“The General’s Wife” COVER REVEAL!!

cover revealI know, I know…I teased you before Christmas with the cover reveal. Well, the holidays required that the cover reveal be a bit more delayed than I had expected, but it is here…

This journey has been quite different from that of the first book. But similar in many respects. It has gone by faster, it seems, and the editing process has required a little more of me. But I have been more distracted with other things – conferences, workshops, critique groups, getting other novels ready for review, NaNoWriMo, and whatnot…it’s been quite the ride these last few months. But this book’s release is drawing ever nearer – early January! The cover came in just today and we are ready to reveal it to everyone!!!

The Cover. This cover is the product of some collaboration between the artist and myself and LOT due to the cover artist’s great talent. For that, I can take no credit. The cover depicts pieces of the story so well and I am well pleased with the end result.

The Story. For those of you who have not been following my blog a description of THE GENERAL’S WIFE can be found here. It is the story of a young woman who is torn from her own home to face an arranged marriage to one of Pharaoh’s most powerful generals during the time when Greeks ruled Egypt. Leaving behind everything she knows, and her first love, she finds adversity awaits her. She faces the reality of a faceless group who wants nothing more than to run all of these Greeks out of Egypt and has set their menacing sights on her. Can she guard her heart from this man who has bargained for her hand? Will her spirit endure in the face of this mob who vows to rid Egypt of her and the whole ruling class of Egypt for good?

Clean Reads. The publisher I have been with for two novels now is called “Clean Reads”. They have been fabulous! Stephanie, the owner, has made herself available for any and all questions and has really been amazing to work with. You can learn more about this company here.

And so, without further ado….HERE IT IS:(click to reveal)

Merry Christmas!!!

It is coming…can you feel it? Christmas is upon us! Time draws us ever forward no matter how we kick and scream against it. No matter how we beg for one more day to get everything done. It comes. And I’m glad for it.

peekingPeeking. I was always one of those kids that shook the presents. Well, not hard. I didn’t want to break anything. I did everything I could to figure out what was in those beautifully wrapped packages underneath that glorious tree. Yes, I even pulled at the tape if I thought I could put it back without anyone noticing. In my defense, this was something my brother taught me. I was just doing what anyone would, right? Even now, though, I am eager, so very eager, for my children to unwrap their presents and the waiting to be over. At 6, 4, and 2, they are not yet at that stage where they come up with stuff such as peeking under the wrapping, but I am eager for them.

love festA love fest. Gift giving is definitely my number one expressive love language. So, Christmas is a love fest of sorts for me. As much as it is work, I enjoy finding the right present for the right person and watching them open it. Could anything be better? Ah, yes, the number one way I receive love – quality time. Another big one at Christmas. All the family, together, in one place, for several hours of quality time. Ahhh… So, as you can imagine, Christmas is just the most amazing time of year for me from that perspective.

new yearThe hope of the New Year. As the days draw us closer and closer to Christmas, we march ever onward toward a new year. I despise New Year’s Resolutions…I’m just going to say it. I think if you want to make a change in your life, you should do it, regardless of when in the year it is. I get the whole “it’s a new year, what better time than now…” So, more power to you if you want to make a change and make it happen then, but that’s not me. And I think it’s why a lot of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Because people that are serious about change, do it when they become serious, not because of some kind of arbitrary date on the calendar. Remember a few weeks ago I told you I was going to be more serious about my health? About what I ate and about exercise? I decided that day to make a change…I’m down almost 15 lbs. And I’ll keep going. Because I am determined and because I am serious about the change for my various reasons.

I’ve always liked these lyrics from Anna Nalick’s “Breathe”: “‘Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable; And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table; No one can find the rewind button…And breathe…” Time – our enemy, our friend, our constant companion…take advantage of the time you have. Hold your loved ones close this Christmas, take advantage of that opportunity. And about all that other craziness…just breathe.

 

 

Where are you, Christmas?

