You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"H" is for AJ Hawke

I am participating in an "A to Z" blog hop. This week's letter is "H." Please, scroll down and click on the links to the other participating blogs. It'll be fun.

Also, AJ has offered to give away a copy of Colorado Evening Sky to one lucky person who leaves a comment.  I'll make the announcement December 3.
AJ Hawke
Are experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or on events in your own life?
The events and characters in my novels are a mixture of all I have read and experienced throughout my life. No specific events or people, all have had an influence.

Travel always adds a lot to our knowledge and experiences of life and I have been blessed to have traveled to many places in the world.

Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what ways?
I would like to claim I’m like Susana, Emily, or even Elisha for their kindness, patience, and spiritual maturity. Maybe a little like Joe in his making do with what life has brought to him. Jeremiah in his ability to leave the past in the past is possibility a little like me. Now, the mean guys are not anything like me. I would never be like that...well, maybe a little.

What book are you reading now?
When I interview someone on my blog, I try to read their book. Since October I have read the following:
Susan Page Davis - The Christmas Tree Bride, Another Christmas Story, Special Delivery
Darlene Franklin - An Apple For Christmas
Carrie Fancett Pagels - The Fruitcake Challenge
Cynthia Hickey - A Texas Ranger’s Arms, Hand carved Christmas
Tammy Doherty - Celtic Cross, Claddaugh, Celtic Knot

On my to-be-read stack are books by: Lynn A Coleman, Lena Nelson Dooley, Martha Rogers, Debbie Lynn Costa, Susan F. Craft, Marilyn Turk.

If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is hard. I have so many nice characters. Elisha is in all of the Cedar Ridge Chronicles, starting with Cabin on Pinto Creek. He starts out as a down and out cowpoke. Young, not very worldly, and through growth as a person and as a Christian, he becomes the wise leader of those around him. His patience and steadfastness, along with his caring and reaching out to those who needed his wisdom, makes him a very appealing character that you want to sit and chat with about life. Of course, he wouldn’t come to dinner without bringing his wife, Susana. She is lovely.

Do you have any upcoming events?
Thanksgiving, ten for lunch that day, Oh the challenge of it. Then Christmas with all the decisions about gifts, ones I will be requesting, not giving. What? Isn’t that how it works?

Oh, you mean upcoming events with my novels. Not really, just getting myself to write every day. Now, that is major.

What motivates you to write, and where do you get ideas?
I write because all these characters and settings keep bouncing around in my head. They won’t go away until I capture them on paper. Reading has been a big part of my life from the time I was in fourth grade and read Betty Zane by Zane Gray.

Through the years I amused myself on long car rides by telling myself a story. One day I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you just write it out?” And so I did.

Ideas come from out of the air. I have no idea how I get them. Ask me to add five numbers correctly in my head and I cannot do it. Give me an idea and I’ll write you a novel.

For example, I was at a writer’s conference in Colorado Springs listening to DiAnn Mills teach about story development. She had an exercise for the class and gave us ten minutes to figure out how two people could meet and connect from different parts of the country. I came up with the first scene of my novel, Caught Between Two Worlds. On the plane ride home I completed the first chapter.

So ideas are just floating in the air everywhere. You just have to listen for them.

Do you have a life verse?
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thess. 5:16-18

That’s for today. Tomorrow it will be different as I study the Bible and find what I need for my life each day.

Who is your greatest encourager?
My family, including my older sister (she’s kind of dangerous, as she tells me the truth, which is so rare). Also, my favorite brother-in-law (only have one so he must be my favorite) and my older brothers and their wives. Then my Monday evening ladies Bible study group all encourage me. Various writer friends and I will not start naming them because I will leave one out. Uh, you just wanted one? Sorry about that but I am blessed to have so many. I could go on and on.
COLORADO EVENING SKY is Book 4 of the Cedar Ridge Chronicles. It can be read as a Stand Alone, but if you have read the series in order you learn what has been happening in the lives of the characters from the first three books.

The year is 1890, and Thomas Black battles to survive another day. Convicted of cattle rustling at age 17, he has three years left on a 15-year sentence in the infamous Yuma Territorial Prison. Feeling abandoned even by his God, he must fight on occasion to stay alive. But, most of the time, he fights to forget his mother’s tears and the fact that he has nothing to show for his life except for a prison record, wasted years, and deep regrets. Given the opportunity to finish out his sentence working on Jeremiah Rebourn’s ranch (COLORADO MORNING SKY) outside of Cedar Ridge, Colorado, Thomas must decide whether to be a man of his word or hit the outlaw trail.

Catherine O’Malley finds herself facing loneliness of another kind. She runs a little cafĂ© on a dusty main street 800 miles away in Colorado. It is a hard time and place for a pretty, unmarried woman in her twenties to run a business. She longs for a family and a loving husband to protect her.

Lives that couldn’t be farther apart in social status, miles, and years are set on a collision course in book four of the Cedar Ridge Chronicles. With a prosperous suitor at her door, Catherine must make a decision that will alter the course of her life as well as the lives of others. Thomas must find a way to thwart a plot that threatens Catherine and send him back to prison.

What comes next?
I’m presently writing a contemporary western romance the takes place in the Texas Hill Country. No title yet so I am calling it Lance McTavish for now. This will be the first in a series about the McTavish family.

