SEAGRASS PIER by Colleen Coble

 

Colleen Coble Seagrass Pier

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

Don’t miss Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble Her latest release in the Hope Beach series, Seagrass Pier. The book releases July 1st, and Colleen’s publisher is offering the ebook at a special pre-order price of just $4.99 between now and 6/30 everywhere ebooks are sold.

PLUS . . . between 6/9 – 6/30 Colleen will be hosting a Kindle giveaway.

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Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Seagrass Pier and the rest of the Hope Beach series by Colleen Coble

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 30th. Winner will be announced on Colleen’s blog on July 1st.


Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Colleen’s blog on July 1st to see if you won!

My Review of Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble:

Elin Sumerall found a perfect match for her heart transplant. After the death of her husband, she spends her days taking care of Josie, her 4 year old daughter and her mother who has early onset dementia. During the course of the story, Elin begins to have violent memories and she learns that these memories stem from the woman’s heart now beating in her chest.

Marc Everton is an FBI agent looking for the person who killed his partner. He winds up working with Elin when he realizes her memories are real. They aren’t happy working together since they now have to deal with the fling they shared years ago. He then realizes that Josie is his daughter and that both Elin and Josie need his protection.
Overall, the book was very compelling. I couldn’t put it down. The plot twists kept me thinking. I highly recommend this wonderful story!
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.)

Maintaining a Creative Life as an Adult

My husband says I’m insecure about my ability to live a creative life, and that I need a lot of validation. He’s right.

But I wasn’t always so wishy-washy.

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Creative Life Image Credit: Quozio

 

When I first came to faith in the Lord as an 11 year old, a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me. I believed 110% that I could do anything and that included living a creative life. And so I dreamed big dreams and had the blessing of seeing those dreams come to fruition.

 

Creative Life Image Credit: marganz

Yet as I got older, those school teacher voices of doubt and conformity riddled my brain with thoughts like:

“Color in the lines.”

“Forget that acting thing and major in Economics. That’ll get you a secure job in something like investment banking.” (?!)

“You can’t make a real living as an artist.”

I bought into those beliefs and paid for it dearly with years of unfulfilling work which didn’t feed my soul. As a result, I shortchanged myself artistically during my twenties. That young girl who once dreamed big dreams had been squelched by the illusory “real world.”

Now, as I take steps towards a creative life, I have to overcome this inner struggle with myself daily.

Am I really smart? Am I really creative? Can I really do that?

All of my self-inquiries are really questions of: Am I worthy? Am I brilliant? Am I talented? Am I fabulous? Am I beautiful?

As an adult, I am learning daily to accept what I had already known as a child: that I am, in fact, worthy, brilliant, talented, fabulous and beautiful.

I’m learning to get out out of my own way.

How about you? Do you know that you are brilliant, fabulous, talented and beautiful? Or do you have to get out of your own way?

Chat with Piper Huguley, Historical Romance author

Hello, folks! Today we’re chatting with Piper Huguley, author of historical romance. Her writing accolades are many. Among them, she is a two time (2013 & 2014) Romance Writer’s of America Golden Heart finalist. (Way to go, Piper!)

Welcome, Piper! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an English professor who wanted to major in history but I was afraid I couldn’t find a job.  Fortunately, English is very interdisciplinary so my study of literature meant that I could keep studying history.  It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that my eclectic interests have uniquely shaped me for this project from the very beginning. I’m happy to be on the path God intended for me after bumbling around for so long. I’m glad to take this work on, even though the process of fulfilling a purpose is frightening sometimes!

African American Historical Romance, Lawyer's Luck

Tell us about your upcoming historical romance, The Lawyer’s Luck.

The Lawyer’s Luck which releases in July, is a story about a young man studying to pass his law exams when he finds the runaway slave who stole his horse and falls in love with her. She’s not very impressed with him though, since he stopped her plans to get to Canada and freedom, so he has a hard path to winning her over.

What led you to self-publish The Lawyer’s Luck?

In my chapter meeting in January, Beverly Kendall talked about self-publishing and the need to have an enticement to the beginning of the series.  So I wrote a novella– The Lawyer’s Luck–for that purpose.  Since I was self-publishing the first book, it only made sense to self-publish this prequel as well.  I might not have written it if I weren’t self-publishing The Preacher’s Promise, so I’m grateful for that.

