Archive for February, 2015
I’d like to give a big welcome to T.I. LOWE to my blog.
rem: Thank you for joining us today, T.I. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
T.I. I’m a country gal from a little farm town in South Carolina- born and raised. I ventured out to Tennessee for college, but home called me to get back there after. My nosy neighbors are goats, chickens, and a few ponies.
rem: I’m not a native (born in Mississippi) and 16 years in Colorado, but after 26 years in SC, it’s my home too! So, at what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
T.I. I’ve loved reading and creating stories all the way back to my middle school years. I used to keep a spiral bound notebook for scribbling down my stories. I was hooked on the Sweet Valley High books back then.
rem: I remember Sweet Valley High stories! Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
T.I. I love the whimsical magic Sarah Addison Allen creates in her stories. I enjoy Janet Evanovich’s crazy whirlwind mysteries of Stephanie Plum. I feel inspired after reading the good ole boys Charles Martin creates in his books. I appreciate and can get lost in the Bronte worlds. I aspire to reach readers the way Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers accomplish. Really, I could write a book on all the authors I adore. I’m an avid reader.
rem: I’m always hard pressed to choose one single favorite author – or book – or song… LOL Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
T.I. I daydream a lot and the stories come to life there. Hot topics intrigue me. I see domestic abuse victims, rape victims, people battling substance abuse problems and I image the effects on their lives from these serious issues. My stories are born in the midst of this.
rem: Pretty much the same for me – storied “come” to me in random moments. What is your Writing Routine?
T.I. My routine is having no routine. When a story begins nagging me, I have to let it free—middle of the night or in the midst of some chaos.
rem: Seems us SC gals have a lot in common! What are your Top Writing Tips?
T.I. Write what inspires you and not try to write what you think will please others. Your words are a very personal expression. Let them out and don’t tiptoe due to the critics.
rem: Great Tips! Very true words indeed! Tell us a little about your writing journey.
T.I. I’ve always wrote, either poems, church plays, school paper. But I never gave the dream a true chance until the last few years. I wrote my first novel as a creative outlet during my mom’s battle with cancer. She made me promise to share it with the world. Unfortunately she passed away before I fulfilled the promise. Four months after she died, I kept that promise.
rem: So sorry about your mom. I know she’s pleased and honored that you kept your promise. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
T.I. I love seeing a story unfold. And get absolutely giddy when in the midst, the story rebels and changes. I love that creative release! And of course the fans are awesome and so supportive. I’ve gained an abundance of new friends nationwide in the past year.
rem: What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
T.I. The critics. People seem to enjoy being particularly nasty. I’ve learned quickly to not take those personally. I do appreciate constructive criticism and feel it’s helping me mature in my writing.
rem: Constructive criticism can be a mixed bag, but you are so right; when we keep it in perspective it is a positive force that helps us more than not. In Lulu’s Café, you write about extreme abuse. What piqued your interest in this tough topic?
T.I. I observed some women very dear to my heart struggle to free themselves from abusive relationships. I didn’t understand because I have been blessed with a gentle loving man, but I wanted to. So this story was born with me trying to understand as well as giving them hope and strength to seek out a better life.
rem: It is horrific indeed, and I know even if in some small way, your stories help by shedding light on the issue. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?
T.I. Who wouldn’t want to be married to the sexiest most kindhearted Rock Star, Dillon Bleu from Goodbyes and Second Chances?!?! I would be totally fine being Jillian Bleu!
rem: Haven’t met him yet! But he’s on my TBR list for sure! LOL Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
T.I. Lulu, hands down. She rocks! That lady is the lady I want to become—strong in faith, wisdom beyond measure, and giving heart.
rem: Dynamite in small packages, right? Tell us a little about your latest book?
T.I. My latest book is Goodbyes and Second Chances. This book I wanted to explore the topic of self-worth. Society seems to think that is measure with thick wallets and social titles. But it’s not. It’s measured by your heart! Dillon Bleu gets that and needs to show the love of his life, Jillian, that point as they try to give their relationship and second chance.
rem: As many years as I’ve struggled with my own self-worth, I can testify to that! What is your next project?
T.I. My next book to be released is Coming Home Again. It is the first book in a series I’ve written. Three books are complete so far and are awaiting patiently for their turn in the edit chair. I’m so excited to share these, but am practicing patience. I am currently journaling three other book ideas-developing the characters and such.
rem: Ah, yes, that virtue patience! I look forward to this next set of stories. I’m sure they will be just as powerful as Lulu’s! One last question: what does “T.I.” stand for? Inquiring mind – mine! – wants to know!
T.I. Those are my initials. T – Tonya and I – Inez. J
rem: Beautiful name! T.I, thank you so much for joining us today! It has been my pleasure to have you here!
“I’m just an ole country girl from the boonies of coastal South Carolina.”
