What do I have in common with a breakdancing gorilla?

Did you hear that? That was me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I finally finished four huge papers for my Master’s Degree. I’ll have a few weeks off and then I’ll be back to the grind of writing papers again.

In the meantime, I may or may not have celebrated like this exuberant gorilla. I’ll wait while you watch:

That looks like so much FUN. I want to get right in there with him. Don’t tell me animals don’t have emotions. Look at that joy!

Speaking of fun, I’ve been making myself indulge in some. My husband has figured out how to get the pool water the perfect temperature and I have had wonderful evening swims with the grandchildren and even by myself. Swimming is my favorite.

July 4, 2017 with the grandchildren and granddog! That’s Mr. Himself in his robe. Hee hee.

In other news, my next book launches next week! Stay tuned for some giveaways and spread the word! If you can come to the launch parties, I’d love to see you! Here’s the info:

Official launch day is July 25! 

The twins are so excited. I am trying not to be nervous. But as Mr. Himself said, “You’ve worked hard your whole life for this moment. Enjoy it.”

Okay. Breathe. Breathe.

Until next time: dance like a gorilla! Splash  in a pool! Get out there while you can, kick up your heels and have some FUN!

Please tweet: Get out there and dance like a gorilla!

Testimony Tuesday featuring Amy Clipston

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I’m so excited to have found Amy Clipston!

Amy’s story is profound. And I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. So, grab a cuppa, lean back, and enjoy the show!

Amy’s next book will be out in June!

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And be sure to check out her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

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Tweet this: She saved two lives with one of her kidneys!

Steampunk Hat Phase 2

In which my cat, Spook, looks like an alien cat come to abduct my hat

In which my cat, Spook, looks like an alien cat come to abduct my hat

It’s finished! I wish I had time to model it for you, but I’m way behind packing for the ACFW Conference, so I’ll have to take pictures at the genre dinner and post them for you then. In the meantime, here’s a very short video of Spook checking it out. Of course, anytime I start to video my pets they immediately decide not to cooperate.

The lighting was awful when my son took pics of the hat, so I had to enhance them a bit. They don’t at all capture its essence. Yes, it has an essence. I promise.

The bow is much prettier and doesn't look so oversized in person.

The bow is much prettier and doesn’t look so oversized in person.

 

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If you can’t tell, that’s a bird’s nest on the top with an old key.

Here’s a video. Still doesn’t have the same pizzazz as in person, but you get the idea! Remember, my character is a steampunk biologist (naturalist, but it’s Christian steampunk so I say biologist; it’s complicated).

What do you think? Did I overdo it? Do you like your steampunk more streamlined? Let me know in the comments below!

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Tweet this: Check out this amazing steampunk hat!

What’s on your writing desk, Elaine Stock?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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

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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?

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In the coming weeks, I’ll feature an author’s writing desk/den/cave/lair on my blog. I’m super excited about this! I love peeking into writer’s spaces to see where they tune into their inspiration.

Some spaces are more glamorous than others. And I think it’s fun to see how other people do it.

Where in the world do you write-

As for me, I have a room called an “office,” but right now it’s a storage closet. <sigh> So I’m hoping to be inspired to dig it out again as I feature other authors on my blog.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have already realized how obsessed I am with home office spaces. 

My ultimate dream is to have my own “she-shed” as a writing space. I keep trying to talk Mr. Himself into it, but he’s dragging his feet because he likes having me around. It’s nice to be wanted. Still, I like the idea of hiding. Until that day when he can part with me, I write pretty much like this:

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As you can see, I have a full range of office staff to help me. Fur and skin people are constantly at my service to advise me and help with editing. <cough, cough>

They work long hours, well into the evening, too. (Click the images twice and once again to enlarge and see full photo.)

If you have an office space, writing lair, or desk you’d like to share with my readers, download the guidelines below and contribute! I’ll feature one office space per week. You don’t have to be a writer or published author to share! I can’t wait to see where you go for inspiration.

What’s On Your Desk Blog Guidelines

This image is owned by Karla Akins and cannot be used without permissionTweet this: What’s on your writing desk?

 

Kris Kringle and Kittens


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This is our first Christmas with kittens.

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Spook imitating a lounge lizard. His twin sister looks exactly like him — only she’s smaller and naughtier.

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Hogging my lap so I won’t waste time writing on my laptop.

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Making themselves at home on my granddaughter, Maggie’s, sleeping bag.

