What’s on your writing desk, Karen Wingate?

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I’m so pleased to introduce my readers to Karen Wingate. I got to meet Karen in person at ACFW Conference 2015, and we sat by one another during the awards banquet. She is the loveliest, sweetest soul. We were both in tears when fellow author, Kate Breslin, won the Carol! I fell in love with Karen that night, watching her rejoice with other authors. I knew in her I had a kindred spirit. But enough blathering, I’m sure you’re eager to meet her, too. So here we go.

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Karen claims to be “an ordinary woman who has watched a powerful God do awesome things.” She lives in the farmland of Western Illinois and is married to a minister. They live with a bossy Welsh Corgi and are parents to two “grown and gone awesome daughters who are using their God given gifts to make a difference in their corner of the world.”

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Karen loves “cooking, Corgis (did I already say that?), knitting, reading, history, reading about history, and of course, writing, especially writing about God’s place in history. I love to share how God does great things through ordinary people and I love connecting with my Christian sisters to hear how God is transforming their lives and using them to extend God’s grace to those around them.”

Since Karen is such a gifted writer, I’m going to let her tell you about her cozy writing space. Take it away, Karen!

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I love my writing room! Even though I’ve worked as a writer for nearly thirty years, I’ve had my own special room for only the last five years. Since my husband is a minister, we’ve lived in parsonages most of those years and I’ve been afraid to ask to decorate a room to fit my taste. I finally got the nerve and created my own space. One of our elders even did the painting for me! I’m glad I did. My room has become more than my office; it’s my own personal retreat where I feel calm, comfortable and quiet, a place where I can think big thoughts.

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I find the tan walls with lime green accents soothing and relaxing. So does my husband who often wanders into my room in the evening to sit on the bed and chat. I’ve hung two picture on the wall above my desk that remind me daily of my purpose. The larger picture depicts a scene I would like to write about some day. The Moravian missionary, David Zeisburger was called to share Christ with the Delaware Indians. My framed art tells the story of the first time he preached to a group. You can see his audience in various stages of accepting the Gospel message. The smaller picture was taken by a friend at a writer’s conference. That’s a sunrise, not a sunset and it reminds me to keep dreaming, and that God’s faithfulness is new every morning.

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On the opposite side, I have a day bed for guests or for when I want to stretch out and read. The knitted squares on the bed are part of the afghan throw I’m creating for the bed, another expression of my creativity.

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My old and faithful Welsh Corgi, Tuesday often sleeps by my side. She asks for walks less often now but I often stay at my desk longer than I intend because I don’t want to disturb her.

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As women’s ministry director at my local church, I oversee the programs of our Women’s Fellowship and facilitate two on-site and one online Bible study small groups. Right now, our network of groups include over 45 women. In addition to prepare bible study materials, I keep up with my blog at www.graceonparade.com and write articles for The Lookout. I’m currently working on a contemporary romantic suspense set in Southern Arizona and have dreams of writing several historical fiction novels set in Ohio, Kansas and Illinois, all places where we have lived and served in the ministry. Finally I’m waiting for the green light to write a book of adult bible study materials for a company that has previously produced my children’s curriculum.

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Regardless of the space you have as a writer, I encourage you to make it your own. It doesn’t take much—framed art, your personal color scheme or even something whimsical like a stuffed teddy bear or a Mrs. Potato Head like I have in my room. For years, I kept a figurine of a Norman Rockwell self-portrait that reminded me to look into myself and be who I really am in God’s eyes. Surround yourself with symbols that represent you, your faith and your passion.

Karla: Karen, I absolutely love your space. And I have wanted an office with a bed for years! I think it would be lovely to take a little nap to recharge right there in my writing space. I’ve even considered making a nest under my desk. Hee hee.

Everyone, be sure to connect with Karen online. She has the most lovely blog and was the winner of one of my January Brilliant Blog Award Picks!

Website: www.graceonparade.com

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/graceonparade/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwingate715

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 Tweet this: Author Karen Wingate shares her cozy office!

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 Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?

What’s on your writing desk, Janet Grunst?

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I’m so happy to introduce Janet Grunst to you for our writing desk feature!

Janet lives in Williamsburg, in Southeastern Virginia, part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown) which nurtures her love of history and her writing. She shares life there with Ken, her husband and Scotty, a very entertaining Westie.

When Janet’s not writing, she is probably reading, cooking, or working in her garden. She also enjoys serving in her church and participating in Community Bible Study, where she has served in leadership for the past thirty years.

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The porch is a perfect spot for reading and plotting her historical fiction stories. But the real work takes place in their family room where she spends hours researching and writing either for her stories or blog posts.

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“Ken and I, both serious introverts, have an ideal set up. I write upstairs at one end of the house, and he builds guitars in his workshop downstairs at the other end of the house. Both of us enjoy our solitary pursuits as well as our time together.”

Janet just signed a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas to publish the first story of her Revolutionary War trilogy! Congratulations, Janet!

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She is represented by Linda Glaz at the Hartline Literary Agency.

