What’s on your writing desk, Elaine Stock?

What's on your writing desk- (1)

Today I’m excited to feature one of my dear writing pals, Elaine Stock. She is represented by the same literary agent I am, the lovely Linda Glaz. I’m so happy that my readers get to know Elaine. She has a very engaging blog. You’ll want to check it out.

NewDeskPic

Karla:  I love this picture of you and your cat! I write surrounded by my pets, too.

Elaine:  Although this photograph of myself is a tribute to my not long ago writing muse of the past nineteen and a half years, Wild Cat, who left me for a much better forever writing spot this past October, what you see is pretty much my writing place. Oh, I do have this great big antique oak desk that is presently in the corner of the kitchen. I think. Is that what’s under the printer, mounds of paper that can never, ever be thrown away, and writing how-to books?

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered

Karla: Oh yes. I have one of those mysterious wooden things you call desks, too. I’m sure it’s under there somewhere. Along with a pony, maybe? I’m very sorry about the loss of your cat. As an animal lover with five fur babies myself, and having had many over the years, I know how very precious they are to us.

Where do you like to write the most?

Where in the world do you write-

Elaine: With limited space, I’ve come to appreciate this corner of the sofa. It’s the closest to the wood stove in the winter, plus I look out four big windows and a backdoor for views of the countryside. Since the photo was taken I now have an additional pink marble side table. On good days I use the coffee table and side table as desk extensions—of course! To add a little more zest in my drive I’ll keep a mug of coffee—if early in the morning—or hot tea or plain old tap water. I’m not into snacking—really!—but may indulge in fruit or a granola bar if the blood sugar sags.

Karla: I don’t think I know the meaning of “not into snacking.” I wish I did! I envy that! Thanks for sharing your lovely writing space with us, Elaine. It sounds absolutely cozy and inspiring.

COhCMIXWgAAanYi

Karla writing from her snack fort.

Here’s a bit more about Elaine. I hope you’ll make every effort to connect with her, Dear Reader!

Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration and 10 years in community service. All great fodder for writing fiction.

Bridge

(c) Elaine Stock

In the spring of 2011 she placed in the Semi-finals category in the ACFW Genesis Contest for her novel WALK WITH ME. In 2013 she received the honor of My Book Therapy’s Frasier Bronze Medalist award for her novel NO GOING BACK. And in 2014 she was blessed with the news that her short story IN HIS OWN TIME won the People’s Choice Award in the FamilyFiction Contest, which was published in the printed anthology, THE STORY: 2014 Anthology. November 2014 saw her short story, THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS GIFT, released in CHRISTMAS TREASURES: A COLLECTION OF CHRISTMAS SHORT STORIES. In January 2015 she became a regular contributing author to Happy Sis Magazine (http://happysis.com) aimed at an international readership to “inspire women to know Christ and to grow in faith, integrity, confidence, success and happiness.”

Her own blog, Everyone’s Story (http://elainestock.com) has grown in its over 4-year existence, receiving an average of 8,000 viewer monthly visits. She weekly hosts authors, writers, and readers, which helps to further her reach and connection to many on an international level. Everyone’s Story’s theme is to uplift and encourage all through the power of story and hope.

Connect with Elaine here:

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

Goodreads  http://goodreads.com/ElaineStock

twitter-bird-1-300x300

Tweet this: What’s on your writing desk? Come see what’s on Elaine’s and tell us about yours! 

Would you and your writing spaces like to be featured on my blog? Find out how!

What’s on your writing desk, Pegg Thomas?

What's on your writing desk- (1)

Today we get to peek inside the writing lair of Pegg Thomas! I love the simplicity and peacefulness of her space. I think you will, too.

Pegg lives on a hobby farm in Northern Lower Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. They have barn full of animals, a large garden, a small orchard, and a growing berry patch.

Besides writing, she enjoys a variety of crafts including spinning sheep’s wool into yarn, knitting, counted cross stitch, quilting, scrapbooking, and card making.

She and Michael enjoy camping, fishing, boat-nerding (you have to be a Great Lakes person to understand that), and thoroughbred horse racing.

Pegg has been a finalist in the 2013 ACFW First Impressions Contest and the 2014 Clash of the Titles Olympia. When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper.

Trooper and Pegg cropped

Pegg and Trooper

A lifelong history geek, it’s no surprise that I write surrounded by my antique treasures. My “desk” is a Singer sewing machine cabinet that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Kathryn Champanois. The old black A-1 Singer is still inside and I love to sew on it still.

To my left is a dresser that belonged to my maternal grandfather’s mother, Margaret Warner. Sitting on top is a bowl and pitcher as would have been common in a bedroom before indoor plumbing.

Pegg_Thomas_writing_space_1

Click to enlarge

To my right is another sewing machine, a Wheeler and Wilson treadle that pre-dates Singer, made in the late 1880s. It belonged to my paternal grandmother’s mother, Mable Wright. This cabinet pre-dates fold-down models and instead has what’s called a “coffin top” of wood that covers the machine.

Surrounded by such treasures makes slipping back in time an easy and enjoyable thing to do.

Pegg_Thomas_writing_space_2

Click to enlarge

Pegg writes historical fiction with a touch of humor. Her current WIP (work-in-progress) is the second novel in a trilogy set around the turn of the 19th century in America. The historical background of this series is the Quaker migration from the slave holding southern states to the new Northwest Territory of present day Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The first novel is represented by her agent, Linda S. Glaz.

You can find Pegg here:

   Twitter @Pegg_Thomas
   Farm & Fiber Arts Webpage http://www.twinwillowsfarm.com
Thank you, Pegg, for sharing your writing space with us today!
knit-twitter-birdsmallsepia

Tweet this: Her writing desk is a Singer Sewing Machine! What’s yours like?

Where in the world do you write-

Would you and your writing spaces like to be featured on my blog? Find out how!