Can you talk a bit more about the historical background of your novels?

The Lawyer’s Luck takes place in 1844 and is about the parents of the heroine in The Preacher’s Promise.  The Preacher’s Promise takes place right after the Civil War during the Reconstruction era.  During that time, there was that period of a few years where African Americans made great strides forward in several areas, including the political realm. Then, the power was all taken away. I have always been interested in how that power was used during that brief time as well as the reactions of African Americans when the power was taken away.  Most people have put a sad spin on those few years, but I believe that the seeds were then planted for another kind of power at that point.

You are a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist. How is being a GH finalist different for you the second time around?

Well, the second time around, people seem to have taken me more seriously than they did before.  Not that they didn’t before—just more so.  As a result, I’ve gotten much more attention and visibility than I did before, but there are some other factors that may be part of that—I’m self-publishing and then there’s my quarterfinalist placement in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  So those factors may also have something to do with being taken more seriously.

Congratulations on your placement in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest! What’s your writing process like?

I tend to fast draft very rapidly.  The aftermath of that, the editing part, takes more time and happens much more slowly.  I’m trying to develop a process where I can be more purposeful about my editing.  I’m getting there.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

My students taught me that there is a lot of misunderstanding going around about what happened to so-called ordinary people in history.  I hope that readers will come to see that small acts of strength, courage and purpose performed by the ancestors have borne fruit into who we are today.  We, as Americans, must acknowledge our ancestors’ gifts of sacrifice as meaningful. These remembrances can sustain us whenever we have a rough time at work or home.

Any parting thoughts?

For those of us who live, reside and love America, this is our history.  It is important to know that just as we know and understand an immigrant narrative of survival in our country’s history, there is a narrative of survival for African Americans as well.  A lot of that narrative is covered in shame, but we are still here.  If African Americans had not loved each other and loved God how is it possible that we are still here?  Who are these people who loved each other and loved God enough to invest in future generations?  That’s the story that I am telling.  It is a survival narrative as well—every bit as important and relevant as the immigrant one.

Piper Huguley, Author of African American Historical Romance

About Piper:

Piper G Huguley is the author of Migrations of the Heart, a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters.  Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and is a Golden Heart finalist in 2014.  Book four in the series, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart finalist in 2013.  Book one in her new 19th century historical series, The Preacher’s Promise, in the “Home to Milford College “ was a semi-finalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest and will be self-published in summer 2014.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://www.piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

 

New Mother: A Letter for You

Hello new mother. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Just a few years ago you were…well, we won’t go there. But we want to welcome you to this new place, this cadre of moms. We are everywhere. Driving down the street. Walking to a bus stop. Hanging out at the checkout line at Target. Stopping at Starbucks to get a tall mocha latte {Well, the mothers with older/adult children are lounging at Starbucks. The younger moms are at the park trying to convince their preschooler that eating sand isn’t a good source of fiber.}

You’ve been blessed.

But just because you have been blessed doesn’t mean it will be easy. No sirree. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had. Some days I’d rather scrub a toilet than take the time to put on the mother hat and calm a tantrum. But I’m going to take a bet and say you’ve had your hard days too.

baby

New mother, your little one is so very fresh. Fresh from the hands of God. I’m sure you’ve read all the books and heard all the advice you can, especially the advice about enjoying it now, because they grow up so very fast. I personally haven’t gotten to that stage of motherhood yet, but sometimes I look at my three year old and can picture him swaddled in a blanket in my mind’s eye.

I could say all of this nice, profound philosophical stuff, but really, truly: having a newborn stinks like a poopy diaper. So it can be hard for a mother to relish every moment.

I’d be lying if I told you that I was full of that “new mom joy” when I had a newborn screaming in my ear for hours.

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I could definitely wait to become pregnant again. I looked at other mothers who had two, three, four, five, six, seven…children and thought they were smoking something. Pushing the one baby out took a feat of monumental, non-human strength. And the reward for my effort? Sleepless nights.

I despised the early days. Truly despised them. I wanted to give the Mother Badge back.  I didn’t like it when my husband started calling me “Mommy” instead of “Preslaysa.” I told him to stop doing so, but he didn’t want the baby growing up calling me “Preslaysa.” I lost that one. I felt like my life was over: that my identity would forever be lost in being a “mother.”

