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Friday, December 19, 2014


Marian Baay lives in the Netherlands, together with her husband and dog, near the North Sea. She enjoys reading a good book, hiking in the woods, dunes, or nature reserves. As a lover of animals, she has always had various pets to brighten her world. In the outdoors, her imagination runs wild and seeds for stories are planted there. 
Marian likes to read and write in various genres, but romance is an important ingredient in her stories. The love between a man and woman is such a wonderful gift from God that she likes to add a touch of that heavenly delight into all her stories. 

What five words describe you? 
I asked some friends for advice  ;-) smart – funny – caring – observant – creative 
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about? 
I just finished writing a Civil War story about two young teenage boys that go looking for their father in the Confederate army that is situated near the city. It’s a dangerous journey and they don’t know if they will ever find their father among the thousands of soldiers. 
I’m thinking of writing another romance, but it’s still just a thought. I want it to be in a setting other than the American Civil War. Maybe a Western? Contemporary? Medieval? Not sure yet. 
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your  
most recent book? 
I hardly ever watch movies and I’m not familiar with actors and actresses. So I’ll have to skip this question. 
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? 
The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz. This book left such a deep impact on me. It’s one of the best books that I have ever read. The rich descriptions were so vivid that I could almost touch them. Wonderful characters that made me want to go there and live the lives they lived. 
What is the hardest thing about writing? 
To wrap up the storyline and say good-bye to the characters. 
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?  
I usually do something completely different and won’t even try to continue writing. Sometimes reading a good book can help me to get new inspiration or giving the floor a good scrubbing. It doesn’t really matter what I do as long as I’m getting the story out of my mind – if anything like that is possible. Sometimes, unexpectedly a new idea pops into my head. Other times I go back to the writing project – after some time away and re-read what I have written so far and then suddenly I simply know how to continue. It’s different each time, but taking distance from the project is essential. 
Where would your dream location be for writing? 
A quiet place without distractions. It doesn’t really matter where I am as long as I am comfortable. 
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?  
In my debut there was my Irish Setter, Jessie, the faithful dog of the main character. The other characters were not based on people in my life, but I borrowed names of friends’ families. 
In the second and third story, the main male character was based on a good friend and two other male characters on author friends. There was also a pet squirrel based on a real squirrel that visits a friend’s backyard dailyI think it is a bit easier to base characters on real people and imagine how that person would respond to a certain situation. 
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? 
I read them, but don’t respond to them. Sometimes bad reviews can be hurtful. So far I haven’t received any hurtful reviews, but I did get one bad review. I just try to understand what the reviewer thinks was wrong with the story and if it is a good point then maybe I can pay some extra attention to it in future writings. 
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be? 
Besides writing I am an editor, so I guess that would be the main thing I would do. If I were younger and didn’t have joint problems, I would probably have tried to join the Army or Navy. 
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career? 
Believe that you are capable of the seemingly impossible. 
Where can we buy your work? 
How can we keep up with you?   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Christmas Means to Me

There are times when writer's block and insomnia hit at the same time, which used to create a great deal of stress, but I found a cure ... of course I have a chat with God, but also delve into the wonderful world of Google.  I'll search out a phrase or thought and see what pops up. 

Last night wasn't my typical "insomniatic writer interruptus" (how's that for a new syndrome?),  I was distracted by flu symptoms which, unfortunately, is going through our household.  What better time to play "Google Gander".  (Ever the optimist!)

Since it's the Christmas Season, I googled, Christmas is the perfect time for forgiveness, and the following newsletter article was number one on the search results.  I loved it and I'm sure you will too.

What Christmas Means to Me
Reverend Raymond Decipeda, MMHC
Holy Family Catholic Church

Christmas is the time to celebrate God’s unconditional love and the gift of His Son to us. Jesus is our Savior and raison d’ĂȘtre why we have Christmas.

Christmas is the time for joyous celebration. While the ham, the stockings, the Christmas tree and decorations help to brighten the Christmas spirit, it is ultimately our fellowship that brings the warmth of season.

Christmas is the time to be grateful. As I look back on and recall all the presents and gifts I received in the years past, some in boxes, others with monetary value, and still more that were just priceless, by far, the most important gifts I received were those that came not only on Christmas day but all through out the days of the past years. These were the significant individuals who journeyed with me through life’s winding paths, during my ups and downs and during the times I just didn’t want to make the next step.

Christmas is a time to forgive even if forgiveness is not asked. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. We forgive because we need to be forgiven of our own faults, too. We forgive because it is this that truly brings peace to the heart and soul.

Christmas is a time to say sorry and ask for forgiveness. Letting pride rule in us brings deep anxiety and stress. We can run the gamut of justifications and excuses, but the bottom line is, only in accepting responsibility for our shortcomings and mistakes that we truly learn and grow. Eating lots humble pie is none fattening.

