Dream Chaser

It has been some time since I’ve written here and I wish I could give you some grand excuses as to why. Life has been busy and to be honest, I don’t want to write something just to have a post unless I believe I have something of value to say. If I think long and hard I could probably come up with things, but as a single mom of three Hobbits (that’s what I call my teenagers), life gets crazy at times.

I often use my rare profundity in my real-life, face-to-face interactions with people, whether my friends, or those I meet at conferences when I go to speak, teach, and encourage. 

I admit that life is a challenge at times too.

Depression is an old friend who comes to visit when I least expect, uninvited and unwanted. 

I’m heading into shoulder surgery in a few weeks and that has me a bit scared. Not of the surgery itself, but of the recovery as I am unable to take most pain medications.

I will survive somehow. By God’s grace, I always do. 

I took this photograph in May when I traveled to Colorado. This is south of Pike’s Peak and it was a stunning sight to see I couldn’t help but try to take a picture.

Seeing this display of God’s glory was breathtaking. The mountains, the people I met, the chance to be in a new environment and watch what God would do, was inspiring. 

I realized something very striking.

I live my life too small.

My characters in my novels much more readily go above and beyond in their adventure in living. But not me. I sit behind a keyboard and fabricate stories that hopefully share God’s truths to the reader while entertaining them. Not a bad job by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a lot of hard work for little gain.

That sounds so negative, doesn’t it? Maybe I should clarify that is monetary gain.

God continues to provide for the needs of my family. And sometimes our wants. I get to travel periodically and meet amazing people on my journeys. That’s bigger than the life I used to live by far. And the future holds more promise of the same.

I’ve been challenged recently to dream. To think beyond my daily needs to greater things God might want to do in and through me. What’s surprising is I want to do what I’m doing. I get to write. What an honor to be able to do that. it’s not a smart career move financially but it’s a calling that God has honored. It is hard work. Not all of it is fun by any stretch of the imagination. And I ashamedly get so busy with writing and editing that I sometimes forget that I have a book to promote. Shameful, I know!

But I do want to do so much more than that and not surprisingly it’s not about making money.

It’s about having more opportunities to serve others, encourage them, and watch them dream wilder and bigger.

So I’m praying and have been challenged to dream bigger.

To stretch my imagination with “What if’s” and do things that might help me get there. It means stepping out of my comfort zone. Trying new things even if they scare me…like internet dating!

It means I might fail. I want to be responsible. I have three young people counting on me to be there for them. It might hurt (surgery).

It might mean letting go of some things to make room for better ones. 

So what are your dreams that you’ve been afraid to dream? Can you trust God with those and seek His guidance in reaching for them? If you struggle with depression it can be hard to dream of bigger and better things…but when I look at that photo of the mountains, I’m reminded we have a BIG GOD who can do amazingly, abundantly, more than we could ever think to ask. So I’m seeking Him as I lean into the future and I challenge you to do the same.

What are some of YOUR dreams?

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Spatzle Speaks: Lord Harrow’s Heart (Book Review)

Spatzle here. Mom’s Maltese who she’s tricked into writing these reviews. I’ve been slacking off and not posting as much lately. Mom says it’s because I’m getting older. But not too old to enjoy her latest novel in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. Book #4, Lord Harrow’s Heart, releases today and I’m excited about that.

Lord Theodore Harrow has watched all his friends fall in love and marry. Kind of the papa bear of the group, he’s been a faithful friend through all their adventures. Now he wants a woman of his own but he longs for someone who wants him – not just his title or wealth. He’s not quite as dashing as his friends, but he’s one of those solid good guys. So when he runs over a young woman who is supervising a nasty child, he is instantly smitten by her.

Valeria is not so easily wooed. She is in service although Theodore can tell she’s not of the servant class. She’s also distinctly French in her heritage and language. And to top it off, she has a child. The last thing she wants is to be noticed by anyone as she is in hiding from her evil father-in-law. Being injured in a carriage accident and meeting Lord Harrow was not something she was prepared to deal with.

Theo is not so easily put off and Valeria finds herself surrounded by him and his friends as she encounters a mother’s worst nightmare. Someone has kidnapped her son. But to retrieve the boy could cost Theo and his friends much more than a few days travel as they encounter and meet face to face, the Black Diamond himself.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

If you’ve been reading the series and wondering who the Black Diamond is – this is the story where he is finally revealed. Come on, Mom. Why did you make us wait this long? Such a tease.

There is a kitten in the story. I like cats a lot so those parts were great for me. Mom won’t let me have a cat because she’s allergic to them. I guess having one in a book is a passable substitute.

Adventure, romance, intrigue, danger all set against the backdrop of the early 1800’s in Regency England. This story will not disappoint. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and I don’t have thumbs.

