Sunday, June 29, 2014

Winning




It is said most people grow wiser with age (then,of course, I should be very, very wise by now!).

In the past, whenever I got into a disagreement with a friend, regardless of how insignificant the topic, or that I may have been way out of line, the desire to win was overwhelming.  If I failed, it would invariably result in suppressed resentment and anger, thus putting a strain on the relationship. In fact, sometimes the relationship would not survive. 

I have come to realize I don't always have to win. Although that attitude is still a work in progress, it is definitely a healthier option emotionally and has preserved valued friendships. 

I


Have A Blessed Day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My next devotional series - a sneak peek

At a healing retreat a few years ago, I was introduced to “personalizing scripture", which helped me learn what God had to say in scripture and appreciate His word in a more personal way. The exercise inspired me to write three devotionals in that format to provide comfort, assurance and hope: Behind the Smile (Depression), Steps of Faith (Addiction), Solace in Scripture (Grief). 

I am not a psychologist or a theologian. The descriptions come from my soul. It's how I felt, and it's where I never want to go again. It is my goal to provide reassurance that challenges of depression can be met head on … Through treatment, scripture and prayer.


The following is an excerpt from "Behind the Smile". The scriptures in italics are from the New American Bible, revised edition, the ones in the text boxes are personalized for reflection





SADNESS
Sadness is a fact of life. It takes time to recover; however, it eventually dissipates. Not so with those of us suffering from depression. We are enveloped in unexplained heart-wrenching pain, and it hits us like a speeding train, with no bells or whistles to warn of the approaching darkness. No matter where we are or what we are doing, the dam breaks.
It is difficult to describe the depth of sadness we reach. It's like being at the bottom of a deep, dark well filling rapidly with our tears. Inch by inch, the water rises … We are confronted with the paralyzing fear of drowning.
Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd me
and lead me to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from my eyes.
Psalms 116:7-8
Return, my soul, to your rest; the LORD has been very good to you.
For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
My soul will return to rest; the LORD has
been very good to me. For my soul has been freed from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
Psalms 30:6
For his anger lasts but a moment; His favor a lifetime.
At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
I know His anger lasts but a moment; His favor a lifetime.
At dusk my weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
Psalms 34:19
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
saves those whose spirit is crushed.
The LORD is close to me when brokenhearted and
saves me when my spirit is crushed.
PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father, reach into that well of darkness and lift me up. With your loving hand, wipe the tears from my eyes, so I can see the light of your love and the path to healing.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

HAVE A SEAT - MARIAN BAAY!

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. Visit Marian’s blog to learn more about her: http://marianbaay.blogspot.nl/

What inspired you to become a writer?

About a year ago author Murray Pura asked me to participate in one of his new series. I had never given writing any serious thought, so I didn’t know how to answer that question as I’m a Dutch girl and English is not my first language. I didn’t think my English was good enough to write stories. Yes, I had written reviews for several years, but they were usually no more than 500 words. Now I was being asked to write a story of 10,000 words. Impossible! – or so I thought. 
I thanked Murray for the honor but said ‘no’. Despite my negative answer, he asked me again and I declined again. But a seed was already planted the first time he asked. I prayed about it and let it go. Then suddenly, in June, an idea for a Civil War romance popped into my mind. At first, I didn’t say anything to anyone and started writing the story in July. On the last day of July, I sent it to Murray and asked what he thought of it. I was surprised to hear that he liked it. He also said there was a slot in his Blue Heaven romance series and that he’d like to see the story published. And so it happened…After I had tasted the fun of writing, I was hooked and I hope to write more stories in the future.

Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?

Well, I have only written two short stories so far and I am proud that I have accomplished writing them both. The first one, Heaven Is Not Far, is about a Dutchman who comes to America during the American Civil War, together with his dog—an Irish Setter, named Jessie. Jessie’s character is based on my own dog and I really enjoyedwriting her part. Visiting old memories and using them was lots of fun! Having written that first story and seeing it published surely made me proud.
But the real joy of writing came with the second story, The Officer’s Daughter (to be released soon), as I added several author friends as characters. It was so much fun writing about them and the best part probably was the fact that I could make them do anything I wanted. LOL

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

I write best between 10 AM and 2 PM. Before I start writing, I walk the dog and have breakfast. Then I turn on the computer, check email and facebook, then get to my WIP and read over the last few pages that I have written to get back into the story, and last but most important; I pray that God gives me the words to write.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

Probably Saved by Grace as that is what my life is all about. All other book titles I could come up with would be side branches of Saved by Grace.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Murray Pura

We all have family, work and other obligations…how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

Like I mentioned above, I write between 10 AM and 2 PM. Everything else must be worked in according to that time frame. We don’t have children, so it is a bit easier for me to write during the daytime when my husband is at work.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Don’t write the character’s name every time you write about him. Use the word ‘he’ or ‘him’ when possible and you will discover that the story flows better. After I learned this, it also became the one thing that irritates me the most in books that I read.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you? 