Mr. Himself is not very happy about it. He’s worried about broken Christmas ornaments and decorations.

We’ve not put our tree up yet and I keep assuring my neurotic husband it will be fine. Don’t worry. Be happy! And then I sent him this video to cheer him up.

What do you think his reaction was?

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Tweet this: Was it right or wrong to send my husband this video?

 

 


My kindle does the work of 400 camels

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It is said that a Persian Grand Vizier named Abdul Nassam Ismael took his entire 117,000 volume library with him everywhere he went on the backs of 400 camels. And get this–this is the best part–he trained the camels to carry the books in alphabetical order. Can you believe it?

Makes me thankful for my kindle.

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I can’t imagine having that many books or that many camels! Imagine how much it cost to provide food and shelter not only for the camels but the camel handlers, too. Now that’s what I call an investment in knowledge.

I used to have a thousand books (I’ve never owned a camel but I’m certainly open to the idea) and I gave about half of those away. 117,000 books would fill several large rooms from floor to ceiling. Clearly, this was a man of importance and wealth. Books were a lot more expensive in those days than they are now.

I just ordered about seven cookbooks for free last night via my Kindle unlimited plan. Information is so much more available now it’s almost scary.

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One thing’s for certain. There are a lot of camels happy about the invention of the Kindle.

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Oh, and hump day, of course.

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Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a $25 Gift Card! Contest ends Monday!

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Click to enter!

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Tweet this: How do you tote your books ? Camel, Kindle or something else?

 

 

 

Leave me a comment and let me know how you transport your books! For me it’s a Kindle and books on CD in a pink tote bag!

 

 

Family vacation–an exercise in character building

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We were supposed to leave yesterday. Finally, about an hour ago, we squeezed ourselves into the car. All five of us. We’re going to travel 5100 miles.

Together.

In a car.

5100 miles.

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Now, mind you, we all have special needs. Two have autism, one has Alzheimer’s, one has ADD (my husband) and one is riddled with a genetic propensity toward anxiety. (I come from a long line of nervous people.)

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My husband has ADD. I don’t know if you’ve ever ridden in a car driven by someone with ADD.Straight lines are an abstraction. I don’t know how we don’t get pulled over for suspicion of intoxication. Why on earth would God pair a woman with anxiety issues with an ADD man? The only explanation I can think of is that He thinks it’s funny. Especially when my spouse hits those rumble strips on the side of the road when I’m in deep thought/sleep.

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Or when I look up from reading and we’re 2.5 inches from the back of a semi trailer.

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Not to mention the stuff he listens to on the radio.

Oh, Dear Heavenly Father, deliver me.

If it’s not the comedy station singing songs about racoons praising God in church, it’s barber shop quartets. I mean, I don’t mind for ten minutes or so. I love all types of music. But after eight hours I’m ready to strap myself to the top of the car. It’d be much more tolerable, I assure you.

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Mothers take vacations to rest from getting ready for vacations. I’ve done more laundry in the last week than I did all year. And I’m one of those people that has to clean the house before a trip. I mean, what if I die and don’t come back? I can’t leave this earth with people thinking I’m a slob.

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And then there are the dogs and cats. Who will take care of them? Even as I type this I have a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat thinking about how much I’m going to miss them and how much they will miss me. I’m worried about the kittens going feral and the dogs’ hearts being broken. Two weeks is a long time to be away from one another!

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I did, of course, provide for someone to come in and interact with them each day, and to care for the house. My house won’t sit empty (so if you’re planning on robbing me, don’t try it. My dogs will eat you and my house sitters are armed and dangerous). But will those people cuddle the fur kids enough? I wish I had the money for a nanny cam! That way I could see them every day and make sure they aren’t being neglected. Unfortunately my house sitters don’t know how to use skype.

They’re low-tech folks with good aim.

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I did lose it once this morning when people were arguing over which flavor of Pop Tart to put in the trunk and which to put in the backseat. (Don’t worry, the gun was locked up at the time.) And I may have raised my voice a little when people ignored me about helping with chores. (Clean the house, people! Clean the house!)

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Now we’re finally on the road and I’m posting from inside the car. A first for me. I love my phone’s hotspot capabilities! (The bill, not so much.)

I need your help. I’ll be in the car with these characters for at least six to eight days. I need to know: how do you survive family vacations?

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Tweet this: Help! How do you survive family vacations?

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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