 

What’s on your writing desk? Featuring J’nell Ciesielski

What's on your writing desk- (1)

Today our guest is J’nell Ciesleski who has generously agreed to share her writing space with us!

jnellofficial_crop_color_sm

Karla: J’nell, I’ve noted from your website that you write adventurous, historical romance. Where do you settle in to weave your stories?

J’nell: I have two spaces of writing. One, my designated office with a pretty view of the tree filled backyard, a plush rug beneath my feet, and a zebra print chair to sit at my feminine desk.

jnellmakeup vanity-desk3

And the second, the ‘other’ couch in the ‘other’ room where my daughter’s toys spill out from under the bench, the dog snores six feet away, and the tempting fridge is within eyeline. Guess which one gets used more? Yep. The second. It’s not that I don’t love stepping on legos and tripping over a Minnie Mouse musical car every time I need a drink of water, but the couch is much more practical. See, I use my daughter’s naptime as my writing time and if I so much as tiptoe past her room upstairs she’ll wake up. Pretty sure she has bat sonar. So long writing time! Plus, my designated office upstairs sits over the garage and it’s a furnace in the summertime.

jnellwhere magic happens2

Karla: When do you find time to write?

J’nell: I honestly wish I could spend all day writing. Unfortunately, chores and errands take up my morning because I like to get them done and out of the way. Then comes lunch, and then comes naptime which means freedom! If it’s a good day and she’s willing to give me a break then I’ll have at least 2 ½ hours of writing time. If she decides she wants to serenade me from the crib then I’ll attempt writing, but it usually ends up being research time as I don’t need absolute quiet for that. Sometimes I’ll get a few minutes on the weekend, but that time usually goes to family and church.

jnell

 Karla: What do you write?

J’nell: Historical romances are my passion. Throw in a world war and I’m gold. Nothing like a man heading off to war or some other dangerous mission to amp up the passion, those are the moments I love to capture. Take a look at Braveheart, Gone With the Wind, Downton Abbey, Casablanca, Lord of the Rings, and Outlander and few other of my favorites and you’ll see what I mean.

jnellmakeup vanity-desk2

 

Karla: What’s your process?

J’nell: Part of me is afraid to share a few unknown tidbits about what really happens behind the screen, but you asked so I guess I’ll brave the raised eyebrows and tell you. I usually play a round of Soda Crush before I get started. Helps to loosen the muscles. Then I reread the last few paragraphs of what I wrote yesterday to remind myself where I am and plunge in. Note: Sometimes staring blankly at the screen or wall happens first as I await divine inspiration. As the writing forges ahead, I often check with my notes which I have in a hot pink binder that is meticulously divided into sections: WWI, WWII, Scotland, Pirates, Clothing, Words, Transportation, etc. I often feel like Gandolf pouring over ancient manuscripts which makes me giggle. When hunger strikes, I try grab something healthy like yogurt or almonds, but sometimes those darn Kit Kats jump right into my hands.

Karla: What are you working on now?

J’nell: My last work in progress, or WIP for those in the know, is set in WWII France and is inspired by the Mitford sisters. Kat Whitford is on a mission to bring back her wayward sister after she ran away to occupied France and became the Nazis’s social secretary. Struggling to keep himself out of jail for a back alley brawl, Barrett Anderson is paying back his debt by working for British intelligence and they’ve just assigned him as babysitter to Kat. With direct access to the inner Nazi parties, they are immediately pressed to play the loving couple and gather all the information they can. When his past comes to call, it could spell disaster, and possibly, death for them all.

Karla: Tell us some more about yourself!

J’nelL:  Born in Florida, I spent a happy childhood splashing on the sugar white beaches only known to the Sunshine Stare. While in middle school, my dad got a job transfer to Texas where I graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Psychology. Not knowing what else to do with my life and seeing as how writing wasn’t paying the bills yet, I joined the Air Force. Stationed in Germany I was privileged to travel to France, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and my favorite Scotland. I also met my awesome husband over there. Finding him was worth wearing camouflage and combat boots every day. After serving our four years, we now live in Virginia where I’m a stay at home mom to a busy one and a half year old and a very lazy beagle.

Karla: Thank you, J’nell for giving us a peek into your writing life!

And thank YOU, dear readers, for stopping by! You can learn more about J’nell at the links below:

J’nell’s Website

Twitter

Pinterest

Pink Motorcycle & Bird Final (1)Tweet this: The secret lair and writing tips of J’nell Cieleski

Would you and your writing spaces like to be featured on my blog? Find out how!

See what I did there?

tom

Punny Guy: Author Tom Threadgill

I have a writing buddy who loves puns.

He’s super hilarious and you’d never know by his sense of humor that he writes bloody suspense novels.

You can follow his blog here: Tom Threadgill.

Do you like puns? Write some of them for me in the comments below!

And don’t forget to head over to my contest where I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enjoy these punny pics! Which one’s your favorite?

pun1

pun2

pun3

pun4

pun5

pun6

pun7

pun8

pun9

pun10

punny

twitter52smallTweet this: See what I did there?

 

 

Introducing Steampunk author Michael Vetter and a giveaway!

MFVETTER Author Photo

Michael Vetter, Author

I am very pleased to introduce you to Steampunk/Sci-fi author, Michael Vetter. I became intrigued with Michael’s work after meeting him on a Steampunk forum.

I’m fascinated with this genre and have been researching it for a book I’m formulating for the YA market. I’m also leaving next Tuesday to attend the Realm Makers conference in Pennsylvania! I’m looking forward to rubbing shoulders with fantasy genre authors as I have much to learn. I have a burden to write YA books that point young people to Christ. It’s much needed.

Print Which is what drew me to Michael’s work. Michael very graciously agreed to be interviewed for my blog. I think you’ll find him and his work fascinating!