Heaven Is Not Far is available as ebook on Amazon KINDLE, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and KOBO. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FCK90DG/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murray-puras-blue-heaven-romance-series-volume-4-heaven-is-not-far-murray-pura/1117208126?ean=2940148719250
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/murray-pura-s-blue-heaven-romance-series-volume-4-heaven-is-not-far/SUyVJar-TEuRs8HTLaFc9w?MixID=SUyVJar-TEuRs8HTLaFc9w&PageNumber=1

Helping Hands is working on printing all the volumes of the Blue Heaven romance series in one paperback, so eventually the story will also be available in the printed collection. When new stories release you can find them on my Amazon author page. I believe there is also a possibility to get a notification in the email when new titles release. I also have a blog where I post all sorts of stuff from personal things to reviews. You can subscribe to receive new blog posts in the email, or become a follower on Blogger. And I always like to make new friends on Facebook.

Last, but not least… What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis…

The Officer’s Daughter is the second volume in Murray Pura’s new Civil War series, Let Freedom Ring. I hope it will release late May or June. Here’s the blurb:

Nashville, 1864. Canadian Andrew Burns is captain in the 10th Minnesota Infantry. One day he discovers that one of the privates in his company is a woman dressed like a man. When he gets to know the woman behind the male facade, he falls in love with her and promises to keep her secret.
Together with Corporal Dean, Private Calvin Mitchell is sent on an errand in the hills south of Nashville where the Confederate army is gathering and preparing for the upcoming battle. When two days later only Corporal Dean returns and tells a story that Private Mitchell is killed, Andrew becomes anxious. He is the only one who knows that Calvin Mitchell is a woman and he is determined to find her—dead or alive.

Thanks so much for having me, Patti. It was lots of fun answering your questions.

God bless!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A TASTY TREASURE!

My Beautiful Grandmother
Nellie Morse Davis
1894 - 1984
We came across a box yesterday, sealed with crisp, yellowing tape; an indication of long-lost memories. We were not disappointed. Among the small knick-knacks was a worn black book.  The spine was almost separated from the handwritten pages ... this was my grandmother's recipe book ... recipes for all the wonderful treats that awaited me on weekend visits!

What struck me as odd was although the ingredients were listed, very few of the recipes included step-by-step directions; in fact, they didn't include the baking temperature or time (hmmm). I thought I would share my favorite cookies, the ones she always had in her owl cookie jar (that I inherited), and one of her tasty relishes.  

My grandmother was also known for writing little quotes in books, on her calendars and on tiny slips of paper. (I think perhaps my love of writing came from her?) This is the quote in front of her recipe book.
What it says:  He who thinks by the inch and talks
by the yard should be moved by the foot!
















MOLASSES COOKIES
(Next to the name she wrote "good"
and from Mrs. Dunnings - her neighbor)

1 cup sugar
Nannie's Cookie Jar
1 cup crisco or shortening
1 egg well beaten
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
3 level teaspoons soda – dissolved in hot water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Flour to make dough to rolls
Take dripping pan turn upside down, grease and flour bottom
bake on top of inverted pan. Sprinkle with sugar on top of cookies.


CRANBERRY APPLE RELISH

4 cups cranberries – through food chopper
2 apples – peeled and cored – through food chopper
1 oranges – through food chopper
1 lemon – through food chopper
1 cups sugar

Mix well and chill in refrigerator




Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Light Switch Called Dementia

 I've been missing my mom more than usual this week and reflecting on what my dad and I experienced as she declined.   As most of you know, my beloved mother passed away in February. Not only did she suffer from cancer, she had dementia.  While the cancer was eating away at her body, the dementia was doing the same to her mind. Seeing that beautiful, vibrant, woman waste away physically was devastating, but the added emotional turmoil of dementia made it practically unbearable.

As both diseases progressed, I retired from my job to help my dad with her care.  We knew what to expect with the cancer; however, the dementia was not as predictable.  There was joy, laughter and lots of love -- switching to anger, paranoia and extreme confusion. Her mental state would vacillate from one day to the next and sometimes, one minute to the next.