And I felt guilty about that. Was it a sin to feel this way? Shouldn’t a mother feel joyful and so in love with their new baby right now?

My heart wasn’t so sure.

I can’t sleep because I worry all the time about everything.

-A new mom

Still the guilt plagued me. Did God look down from heaven at me and say: “Preslaysa, I mean, Mommy,  is breaking all the Christian Mother Rules. Too bad we can’t take the baby back, give him to another mother. We’ll just have to play this one out and hope for the best.”

But I do remember when I felt the first ember of love toward my son. It was in the middle of the night. Husband was sound asleep after giving him the 2 a.m. feeding, but the baby was screaming.

So, of course, dutiful new mom was up.

I went to his room and picked him up out of the crib. Then he stopped crying {of course}. Then we walked to our tiny kitchen and the moonlight filtered through the half-closed, white blinds and shone on his cherubic face. His liquid brown eyes looked up in awe at the moon.

I looked up in awe at him.

But before that moment, all I can remember was that my house was a wreck. And all I did was change diapers, feed a baby, rock a baby, dress a baby, hope {and pray} a baby would nap. And maybe try to find some inkling of time for me.

I wasn’t in love.

Second time around, things were a little easier {a little}, but they were still hard. Second time around, I worried if both children were treated the same way. I wanted to be the Democratic Mother. Read this post about my struggles to be an equal opportunity mother.

But I can’t live life making sure the scales are always balanced. Love is love. Plain and simple.

I know a lot of moms feel this way. After taking all those childbirth classes and reading all those books, you think you’d be excited about parenthood. When all you’re really trying to do is make it.

We know what that’s like.

The point of this letter is to let you know that I’ve been there. Many women have been there. And that it’ll get better. Much better.

And since you’ve heard a lot of advice already, a little more won’t hurt. A few tips:

*Go to bed. Don’t try to be superwoman. You brought forth a new life. That’s super enough.

*Messy house is fine too.

*If you don’t want to entertain visitors, don’t.

*You may get down. You may get depressed. I suffered from a deep, prolonged depression prior to becoming a mother. After becoming a mom, the stress of a newborn caused me to worry that I’d sink into another depression. That’s a normal feeling. If you feel that way, seek out help. Don’t hide behind a Happy Mother mask.

That’s all. {Giving you a hug now.}

What were the early days like for you? If you are going through those days now, how’s it going?

Cornerstone Confessions

Battling Mister Blank Screen

I hate staring at a blank screen.

I hate staring at all computer screens, blank or busy. The blank screen is far too bright. It leads me down the wide, destructive road of twisty internet searches in search of…nothing, and it keeps me up past my normal bedtime.

Blank screen

Photo Credit: channah

For my writer-mind, blank computer screens are the worst. Blank computer screens are the antithesis of natural writing. They are abysmal, glaring eyesores which constantly remind me of  my lack of creativity, my lack of ability, and my lack of all the other “—ivity” words which I can’t recall at the moment because this computer has me up past my normal bedtime.

What is my normal bedtime? I don’t even know. This crazy computer screen has scrambled my brain.

To battle these technological stupors, I often turn to my small notebook.

blank screen

Photo Credit: christgr

 

The pages in my small notebook are a gentle shade of tan, easy on the eyes and gentle on the mind. Ideas abound in my small notebook. Even the physical act of writing, pen to paper, quiets my scatty tendencies and centers me. Yet at times I still get stumped, and when I do, I engage in this series of writing prompts:

My Battle Plan Against Mister Blank Screen
  1. “I want to write a (story, article, scene) about….” (write about this for 5 minutes)
  2. “The topic that interests me the most is…” (write for 5 more minutes)
  3. “Ten points that I could cover in this (story, article, scene) are…” (write for 10 minutes)
  4. Take the most interesting point from number 3 and write on it for five minutes. Repeat for the second and third most interesting points for five minutes each.
  5. In this (scene, article) the central dramatic conflict/argument is…. (write for 5 minutes)
  6. In this (scene, article) the central dramatic conflict/argument is resolved when…. (write for 5 minutes)

After this, I usually have a something nice and messy and meaty written in my small notebook. Something which I can now type all over that annoying, blank computer screen.

So there you go Mister Blank Screen. This writer has beaten you once again.