(By the way, dear reader, if you leave a comment or question and tweet about this post (I’ve provided a handy dandy link below as well) you’ll be entered to win a free digital (.pdf) copy of one of his books — your choice!  If you use any of the other buttons, you’ll be entered each time you promote this post on social media. What a deal!)

SmilingCat-300x198

Thanks so much, Michael, for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself:

My father worked for Pan America Airways so I grew up around airplanes and airports in Latin America all my life.  When I went to college in the U.S. I studied engineering, met my wife, Mary, and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Florida, we heard the Gospel for the first time and, after months of questions and resistance, accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We grew spiritually through the years, served in many capacities at Salem Bible Church (www.salembible.org) while I worked in the defense industry, and recently retired. My wife and I have a grown son, two grandsons, and are involved in several ministries. Besides teaching adult Bible Sunday School and writing novels, I edit a newsletter for Grace Dental and Medical Missions (www.gdmmissions.org) and am a translator on medical missions trips to Spanish-speaking countries. We live in Salem,  NH, where the one month of brilliant fall foliage makes up for long winters of snow and cold. We enjoy long road and rail trips together and kayaking in the summer.

runbeforetherain

Click to order

What a fascinating journey to this point in your life you’ve had! I long to take a rail trip sometime, too. How can we find you online?

Web page:  http://www.michaelvetter.net

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChristianAdventuresBibleThemes?ref=hl

Where do you write? (What’s your office like?)

My best creative writing is done where I’m free from distractions so that means not in my cluttered office! My home office is where I have access to my reference books for research and Bible studies. Libraries with quiet rooms or cubbyholes hidden in remote stacks are where I can get lost for hours in a complicated plot. While my most imaginative writing is best done in quiet isolation, draft editing seems to be fueled in coffee shops where I draw energy from the hum of background conversations. I don’t know if this is an odd way to write/edit or not, but it works for me!

OWT_cover_LO RES

Click to order

I’m the same way about my home office. How funny. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

Because I’m an engineer, I like to have the overall plot and flow of my book mapped out from beginning to end before I start to write. I use a “storyboard” technique learned from defense systems analysis that depicts various “threads” of a message to be sure that everything supports a final conclusion or objective. Many ideas come together on a wall-size graphic using colored-coded post-it notes, pictures, sketches, and connecting lines showing the progression of a story.

Storyboard

Karla: Oh my goodness. I have to interrupt here. You have no idea how giddy this photo makes me. I do the same thing and trust me, I do not have the mind of an engineer. I feel so much smarter now!

Genius babyOkay, then what do you do?

I then write an outline for each chapter in sequence and match chapters to the storyline. In parallel, I write profiles of the various main characters. Then I begin writing at Chapter 1 and expand on settings, dialog, and other details. Sure, things take unpredicted turns when I get more involved with my characters. As long as the main story line stays generally on track, I keep going. About every twenty chapters or so, (which can take me two or three months to write) I’ll then perform rough editing/surgery on the text. This is where I cut down the prose—I’m not stingy with words in my first draft—and try to come close to my page/word count target. This is also where I do a mid-course correction if the story line needs to change drastically. After about 8-9  months, I have a manuscript that I then spend 2-3 months editing. I have to admit that the creative part of developing and telling a story is my favorite part of writing. Everything after that is a chore before I can start on my next book.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my third book in a fiction series for young boys with the working title, Flight from Egypt—Adventures Along The Nile. My books occupy a genre that I still haven’t fully characterized, but some call it retro-futuristic or steampunk.

The book takes place in Egypt in the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III during the 6-9 months before Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. The Biblical account of the plagues, Passover, and miraculous parting of the Red Sea are told through the eyes of Malik (a young Egyptian), Nathan (his Hebrew slave and best friend), and Malik’s sixteen-year-old sister Sarina. The two nineteen-year-old boys grew up together and are more like brothers. The speculative nature of the story weaves advanced, though plausible, technologies created by an inventor named Imhotep: a flying machine called the Eye of Horus, a box that lights the inside of underground tombs, encrypted signals using focused solar energy, and the Breath of Osiris that flashes across the night sky. These and other technologies, in the midst of devastating plagues, propel the three young characters as they pursue the identity of the Black Falcon who plundered tons of gold from the tomb of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Kings. Linking their adventures ranging from Karnak/Thebes in the south to Giza/Memphis in the north is the nationwide heliographic (solar powered) signaling network used by Pharaoh and his military. As the plagues reach their climax with the Passover, some Egyptians believe in the God of Abraham and join Moses and millions of Hebrews on the beginning of their exodus journey. How many lives will the Black Falcon ruin in his relentless pursuit for more gold? Who will follow Moses through the Red Sea to safety and who will die in Egypt?

Martin,_John_-_The_Seventh_Plague_-_1823

This sounds sooo intriguing, and this may be a silly question because I, for one, can’t wait to read it. But are there any other reasons readers should pick it up?

Young readers should read this and other books in the series because the characters, although living in Old Testament times, have a God-centered Biblical worldview that guides their lives through adventures in a complex, dangerous world. New and often strange technologies, not unlike those in our own fast-paced world, add twists and turns as the plot heads toward a foregone conclusion that fits the Biblical record. The fate of individual characters hangs in doubt up to the last second.

How did this book come to life for you?

I’d always wondered how all the Israelites knew what was happening when Moses and Aaron repeatedly confronted Pharaoh and unleashed plagues in response to his stubborn refusals. How could slaves working hundreds of miles away in granite quarries of Aswan, brick pits of Giza, or  flooded fields of Goshen know what was going on in the palace? The usual answer, “God somehow told them,” did not satisfy me. My conclusion was that the everyday Egyptian or Hebrew had no idea what was happening until much later in the series of plagues, maybe not until the last plague, when they had fourteen days to prepare, did people understand that it was God who brought the plagues on Egypt. Even then, it’s a puzzle to me how millions of people could organize such a massive effort in so short a time. So, I came up with a hypothetical Egyptian heliographic network based on actual equipment and codes used by the U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico in the late 1800’s to signal long distances using solar rays. (The highly effective network was used for only a few years before it was replaced by the telegraph.) My story revolves around a nationwide “solar Internet,” the “blinkers” who run it, and the royal codes used by blinkers to inform Egyptians and Hebrews about the plagues, Pharaoh’s rejection of Moses, and God’s ultimate purpose to lead His people to the Promised Land.