We were in constant contact with her doctor and hospice, and although they offered wonderful advice, the one statement they kept repeating was, "do not take what she says or does personally."  Well, that sounds easy enough, but when it's your loved one who uncharacteristically lashes out, physically and/or verbally, or worse, runs away, it's hard not to. During those episodes, we found ourselves a muddled mass of bewilderment, despair, hurt, anger, resentment …  You name it, we felt it.   Although we mentally realized this wasn't mom but the dementia  … convincing our hearts was a different story.  If there was one ray of light in those dark times, it was she didn't remember the outbursts; otherwise she would have been mortified and inconsolable.

Dementia is unrelenting and cruel and can take an emotional and physical toll on everyone involved. If it weren't for the resources made available to us, the love and support of family and friends, and most importantly our faith in God, we would still be picking up the pieces.

I really don't know why I was compelled to write this, maybe someone out in the blogosphere needs to see they are not alone, or maybe I'm reaching a new stage in the grief process. What I do know is, that even though dementia made some days more difficult than others, they were all days spent with an incredible and beautiful woman I loved so very much, and for me, that's all that matters.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!



Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Writer's World - Author's Support Blog Hop

I'm involved in the Author's Support Blog Hop, sponsored by Sharon Bayliss.  Thank you Sharon for this opportunity to share and support each other!

                    WHAT do you do?
              (A summary of my crazy life and responsibilities)


Two years ago my parents and uncle moved in with my husband and me due to their advanced age.  My mom was diagnosed with cancer and dementia last year so I retired as a background investigator to become a full-time caregiver. She was welcomed into Heaven in February and although my dad and uncle are in relatively good health (my dad is 86, my uncle 81), they both use me as a chauffeur, appointment keeper and secretary.  I also co-lead Rachel's Hope Post Abortion Healing Retreats, serve as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More Awareness Campaign and sing in my parish choir. 


HOW do you do it?
(How do you manage to find time to write? What tips can you share?)

I usually write in the wee hours of the morning while everyone is sleeping.  It's important for me to spend quality time with my dad and uncle while my husband is at work, then have quiet time with him when he gets home from work and on weekends.  I'm sometimes sleep-deprived but it's well worth it (and I do get chances for catnaps)!  




WHY do you do it?
(Other than just sheer insanity, what keeps you going? Why have you chosen the life of an over-stressed author? What keeps you motivated during dark days?)

Why do I do it?  Because I love to write and it actually brings sanity to my life; it's an emotional release valve of sorts. Prayer and the never ending love and support of my family keeps me going. As far as motivation during dark days, I turn to God and my family.  In addition, I am truly blessed to have an                                                                  exceptional publisher (Helping Hands                                                    Press) and a network of friends                                                              and fellow authors that are always                                                          there to offer encouragement.



QUESTIONS AND PLEAS




I sometimes find myself feeling guilty when skipping a night of writing, which results in undue stress and writer's block.  Does anyone else pack their bags and go on that guilt trip?









Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No Cheese with this Whine - Fellow Writers: Care to Share?

The writing process can sometimes pose insurmountable challenges. Well, maybe not insurmountable; frustrating might be a better word.  Volume III of my suspense/thriller series, Grave Obsessions, was proceeding at break-neck speed, only to come to an agonizing, screeching halt ~ thrusting me unmercifully into the depths of despair (so I'm a little melodramatic...indulge me a bit!).

The cause of this catastrophe?  Turning a deaf ear to a character's wishes ~ and the consequences were ugly, very ugly.

Dallas Keegan, my main character, was telling me to slow down and follow her lead. Did I listen? Nooooooo!  I kept telling her, "Quit bugging me, I know what I'm doing," and continued on my merry way -- confident I would be finished with Volume III in record time.  It wasn't until the 6,500 word mark I stopped to do a pre-edit review.  I realized the path I was on had too many detours and would thoroughly confuse the reader (it already confused me).

So ... I wore out the delete button on the keyboard and ended up with a mere 4,000 words and a case of the (albeit temporary) 3 D's:  Disappointment, Defeat and Discouragement.

Fellow writers:  Please tell me you have experienced this; that I'm not standing alone on the gallows of writer's remorse!


Have a Blessed Day!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HAVE A SEAT: CN BRING!

CN Bring gravitated toward military intrigue and suspense coming from a military family and a mother who read nothing but mysteries. Many of her family members served in the Army and Navy and some are still serving today. The Celia Kelly Series has four books and counting; The Pact, The Lie, The Truth and The Disappearance. Bring’s extensive research and life experience lend an authentic feel to her Celia Kelly Series (Military/Mystery/Thriller). Bring is also a member of Christian Motorcyclist Association, Military Writers Society of America, Toastmasters International, Women’s National Book Association and part of Authors Supporting Troops.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I became bored with what I was reading and movies I was watching. I could predict the end in the first few pages or scene. I decided to take on the challenge of creating my own mysteries. In Christian Fiction it’s pretty rare to find hard core mysteries without tons of romance. I have love interests on occasion, but the mystery is really the heart and core of what I create. I might be classified as the Christian version of Tom Clancy & James Patterson.