You can find Janet online here:

http://JanetGrunst.com

https://www.facebook.com/janet.grunst

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/

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Tweet this: Check out Janet’s writing nest!

Where in the world do you write-

Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?

In which I reflect…

I made this video immediately after our Valentine’s Day party at the church.

As a pastor’s wife of a small, rural church, many duties fall to me. One of the pleasures I have is organizing and hostessing all the social events.

What do you enjoy about social events at your church? I need fresh ideas! Let me know in the comments below!

[Tweet “What did you do on Valentine’s Day?”]

And in case you missed it, here’s the Monday Missions segment on Sparrow Song Radio, too:

What’s on your writing desk, Pamela S. Thibodeaux?

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Today we are graced with the presence of award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux, Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Pamela is multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction. Her writing is tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

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Karla: Pamela, I love your last name. It’s an old, southern, French name with so much history. I used it for one of my characters in my book, O Canada! Her Story  in the chapter about Acadia.  Thanks for sharing your story with us today. I’m eager to hear all about your writing space. Grab a cuppa readers, and I’ll let Pamela take it from here.

Pamela: Once upon a time I lived in a three bedroom house, one of which I turned into an office complete with bookshelves that hosted my books (those I wrote and those in my Read/TBR piles) and awards, wall shelves for pictures of loved ones, closet space for storage, treadmill (to stave off stiffness from sitting at the desk so long) and other things necessary for an aspiring/published author to work comfortably.

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That all changed in 2010 when I rented out my home and began travelling back and forth to Bandera, Texas. From then until now, I’ve lived and worked in a bedroom in someone else’s house.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not comfortable or don’t get anything accomplished!

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As a human being on a quest to discover new depths of spirituality I enjoy studying and learning techniques used by people for thousands of years…mediation and mantras, affirmations and journaling, energy and efficiency…So it was a lot of fun to arrange my current living/work space is in the newly refurbished room in the home I grew up in based on Feng Shui principles I gleaned from my good friend Jillian Lambert.

My desk is centered on the right wall of the room which is the “creative” area. Since I wanted to–well create–an area conducive to creativity I framed several inspirational pictures and quotes and placed it above the desk.

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On top I placed more inspiration (cups, a painting my granddaughter did and plaques).

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In the cubbyholes are prayers to St Francis deSales (patron Saint of writers & journalists), Archangel Gabriel (messenger of God) and Archangel Michael (for life’s purpose). I also have laminated scriptures that were sent to me from my friends at Seekerville and mini-vision boards expressing dreams, desires and goals for my writing career

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Last but certainly not least, a cross (a wall isn’t complete without one!) The end result is an entire field of creative inspiration and energy.

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Now, as much fun as this was and regardless of what I or anyone else believes about the validity of Feng Shui, I know and understand that God is the author of (and in charge of my) success so please don’t think I put more faith into this space/practice than I do Him!

All I know is I love the way my work area looks and feels. In fact, I love the way this entire room looks and feels.

And feeling good is important when you spend as much time in a single room as I do.

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Tweet this: Check out @psthib ‘s writing lair!

Karla: Pam, thanks so very much for sharing your lovely space with us! You’ve inspired me to post my goals where I can see them. What a great idea! And that you’ve made it a comfortable, peaceful retreat for yourself — it’s no wonder you get so much accomplished! Where can my readers find you?

Pam: Here are all the places you can find me on the web:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

 Be sure to check out Pam’s latest release:

Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

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Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?

Introducing Sparrow Song Radio

I’m so excited to introduce you to my new YouTube channel called Sparrow Song Radio. I’m on a learning curve in terms of polished production, but here are the first three episodes:




If you’d like to be a guest on my show, let me know! I’m lining up my programs and have some really fascinating guests coming up. It’s a great way to promote your book or ministry. Join me in this happy new journey! Please subscribe and pass the word!

If you know of someone I should interview, pass that info along, too. This is going to be a blast!

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Please tweet this: Be a guest on Sparrow Song Radio!

 

What’s on your writing desk, Cynthia T. Toney?

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Today’s writing space is brought to us by former advertising designer, marketing director and interior decorator, Cynthia T. Toney. She has a BA in art education with a minor in history. She knew she was a writer when she got in trouble for rewriting ad copy without permission at a large daily newspaper she worked for. (I love it!)

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Cynthia T. Toney

When she’s not cooking Cajun or Italian  food (yum!), Cynthia writes historical and contemporary teen fiction containing elements of mystery and romance. The first edition of her debut novel, Bird Face, won a 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Bronze, in the Pre-teen Mature Issues category!

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With a new publisher for an entire Bird Face series, the original story is now Book One and titled 8 Notes to a Nobody. Book Two is 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status. Look for more books in the series in the near future from Write Integrity Press.

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Let’s find out where Cynthia creates these award-winning books!

Karla: Cynthia, I’m so excited to have you on my blog today. Tell us all about your writing nest.

Cynthia: My current workspace was meant to be temporary when my husband and I moved 500 miles from Mississippi to Texas in April, but I’ve become quite comfortable in what will soon become the guest room. So one photo shows a space in use, while the other shows a space I’m designing in the designated office/study of the house. It looks so fresh and clean, I hate to move the computer and other stuff in there.

