Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful for Great Books Blog Hop & EBook Releasea

Hi Regular Readers and Newcomers!

Welcome to Day 2 of The Thanks for Great Books Blog Hop.  I hope you are enjoying learning about all the other authors participating in the event. Here's some background on A Shepherd's Song.

I began to write it in 1996, and I had originally entitled it The Good Shepherd, but don't you know it, they made a movie called that while I was in the process of publishing it.  Darn you, Brad Pitt for stealing my title!

I considered calling it The Bad Shepherd, but I was afraid people might think it was like Bad Santa. 

I was inspired to write this book in response to the Tickle Me Elmo craze that swept the nation in 1996 when the toy debuted.  My niece Leah was only a six-months-old baby then, and she received one for Hanukkah, which fell a number of weeks earlier than Christmas that year.  As Tickle Me Elmo mania broke out in the country, many people urged my sister to sell Leah's Tickle Me Elmo for a ton of money.  The toy retailed for $28.99, but people were selling them for up to $1,500 a toy.  My sister didn't sell Leah's Elmo, but while people were assaulting each other trying to acquire the toy, I started to think about what kind of a person would "scalp" toys?

That's when Tom Shepherd came alive in my mind. The book is written from his perspective, that of a 22-year-old, disaffected young man who doesn't know the true meaning of Christmas.  When I read the first few chapters in my creative writing class, everyone liked them, but the young guys in the group all agreed that Tom needed to think about sex more often to be more realistic! So I had to learn to think like a guy! Why I felt compelled to write from the perspective of a young guy, I'll never know, but I'm thinking maybe therapy is in order.

Tom is my Ebenezer Scrooge.  I hope you will enjoy his journey as heals from his past and finally comes to know the joy of Christmas.

This book is also an allegory.  Does anybody remember from your English Literature class what that is?  Can you name any other allegories that you have read?

Don't forget to enter the raffle to the right and to check out the other authors participating in the blog hop. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanks for Great Books Blog Hop


Hi Regular Readers and First Time Visitors,

Welcome.  I'm glad you found your way to my site.  I'm participating in the Beach Book Blast taking place on Nov. 25-26 Thanks for Great Books Blog Hop and Fall Ebook Release Event! Nine authors are showcasing our new books at the Beach Book Blast website and at our sister site at the RG2E. My new Christmas novel, A Shepherd's Song is featured.  We've got something for everyone—from romantic suspense, to a sweet holiday romance, to a YA Dystopian and a few mysteries. 

To make the event even more fun, we’ve added prizes (a larger one at the Beach Book Blast site and smaller ones at some of the authors’ sites) and a blog hop where readers can connect to their favorite authors and learn what great books, characters, or authors have inspired them.

More About A Shepherd's Song



Tom Shepherd is anything but a hero.  A senior physics major at Three Rivers University in Pittsburgh, he just wants to make some easy cash for a trip during the coming spring break. On the last Sunday in November, he arrives at Holy Redeemer church in Perrysville to sell the Christmas season’s hottest toy, So Big Sammy, for three times its retail price to a buyer, but a snafu lands him in the middle of a bone marrow drive benefiting four-year-old Christo Davidson, who has leukemia.  When everyone there—including the media covering the event—assumes that Tom has come to give the toy to the sick boy, Tom has no choice but to give it away. 

Lauded by the media as a hero and bestowed with the nickname "The Good Shepherd," Tom finds himself an overnight celebrity.  As a toy scalper and liar, he knows he’s unworthy of the honor, but when Gloria Davidson, a fellow student and Christo’s relative, seeks out Tom to thank him for being kind so kind to her little cousin, Tom, bewitched by her beauty, embellishes his character and lies to further impress Gloria.  Tom asks Gloria out, beginning a relationship that will lead him to examine everything he believes. 

On Christmas Eve, Tom finds himself facing choices that will affect not only himself but also Gloria and Christo.  Tom must choose between sacrifice and honor, love and loneliness, life and death. 
 
Enter the Raffle

I'm so thankful to all of you who have read St. Anne's Day and have already started to read A Shepherd's Song, I wanted to show my appreciation.  Since this time of year can be stressful, particularly for women, with all the cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, etc., I wanted to help you to find a way to relax.  I like to relax with a good book, and I also find the scents of the holiday season put me in a good mood.  Therefore, I'm raffling a $15 gift certificate to Bath & Body Works.  Maybe you will find time to sit by the Christmas tree with A Shepherd's Song, enjoying a twisted peppermint candle or maybe you will be able to read it in a warm vanilla sugar bubble bath.   One can hope! Be sure to enter the raffle at the right.

Buy A Shepherd's Song


Be Sure to Visit the Other Sites of those Participating


Click here to visit the Beach Book Blast website to enter the drawing for the $25 and $10 Olive Garden gift certificates, or click below to visit another Beach Blast author's blog.