I came by mystery and suspense naturally. My very first was Scooby Doo when I was a kid. It was my favorite cartoon. My mother had every book of Agatha Christi, Nancy Drew…you can name just about any mystery author… she has it and I became as hooked as she was. I had a review recently that compared me to Agatha Christi, which was such an honor to have my name share the same sentence with hers.

Which of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”? Why?

I have fun with each book I write. I love the research, the challenge of each story and I feel like I learn something new with each one. The first book I ever published, self-published back then, was The Pact Where Lines are Drawn. It was the book that later became the Celia Kelly Series. Only 300 copies were ever printed.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

I get up early, by 7:30 am I am catching up on social media, phone calls and e-mails. I write in the afternoon.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

“Look Up” This would be my life story title because no matter what I have done in life, as a wife, mother, employee or writer I can’t do any of it without my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Whenever I get stuck in life, I have to remind myself to “Look Up”. The most important thing in life is to never give up and keep looking up.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Mary Higgins Clark would be interesting to talk to. She began her career later in life, as I have, after losing her husband and being left to raise her children on her own. I find people who persevere and make it because they have no choice are the people you can learn the most from.

We all have family, work and other obligations...how do you maintain
balance while in the middle of a writing project?

Writing is my job and I treat it that way. If I have to write, I work and schedule everything else around that. Most of it is just doing it. Make a plan, stick to it and go. I have always multi-tasked. Even when my children were still at home, I was able to get my Criminal justice Degree. A schedule is everything! You just try to make sure each step is going forward so you don’t spin your wheels.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

Never give up. You give up- you are done. Advice I’d offer someone else is this; realize what a responsibility and privilege writing can be. I believe as authors we don’t just reflect society, we have the power to influence it. So think about the mark you want to leave on the world.

Where can we purchase your books?
How can we keep up with you? (blog link, webpage, fan page)

I have a blog dedicated to the men and women who serve our country. Some of who are part of my family. CN Salutes http://cnsalutes.wordpress.com/ I have a blog dedicated to The Celia Kelly Series http://celiakellyseries.wordpress.com/
I have a blog dedicated to Strong women and men who are out in the world trying to make a difference, Featuring The Strong Women Series. http://cnbringsletstalk.wordpress.com/ My Website:http://cnbring.com/ My Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9oBXJAGwM4
My books are on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Deepershopping.com, New Christian Books

It all began with THE PACT !
Commander Celia Kelly is a perceptive Naval Intelligence Officer rebuilding her life after the tragic loss of her husband. Newly assigned a mission planning Intel for a SEAL Team…The suspicious suicide of a fellow Officer has Kelly questioning everything. Kelly discovers she’s been set up. Digging relentlessly, nothing is as it seems. Someone is after twenty million dollars that disappeared when Kelly’s husband went MIA and now that someone is after her! With surprises at the turn of every page, the original characters and three dimensional plot lines keep the suspense going until the very end. BUY NOW! At Amazon At Barnes & Noble At Kobo At Smashwords At Deepershopping.com



                                   Just how deep does THE LIE go?
A new President. A new team. A scandalous lie. In the latest of the Celia Kelly series, the Naval Commander finds herself caught up in political intrigue as the next mystery has her questioning everything. The President’s inexplicable past brings deception and danger into the White House. Death hits close to home as Celia directs a mission that collapses with the loss of a SEAL. After returning home Kelly discovers the new President may have had something to do with the mission’s failure. As secrets begin to unravel, they run over everyone in their path. The price will be high as Kelly and her teams finally uncover the truth. And just when you think that it’s over… it’s not!
BUY NOW! At Amazon At Barnes & Noble At Smashwords At Kobo At                                      Deepershopping.com



Can you handle The Truth?
Terrorism hits close to home killing the President’s wife, youngest daughter, and leaving his oldest daughter paralyzed when a bomb goes off in Washington, D.C.. Commander Celia Kelly and the SEAL Team are sent on a wild goose chase trying to negotiate with terrorist Amar Nycoffi in order to find a second target before it is too late. Everyone is at risk as the hunt begins for the second target… When a Navy SEAL becomes a prisoner, during the rescue, another prisoner, long forgotten, is discovered in a Middle Eastern prison. Celia finally finds the answers about her husband…Is he alive or was he part of the Pact? In the meantime, the Pact resurfaces and the truth about everything finally comes out. No one is who Kelly thought they were as the suspenseful action unfolds. Where will the truth lead them? Will this mission prove to be too much even for Commander Celia Kelly?
BUY NOW! At Amazon At Barnes & Noble At Smashwords

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release? Provide a brief synopsis....