Heliograph_(1)-2

I love ancient and 1800s technology! This is such a fascinating book. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I think that is like asking which of your children is your favorite because I invest so much into my characters. But Malik’s father, Hatep, might be my favorite because his struggle over whether to believe in the God of Abraham or the gods of his Egyptian forefathers parallels my spiritual struggle when I first heard the Gospel of God’s grace and realized that the Good News was opposite to what I had been taught by religion all my life. Hatep has to face repeated evidence in the plagues that the LORD God of the Israelites is more powerful than all the gods of Egypt and he’s frustrated, disappointed, and scared by what he experiences. As a Royal Architect of Tombs, Hatep tries to reason everything logically but finally concludes that salvation is by faith alone in the One True God.

How did you name your characters?

This is a difficult task for me since I invest most of my energies in the storytelling. Fictional Egyptian characters take their names, or slight variations of them, from historical persons although not necessarily from the same time period. Most archeological evidence points to Thutmose III as the Pharaoh during the approximate time of Moses, although none of the historical records can prove this. Names for Israelite characters are either common Biblical names or modern Hebrew names. The principal Hebrew character is Nathan because I like that name.

Are the characters based on people you know?

The Inventor Imhotep, Royal Architect Hatep, and General Herihor have some parts of their personalities and experiences based on my own. The sixteen-year-old Sarina is a mathematician and crypto-solver very much like my wife, who spends hours and sometime days working on a cryptogram that I would never dream of tackling. When I hear “I did it!” shouted from another room I know she’s cracked another one.

phaistos

Oh, I love cryptology! I’m not good at it but I’m fascinated with it. I must meet your wife and pick her brain sometime.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

It’s the type of exciting, wholesome adventure that I loved to read as a pre-teen and teen myself when I grew up with characters like Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys. I loved the mysteries and action stories that planted seeds in the mind of a future engineer who wanted to build airplanes, submarines, space ships, and complicated gadgets. Today, young Christian boys should read my books for the enjoyment of adventure fiction with technologies that they can relate to within a Biblical worldview.

Tom_Swift_and_The_Visitor_from_Planet_X_-_dust_jacket_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_17985

I think I read every Nancy Drew book growing up. What is your favorite scene in the book?

Nathan and Malik enter a large chamber in the Great Pyramid of Khafre with a gold cylinder in its center and directly under the pyramid’s golden apex . As they inspect the inscriptions on the cylinder and the tubes that rise from it into the ceiling, they hear a whine that gradually increases in pitch and intensity. This is Imhotep’s Breath of Osiris. They don’t know what it does, but the reader senses that something terrible is about to happen as the noise becomes deafening. We want to scream, “Get out now!” but they approach the gleaming object and reach out to touch it. There is paralyzing tension as the two boys can’t decide whether to investigate with captivating curiosity or flee in deadly terror.

Giza_Plateau_-_Great_Sphinx_with_Pyramid_of_Khafre_in_background

Oh, that’s edge-of-your-seat stuff there!  Can you tell us why you chose to write Christian fiction?

My principal motivation in writing Christian fiction for young boys is because there are so few wholesome books available that appeal to their interest in stories with physical action, adventure, suspense, mystery, and complex gadgets. Classical science fiction from the 1800’s (Jules Verne, H.G. Wells) fills some of this interest. But good (moral, safe?) Christian fiction for boys is meager; good Christian fiction written by godly women for young girls is abundant. Today’s young adult (YA) fiction is not suitable, in my opinion, for Christian young people, although I realize that many read it. My desire is to write speculative fiction to honor God and I hope that comes across in my books.

We’ve all heard that fiction writers should write about what they know. That has motivated me to write stories that blend engineering and technology with my understanding of the Bible and history. I’m fully committed to the inerrant, inspired Word of God. I believe we are free to speculate about what the Bible does not say, providing we do not contradict what it does say. I was encouraged by Dr. John Whitcomb (co-author of The Genesis Flood and other creationist books) to speculate in my first book about technology in an advanced pre-Flood civilization. We had several conversations in which we agreed that civilizations before and after the Great Flood were much more sophisticated than the backward cave-dwellers depicted today. I place my fictional plots in Bible times but use seemingly modern, although primitive, instruments, engines, vehicles, and devices in adventure plots.

Eastman_Johnson_-_Reading_Boy

I raised four boys and I can’t tell you how excited I am about your vision and mission. It was always difficult finding good, wholesome, engaging reading material for them. Thank you for answering the call and writing these books! Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I inherited my love for reading and writing from my mother, Peggy Vetter. She wrote the society page of a newspaper (The Niles Daily Star in Niles, Michigan) in the 1940’s while still in college. After WW II she married my Dad in 1947 and wrote long letters to family and friends describing her “adventures” in exotic places like Guatemala, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Mexico, and Jamaica. Growing up in those countries (with no television!) we read books for entertainment. She founded, published, and edited the weekly Herndon Observer (Herndon, Virginia) for almost thirty years until a few months before her death in 2000. My second book, One World Tower-A Babylonian Adventure, is dedicated to her.

Michael, thanks again for joining us today. I am so excited to know you and to get to follow your career. I know God has an amazing plan for your work! God bless you!

steampunk-twitter-birdsmaller

Tweet This: Read Steampunk/sci-fi author Michael Vetter’s riveting interview!

 

 

Tweet and comment for a chance to win a FREE pdf copy of one of Michael’s books!