Ms. Lowe attended Coastal Carolina University and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Majored in Psychology but only excelled in my Creative Writing Classes. Go figure!
She is the bestselling author of Lulu’s Cafe and Goodbyes and Second Chances,
and is currently completing my series – Coming Home Again:
- Coming Home Again
- Julia’s Journey
- A Discovery of Hope
Ms. Lowe focuses on southern women’s fiction. She feels led to broach some serious issues that plague us all, but in an entertaining and readable way.
She is a member of the ACFW. http://www.acfw.com/
You can find her at
“I am running with patience the race set before me, looking to Jesus, my author, and finisher of my faith.”
#tilowe, #SCcountrygal, #luluscafe, #goodbyesandsecondchances, #cominghomeagain
According to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vigil
vigil – noun vig·il \ˈvi-jəl\
- a – a watch formerly kept on the night before a religious feast with prayer or other devotions; b – the day before a religious feast observed as a day of spiritual preparation; c – evening or nocturnal devotions or prayers
- the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary; also: a period of waekfulness
- an act or period of watching or surveillance: watch <kept vigil at her bedside>
Some vows should never be made. Some should never have to be made. When Cheryl Broussard broke her second cardinal vow, she had no choice but to break the first: fleeing the abusive relationship, she returns to her hometown of Bijou Bayou.
The twists and turns in this story are as swirling as the bayou they are written upon. Unexpected eddies and swirls keep the reader turning page after page after page.
As Cheryl strives to attain some degree of normalcy and balance in her life, life continues to throw her off balance. She secures a position as a Hospice nurse, and her cantankerous– and lonely – dying patient has her read old love letters. As she reads, Cheryl learns of a secret long kept, long hidden and finds herself riddled with the mystery of her client’s secret.
As Cheryl reads the secret in those letters, she also runs headlong into skeletons in her own family closet. Faced with the knowledge that her past was built on a lie, she is forced to embrace the uncomfortable truth. As her family seems to crumble apart, Cheryl is forced to embrace a new future and face the God she abandoned years ago.
Ms. Merritt weaves a colorful tapestry with story threads that criss-cross on every page. An unexpected pattern of vibrant colors, Vigil keeps watch for questions answered, mysteries solved, and a past as knotted as Spanish moss to be unraveled. As the clock ticks for Cheryl’s patient, so too, does she keep vigil over family members – the lies of the past unraveling and a heartbreaking calamity.
Will Cheryl take up the tapestry that is her life? Will she unravel the snarls and knots that lie in her heart? Can she embrace the colorful pattern God has for her life?
The substance of Ms. Merritt’s characters, the genuineness of their personalities and their life circumstances made them easy to know and to read. I sympathized with Cheryl’s struggles [indeed, I could identify with some of it.] My heart broke with her, I laughed with her and I cried with her. I appreciate the writing style of Ms. Merritt; it makes the reading a pleasure and I look forward to reading all of this author’s works.
I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her tagline, Where the Bayous Meets the Mountains, grew from both loves. She is the author of, Deep Freeze Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Southern Fried Christmas.
Her latest release, a Women’s Fiction novel, The Vigil, can be purchased at online retailers.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle.
Connect with her through:
#marianpellegrinmerritt, #thevigil, #Louisianabayou, #brokenvows, #loveletters
Generously sprinkled with personal anecdotes and Insights as well as Scriptures, 10 ½ Sketches is delightful and entertaining. Ms. Harris’ writing style is sharp and witty. From “How Not to Kidnap a Cat” to “A Word to the Wise” from “Moving that Dream” to “Promote Yourself” I was entertained with her stories.
As a cat fancier myself, Chapter 1 in particular appealed to me. Never having lived on a farm, however, I learned a few things about my favored felines.
Ms. Harris takes these real-life scenarios and in true parable form, finds truths buried in them. Nuggets of eternity and of our spiritual walk buried right there in ordinary everyday situations and circumstances. She makes her readers laugh at foibles any of us could fall into, and moves us with the depth of the point she is making in any of her tales.
My favorite of her sketches has to be her final one. The part toward the end about the Canadian penny, the confluence of events that led to writing her story. It’s the culmination of her previous Insight, “A dream in the mind is intangible. Steps must be taken for it to become a physical representation. Setting goals and acting on them make a dream come alive.” Or as Scripture says it, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5 and “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.
Seems that’s what Ms. Harris’ intent is in all her sketches. To illustrate and demonstrate the plans of the LORD. Right where we are.
I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.