Fabio Bueno @ http://www.fabiobueno.com
Debra Burroughs @ http://www.DebraBurroughsBooks.com
L.C. Giroux @ http://www.lcgiroux.com/thoughts
Stacy Green @ http://stacygreenauthor.com/
Stacey Joy Netzel @ http://staceyjoynetzel.blogspot.com/2012/11/thanks-for-great-books-blog-hopfall.html
PJ Sharon @ http://www.pjsharonyawriter.blogspot.com
Lily Silver @ http://romancinghistorylove.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Discipline of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I just read a great blog post for Thanksgiving by Jeff Goins.  Click here to read it, but one of the points he makes that I liked best is that gratitude is a discipline.  I'd never thought of it that way.  That got me to thinking--which can be very dangerous.

Being grateful isn't inherent to humans.  You will know this if you've every raised children.  How many times as a parent have you repeated these words to your small child:  "What do you say?"  Then you wait for the "Thank you."

Gratitude was a discipline when you were a child, and it remains one as we grow older.  To attain the higher things in life requires discipline.  You don't remain fit without the discipline to eat properly and workout (I should know).  You don't remain solvent without the fiscal discipline to resist buying every item that catches your eye.  You don't remain employed without the discipline to work hard and meet deadlines.  You don't achieve your writing dreams without the discipline to glue your bum to a chair and pound out words.  The examples go on and on.  

Clearly discipline leads to greater rewards.  When we practice the discipline of gratitude, what is the reward?  Besides making you and others feel better, it changes your perspective from one of lack to abundance.  All the self-help books tell you that you have to think it before you can see it.  Having an appreciative attitude is a creative mindset and opens the world to you.  It's small pain in the beginning for large gain later. 

This year I had the privilege to visit Plymouth, Massachusetts, when my daughter ran the Boston Marathon.  Below are a few pictures.  





When I first saw the replica of the Mayflower there, I couldn't believe how many people had been crammed in it and how treacherous it must have been to cross the vast ocean in that tiny ship. In early April, Plymouth looked very barren.  I can't imagine how inhospitable this stretch of coastline must have seemed to those Pilgrims who landed there.  

But instead of bemoaning their puny boat, rugged landscape, and how much work and uncertainty they faced in this new home--including death--they set aside time to be grateful to God that they had arrived safely, were free, and had survived well enough to harvest food for a feast.  

Their humble discipline of gratitude has opened the world to us.  May their discipline of gratitude be a shining example to us all and continue to open this great nation and it's people to even more blessings.  

Now to get that 23 pound bird into the oven!  

Happy Thanksgiving!
























 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm up at TheWriteChris Blog

TheWriteChris blog is featuring St. Anne's Day today.  Click here to read about my writing path. 

 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday



Hi Readers:
It's been busy around here.  Last Saturday, I attended St. Teresa's craft show.  St. T's is my home parish, and it was great to meet so many people who stopped by to learn about my novel St.Anne's Day and my soon-to-be released Christmas romance, A Shepherd's Song, which will be released on November 23--in time to get you into the holiday spirit.   Keep monitoring this site for more information and be sure you are signed up for my newsletter so I can notify you of the events (think fun and prizes!) associated with the novel's release.  
St. Anne's Day is selling well and gathering great reviews.  To my delight, I just discovered some great reviews of it on Goodreads.  Here is a snippet to satisfy your St. Anne's Day Sunday craving.  It is the scene after Peg's birthday when she is giving Anne one of the gifts she received that she doesn't like.  In addition to not liking the present, Peg does not like the idea of Anne considering marriage to her old friend Dr. Craig Love because she thinks Anne is the girl for her son.  Here is a scene of passive-aggressiveness if I've ever one seen one.     Rather than stating her true feelings, Peg makes her point wrapped in concern for Anne.  Enjoy!

Peg tossed it to her.  Put it in your hope chest.  Save it for your honeymoon with Craig, dear.  That is if you get to take one.  You know those doctors are never home, and I understand they have a very high divorce rate.  That’s something you should consider before you marry him.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

St. Anne's Day Picks Up Atypical Fans

Hi Readers:

I had a great time at St. Teresa's Craft Show on Saturday.  I sold quite a few books and enjoyed meeting so many of you. I also picked up a great pair of Christmas earrings.

My neighbor at the next table was an artist named JoAnn Diegelmann who works in a new medium (at least, it was new to me) called giclee.  As I understand it, she takes digital photos then prints them out very lightly and then paints the images in acrylics.  They were very lovely, and I can't wait to do an article on her and her work. 

However, the best part of the day came from the woman from whom my husband and I rented an apartment when we were first married 30 years ago.  She dropped by my table and told me that she already has St. Anne's Day, and plans to read it as soon as her husband is finished with it!  She said he's loving it.  I had to laugh; a 70ish man is not my target reading market, but she said he comes every day and reports on the book, saying things like "You'll never believe what Peg said," or "Oh wow, Gerry cut his hand." 

I think that's hysterically funny, and I'm very flattered.

Northern Connection, the magazine I edit and where quite a bit of my writing appears has a new format making it much easier to read online.  It is now easier to read my articles too.  Here is a link to my article this month on moving kids and cars.

Hope you enjoy it!