The newest book in the series is called The Disappearance. The CIA Deputy Director disappears and in the meantime there is a cold case murder to solve and the investigations intersect in a way no one sees coming.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Some Reviews of Moments with God





I thought today I would share what people are saying about 
"Moments With God".  






This is a wonderful compilation of meditations that challenged me to pursue God in a deeper way. This is definitely a book to read & re-read. Although based on praying through the rosary, being a protestant, I enjoyed it thoroughly and think it crosses all denominational lines. Her personal testimony section of this book is a beautiful picture of the depth of God's grace, mercy, and love for each one of us.
******
Your book, Moments with God was an eye opener. I loved the rosary prayers and pray one each day, but the ones in Embrace the Morning are so appropriate for me when you wrote: At day's end may I count my blessings with love and gratitude. Oh, Patti you have touched my heart. Your personal story made me cry – with sorrow, love and hope. What wonderful courage it must have taken to write and come so far – all with His grace and love. Thank You! 
                                                                       ******
Five Stars for Patti!! A book written from the heart by the heart! Patti provides encouragement to those who struggle with their past. Recovery, is a process which takes the heart on a journey through God's Mercy and Love. Patti shares her past with humility and grace. Many will be touched by her courage to heal. Patti shares that God's mercy is for everyone!!! Even for those who feel they are unredeemable. Bravo Patti!! Finally a book that tells it like it is!! Gods Mercy is for everyone!   
******
Friends, I really want to recommend this book, oh my goodness, it is an amazing meditation! Patti is a sister in Silent No More Awareness!


A reminder to readers out there ... Your opinion is invaluable to authors! When you finish a book, please take a few minutes and write a review.  Thanks! 


Friday, June 13, 2014

The Journal




Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.
It will be the longest journey you have ever taken.
It is the journey to find yourself.
- Katherine Sharp





I am a writer of devotionals, light romance, mysteries, poetry and lyrics ... and I blog. The sound of my acrylic fingernails tapping on a keyboard can be heard well into the wee hours of the morning. A classic case of CWD (compulsive writing disorder)?  Well, maybe, but did you know I also journal?  

It all started when I was given a little red diary for Christmas many, many, years ago ... The best gift ever, because it had a lock and key; my secrets would be safe!  I found that diary not too long ago, at the bottom of a box filled with old newspaper articles and pictures.  Sadly, it was the only one that survived the passage of time. 

The words of fifteen year old Patti brought smiles and tears. It reminded me of old friends, young love (I love Greg, no..I love Kieth, no...I love Greg ... I hate Greg), teenage angst, and who I was before succumbing to wretched behavior fueled by alcohol.

Diary pages remained blank during, what I call, "the dark days".  Not because I had nothing to say ... I didn't want to put those dirty little secrets on paper because I would have to face the truth of who I had become.

When I was committed to a psychiatric hospital, prior to rehab, the psychiatrist stressed the importance of journaling.  The thought of writing about my feelings terrified me because I would have to, at some point, read what I wrote - reliving the shame, remorse and regret.  I did, however, follow his advice ...  I was desperate, and willing to do anything to be freed from my self-imposed hell. It was through that journal something miraculous happened:  Each day I read all the previous entries and eventually I recognized a pattern of positive growth and change.

My journaling continues to this day.  Even though I'm sober and emotionally stable (?), it's my therapy.  It's a release valve for all my disjointed thoughts and pent up emotions - good and bad, but most importantly, it's a Chronicle of Hope.  Thank you God!


HAVE A BLESSED DAY
AND
JOURNAL!





  




Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Man Called Peter


Have you ever seen the movie, "A Man Called Peter"?  It's an oldie (1955), based on the book by the same title written by Catherine Marshall, Dr. Peter Marshall's wife (and one of my favorite authors). 

Throughout his ministry, Dr. Marshall gave dynamic, inspirational sermons. His encouraging and insightful words have been a source of comfort for many (including me). 

I don't know why, but his story just popped in my mind a few weeks ago and I decided to blog about it. Maybe someone out there in the                                                         blogosphere needs to read one of his quotes?



This one is my favorites:






HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Have A Seat: I.O. Kirkwood!