Susan Harris is a dreamer, speaker, and educator. She is a former teacher and transferred those skills from the classroom into organizations. Now she continues to inspire and educate through the medium of formal writing. Creating memories, preserving the past, and learning new things have been her lifelong passions, and her prolific and childlike imagination brings freshness to mundane topics. Susan’s first book is Golden Apples in Silver Settings: Words that have inspired audiences in snowy and sunny lands. Shortly after, her words captured the journey of the retired Canadian penny in two books: Little Copper Pennies: Celebrating the life of the Canadian one-cent piece (1858-2013) and Little Copper Pennies for Kids (both published by Borealis Press.) In her most recent book, Remarkably Ordinary: 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are, she challenges the notion that a person needs bright lights or golden spoons to live more productively. Susan obtained her Bachelor of Science in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies and went on to complete a post-graduate Diploma in Education. She earned a Certificate in Theology from the West Indies School of Theology, and a Certificate in Writing from the Institute of Literature in Connecticut. She held the designation of Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) in Canada during 2008-2014 and continues to live by its ethics. Born and raised on the beautiful island of Trinidad, she now makes her home on the prairies of Saskatchewan with her husband, daughter, and the gregarious cats.
Contact Susan Harris at http://susanharris.ca
Find Susan on Facebook at https:facebook.com/SusanHarrisCanadianAuthor
Follow Susan on Twitter @SusanHarris20
#susanharris, #tenandahalfsketches, #hownottokidnapacat, #promoteyourself
A few weeks ago I was reading another blog [incidentally written by another robin] and she listed things in her life she is thankful for. Now, the way my brain works, I immediately was challenged to do the same. And the way my [ahem] discipline works, I did not immediately follow through.
Give thanks with a grateful heart, He tells us. And a merry, and are I say, thankful heart, doeth good like a medicine! I know, I’ve taken a dose or two. Giving thanks places our focus on Him, rather than on ourselves, or even what we are thankful for. And when we keep Him in mind, we can hear His voice, we are sensitive to His nudge and direction. We feel His embrace. And maybe that’s the greatest thankful of all, His presence.
Here, for your benefit – ‘cause I have the benefit of these blessings every day – is my list:
A – Amethyst; also Art
B – Bible, and Boldness
C – Cinnamon! and of course, Chocolate!
D – Devotional time with Father
E – Epiphany Revelations
F – Family and Friends; Faith
G – Grandgirls
H – Home
I – Identity (see Epiphany); also Irises
J – Journey (see Identity
K – Kitty Cats
L – Learning and Laughter
M – Music
N – New beginnings
O – Opportunities, God given = Divine favor
P – Purple! also [we are a] Peculiar People; also Piano
Q – Queen Anne’s Lace [special time and place]
R – robin birds of course!
S – Scripture! also Symphony
T – Trees; and Trivia – factoids that may or may not be useless except in context of my story!
U – Unsung heroes
V – Victory
W – Writing and Words
X – eXamples of Godly character
Y – YES and AMEN
Z – Zoe – life
Also, I did not find an image to convey Zoe Life so I went with some whimsy – a zebra!
Now, what is your Alphabet of Thanks? Leave a comment and let us know!
#givethanks, #Godisgood, #whatsonyourlist, #alphabetofthanks, #merryheart, #thankfulheart
UNCHARTED REDEMPTION by KEELY BROOKE KEITH
The Land is still primitive and simple, its people still content. And they still live minimal lives by the standards of the 21st century. But it’s not the 21st century, the year is 2025. And The Land is still isolated from the world, and its turmoil that swirls around them. No one had left The Land since the ancestors arrived there seven generations ago. Nor had anyone else discovered the island.
Two years have passed since the first installment in this series which introduces us to The Land Uncharted. Ejected from his aircraft during a military assignment gone bad, Lieutenant Connor Bradshaw has settled into life in this hidden land, and married. Now, the reader visits the story of Levi Colburn.
Levi’s life is shaped – and tormented – by two wrenching life events: the brutal death of his mother when he was a lad, and later, the rejection of the woman he loves. He can neither embrace his father – for not protecting his mother – nor Mandy Foster for spurning his love for her, not even in friendship.
Events collide when the unthinkable happens to Mandy. Levi, despite her seeming indifference to him, is driven to rescue her. And discovers some things along the way.
Keely Brooke Keith has once again woven elements together into a gripping tale. Mandy carries a secret that drives her every action – including her rejection of Levi – and is resigned to live her life without her dream. Ms. Keith builds up Levi’s every justification in feeling as he does – then breaks them down, eroding his reasons away til they crumble. Evil threatens the town of Good Springs in this story, and Ms. Keith’s characters rise to the defense and protection of their way of life.
Once again a delightful read. I was eager to check back on the Colburn family. Uncharted Redemption pulled me easily in to the story line as I identified with Mandy, and also with Levi. Ms. Keith has maintained the standard set with The Land Uncharted, and I expect nothing less with the third in this series.
#keelybrookekeith, #unchartedredemption, #theunchartedseries, #thelanduncharted, #unchartedinheritance