faith story. God’s role in the book gives the book whatever power or depth it possesses.
Aside from it’s success, My Stubborn Heart has been the target of some controversy as some reviewers claimed it used mild expletives. Plus you had poker-playing adults and Halloween celebrations (gasp!). Having read the book and finding nothing wrong with it, the controversy took me completely by surprise. Did it surprise you?
Yes, the controversy completely surprised me also.
I knew that I had a humorous, modern, and blunt author’s voice. But I didn’t imagine that anyone would find what I’d written offensive. In my opinion, the book is very clean.
I would agree, Becky. Do you attribute some of your sales’ success to the controversy?
Yes, I do. But only because God has the power to redeem any situation, no matter how negative, for good.
Several bloggers who wouldn’t have otherwise looked twice at My Stubborn Heart suddenly decided to feature it on their blogs. Discussions, comments, and opinions flew.
To be honest, it was hard for me. I tried to stay out of the fray. And I prayed.
Sounds like you responded with wisdom. I’m curious, what are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on what will be my third book for Bethany House. It’s tentatively titled Worth The Wait and it’s about a single mom and a professional bull rider.
Fun! Our own Shannon Vannatter has written a rodeo series and it’s proven very popular. I’m sure Worth the Wait will excite readers too. But before your bull rider book, you’ve another novel coming out. When does it release, and what is it about?
My next book is called Undeniably Yours and it’ll be out in May. Bethany House has been incredibly good to me. They’re allowing to me do something I’ve longed to do for ages — write a series! Undeniably Yours will be the first in a group of four novels. Each one will tell the love story of one of the four siblings in the Porter family, a group of larger-than-life Texans.
Undeniably Yours is about an heiress who takes over control of her father’s Thoroughbred racehorse farm. If only she could control the (very hunky) cowboy who manages it as easily!
Oh, I can’t wait to read it! When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to read in the tub, play tennis, get a pedicure, eat out, watch romantic movies, and lie on the sofa enjoying So You Think You Can Dance and other cerebral TV shows.
As a mom with young children, you deserve that break with the cerebral shows. Now for a fun question. What is your favorite food?
Well, I’m a chocoholic and adore See’s Chocolates. But since I’ve divulged that secret in other places, I’ll tell you that I’m also fanatical about homemade biscuits. Love love love them with butter. I put jelly on some, honey on some and I eat them alongside eggs, bacon, coffee. MMmm……
That sounds delicious! Now I’m hungry.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Becky! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.
Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her inspirational contemporary romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.
Web Site: www.beckywade.com
MY STUBBORN HEART description:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can’t help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can’t quite put her finger on. He’s clearly wounded–hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.
When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?
Posted on August 11, 2012 - by Brenda Anderson
Our next two weeks here at Inkspirational Messages are so exciting that I just had to give you a glimpse!
Once again, it’s author interview time, and we have a wealth of gifted authors visiting us.
Wait–there are more!
I can’t wait! What about you?
Posted on July 17, 2011 - by Brenda Anderson
Now that you have all the recipes you need for that perfect picnic, plus enough reading ideas to last you through next summer, it’s time for the moment you’ve waiting for:
The announcement of our Book Bundle Winner!
And the lucky commenter is …
Thank you to everyone who stopped by Inkspirational Messages these past two weeks and shared your thoughts on the Perfect Picnic. We truly appreciate your support. We hope you’ll keep visiting us these next two weeks as we offer devotionals on Lifting Your Spirit. We’d love to hear from you again.
Have a blessed week!
Posted on July 13, 2011 - by Brenda Anderson
I love summer.
Not because of the heat, but for the opportunity to spend time with my teens who all too soon will leave me an empty-nester.
Summer also grants me time to read. Since family is my number one priority, I typically take a break from writing as I do my best writing in absolute quiet. Anyone with kids knows, children are not silent.
What does a nationally known marriage expert do when her own marriage falls apart? Just as Jillian Galloway sets out for a publicity tour to promote her new book, her husband drops a bombshell: He wants a divorce. Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering whether everything she’s built her career on–everything she’s built her life around–is a sham. Navigating this “side road” of life is an uphill climb that leads to new understandings about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with the One who created marriage.
Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? I’ve always enjoyed Sally John’s books. She’s an expert at discerning the human condition and at dissecting the human heart. Desert Gift drew me in from the very first sentence and didn’t let go. John’s characters felt very real with all their imperfections. It wasn’t always a comfortable read, but very telling. I relished every word.
Nolan Gray is an elite soldier, skilled in all forms of combat. After years fighting on foreign battlefields, witnessing unspeakable evils and atrocities firsthand, a world-weary Nolan returns home to find it just as corrupt as the war zones. Everywhere he looks, there’s pain and cruelty. Society is being destroyed by wicked men who don’t care who they make suffer or destroy.
Nolan decides to do what no one else can, what no one has ever attempted. He will defend the helpless. He will tear down the wicked. He will wage a one-man war on the heart of man, and he won’t stop until the world is the way it should be.
Vigilante’s Nolan Gray is one part Batman, a pinch of Spiderman, sprinkled with a dash of faith. Super heroes are enormously popular this summer with Thor and X-Men: First Class drawing large crowds. Captain America: The First Avenger is coming out soon and looks to be as good as the others. Vigilante fits right in with this group–I can’t wait to finish it. Right now I’m devouring it as if it were expensive chocolate.
Now, I realize that we’re supposed to highlight a recipe to go along with our summer reading, but you wouldn’t really be interested in my bland picnic concoctions. You see, I avoid making anything with more than four ingredients. Cooking, to me, is one of those necessary evils in life.
So instead of telling you how to create a fabulous dish, I thought I’d deliver my Recipe for a Romantic Picnic.
(Special thanks to Caleb Johnson of my novel, Flying Lessons, for sharing his secret.)
Start with an outdoor music festival.
Add dabs of sunshine, blue skies, and cottony clouds.
As jazz sings in the background, lay your blanket on the grass near a pond.
From your picnic basket, bring out crudites and tapenade followed by baguettes sandwiching sliced tomatoes and a tuna mixture. Top off your meal with cucumber salad and cheese cubes. White chocolate cookies, sprinkled with walnuts, dates, and orange peel, make a succulent dessert.
Wash it down with sparkling water served in crystal goblets and watch clouds painted in burgundy give way to diamond-dotted skies while an orchestra plays Stars and Stripes Forever.
Sit back and snuggle, and end the evening with fireworks streaking overhead–and maybe a few fireworks will burst in your heart too.
Now that’s what I call a scrumptious recipe.
Don’t forget, if you leave a comment, you may just win a feast of books perfect for the entire family.