In between bouts of banging her head and writing insightful treatises about the human condition, I.O. is the author of “Subatomic Revolt,” Volume 2 of Mike Lynch’s No Revolution Is Too Big series, and “The White Carpet,” a short story published in Scribes Valley Publishing’s 11th Annual Contest anthology. A former board member of the Baltimore Writers’ Alliance with experience in copy and content editing and publishing, I.O. has been writing seriously for the last 32 years. 

What inspired you to become a writer?


I’ve always been a great believer that we have predispositions to feel, do, and think certain things. Sometimes talents and passions are inherited but always there is this idea in my mind that we are “programmed” by something greater than our own will. We can ignore the program or we can sync with the program because always, we have a choice. I submitted to being a writer. It’s a calling. To not write, well, let’s just say I can be meaner than a bear if I can’t write. I prefer to sync and writing is part of my program.

Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”. Why?

I write shorts so I don’t have a “book” in the accepted definition of “book.” My pride and joy is the very short story I wrote that was accepted by Scribes Valley Publishing called “The White Carpet.” The tale is about surviving abuse. This was the first story that when I read it, I was moved on a deep, fundamental level. It shocked me because it was another thing entirely. I was like, “I wrote this?” and it came so effortlessly. I even walked away and there were no substantial edits that I felt were necessary and it was less than 1,000 words. The editor only rearranged one sentence so I’m very proud of that particular story.

Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

I have to get certain errands out of the way. I make a list of the things that must be done or the household will crumble around my ears. Once I get those done, I’m allowed to write. When I cross something off my list, it’s almost as if a burden is lifted and the joy of being that much closer to writing increases. I need that escalation. I want to reward myself for being responsible and the ability to sit down and write with a clear conscience is such a pleasure. The sky’s the limit.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

Living Authentically: Navigating the Journey of Blood, Sex and Death. All the world’s avatars have come to tell us the mysteries and how to navigate them.  Blood and Sex are life at different levels and Death is the transformation of life from one form to another. So it’s all about life and I’m a student of life. I can’t see any other reason why I’d be here.

If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

Lon Milo DuQuette would be my choice. He wrote “The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford,” which teaches the significance of the Jewish Mystery tradition with a Western sensibility and a humor that never diminishes the importance of his subject. He’s written many other books on the Western Esoteric tradition. I imagine I would have a hard time keeping up with him. He’s wicked intelligent and exudes this tremendous compassion and patience. It would be a fun dinner though.

We all have family, work and other obligations...
how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

Um, I don’t. Everything’s extremes for me, like a swinging pendulum. So I go with it. I guess that’s where my preparation ritual comes from. If I feel guilty while I’m writing, it means I forgot something. I try to avoid that at all costs. Guilty writing is the absolute worst. All I can think about is, “What did I forget?” It disrupts the creative process.

What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?

The first draft is you telling yourself a story. “ That has freed me up immensely because I tell myself stories out of sequence. I day dream out of sequence. I’m always creating stories in my head, wish-fulfillments really, and I will have this situation and I’ll ask myself, “How did I get there?” Now I’ve given myself permission to write stories out of sequence. I’m fabulous at beginnings so I’ll start with the premise. Then I write the end and it’s HUGE and dramatic because my characters have to walk across burning coals laced with nails and broken glass to get to the goal. I have to rewrite the beginning because so many different things need to be suggested, foreshadowed and threaded through the subtext, but now I know where I’m headed. The middles have always been my stumbling block. So I’m treating my stories like sandwiches. I need to set out the bread first. Then I decide on the stuff that goes in between.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?

I have two shorts. The first is “Subatomic Revolt: Volume 2 of Mike Lynch’s No Revolution Is Too Big Series.” You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. “The White Carpet” can be purchased as part of a contest anthology from Scribes Valley Publishing. I enjoyed all of the other authors’ works very much so you’ll be getting eleven amazing stories all together. If you’re a writer, I recommend Scribe’s annual contest without reservation. They’ve been wonderful.

I write a blog at iokirkwood.com. The topics I enjoy writing about are the craft of writing, the creative process (and not just for writers), marketing for creative types, and the issues that arise from being an artist in a world that devalues creativity. I just participated in a Blog Hop with Ruth Snyder and that was so much fun. We had six posts to write over a ten week period and the topics were all about writing. I’m considering creating my own Blog Hop. It’s in the subconscious development stage (one side of the pendulum) and suddenly it will break free from my mind like a fully formed entity (the other side of the pendulum). I also have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?