Interview with H2 TV host and author, Scott Wolter of America Unearthed

aaascot5

http://www.hookedx.com/author.asp

I’ve been a follower of Scott Wolter’s research for about ten years. My fascination with his work began with my interest in the Kensington Runestone and my belief that it is a genuine artifact and proof of a Nordic presence in North America before Christopher Columbus. Scott has written two books that deal with his research of the stone, The Kensington Runestone: Compelling New Evidence and The Hooked X. (I have all of Scott’s books, but am the proud owner of two copies of The Hooked X. One of them is autographed.)

aaascot4

aaascot2

His latest book, From Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers: The Mysteries of the Hooked X is also a compelling read.

aaascott

Scott’s worldview and mine are very different. As a born-again Christian, I don’t believe that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. Scott does. He also believes this view of Mary M. and Jesus is the “holy grail” that the Templars protected and brought with them to North America.

And while I don’t agree with Scott about this particular issue, I do agree with much of the research he exposes on his H2 TV program, America Unearthed, now in its second season.  I was tickled pink to see him have his own show. I almost felt like a proud cousin or something because I’d known for a long time he had a unique view of history that made other people as curious as myself. I’ve been honest with Scott about my beliefs and he has been gracious and generous of his time in answering many of my questions for which I’m grateful.

I’m honored that Scott took time out of his busy schedule to answer even more of my questions for my blog. If you love a good mystery, history and ancient artifacts, I think you’ll find his research as fascinating as I do.

aaascottshow

Scott, thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions for my readers. I know you’re an extremely busy man. How old were you when you fell in love with rocks?

I’ve always been fascinated with rocks, even as a kid.  However, my interest turned to obsession when I was in college and discovered Lake Superior Agates.  That obsession led to any and every spare moment searching for them.  I rode a motorcycle back then which allowed me to get into and out of gravel pits with ease.  Eventually, I wrote my first book (of a total of four) about agates and have assembled a world class collection.  I am still hooked on agates and I’m sure always will be.

I ride my own motorcycle, too. It’s my favorite mode of transportation when I’m “looking for treasure.”

mybookontank

My book, my tank, my gloves

I’ve enjoyed seeing your family included in some of the episodes of America Unearthed. How involved are they in your research?

Both of my kids enjoy the research and I often run things by my son Grant, who is an engineer and ultra-skeptical.  If something I’m working on passes the “smell test” with him then we’re usually on good ground.  Although, he’s not always right and does accept strong evidence and a good argument.  Janet is my co-researcher and truth be told, is the genius of the family.  She brings calm, reasoned input to the subjects we investigate as well as the feminine perspective that really does provide the needed balance to our research.  She’s a gem!

aaascottjanet

Scott & Janet
http://www.hookedx.com/film.asp

I’ve observed that as a scientist, you tend to only believe those things you can touch and see. Do you have a spiritual side?

I am definitely a pragmatist and in my younger days was proud to call myself an atheist.  However, life has a way of softening the hard edges of a person’s ideas and beliefs.  I used to think everything could be explained logically.  However, I’ve come to realize that some things that happen in life cannot always be explained logically.  The hardest thing for me was learning to accept there are some things that happen in life you cannot explain or fully understand.

aaascottcopper

http://www.hookedx.com/film.asp

Washington D.C. and Franklin, Pennsylvania were laid out by Andrew Ellicott, in your words, in “incredible sacred geometry.” His apprentice, Alexander Ralston, laid out Indianapolis, Indiana. What is the purpose of doing this, do you think? Is there a message, a spiritual power or something they are trying to convey?

Of course, there were scientific, mathematical, and spiritual messages the early surveyors and architects were trying to convey, and still trying to convey.  It’s up to the individual to decide what that message is.

ralstonalexander
Why do you think the lead artifacts discovered in Tuscon, Arizona were left there?

I’m pretty certain the Tucson Lead Artifacts were made and left as ritual offerings by a Roman-Jewish party from what is now Southern France.  I have more thoughts about this group, but I’m hoping to convey them in a future follow-up episode; we’ll see if that happens…

TusconLeadCrosses.Ceremonial

http://westfordknight.blogspot.com/2012/02/tucson-lead-artifacts.html

I can hardly wait! I love the show, DVR it and watch the episodes several times over.

Do I understand correctly that you believe that the parchments supposedly discovered by Abbe Francois Berenger Sauniere are genuine? What makes you think so?

I’m pretty certain he found something that led him to great riches somewhere near Rennes le Chateau.  Some say it was information he used to get money from the Church.  Some say the documents told of the location of ancient hidden gold.  Maybe it was both, but I do think he found parchments with important information.

Saunière1852-1917

http://en.wikipedia.org

What drives you to spread the word regarding your belief that Jesus never rose bodily from the tomb and that He married Mary Magdalene?

What drives me to get this story out is because the factual evidence I’ve seen so far says it is the truth.  I also believe the world has been negatively impacted by the financially and spiritually corrupt nature of the Roman Catholic Church.  They convey the wrong message of what Jesus and MM were really teaching; that the individual doesn’t need a human conduit to get to their Creator.  They can do it themselves and this is what threatened the power of the Roman Church so they created a different story that became patriarchal and vilified woman.  Largely due to 1700 years of their spiritual domination it has thrown the world horribly out of balance, most notably by over-population.  I want my descendants to inherit a healthy planet and believe the ship is now beginning to turn around by this truth coming out.  I also think the vast majority of people in the world can handle the truth.

I’d like to discuss this more, and probably will in a future post. I think you already know this is an area where we don’t see eye to eye. However, I’m never one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and realize we couldn’t possibly agree on all points. I still have many questions and learn a lot from your work.

What tools do you use to organize your research? (Computer programs or other tech tools?)