This, I think, is perhaps the first year that I find myself searching for the Christmas spirit. This is also the first year I have been vamping up for the release of a book just after the first of the year. Between NaNoWriMo and getting things together for “The General’s Wife“, I have been terribly distracted this holiday season. But I am pleased that my car radio has been tuned into Christmas music as it is the only thing it seems anchoring me to the reality of the season.

hustle and bustle of christmas“I need a Silent Night…” Do you know this song sung by Amy Grant? It is so true for me. All the hustle and bustle of the season has taken me over. Going here, running there, shopping, baking, dinners, appointments, not to mention the daily grind of keeping home and hearth. There’s a part of the song that goes “Did my own mother keep this pace, or was the world a different place?” I don’t think my mother had this craziness. I think she had some of it. But I think as time goes on, much more is expected of us. There are more programs, more TV channels, pinterest, the bar has been raised for us moms. At least it seems that way. The world is a different place. Times seemed much simpler, of course I was a kid. But it just doesn’t seem to me that my parents got caught up in the craziness that I have.

manger“Hope that you don’t mind our manger…Welcome to our World…” This song, “Welcome to Our World”, really does get to me each year. There are several versions of this song out there. My favorite is probably Michael W. Smith’s. How do I not only catch the Christmas spirit and find time to keep my family in joy of the season, but also teach them the reason for the season? That is of utmost importance to me and my husband. And I think even more so as our world continues on it’s current trajectory. There is a lyric here, that says “Bring your peace into our violence, bid our hungry souls be filled. Word now breaking Heaven’s silence, welcome to our world…” Is anything more true than this? His peace into our violence. Look around you, what could we need more than peace? Love? Joy? All the things that God promises lone candlewill come as a wellspring of His presence in us. And, I hope I don’t step on toes here, but I might…if you, as a believer, are not spreading peace…love…joy into the hurting world, you’ve missed the point. Light in the darkness, not light among other lights. Not that we don’t need that time with other believers, but our light shines brightest in the dark. That’s why we’ve been given that light. {Stepping off soapbox.}

So, these are my goals for this week…(remember, without goals, how do you know you have accomplished anything?) To take some time off. Time to just BE with my family in the season and enjoy them. And to take some time in the Word, to just BE in His presence and let Him fill me with His peace, His love, His joy…not for myself, but so I can give it to my family and to those He places in my path who will need it.

 

 

Keep Calm…it’s Nearly Christmas

keep-calm-its-nearly-christmas-101Well, at least it smells like Christmas at my house now…I am finally at the point of getting some Christmas baking done. Yay! At least my family is celebrating. And I think that maybe…just maybe my Christmas shopping is under control. Did that just come from me? The girl who just earlier this week was nearly bawling because it was all craziness!?! Why, yes, I believe it did. Things are starting to slow down…I’m starting to slow down and take advantage of some of the merriment of the season. But there are some exciting things happening on the book front!

cover revealCover Art. Keep posted…the next time you hear from me, it will (most likely) be for a cover reveal!!! I have been communicating with Clean Read’s (my publisher’s) wonderful cover artist about the cover for “The General’s Wife” and I couldn’t be more excited.

blog tourBlog Tour. I am also getting things geared up for another Blog Tour. Yes, the last one was a bit of work, but the amazing people at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours organized everything and made it a much less painful process. I will definitely be utilizing their services again!

Galleys. My very supportive husband and I are each making our way through the Galleys. For those of you who don’t know what that is (as I’ve been just throwing that term around)…it’s the final mock-up of the book. It’s the final (and most crucial) step in the process. I have to go through and make sure everything is as it should be. As much as I’d like to do some more rewriting (as every author would, I’m sure), we’re looking for commas out of place or misspelled words…things that might have been missed in the last round of editing.

All in all, it is exciting times, my friends. This holiday season has much to bring for me 🙂 As well I hope it does for you, but more than anything, I hope you have time to slow down and enjoy it.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…CRAZINESS!

As much as November was packed and went off without much trouble, December is not quite as full, but I am running myself ragged every day and I don’t know quite where all my time is going! What am I doing each day? My schedule doesn’t seem full, but yet I’m running here and there and all around the square…every day. Then I’m exhausted. What can I do to combat that? In November, I knew my schedule was full, so I used several techniques to manage that. But unless I can get a grip on what’s filling my days, I can’t employ those same techniques. How do you manage details that seem to pop up out of no where?

christmas shoppingChristmas shopping. First off, and don’t be hating on me…I’m one of those people that is usually DONE shopping by the first week of December. Well, with my packed November, that did not happen. I had not even started by the time December rolled around. I had not even made one list. Grrr….

christmas bakingChristmas baking. I’m also one of those wives/moms (again, don’t be hating) that likes to bake Christmas goodies to have hanging around the house during this season for guests that stop in and what not. I’m talking like fudge and cookies and other treats like that. I have not even made the grocery list to shop for the ingredients to start on said goodies. Driving. Me. Bananas.

little people nativitySeasonal Traditions. I like for us to do the advent candles. And we have the Little People Nativity that we do an activity with. The characters are “hidden” around the house and every 5 days, we tell a piece of the Nativity story featuring a character and that character makes their way to the Nativity stable. Yeah, it’s Dec 8th, we haven’t done one yet (we missed Dec 1st and Dec 5th). Grrr….