My next release is supposed to happen this year sometime, through Helping Hands Press, but the exact date hasn’t been set. I’m working with another group of amazing authors on an origin story that will start off a series of shorts and recipes. The series is about a group of misfits who struggle with acceptance. Bullied and ridiculed at school, they show their true courage and compassion in the alternate worlds of video games. I’ve been quizzing my son, an inveterate gamer, about what motivates him to spend hundreds of dollars on a gaming system and the video games. His thoughtful answers have opened up my eyes on how relevant and empowering youth find the fantasy offered by the gaming culture. The recipes I’ve created incorporate gaming culture while sneaking in nutrition. I’ve been testing them on my sons and so far, they’ve been a hit.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Writer's World Blog Tour - My Turn!

I was invited to participate in the world blog tour by my friend, Amber Schamel. Her blog post last week was terrific:  http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-writers-world-blog-tour.html?spref=fb


A Little About Me:
A little over six decades ago (yikes!) this author, prolific blogger, reader, and avid Seattle Seahawks fan arrived in Wimpole Park, England. Being a military brat, I lived in England and Morocco as well as several U.S. Air Force Bases.  I am a former federal auditor and Army Reservist and recently retired as a background investigator.  I live in Vista, California and am a happily married grandmother of two (three in August) granddaughters. Although no longer in the workforce, I serve as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Co-lead Rachel's Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and sing in the Church of St. Timothy's (Escondido, CA) choir.


What are you working on? 

I currently have four (yep! 4) projects going:

Grave Obsessions – Volume III – Shackled Souls
The series follows the personal, professional and
spiritual struggles of Detective Dallas Keegan. 
In Volume III she embarks on her most atrocious
 and heartbreaking case to date.

Solace in Scripture
Personalizing scripture to help in the grieving process.

365 Days of Smiles – From the Hearts of Children
Inspirational words from children on gratitude and 
innocent observations on life.

The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series
A collaborative project with five incredibly talented authors.
The trials and tribulations of a wedding planner ...
A budding romance, meddling mother and
a staff of diverse and entertaining personalities

      How does your work differ from others in its genre? 
My devotionals and inspirational projects are based on how I use prayer, meditation and scripture in dealing with my own personal struggles.

I integrate faith in all of my work regardless of genre ... because God is omnipresent!

Why do you write what you do? 

Now that's a tough question! In a nutshell, I suppose my goal is to reach out to people and share God's message of faith and hope.

How does your writing process work?

I usually find myself writing in the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet. I'm a “seat of my pants” fiction writer, allowing my characters to lead the way instead of using outlines, etc. When writing my devotionals, I seek out scriptures that apply to the subject at hand and speak to my heart.

 Thank You Amber for inviting me to participate!!!!


Visit these wonderful and talented authors next Monday!

Anne Baxter Campbell: http://www.pewperspective.blogspot.com
Grace Yee:  http://www.graceyee.blotspot.com
I.O. Kirkwood:  http://iokirkwood.com/
Jen Cudmore:  www.jencudmore.com


Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Great Adventure

The trip to New Orleans was wonderful!  My dad had not been "home" in fifty years and although things had changed considerably in his hometown of Marrero, he was able to recognize a few places.  The two most favorite things he loved on this adventure was visiting with his nephew (my cousin) Steve and his family who drove from Florida to meet us there, and sightseeing.  He had never been to the French Quarter or some of the other places when he was a young boy as he was too busy working on the family dairy.

What made our vacation a great success was not just being with family and making cherished memories but the downhome hospitality of the people of New Orleans.  I've never visited a city that was more welcoming.  People watching was a treat as was the cuisine!  (Cafe DuMonde was excellent.....Chicory Coffee and beignets!!!)

And guess what?  I didn't bring my laptop and I actually took a break from writing!!!!  Miracles do happen!

Thank you God for a memorable trip and for family!


Dad on a Riverboat Cruise
down the Mississippi River

Add caption






Had to bring some
home!





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Family Business

Our priest gives wonderful homilies and this past Sunday was no exception.  I'm not as eloquent as Father Fernando, but this was the message I heard:

A father teaches a child the tools of his trade so when he is gone, his business will continue to thrive.  That child takes that endowment and strives to make his father proud, and the business grows. That child does the same for his son ... and so it goes from generation to generation.

Our Heavenly Father did the same with his disciples as proclaimed in Matthew 28:16-20. "The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

So when walk out the door today for work, shopping, etc., remember we are all part of a family business, His business.  Let's teach the tools of His trade ... Love, Mercy and Compassion ... to build a better world today and for future generations ... Let's make Him proud.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

This is my last blog until Sunday...as I will be in:






Monday, June 2, 2014

Have a Seat B.J. Robinson!