The tools I use are the internet and books; lots of books.  However, I think people have become too dependent on the net; especially Wiki which is edited by power-tripping, anti-diffusion leaning individuals.  I became so frustrated by the crap that was being added to my Wiki bio page I demanded it be removed entirely.  Now that you’re aware, try and find balanced information on a Wiki page about any of the controversial artifacts and sites we’ve investigated and you’ll see they are all treated with skepticism in spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary in several cases.  My name isn’t even mentioned on the Kensington Rune Stone page and look up Tucson Lead Artifacts, Bat Creek Stone, Spirit Pond rune Stones, Newport Tower, etc.  It’s all nonsense.  Of course, the other tool I use is my body by getting out there to see, feel and test whatever it is I’m studying.    

I agree regarding Wiki. It’s why colleges never allow students to us it as a cited source. However, I also feel your frustration with so-called academics who reject the conclusive evidences that stare them in the face.

What message do you want most to convey to your readers and viewers of your television show?

The biggest message would be for people to not blindly accept everything you read (especially on the web) or told.  Think and investigate for yourself before arriving at a conclusion.  I guarantee you find the answer is rarely what you initially thought or told, and you will also find the “back stories” are often more interesting.  Doing research is also a lot of fun.  I always tell young people to ask questions of their teachers and professors if something doesn’t make sense.  Always be respectful, but speak up and be heard.

I agree about research–it’s my favorite part of writing, and the reason I’ve enjoyed following your work all these years. Congrats on the show!

And again, thanks, Scott, for your fascinating insights and sharing your research with such a generous spirit. That’s something I’ve always appreciated about you. I can’t wait to see more of America Unearthed!

What about you, Dear Reader, do you have any questions for Scott?

Leave them in the comments below!

twitter11smaller

Tweet This:  Exclusive Interview with star of America Unearthed, Scott Wolter!

God’s Unexpected Blessings

countblessings

A week ago today I was feeling rather low. I even blogged about it I was feeling so bad.

Then, one blessing after another flowed into my life in unexpected ways.

I got good news.

A check came in the mail.

And by sheer Providence, I got to meet Temple Grandin and interview her face to face for a full 45 minutes!

ManchesterU

Temple talking to me!

45 minutes, people! 45 minutes! ME!

Why? Because the other media failed to show up. So there I was, at the media meet and greet and it was just Temple and me, shootin’ the breeze about everything from autism to chickens to Australia.

I will be writing a series of articles on Temple and will share them with you as I get them published. There is a preliminary article here: Exclusive: Temple Grandin named Manchester University Innovator of the Year.

ManchesterUniversity

I forgot to tell her to smile!

If you read last week’s post, you know that I had a talk with the Lord and He assured me I could trust Him with my life and I agreed to put it in His hands. (Why I keep taking it back as if I have a better idea than God remains a mystery. I’m fallible. And badly in need of a merciful God.)

I guess more than I agreed to trust Him was that I agreed to stop fretting. I had to make myself rest in His assurance that He was in control and everything was going to be fine.

And then this happened.

10941226-temple-grandin-photo-c2010-dogtimecom

Publicity photo

I’m so glad I can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.

This trust thing isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone who’s willing to rest in Him. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for you.

Just. Rest.

twitter02small

Tweet This: You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for you!

Woof! Jake the Boston Terrier, Interviews Donna Winters

As you know, I love dogs and have three of my own. The most outspoken of the three is Jake, a rescue dog. Jake is a Boston Terrier that a fellow blogger willed to me upon his death all the way from Pennsylvania. And since this boisterous canine is more than able to speak for himself, I’ll let him take it from here.

jakeheadtilt

Woof! Welcome, Donna. I’m always excited to get to know my mom’s skin friends who enjoy the company of fur kids like me. Tell me, what in your childhood created a love for God’s creatures?

When I was very young, about four years old, my parents bought a Cocker spaniel puppy. I loved that dog, but after several months of training it, my mother was unable to housebreak it and it was re-homed with a family who had a nice outdoor doghouse for it. Soon after, my mother went back to teaching, and with both of my parents working full-time, my mother said it would not be fair to have a dog or cat and leave them home alone all day. Thankfully, my best friend from third through sixth grades lived on a dairy farm. Her family had cats and dogs. I slept over many, many weekends at her place and got my fill of pet cuddling. I always liked cats, but my husband forbids them. He grew up with a marvelous mixed-breed dog and wanted to adopt a dog early in our marriage, so I became a “dog person.”

d-winters-300

Author, Donna Winters

What in your childhood created a love for writing?

I was the kid who always wanted to write letters to relatives and pen pals. Other kids hated writing letters, and even my pen pals couldn’t keep up. No one else in our family was a writer so my mother was perplexed about me becoming a writer of book-length fiction. I explained it by saying that writing is one form of being creative, and many in our family are, or were creative, including my mother who went to her heavenly reward in 2008.

What do you write?

Mainly, I write for my Great Lakes Romances® series. The books are historical romances set in Great Lakes cities and towns, mostly in Michigan. You can find them at http://www.GreatLakesRomances.com.

What are your favorite:

Wild animals: Since I live in the north woods, I love seeing the deer. They are especially graceful and peaceful, making me wonder: why can’t all of God’s creatures, both quadrupeds and bipeds, be more like the deer?

Domestic animals: Dogs and cats.

What pets do you currently have?

Currently we have Babe, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix (some call the breed “pit bull”). She is ten years old and was rescued the day before her scheduled execution in June 2010. We also have Buster, a Siberian husky mix who is supposedly 14 years old but looks and acts like about five years old.

Tell us about your work with shelter animals:

I am currently working on raising awareness of Adventures with Vinnie so that people will buy, read, and enjoy an entertaining and somewhat informative book on shelter dog adoption. My earnings from this book will go to animal shelters. In addition, any shelter manager or veterinarian who wants to resell the title will get the biggest discount CreateSpace will allow me to offer them, which currently is 35% off of the $10 (full color) paperback price.

cover-vinnie-website

Woof! Good work, Donna! How can we help?

Thanks for asking! There are many ways to help.