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Karla: Oooo, I love that curved desk. The carpet is lovely, too. I’m a snacker when I write (unfortunately). Do you have anything nearby when you’re creating?

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Cynthia: I like to keep the following close at hand on or near my desk:

  • A colorful napkin for use when snacking. I’ll eat almost anything at my desk, but today I tried to be good and ate baby carrots.
  • Brain supplements. A bottle of DMAE sits there now.
  • Handwritten notes to myself.
  • Tissues. Not just for crying.
  • A cushion for the tushie.
  • A novel by an author I admire.
  • My paper files, although poorly arranged. I would’ve made a terrible secretary.
  • A dog or two or three, although they made themselves scarce when I started taking photographs.
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All moved in!

Karla: Oh, I can totally relate to baby carrots, DMAE (I take other brain supplements but they are near me at all times!) and furry editors. Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

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Cynthia: I love rescued animal-shelter dogs and the friendly South from Georgia to Texas, I love  connecting with readers online and hope to hear from them.

Karla: I knew we were kindred spirits! I have furry rescue babies at my house, too! They’re the best kind.

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Tweet this: Check out @CynthiaTToney ‘s writing lair!

 

Karla: Dear Readers, please connect with Cynthia in the following ways. She’ll be thrilled:

Website:  http://www.cynthiattoney.com

Blog:  http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7872181.Cynthia_T_Toney

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=79780768&trk=spm_pic

Twitter:  @CynthiaTToney

Where in the world do you write-

Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?

January’s Brilliant Blog Winners!

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As you may know if you read any of my posts last week, I’ve launched a new contest this year. I’m recognizing outstanding blogs. Blogs that catch my eye. Blogs that I love.

In choosing blogs for this award, I follow the rubric below. Now, keep in mind, anytime there’s a contest that pits one thing against the other, a judge’s opinion is extremely subjective. Also, as this is my first time doing this type of thing, this rubric is subject to change. As I learn more about what works and what doesn’t in creating a great blog, and as I scrutinize blogs more carefully this year, I’m certain to figure out other important or not-so-important elements.

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But I also go with a gut reaction when I’m at the blog site. If there’s a quick intake of air, if I feel that my time has been well-spent, if I feel butterflies — chances are it’s a blog that even lines up with the rubric I’ve created.

By the way, I’m not comparing blogs with over 1000 subscribers to blogs under 1000 subscribers. All blogs are considered in this contest as separate entities apart from their popularity. I don’t choose a blog simply because it’s more popular. There are a lot of popular blogs I don’t read or don’t like. I choose them for how they appeal to me or meet my needs as a Christian writer.

Now. On to the awards! Drum roll please!

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My first pick is in the Secular Travel Blog category. I’ve chosen Camels and Chocolate by Kristen Luna. I’ve followed Kristen for quite a few years now. But when she gave her blog and website a makeover, I was mesmerized. There’s really nothing I don’t like about this blog. Copious pictures. An engaging writing style. Useful information. Not to mention the aesthetics of this blog are second to none. Congratulations, Kristen! Giving you this award is a no-brainer. Readers, if you want to know how to do a blog in an engaging way, study this one!

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Food category — The Miss Nini Blog.  Full disclosure: “Miss Nini” is a friend of mine from way back when I lived in Iowa. But we haven’t seen one another in person for more than 20 years! And we just recently (about a year ago) got back in touch via Facebook. She and her husband, a very successful sheep farmer, attended our little storefront church in Anita, Iowa years ago. And now she’s a famous baker! She’s won tons of awards at the Iowa State Fair, been a contestant on Shark Tank, and got her picture in the New York Times.

But that’s not why I love her blog. First, who doesn’t love baked goods, right? But I also love Miss Nini’s writing style. You have no idea how thrilled I was to learn she is writing a book now.  Her turns of phrase are as delicious as your kitchen concoctions, I assure you.

My next two picks are in the Christian writing category. These go to:

Zoe M. McCarthy and Karen Wingate’s, Grace on Parade Blog

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I have fallen in love with Zoe M. McCarthy’s writing advice. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it’s worthy of my time and the posts are usually moderate in length. I get a lot of info without spending a lot of time. Several of her posts I’ve bookmarked. The information is so worthy. I never delete a post that shows up in my mailbox.

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Karen Wingate’s blog, Grace on Parade, contains rich content. And I absolutely love the daisies! Her web design is lovely. But it’s the content that’s impressive. Each post is well-thought-out. Each post conveys a message. I like that.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, what are your favorite blogs so far this year? Weigh in!

And congratulations to January’s winners! Write on, ladies! I’ll be in touch with the secret code for posting the button to your blog (if I haven’t given it to you before now).

What do our winners get? Winners get to display the Brilliant Blog Button on their website. Readers can click on the button to vote for them for Blog of the Year. Fun, right?

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Tweet this: January’s Brilliant Blog Awards announced!

Do you have an award-worthy blog or know of one? Let me know in the comments below. And take time to congratulate January’s winners!