    B.J. Robinson is an Amazon best-selling, award-winning, multi-published author who writes from Florida, where she lives with her husband and pets. She has four traditionally published novels with Desert Breeze Publishing, California, as well as independently published short stories, novellas, and novels. BJ has a golden cocker spaniel named Sunflower, golden retriever named Honi, and a shelter cat named Frankie as writing companions. Blessed with a husband, children, and grandchildren, Jesus is her best friend. She's an avid reader, book reviewer, and passionate writer. 

    What inspired you to become a writer?

    I've always loved books and reading. In the third grade, my teacher submitted a story I wrote about my pet dog to a local newspaper, and it was published. My first essay in college was published in another local newspaper. I won first prize for a short story in college, and it was published in Southeastern Louisiana University's literary magazine, By that time, I had hope, and I was hooked. I wanted to share my world with others and write books like I'd read.

    Which of of your books do you consider your “pride and joy”. Why?

    River Oaks Plantation because it's my first historical romance and my first time to write a novel using dual story lines as well as dual love stories. It' s unique in that it blends the past with the present, antebellum through contemporary. Readers love it, and it's done very well. Readers say it's my best yet, but they haven't had time to read my latest release, Romance under the Oaks, a historical romance.

    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?

    Prayer and coffee, French vanilla. I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning, since I'm a morning person. The peace and quiet without being disturbed helps.

    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?

    Roller Coaster of Life

    If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?

    I have so many I'd love to meet that is a hard choice. I'd have to say Henry David Thoreau because I loved Walden if I chose an author from the past. I'd choose Naomi Musch as one from the present because she has a love for writing about the great outdoors like I do, and I think we have things in common. She's down-to-earth and realistic. I'd chose Eva Marie Everson since she was my writing mentor, and we both write southern books. Since I can only choose one, I will go with Thoreau. I'd love to interview him about his cabin experiences at Walden Pond.

    We all have family, work and other obligations...
    how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?

    I do my writing in early morning hours before the day disrupts and interferes.

    What is the one piece of advice you received about
    writing that helped you the most?

    Read other writers in your genre and join a critique group.
    Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?
               My blog: http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com
      Historical Romance Author Page:
      Romantic Suspense Page:
      Louisiana Southern Reads Page:
Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?

This summer Louisiana Sunset will release. Since I do not have the synopsis ready at this time, and I'm only three chapters in, I'll provide one of my latest release, Romance under the Oaks. A family saga, a fictional historical love story set in New Orleans and Vacherie, Louisiana. The Civil War ruins plantation life and the agricultural economy of the South. Jacques dreams of living the quiet plantation life, but Celina, the Creole beauty he fell in love with, loves New Orleans. She's a socialite, loves high society, the ritz and glamour of old New Orleans, adores grand balls, and loves being the belle of them. Jacques wants to give her the belle of the ball when it comes to plantation homes, and he buys a prime piece of real estate from her brother to build her the grand dame of them all on River Road in Vacherie, Louisiana. Nothing is too good for his little Creole beauty, his cher bebe. He hoped he wasn't building his plantation in the wrong place by choosing the banks of the Mississippi River, the hub of transportation, with talk of a Civil War.

How would Jacques convince Celina to move fifty miles? He'd have to build Live Oaks Plantation before he brought her there. Otherwise, she'd take one look at the place and run for the city she loved. He didn't think an alley of oaks would be enough to persuade her. He hoped the dazzling white splendor of his dreams would capture hers, too. Only time would tell. Celina loved the French Quarter and her home on Royal Street. She envisioned a grand home in the city, and she'd be the mistress of the manor. How could Jacques expect her to move fifty miles away into swampy bayou country where there were no stores to go shopping? Couldn't he have found a superior piece of real estate in the city she loved? Didn't he realize she was born for the city? Even if he planted her in the bayou, she'd never grow to be a sturdy oak there. Her roots were in the city. As the Civil War rages and gunboats steam up the Mississippi River, Celina must escape in a buggy through the woods before the shelling begins. Both her husband and her brother have told her not to worry her pretty little head about a Civil War since she had the entire Confederate Army to protect her. Now, she has only a Colt. Will it be enough?

Visit the beautiful antebellum plantation home on the banks of the Mississippi River with an alley of shaded live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Journey with Jacques and Celina, the plantation's first owners, through their fictional historical love story and rediscover old New Orleans. Diseases ran rampant, tuberculosis and pneumonia among many others, but despite the Civil War and a disease-ravaged city, Jacques and Celina romance under the oaks and find love on the banks of the Mississippi. Love endures all and grows and flourishes like the sugarcane. Even when life as planters knew it is gone, romance under the oaks lives on.