  • Read and review the book on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Tell your local animal shelter to contact me about the reseller’s discount so they can use my book as a fundraiser.
  • Post your review on your Facebook timeline.
  • Write a blog post about it. (I’ll be glad to do an interview and book giveaway on your blog.)
  • Add the book to your blog sidebar for a while.
  • Share your review on Google+
  • Share your review on your other social media sites such as Pinterest, Reddit, and Twitter.
  • Tell your email contacts about it in a way that is not a spam pitch.
  • Offer to write a book review for your local newspaper.
  • Mention the book to your associates in groups you belong to such as civic organizations, school groups, and the like.
  • Give the book as a gift to your animal-loving friends.
  • Tell your veterinarian about the book and suggest selling it at his/her registration desk.

Where can your fans find you?

 Find my links at the bottom of my website home page:  http://www.GreatLakesRomances.com

Here’s some more about Donna:

Donna Winters lives with her husband and two rescued canines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She has nineteen books in print including fifteen historical romances, one historical novel, one contemporary romance, and two nonfiction titles. Learn more about her and her books at www.GreatLakesRomances.com.

Book Giveaway

Donna is willing to give away either a paperback or Kindle copy of her book to someone who comments on the post telling in a couple of sentences what he/she likes best about his/her pet. If you do not have a pet, tell about a pet you’ve met and liked, perhaps a dog or cat belonging to a relative, friend, or neighbor. Please be sure to leave your email address and add mine (bigwaterpub at gmail dot com) to your contact list so my winner notification won’t get caught in your spam filter.

twitter28sepiasmall

 

Tweet This: Woof! Read all about Vinnie the shelter dog!

 

Introducing inspirational author, Paula Mowery

Paula Mowery, Author

Paula Mowery, Author

From the time I met Paula online, I’ve felt a kinship with her as a pastor’s wife and homeschool Mama. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my readers to her wonderful writing!

Paula is a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool mom to a daughter who just started Liberty University Online. She works part-time as an assistant in a Pre-K and is a published author, speaker, and acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group.

And now for the interview!

And now for the interview!

Paula, I’m so happy to have you here today on my blog. Please tell my readers about your writing space! (I don’t know why I’m intrigued by people’s writing caves but I am!) Where do you write?

My husband calls it my writing hole. I have a wonderful L-shaped desk in a back extra bedroom. It is somewhat like being in a hole since it is at the end of the house away from everyone and most distractions. On one side of the L is my laptop. On the other side is stacked notes and lists of my present projects for writing and editing.

Click to buy

Click to buy

Sounds fantastic. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?)

I’m what you might call a combo writer, meaning that I’m not totally seat of the pants but also not a big outliner. I normally get an idea and scratch it out on a piece of paper, putting it into a file. As I have other ideas for that story, I will add notes to that file. I usually make a short list about what the story is about, who it is about, and where it is headed. When I’m ready to start writing, I skim my lists and notes and then take off. I’m categorized as old-school because I write out my stories first in spiral notebooks. The only things I can compose directly on the computer are articles and blogs. I just can’t write a novel that way.

I love notebooks!

I love notebooks!

I use notebooks, too, but usually when I’m on the run. Tell us about your book, Be The Blessing.

perf5.500x8.500.indd

Click to buy

My novella, Be The Blessing, released on September 13th. The main character in this book is a pastor’s wife named Addy. She wants to follow what God would have her to do but struggles when God asks her to be a blessing to others even when she is suffering through trials of her own.

Click to buy

Click to buy

Another title, Brave New Century, released November 14th. This is an anthology of four stories set in cities in the 1900’s. My story is called “Forgiven” and is particularly special to me because of a scene that I included that really happened to my paternal grandfather.

Why will readers want to read these?

I would encourage readers to pick up Be The Blessing for encouragement and even challenge for your Christian walk. The novella includes a short Bible study for further personal application.

Readers will enjoy Brave New Century for the sweet romance and historical aspects.

Ah, romance!

Ah, romance!

How did your book come to life?

Be The Blessing is actually the second in Addy’s story. When the first, The Blessing Seer, was completed, my editor asked if there would be a sequel. I hadn’t considered it until she asked. That evening the ideas starting coming, and Addy’s story continued.

perf5.500x8.500.indd

Click to buy

Brave New Century was the brainchild of co-author, Lisa Lickel. She put out a call on a writer email loop for those interested in writing a story set in 1900 in a city with romance. Lisa, Teena Stewart, Kathy Rouser, and I corresponded. The result is the anthology, Brave New Century.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

In Be The Blessing I have to say that Conrad is my favorite character. I don’t want to give away anything about him. Let’s just say he is a little different and mysterious.

In my story, “Forgiven,” I really like Henry. Henry Smith was my grandfather. I never had the opportunity to meet him, because he died before I was born. I do have this newspaper article about him which is where the whole story was born.

PaulaMoweryWordle

Click to view

How did you name your characters?

For The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing I used a Christian baby name book. I wanted the names of the characters to have a significance as to their personality or importance in the book.

“Forgiven” utilizes my grandparent’s real names as well as the names of people in the newspaper article.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

As with anything and everything I write, I pray readers will enjoy my books because of the impression that is left on them. I hope and pray that they can be encouraged in their Christian walk or maybe encounter a need for a Savoir for the first time.

woman-reading-fragonard

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown

Is anything in the book based on your own life?

Be The Blessing does include some real occurrences from my experience as a pastor’s wife. Some of the events that Addy must endure and go through with church members has happened in my life.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene in Be The Blessing is the moment that Conrad tells Addy that she looks more like Jesus. I crave that!

Oh to be like Jesus!

Oh, to be like Jesus!

Why Christian fiction?

I only read Christian fiction and some nonfiction. I only write Christian literature. First, I feel God has called me to a writing ministry. Second, I desire to communicate Christ through what I write so that others may encounter Him, too. I want to encourage Christians to fulfill what God has planned for their lives.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

All I can add is that God has so blessed me as well as humbled me by allowing me to write for Him. I promised Him long ago that if a book I write only touches one for Christ, that is enough reason to write it.