Galleys. My galleys are in for “The General’s Wife”. The last and most important step of this process before publication. They have a hard deadline though – Dec 15th. I have yet to download the document. I am soooo behind.

So, where is all my time going? I am seriously running around like a chicken with my head cut off…without a plan, letting things hit me as they will. Maybe that’s the problem. I’ve become a reactive person rather than a proactive person. Maybe I need to remember the lessons I learned in November about what goes “on the bar” and what I need to let go of, and plan my day accordingly. And stick to the plan. Not letting these last minute things throw my day for a loop. Proactive, not reactive. What about you?

Do you have an “author crush”?

heartI am first an avid reader. I think that this is true of many writers. This is likely the first medium through which we learn to write – from other authors’ works. And through those pieces, we fall in love with the written word and the power it has to create worlds, make connections, drive stories, and stimulate imaginations. I wouldn’t say, however, that there have been hardly any authors that I have had an “author crush” on. This is a love relationship you have with an author’s works. You are so enamored with their work(s) that you have developed somewhat of a little crush on their writing (not them personally). And, after truly considering the works I have enjoyed over the last several years, think I have two:

michelle moranMichelle Moran. She writes Historical Fiction. Good Historical Fiction. She has spent time on dig sites and visiting foreign lands and deep in research. She knows her stuff. And it shows. She proves to us that truth is weirder than fiction too. At the end of her books, in her author note, she talks about the details in her story based on fact. And, the stuff you were just sure was fiction, was, amazingly somehow, based on actual events. She weaves her stories together with these real events in such an entertaining and relatable way though that the seams of fiction and reality blend perfectly. Amazing.

melanie dickersonMelanie Dickerson. Another Historical Fiction writer. But she specializes in taking fairy tales and placing them in a real time with characters that could have been real people. She takes out the mysticism and magic and anything that could not happen and what you are left with is a very believable story. Dickerson has a gift for pulling the reader into the story and into the plight of the characters that is truly unique I think. I have read three of her books in the last couple of weeks and cannot stop. I’m in love with her work.

And so, my friends, I hope you find time in the midst of the craziness that can become the Christmas season to slow down and relax, maybe take in a good book (I have a couple of authors to recommend). I wish you happy reading!

I’m a NaNoWriMo Winner!!!

NaNo-2015-Winner-BannerWhew! That was a challenge indeed. In the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be a fairly easy thing to do, but by the end, it became quite challenging with the convergence of Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas. My traveling thrown into the month made for an uneven writing schedule, too. But I did it!! Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Would I do it again? Absolutely! It was a great way to push me to get those words out, to write “x” number of words each day and keep the novel growing. I found it to be a good challenge for myself and a very rewarding one at that.

possibleHow does it compare to the 10K-Day challenge? The 10K-Day challenge was a lot more intense. The stress of getting NaNoWriMo done was spread out, which is usually something I (don’t like, but) can handle better. That intense pressure is something that gets to me. But the 10K day was not overwhelming, so the stress didn’t really get to me. It’s like the NaNoWriMo challenge is like the stress of getting a term paper done. You have time, but in the end, you stress to get it polished and completed in those last 24 hours. I think the 10K-Day is more like waiting tables. I found, when I was a server in a restaurant, that the stress was more intense, more “this minute”, you are juggling several things and you have so many things to get done “right now” when you’re busy. That’s not the kind of stress I enjoy. And, I found that I couldn’t handle the stress of waiting tables. My hats off to those who do that for a living. That’s why I tip the way I do.

writing computerWhat’s your next challenge? No more writing challenges for now! I’m taking on another “write a passage from the Bible each day for the month of December” challenge to better immerse myself and focus my spirit on the meaning of Christmas. I found the passage a day for November to help do that for the Thanksgiving season. I will get back to work on the sequel for “The Lady Bornekova“. I’m a bit over halfway done with that one and I am so eager to get back into it!

goalsSo, I leave you with these thoughts…maybe I should change the word “challenge” to “goals”. I think goals are very important. I had a lot of goals for November and I feel very accomplished about what I got done, but only because I had goals. If I hadn’t had those goals, I probably would have gotten things done, but would I be able to mark their completion the same way? Probably not. So, I encourage you…even challenge you, to set yourself some goals for this month. Not hard-set-can’t-miss goals, but just some things to aim for. You’ll never know what you can accomplish until you try.