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Peter Lundell

I met Peter Lundell at the Denver International Airport on a trip to Colorado a few years back. We had to find each other, having never met before, and then, in the midst of construction, somehow try to figure out which level we were to find our ride on. It could have been a scene from a sit-com and is a fond memory. We reconnected this past spring in Colorado without the airport adventure. I invited him to be on my blog because that’s what you do to great authors who have come into your life, and with whom you’ve shared an adventure and some laughs. So please meet my friend, Peter Lundell, a great guy, a fabulous author, and an inspiring preacher.

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

When I was in junior high I grew enamored with Ernest Hemingway’s short stories and wanted to write like him.

What’s your pet peeve?

Lack of clarity. When people are vague in communication; when people circumvent a point at hand, whether out of evasiveness or dull-wittedness.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

My first attempt at ghostwriting with a mega-millionaire and my old crappy laptop would hardly work. I felt like a fool and an amateur. And I lost him.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Selling the books I write. A.K.A. building a platform and marketing effectively.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

I get momentarily depressed and go for a walk. I may do some work around my home or church property. Then I go back to writing.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My highest-selling book has been Prayer Power. Probably my most consistent success has been in ghostwriting, rewriting, coaching, and substantive editing. I help others communicate their story or message well to influence audiences I would otherwise not reach.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up-and-coming authors?

  1. Learn and work hard to write well. You’re not as good as you think you are. And if you are good, then work even harder to be the best. Do not neglect this. The world is awash with crappy writing by authors who refuse to acknowledge their crappiness.
  2. Learn and work hard to be professional. This includes the mechanics of your writing, your interaction with others in the publishing world, the way you present yourself and conduct yourself in all interactions.
  3. Read and always continue to grow. If you think you’ve arrived, you begin to stagnate.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I want there to be thousands of people whose lives have been eternally changed because of something I’ve written or written for someone else with an important message.

What is your current work in process?

The Sailboat and the Sea, a conversation between a sailboat and the ocean. LittleBoat’s journey with BigSea is a representation of the reader’s own life as it relates to God and the big issues we all face.

Wind, a novel, the story of pursuing a dream, the conflict of dreams that collide, and the price a person is willing to pay.

Links to social media:

www.PeterLundell.com

www.Facebook.com/pnlundell

Latest book release:

Reprint of Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God

Spaztle Speaks: Donuts & Detours (Book Review)

Finally, my mom has put me into a novel. I know, it’s not really me. I don’t like to talk about my past personally. I’m a rescue dog much like Shazam/Cooper is in book six of her Orchard Hill Romance Series: Donuts & Detours.

B.J. is a young mechanic in a volunteer ministry that fixes cars for single moms. She finds a dog in the trunk of a donated car. She rescues the animal and hopes to adopt it. Titus (aka Ty), decides to adopt the dog. He also wants to reach this young mechanic but doesn’t realize the boy is not quite what he seems.

He’s really a she.

Bethany Joelle has a rough past not too dissimilar from the rescued dog and is hurt when Ty adopts the dog before she can. Ty is also showing interest in Bethany Joelle but letting him close means risking her closely held secret–that she is really B.J.

Titus has his own dark past that he carries around. Secrets collide and are revealed making for some interesting relationship challenges.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Of course, the best part of the book is the dog which I know my mom based on me. Titus showed up in Bratwurst & Bridges so it’s fun that he finally gets his chance at love. I give this book five bones because I’m a dog and don’t have thumbs.

 

Writer Wednesday: Peter Toeg

Today I’m thrilled to bring you author, Peter Toeg who I met recently. I have his book on top of my “to be read pile”. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Peter!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

About the eighth year of the fifteen-year effort to write my first novel. I’ve always loved writing. For those first years, I would get a rush after writing a few hundred words. Like a coffee high.

What’s your pet peeve?

Nothing major. I tend to avoid reading what other writers have to say about writing and the process. Writing skills, yes. Inspiration, style, technique. Not so much.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Having my wife read my first novel and a couple of short stories and picking up on my inspiration or word choice. We laugh about it. I steal anything.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Getting a response from people whom I’ve asked for a beta or book read. I’m discriminating about what I read, but always try to accommodate someone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Depends on the day. I tend to fall back on positives and my editor’s comments.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

I don’t care for Christian-talk in general, but I know when I am inspired by the Spirit. And I know when I’m not.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

Write a lot according to the rules, before breaking them. Get an editor to screen some of your work after no less than two years of writing. Take a lot of showers or walks or find a place where you can catch an idea and run with it.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

My pastor friend told me the answer to that question after reading my second book twice. “I never knew you.” A paraphrase.

What is your current work in process?

I’m on a third draft of a third manuscript I’ve run by my editor. I write shorts during the process. I think I’ve written 20,000 words worth of shorts in three months. Great diversion.

Warriors With Holy Hands published by Westbow Press. On Amazon, different formats.