Find Paula Online:

Blog: www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.

Book reviews and articles: www.christianonlinemagazine.com.

Find her editor bio under “submissions” at www.prismbookgroup.com.

Paula, thanks so much for sharing your books with us today! Have a question for Paula? Please send them to us below!

twitter23sepiasmaller

 

Tweet This: If a book I write touches one for Christ, that is enough reason to write it.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Award-Winning Author, David S. Brody regarding his new release, Powdered Gold

PowderedGold.Cover.Front

I’m excited and honored to introduce you to David S. Brody and his latest release, Powdered Gold. I’ve written about Brody before, and I read three of his books over Christmas break while recovering from surgery. I’m happy to say Powdered Gold: Templars and the Ark of the Covenant kept me as entertained as his two former books in the series, Cabal of the Westford Knight and Thief on the Cross.

BrodyBooks

From his website:

“David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling fiction writer. He served as a Director of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) and is an expert on the subject of pre-Columbian exploration of America. A graduate of Tufts University and Georgetown Law School, he resides in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife, potter and novelist Kimberly Scott, and their two daughters. In his spare time he coaches youth sports and Special Olympics, skis, and plays on adult ice hockey and softball teams.”

DavidPic

I exchanged several of emails with David while reading his books, explaining that I was fascinated with his study of the Templars in North America. I learned tons reading his books. He was very patient with my questions and that impressed me a lot.

Description of Powdered Gold from Amazon’s site:

Cameron Thorne and Amanda Spencer continue their investigation of ancient artifacts which reveal the true, secret history of North America.

Cam and Amanda don’t for a second believe the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a cave in the Arizona desert. But when a militant survivalist leads them to a radioactive replica of the Ark, filled with a mysterious white powder, they begin to wonder if legends of Templar Knights visiting the American Southwest on a secret mission might be true. What is this strange white powder? And is it the key to understanding the true power of both Moses and the sacred Ark of the Covenant?

arizona sunset2

Now for the interview:

[Disclaimer: David S. Brody writes for the secular market and his books may be offensive to some readers of the Christian or Jewish faith. The thing to remember is that these are works of fiction with fictional characters.]

Your characters believe, in your words, that “ancient Jews” and “Christianized Jews” came to Arizona around 800 AD. Do you believe that as well? Why or why not?

My characters find artifacts in Arizona which leads them to this conclusion.  On their face, this is the story the artifacts tell (they contain a narrative, written alternately in Hebrew and Latin, carved into them—the narrative uses various dates circa AD 800).  The artifacts have been analyzed by forensic geologist Scott Wolter, who believes they are authentic.  So it is certainly possible that some group of peoples who spoke Latin and Hebrew found their way to the American southwest many centuries ago.

Karla’s Note: I could not find free use images of these artifacts, but you can see them on David’s website.

I like including dogs in my stories and I noticed that you do, too. Do you have a dog or cat?  

I do have a dog and I grew up with cats.  (SPOILER ALERT:  If I could have one “do-over” in “Cabal of the Westford Knight,” it would be that I don’t let the villains kill the dog!)

jakeandme1

One of Karla’s furry editors, Jake.

How did you get the idea to use Survivalists in Powdered Gold?

There was nothing in particular that prompted me to include a survivalist character in the story, other than I think the survivalist community is a fascinating and colorful subculture of our country.

Your books deny any supernatural explanation for miracles in the Bible. Is this your worldview? Do you only believe in those things that you can explain, touch, see?

I’m not sure that’s a fair summary of my books.  In my books, particularly Thief on the Cross my characters explore and debate the tension and seeming contradictions between “faith” versus “reason.”  I do think many of the so-called “miracles” in the Bible can be explained by historical events.

arkofthecovenant

Do you personally believe that Ark of the Covenant is really just a radioactive power source?

The Ark of the Covenant is a fascinating object.  In addition to carrying the Ten Commandments, it knocks down walls, fells enemies, emits electric-like charges, causes facial burns and even gives the Philistines, enemies of the Israelites, hemorrhoids after the Philistines capture the Ark in battle (after suffering for a few months, the Philistines returned the Ark to the Israelites—see 1 Samuel 5 and 6.)  I believe the Ark contained, or itself was, some kind of power source.

Are you a fan of the TV show, Ancient Aliens?

I’ve never watched it.

aliens

Karla: “I have to admit I’m surprised Brody hasn’t watched it. I think he’d get a good chuckle.”

Do you believe Moses was a huckster as your characters describe him?

Honestly, I struggled over the use of the word “huckster” in the book since Moses is such a revered figure.  But it is the conclusion the characters in the book would have reached based on the evidence in front of them, so I kept it.  Somehow Moses was able to convince the Israelites to follow him into the desert for 40 years based solely on his claim that he had been instructed by God to do so.  That’s a tough sell, no matter what the circumstances.  Then we start to analyze some of Moses’s behavior—he had the golden calf melted down and the gold somehow dissolved and laced into the water, which he forced the Israelites to drink.  What strange behavior, unless he somehow knew the dissolved gold would serve to make the Israelites more malleable and willing to follow his instructions, like some kind of drug.

I note that I am not the first to wonder about Moses, as Sigmund Freud in 1937 wrote a book entitled “Moses and Monotheism” in which Freud theorized that Moses may have been an Egyptian pharaoh.

pharoah

What main message are you trying to convey in this book?

I think the main thing I would like readers to take away from my novels is an understanding that there is a lot of evidence that explorers came to North America before Columbus.  If so, what were their motivations, why were they here?  I believe that religion, not surprisingly, often was a key motivating factor.

twitter11smaller

Tweet This:  Is the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona?

 

 

 

Do you have any questions for Brody? Leave your comments and questions below!