25Aug

Love and Cowboys: An Interview with Author Gloria Doty

Posted by in Author Interviews, Authors, autism, Beginning writers, book reviews, books, Gloria Doty, Karla Akins, Romance, Romance, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

If you’re into cowboys and romance, you’re going to love Gloria Doty and her new romance novels! What’s not to like about a title and cover like this? Bring a cowboy home? Don’t mind if I do… I fell in love with the book as soon as I saw it. And I pretty much fell in love with Gloria that way, too. She is a jewel. A people person and mother of a live-in adult daughter with autism, Gloria is a fascinating human being. She has a magnetic personality and we clicked immediately. Besides being an all-around great gal, her grit and work ethic are traits I highly admire. Her newest book is a winner, too: Below is an interview I did with Gloria. What a lovely woman and what a great author! You’re going to love her and her books! Tweet this: Bring a Cowboy Home! Why...

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23Aug

What’s on your writing desk, Amy Clipston?

Posted by in Amy Clipston, Karla Akins, Spunk & Sass, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Amy about how she writes Amish Fiction. You can view that interview here.  This week, Amy’s sharing her writing space with us. Take it away, Amy! Amy: While most writers have a dedicated office space, you can find me tapping the keys of my MacBook while lounging on a love seat in my family room. I have a favorite corner where I sit and write with earbuds blasting music into my ears and drowning out my noisy family. When I published my first book, I needed complete quiet to write. I would barricade myself in my bedroom and warn my family to be quiet if they were brave enough to venture upstairs. Now, however, I’m most prolific if I work in the family room with only earbuds blocking out the chaos in my house. Usually at least two of my three cats come to visit me or nap on a nearby sofa. I refer to the members of my feline herd as my editors, and you can find numerous photos of them on Instagram site. My mom also keeps me company while I work. She sits on the sofa across from me and reads novels while I work. I appreciate her company and sometimes bounce book ideas around with her if I develop a case of writer’s block. I normally have a cup of tea on the end table beside me, and I sip it while I work. If you don’t see a cup of tea, you’ll probably find a cold can of Diet Coke in its place.     Since I work a full-time job along with writing books, I have to squeeze in my writing time as much as possible. I don’t have a set schedule of when I write, but if I’m on deadline, I write late into the evenings on weekdays and then continuously throughout the weekend. I write Amish inspirational novels and novellas for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. The Courtship Basket, which is the second book in my Amish Heirloom series, will hit bookstores June 28. In The Courtship Basket, Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Rachel is determined to keep her mind off the pain, and she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities. Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal. With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship. The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope...

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18Aug

Interview with author Amy Clipston

Posted by in Amy Clipston, Amy Clipston, Author Interviews, Authors, books, Uncategorized | 0 comments

You are going to love this interview with best-selling author of Amish fiction, Amy Clipston! I fell in love with Amy’s work after reading her non-fiction biography, The Gift of Love about her husband’s journey with kidney disease. I loved that book, and you can read about it and view an interview about it here. She has several new Amish books out. I don’t know how she does it, but she keeps churning them out! Amy’s Amish series include the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series. Her books have achieved the Christian Fiction bestseller lists, including the CBA (Christian Book Association) bestseller list and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) bestseller list. Get your cuppa ready and settle in for a fascinating interview with Amy! (Leave a comment below and you will be entered in a drawing for a book from Amy! She’s giving away three of them! Yay!) Tweet this: How does she work full-time and churn out...

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16Aug

July’s Brilliant Blog Award Winner

Posted by in Blog Awards, Blogging, Blogs, Brilliant Blog Award, Karla Akins, Uncategorized, writing | 1 comment

I’m super happy and excited to announce July’s winner for the Brilliant Blog Award because I’ve been wanting to give this blog an award for a long time. I wish I had something funny and witty to say about it because its author, Tom Threadgill is about the most comedic blogger I know. The thing I like about Tom’s blog, Wits’ End, is the dry humor and quick wit. Even though Tom writes suspense novels, I’ve been begging him to write a humorous novel. In fact, I look forward to the day he and I have time to collaborate on an idea I’ve shared with him. Congratulations, Tom! Be sure to check him out. And if you have any editing you need done, I can highly recommend Tom. Eagle Eye is the perfect name for his editing service. Do you have a blog to recommend for the Brilliant Blog Award? Find out my guidelines here.  Please tweet: Congrats to @Tom_Threadgill for winning July’s Brilliant Blog...