Writer Wednesday: Emily Conrad

I want to introduce you to Emily Conrad. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a book signing and discovered that she not only lived not too far away from me – but was also a Pelican Book Group Author. I am an editor for that publishing company but Emily is not one of my authors. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy her words of wisdom!

When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I started writing short stories in eighth grade English class, and by the end of high school, those stories had lengthened into novels. Sometime in there, I decided I wanted to be a writer. In that way, it was something I fell into, but the decision to pursue it as a full-time endeavor in 2014 was more of a calling. I felt God had orchestrated just the right events to make it clear that it was time to give this writing thing my full effort at least for a time.

What’s your pet peeve?

Chewing and crinkling noises. I’ve been known to leave the room if my husband sits next to me with a bag of chips. My whole body buzzes with tension if I hang around. However, my husband’s not the only one who eats (go figure, right?), leaving isn’t always an option, and I recognize that it’s totally unfair to be annoyed with people for eating. I eat, too, and sometimes I’m the one who put crunchy food out! So I’ve developed one semi-successful coping mechanism: I think about puppies. I’d never fault a puppy for chewing loudly. On the contrary, I find it cute. Believe it or not, imagining a cute little puppy eating next to me helps!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

I’m sure the worst is yet to come, but I did once go up to talk to a couple of authors I respected and got the title of one’s book wrong and probably showed I didn’t really understand the plot of the other writer’s novel—I made a comment based on her title—but to my credit, I did say that I hadn’t read the book yet… They were both very gracious, though.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Trusting God when things don’t look the way I thought they would. From waiting much longer than I’d hoped to find a publisher to other surprises along the way, I’ve learned that reality usually doesn’t match the dream. That’s when frustration and discouragement pile on, but because I’ve seen God work in hard situations before, I know He’s in control and can be trusted, even when my plans fail.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

In community. I haven’t yet had negative reviews (that I know of!) because Justice is my debut, but I know my work doesn’t resonate with everyone. Once, a very low contest score combined with some harsh feedback sent me into a tailspin. My writing friends came around me with encouragement that helped to get me through. Not everyone is our target audience. Not everyone will like every story. That’s okay. There are so many different writers and readers in the world, and there’s room for all of us.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

My debut novel is coming out in two days!

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

  1. Trust God, even when everything looks bleak. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He will never leave you or forsake you. He’s not just stringing you along. He has a purpose for you and your dreams.
  2. Find writing friends. Friends will give you pep talks, help you improve your work, and, when you get to releasing your first novel, they’ll be invaluable cheerleaders. Plus, you’ll be able to help them along their paths, too.
  3. Have fun writing. Maybe you have your more serious novels and that blog you have to keep up with, but carve out some time for writing fun, too. Dabble in lighter short stories. Write that rock star novel and see where it goes. Read for the fun of it. The variety will help keep the spark for writing alive.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

I often borrow inspiration from Biblical accounts. For example, some elements of the plot in Justice are inspired by portions of Mary and Joseph’s story (though Justice involves a sexual assault, which of course, Mary and Joseph’s story does not). I would love my fiction to inspire deeper faith in the God of the Bible. Today, we serve the same God Mary and Joseph served 2000 years ago, and that’s exciting to me. He is alive and well and active. He’s powerful and loving. His grace is more than sufficient.

What is your current work in process?

Did you notice the rock star mention in point three above? Well, I wrote a rock star romance, and I’m currently writing a second one, about another member of the same band. The stories have been so fun to write while also tackling meaningful questions. I hope someday, readers get to enjoy these novels as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

Links to social media:

https://www.facebook.com/emilyconradauthor

https://www.twitter.com/emilyrconrad

https://www.instagram.com/emilyrconrad

www.emilyconradauthor.com

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Emily-Conrad-ebook/dp/B0792HGXQN

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-emily-conrad/1127841580

Biography: 

Emily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. (It’s no coincidence her debut novel is set mostly in a coffee shop!) She offers free short stories on her website and loves to connect with readers on social media.

Justice

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both.

Spatzle Speaks: Threes, Sixes & Thieves (Book Review)

Threes, Sixes & Thieves is Julie Cosgrove’s third novel in the Bunco Biddie’s Mystery series.

Janie and her Bunco buddies are at it once again. They see a pattern in the robberies that are occurring in their neighborhood and are determined to figure out just who is doing this. Her son-in-law, a local detective is less convinced, but when they stake out a possible house and one robber is arrested and found later hanging in his jail cell, finally the police are more interested in her theories. The only question is could there be a dirty cop on the force in Alamoville? And how would they find out.

If you enjoy cozy mysteries you’ll enjoy the antics of Janie and her Bunco Biddies as they stir up trouble while solving crimes. Retirement doesn’t mean they can’t help out the police every once and a while does it? I give this book five bones because it is a lighthearted mystery that will leave you grinning.

I give this five bones just because it’s a fun book to read.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.