At the same time I am writing the fifth book in the Cedar Ridge Chronicles. This will be Jim Finely’s story, one of the cowboys introduced in JOE STORM NO LONGER A COWBOY. Again, no title yet but the story is in my head.

I’m also starting research on the first book for a new series that will take place in Texas starting in the 1850s. Calling this one THE SADDLER and you can guess that he will be a saddler maker.

As you can see, I can never complain that I have nothing to do. So many words and so little time to put them down on paper.

Where can people get a copy of COLORADO EVENING SKY?
All of my books are available as e-books or paperbacks only on AMAZON.COM

Cedar Ridge Chronicles, Inspirational Historical Western Romances
Cabin on Pinto Creek, Book 1
Joe Storm No longer a Cowboy, Book 2
Colorado Morning Sky, Book 3
Colorado Evening Sky, Book 4

Stand Alones:
Mountain Journey Home, Inspirational Historical Western Romance
Caught Between Two Worlds Cowboy Boots and High Heels, Contemporary 
          Inspirational Romance

Where can you be found on the web?

Thanks to Susan and all the readers for the invitation to be a guest on your blog.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meet Author Debbie Lynne Costello

The winner of Debbie Lynne Costello's book, A Cup of Christmas Cheer, is BONNIE ROOF. Congratulations Bonnie.

Debbie is giving away a copy of her book, A Cup of Christmas Cheer,  to one lucky person who leaves a comment. I will announce the winner on November 26.  (USA mailing addresses only, please.)

Are experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They are to a certain extent. Military is pretty strong in my family. My father served in the Navy reserves, my husband was Air Force, my son was Navy, and I have uncles who served in the Navy, nephews in the Army, and the list goes on. My great-grand father 8 times fought in the Revolutionary war with his 3 brothers. He was wounded and walked with a limp the rest of his life. But the real inspiration came from a great-great uncle who never made it home from WWII. So this story was just begging to be told.

What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a couple books right now. I’m reading So Long Insecurities by Beth Moore with my ladies small group and my pleasure reading I’m reading Melanie Dickerson’s new release The Princess Spy.
What are your current projects?
I’m having fun promoting Cup of Christmas Cheer II! And I’ve just finished up my edits on my upcoming release, Sword of Forgiveness book one in the Winds of Change Series. It’s a medieval set during the late 14th century. Now I’m starting the sequel.

If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be and why? Oh that is so hard! There are several I wouldn’t mind having lunch with. I have a real fun 19th century Scottish hero who makes me laugh. I do love a Scottish accent. ;o) I love my medieval hero and heroine and wouldn’t mind having dinner with either of them. Especially if we could have dinner at their castle!

What motivates you to write, and where do you get ideas?
Ideas are everywhere I look. God is so awesome and gives me ideas that I nurture and plot and make into stories. But I say this very sincerely, the ideas do come from the Lord. I couldn’t do it without Him. My motivation is twofold. First it is my escape. I love to be able to go where ever my heart desires. It’s a wonderful way to relax and unwind. My second motivation is that I feel a sense of duty to write. God gave me this talent to spread His truths. I owe it to Him to obey and write until He tells me not to.

Do you have a life verse?
Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. This is such a wonderful promise from our Lord.

Who is your greatest encourager?
My husband. He is behind me all the way! He’s actually the one that got me to start writing. He is always willing to take me places to do research. He puts up with my nose being buried in my computer in the evening. And he cheers me on with every. My wonderful friend and crit partner, Kathy Maher is another person who has talked me out of pitching my computer into the wall when I have been ready to give up. She’s been a friend, a critique partner, and a prayer partner. And also MaryLu Tyndall who has been there for me since before I even knew a writer needed an agent to get anywhere in this industry.

Tell me about one of your personality traits.
I am a very driven person. I’m super self-motivated. My husband tells me all the time if I had went to work at his company when he did, I’d be the president by now. LOL. He has such great faith in me!

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
I will have my first release in January of 2015. But I’ve decided that I won’t read my reviews. I know many writers have different opinions, but I’m writing what God is telling me to write. I heard of an author who said she didn’t read her reviews because the ones that were bad reviews only made her want to give up and quit and she was writing for the Lord. The good reviews could cause her to become proud and the glory was God’s not hers. I loved her attitude and think she has a good point. So I don’t plan on reading mine.

Where can people get a copy of your book?
People can order the book by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mousy Eyebrows

I'm participating in an A to Z blog hop. This week's letter is "E."

Gainsborough’s portrait of Grace Dalrymple Elliot
in 1782 shows the craze for dark eyebrows.
During the third quarter of the 18th century, dark eyebrows became all the rage for women.

Over time, lead-based cosmetics caused hair loss at the forehead and over the brows, resulting in a receding hairline and a bare brow.
You want my fur for what?!!
It became the custom as early as 1703 to trap mice and use their fur for artificial eyebrows, which were glued on. Sometimes, the glue did not adhere well, which I think would make a fabulous scene in a novel.  (Hm-m, I'll have to think about that.)

In 1718, Matthew Prior wrote a poem about eyebrows. Here’s the last stanza:

On little things, as sages write,
Depends our human joy or sorrow;
If we don’t catch a mouse to-night,
Alas! no eyebrows for to-morrow.