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15Aug

Introducing Spunk & Sass!

Posted by in Karla Akins, Shelley Wilburn, Sparrow Song Radio, Spunk & Sass, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m super excited to introduce you to my new talk show with co-host, Shelley Wilburn: Spunk & Sass! Spunk and Sass are two spunky, sassy grandmas talking about current events and spiritual matters as only we can. Shelley and I give a clear view of real life in a laid back, hilarious setting. You think you’re sitting in the room with us because well, you are!   Shelley and I don crazy hats, share our drink of the day (no, we don’t drink alcohol, though sometimes our antics make that questionable…) I created this show and invited Shelley to join me because I wanted there to be a Christian voice that came across as real and not phony, pious or stuffy. Trust me. This show is about as far from stuffy as the east is from the west. I hope you’ll tune in and join us! Since I’m student teaching this semester, I don’t yet know how many episodes per month we’ll be able to do, but the goal is to do at least one show a week. We’ve had so many problems launching this show! You wouldn’t believe the tech problems we’ve had. From my computer biting the dust over the summer, to audio and video problems. Someone is very scared of this launch! There are two ways to enjoy the show. You can watch it on YouTube (there really are some funny things on there) or you can listen on Spreaker! You can even download the program to your phone from Spreaker and enjoy us on the go! Sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy! We hope you’ll love us!   Please tweet: Spunk & Sass 1st show of brassy...

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10Aug

You are being manipulated. Here’s how.

Posted by in Current Events, Life, Social Media, Technology, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

Let’s get something straight right up front. I love technology. Not only for how easy it makes my life, but mainly for how it can be used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the birth of Christ, nothing has given us a bigger platform to share the love of Jesus than the Internet. Nothing. However, saying something is one thing. Getting heard is another. And the ones with the power are the ones who manipulate what is seen and heard. Search engine algorithms can be designed to filter out anything pertaining to Christ. Money and the prince of the air think they’re in control. (But seriously, we know Who really is, right?) You think you have a plethora of choices? You do. But not really. Those who own the algorithms are the ones who decide what your choices really are. Truth has never been more relative than it is today. If people believe what comes up first when they’re doing a search, (on Google, Siri, Bing, etc.) are they living in reality? Or the reality that the search engine created? Not only do search engines and Amazon filter what’s seen at the top of a search, so do advertisers. Add to that the government accessing your search stats and freedom flies out the window only to be captured and shackled. Oh, oh, oh, and what about when you’re browsing for say,  a pair of shoes, and you’re reading the news on another site and the ad for the shoes shows up. How intellectually free are you? I mean, really? Is this freedom or manipulation? Amazon manipulates its customers. You might not think so, but take a gander at this post on the Hoosier Ink blog by Joe Allison: Amazon Restricts Promotion of Books with “Religious or Spiritual Content” I mean, c’mon, we all know it happens, but do we remember when we’re searching for things, that our choices are limited to what those in charge want us to see and find? Or are we lulled into intellectual laziness and put discernment on the back burner? Please tweet: Are we intellectually lazy and easily...

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08Aug

The best time of day to write

Posted by in Karla Akins, Life, Uncategorized, writing | 2 comments

All my adult life I’ve felt guilty about my circadian rhythm. Add to that the knowledge that my favorite authors rise and shine in the wee hours of the morning to write, and I feel even more guilty for being a Night Owl. I capitalized Night Owl because the Night Owl is actually my college mascot. Something tells me I’m not going to escape this particular identity. I was discussing this issue with my son. Since I start student teaching next week, I’m a little freaked out about when I’ll be able to get my writing time in. I’m a true believer in “you don’t find time to write you make time.” But, as someone who lives with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, I’m aware that my body will only allow me to be alert so many hours in the day. The way I often get through the day is that I have to take a 20-minute nap in the afternoon (or longer depending how bad I’m feeling) to get through the rest of the day. I then take a B-12 vitamin and move along. I can usually squeeze out an evening of writing that way. But many of my favorite authors are morning authors–Kate DiCamillo, for one (I love her voice!).  Wouldn’t it be better if I was more like her? Over and over again I’ve beat myself up for not being up with the robins getting that worm. (Okay, so I don’t like worms, but my worm would be a manuscript.) Does the fact that I’m not a morning writer mean I’ll never be a best-seller? Not according to this amazing infograph: Opposite Habits of Famous Writers. Is this cool or what? I’ve got to grasp the fact that it doesn’t matter when I write. It only matters that I write. Every day. For several hours. (Excuse me while I grab another cup of tea, and pet my dogs and cats, sit very still in the light of the moon, and write very, very slow.) If you want more proof it’s okay to be a night writer, check out this awesome blog post by Jeff Goins here: Why You Should Be Writing at Night. When is your favorite time of the day write/craft/read good books/do what you love most? Please tweet: When is the best time of day to...