Christmas is a time to share our gifts. Acknowledging first how we have been blessed, it’s a natural instinct God placed in our hearts to share those blessings. Last night, while driving by South Street and Gridley Street right where you find the traffic photo enforcement that causes palpitation to all of us who drive by that spot, all the lanes where stopped from moving by this poor old woman who had difficulty walking and who was crossing the street with both hands holding recyclable bags filled with gifts that need to be wrapped. I prayed in my heart that I would have the same love that woman had in her heart.

Christmas is a time to bring our family together; a time to pray; a time to share stories; a time to accept and respect our differences.

Christmas is a time to remember the poor, the vulnerable, those who are homeless, the forlorn and those gravely affected by natural disasters and wars. We remember them in our prayers. We remember to do something for them on Christmas and the rest of the years to come.

Christmas is a time to look forward to the Lord’s glorious and majestic coming.

Christmas is a time to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. What better way to receive Him than when we receive Jesus worthily in the blessed Sacrament, in the Eucharist.

Finally, Christmas is the time to resolve that the good we initiate on Christmas doesn’t end on Christmas but should extend to the rest of the days of the year. Christmas is not some decoration we bring out during the season and put back in the storage after. Let’s take the path of making everyday of the year a Christmas time.

Monday, December 15, 2014


I grew up in Austin, TX and moved to Florida when I was 19. I am a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor's and Master's in Social Work.  I am married with a 3 year old son, and we are expecting our second child in March.  I have been a follower of Christ on and off my whole life. I found my own faith when I was 24 years old. It was then that I realized the value and necessity for God in my life. I can truly say that everything I have today has come directly from him. Although the journey isn't always easy it is the only one I wish to take for the rest of my life. My husband and I consider ourselves saved and look forward to having opportunities to help others. I wrote my book; The Commitment as a way to spread a message that I feel is crucial to a walk with God. I struggled on my own to find God in my twenties and wished I had a tool such as The Commitment to guide me. I am inspired to hear from my readers of all walks of life and hope that in some way I have affected them through the message that God has allowed me to share. I also work as a mental health therapist serving a population that is in need of both mental health services and God.  I hope to continue my writing as God will continue to anoint me with messages that I would be able to share along with my experience. I welcome contact with readers of my book or fans, and love to hear their stories of faith.  I continue to remind myself that my whole life is not about me, but rather about what God would do through me in order to strengthen his kingdom here on earth. 

Five words that describe you:

Christian, passionate, service/ minded, determined, faithful

 What are you working on at the moment? What is it about?

I am making notes daily and journaling for my second book that will be a sequel to my current book; The Commitment. The second book is still taking form. I don't limit myself with topics but rely on my faith and personal growth to develop concepts that would be beneficial to the reader no matter where they are in their faith. My writing appears to continue to be faith based and focused on the reader finding God and their own journey through my testimony, scripture, and knowledge of God.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent books?

Since The Commitment is based on faith, I think it would best be played out by someone who has some faith in real life as well as on screen. It is hard for me to give a name since I am unfamiliar with Christian actors and actresses. However, I think it would depict the true meaning with a Christian on screen.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I am a big fan of authors such as Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren, and John Maxwell. I have grown in my faith as a result of reading their work. I am not sure if I would want to be the author of any other book besides the one I wrote and the future books I would write. My writing was guided by my faith and an act of obedience by God. I have never looked at someone else's work and thought; "I wish I could have written that." I would look at someone else's work and be inspired to create my own message.  

What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, the hardest thing about writing is wondering if my material is good enough. There are so many amazing authors it is hard not to compare yourself. The other hard thing about writing is when you can't seem to get your ideas flowing and have hit a barrier.  Usually reading someone else's material or doing something passionate helps to breath new life into my ideas and concepts.

Any tips of how to get through the dreaded writer's block?

I don't think there is any easy way to get through this.  I have found that putting my work down and praying, taking breaks, and journaling have helped to get through this.

Where is your favorite place to write?

Anywhere! I keep my notebook with me and often times I find that ideas will come to me at random. In the car, shower, in church, a store. I try to make my notes as soon as I have an idea so that I don't lose it.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them good or bad? do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Absolutely I read my reviews.  I have been very luck and have had mostly good reviews.  I think that the best thing to do with a bad review is to accept it and maybe even ask the critic what you could do to improve next time. Although that is hard, it often softens people and gives you a chance to learn something if you can get through any negativity.  

What advice would you give to yourself?

I would tell myself to do what God asks me to do, stop when God asks me to stop, and move forward when He calls me to move forward. Live with passion and keep him at the center of every part of your life.  Keep writing if He calls you to write because it is usually for a purpose no matter how big or small.

Where can we buy your book?

The Commitment can be purchased at:

Any other retailer of major books

 How can we keep up with you?

You can follow me at the following sites:

Facebook page: The Commitment
Twitter: @JohannaMAndrews
Goodreads:  Johanna Andrews / The Commitment