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29Jul

The Art of Interruptions

Posted by in autism, Blogs, Karla Akins, Life, Uncategorized, writing | 2 comments

Okay, this is hilarious. I had this post completely written and guess what? It disappeared. Then I wrote it again. And added pictures. And the pictures disappeared. Then when I added the pictures again and checked on it–saved it, published it, the original post showed up without pictures. (I was working in Blogger for a cross-post to Hoosier Ink. I gave up and decided to post it here in WordPress.) I find this extremely ironic since I’m writing about interruptions. And I don’t believe in coincidences. Sometimes life gets so crazy and bizarre you just have to laugh. Just like God does when we make plans. I picture Him sitting beside me, jabbing me in the ribs with a loud “Got ya!” He probably isn’t, but that’s how I picture Him when things like this happen. (I mean no disrespect to God. He knows how much I admire His sense of humor.) You’d think after having kids with autism and a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s living with us, I’d be the Queen of Handling Interruptions. But I’m not. I have a hunch that God must be determined to make me an expert. Either that, or he enjoys a good laugh. You know the Yiddish saying, right? “We make plans and God laughs.” He is hee-hawing all over the universe with the way my summer has gone. You see, I’m a planner. I love to plan. I have several planners — one for home/church, one for my writing and one for my college classes. I begin student teaching in August, and I’ll have a teaching planner, too.  I also use Google Calendar to remind me of appointments and deadlines. I love to plan. I buy all sorts of stickers and tapes and tabs for my planner. Planning is my hobby. And oh yeah, I haven’t even begun to tell you all about how I plan on Kanbanflow! I have 11 (!) planning boards there. Now, admittedly, many of them are for books and projects. But a lot of them aren’t. Here’s how my summer has gone so far. Keep in mind, this is the summer when I was going to knock out those 11 Kanbanflow lists and cure world hunger: My dishwasher broke the same month of the twins’ graduation open house (mid-May) The twins’ caregiver quit in May. We still don’t have a new caregiver and they require 24-7 supervision Ordered new dishwasher New dishwasher arrived and quit working after one week Part for new dishwasher will not be here until August 12 Air conditioner is not acting right. And it’s only the hottest summer ever. June 25 my computer crashes. Kaput. Zero. Zilch. Will cost too much of a percentage of a new one to fix. Wait two weeks for new computer to arrive. Can’t find my backup files on Carbonite My wedding ring got an upgrade May 1. Sent it off to get it fixed. It’s still not back after it being returned twice looking like a bubble gum ring. (Does this mean I’ve been single all this time?) My mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s has been sick a lot this summer. This means a lot of attention, care and trips to the hospital. (Keep her in your prayers. Her name is Ellen.) When I flew to Colorado for...

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28Jul

Rocky Mountain Prophecy Conference Recap

Posted by in Bible Study, Prophecy, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was blessed to have the privilege of attending the Rocky Mountain International Prophecy Conference July 15-17. And just as expected, I was blown away by all I learned. In fact, I actually ordered the DVDs to the entire conference before I left because my brain can only contain so much information at one time. And when I learn something, I like to learn it well enough to be able to teach it. I want to be able to explain things to other people and be ready in season and out. Besides learning, I had the best time meeting people I admire and have admired for a very long time. My excuse for spending so much money to go was that I was doing research for some book concepts I’m working on. This is true, of course. But I really just wanted to meet these fascinating people and experience their ministries in person. And when God made a way for me to talk to Gary Stearman, founder of Prophecy Watchers, I almost did a jig. There’s always so much to learn and they are promising that next year’s conference will be twice as big and even better with even more speakers. However will my brain contain it all? Here’s a video recap of this wonderful experience: Please tweet: Prophecy Conference recap: it’s time to wake...

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25Jul

What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Posted by in Author Interviews, Bible Study, books, Karla Akins, Marketing, Mary Sayler, Office Spaces/Writing Lairs, Platform, Poetry, Social Media, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Spaces | 2 comments

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary! Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast. Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling! Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book! Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens! Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain. Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper! Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow! Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone. How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you write? I’d love to know! Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares...

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