What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary!

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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!

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Mary’s writing lair. Isn’t it cozy?

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!

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Click to buy!

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.

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Click to buy!

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!

Where in the world do you write-

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!

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Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares hers!

Announcing the Brilliant Blog Winner for the Month of June

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June’s pick was a no-brainer. I love this blog so much for so many reasons, it’s hard not to gush about it. What really amazes me, though, is that this author has only been published a short time. In fact, I read her first book and loved it. I was drawn to it because of the title. As a violinist, it was a must read.

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You can read my review of it here.

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Kristy Cambron impresses me on many levels. All  young, successful writers inspire me, but when I come across a young writer like Kristy: fresh, witty, confident, productive, speaker, wife, Mom, creative blogger — I have to gush just a little.

Here’s a bit about Kristy quoted from her website:

“Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel.”

Pretty impressive, eh?

But her career and success aren’t why I chose her blog. I chose it because it’s fresh, visually appealing, and I sense her desire to connect with her readers. One way she does this is through video. As writers, I realize most of us really don’t like being in front of the camera. (I’m trying to learn to not be afraid of it.) Kristy has turned YouTube to her advantage when it comes to promoting her books.

But I don’t feel like she’s pushing her books when I read her blog or watch her videos. I feel like she’s just hanging out. Which is what a really good author blog does. It helps the reader feel connected to the writer. One of her most recent videos does this brilliantly:

And she’s a lefty like me! (That’s the real reason she won this month.) (Just kidding!)

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Yes, I’m signing a contract of some kind! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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Please tweet: Congratulations, Kristy Cambron! Your blog is brilliant!

Do you have a brilliant blog you’d like to nominate? You can do so here. 

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There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer. -J.H. Goldfuss

Can you hear me screaming all the way to your house?

My computer is broken. Hard drive is kaput. No, I didn’t lose data. I have it backed up on Carbonite. (Thank You, Lord!) I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.

I’m very hard on computers. They rarely last me more than four years. And like clockwork, they blow up. I should know better.

I actually did have a premonition, but you know how it is. You just keep babying it until you absolutely have to do something.

I warned you!But you wouldn't listen!

Now I have to decide whether to simply replace the hard drive or get a new computer. Since I’m editing videos now, I need a much more efficient hard drive which means going solid state. But what if the motherboard is the next to go?

If money weren’t an issue, I’d definitely get a new computer. But money is tight and I can’t make the decision lightly  or quickly. In the meantime, I’m using my son’s little netbook. It’s slow. It’s annoying. But it’s better than nothing.

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The thing is, to get a new computer, I need to make sure it’s what I really need now that I’m editing videos. That means more RAM, and an Intel Core i7, not to mention an expensive video card. All these things add up fast. If all I needed were a computer for writing, I wouldn’t be agonizing over the decision so much.

Needless to say, I’m beyond frustrated. Service on computers is notoriously slow, and I have deadlines. It’s been so difficult to get things done. I’ve had to cancel interviews I’ve had scheduled for weeks for my video channel. So disappointing.

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This graphic has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was cool.

But, I’m determined to keep praise on my lips and rest in God’s perfect plan. When I’m on my deathbed, I’m not going to be fretting over this recent turn of events. The important things are still in place: God, faith and family. Work will always be there. And God’s timing is perfect.

What would you do if you were me? Buy a whole new computer?  Or just add a solid state drive to the old one and some more RAM? Weigh in!
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Tweet this: There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer!

 

Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Click to tweet please!

Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

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!

What’s on your writing desk, Karen Wingate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: www.graceonparade.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwingate715

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 Tweet this: Author Karen Wingate shares her cozy office!

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

What’s on your writing desk, Janet Grunst?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet signing my first book contract

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

You can find Janet online here:

http://JanetGrunst.com

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

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/

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Tweet this: Check out Janet’s writing nest!

Where in the world do you write-

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

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

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

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Cynthia T. Toney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Website:  http://www.cynthiattoney.com

Blog:  http://birdfacewendy.wordpress.com

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

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

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

Twitter:  @CynthiaTToney

Where in the world do you write-

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

What’s on your writing desk, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer?

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Today we get to peek into the writing lair of Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, author of We’re not Blended We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide (I love that title!) and several inspirational romances. Diana writes  “fiction about women choosing to challenge their fears even though they want to run from them. By the end of their journey they have become the strong women God intends.” Powerful stuff! She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.

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I asked Diana to share her writing space with us, and she has generously obliged!

Karla: Tell me a little bit about your writing space, Diana.

Diana: When I knew I would be a real writer it was obvious to me I’d need my own space. Sharing a room and computer with 3 teenage boys and a husband was too distractive.

Karla: Boy can I relate to that! I have three adult sons living with me right now. Distraction is an understatement I’d say.

Diana: Yes! So my first real office was born. Not having yet made much money from writing I made do with what I had.

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Karla: Cabinets! I need cabinets! I love cabinets in an office.

Diana: Later, I sold a book and the first thing I did was –write it of course! Then redid my office. I do share the space with my husband but he’s on the other side and is on his computer at night.

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Karla: I love everything about this — the colors, the cozy space you share with your husband. You guys are very tidy. I’m afraid my husband and I would — well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty like this. When do you write?

Diana: I write during the day. I’m fortunate to be able to do that. We are empty nesters—who came up with that term? We aren’t birds! Anyway once a week I get to have my grandson and so the house isn’t completely empty and I love that!
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Karla: Awww, what a cutie! As I type this my granddaughters are here with me. I know what you mean about never having a truly empty house. Love hearing their little voices!

Diana: This is what the office looked like after we did it. No more carpet, the chairs will roll across the wood floor so nice!
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Karla: Love it! Where’d you get the furniture?

Diana: The desktops and drawer units are from IKEA. When we were doing the office we forgot 1 piece and had to drive back to Chicago and get it. That’s an 8 hour road trip!

Karla: Yikes!

Diana: I love that the printer separates my workspace from my husbands as we both like to spread out. Having the cabinet rollout from under the printer is awesome because it gives me extra flat space to spread research books.

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Karla: I love that! I will not covet, I will not covet, I will not covet, I will not covet…

Diana: My desk gets cleaned off between books.
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Karla: We’re supposed to clean off our desk between books? Who knew?

Diana: My husband built this amazing file box that works as a window seat:
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Karla: That is soooo cool! I love window seats. I had an old craftsman house when we lived in Iowa and I miss my window seat with the storage inside. Your husband’s very handy!

Diana: Yes he is! The bookcases are from IKEA.  They have lights installed on top. When it’s a gray day outside I flip them on because we don’t have an overhead light, just task lighting.
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Diana: I have a lot of help while writing:

Oliver in cabinet

Oliver

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Wendell

Karla: Awww, how cute! I have furry editors, too. Can’t do it without them!

Diana: Oliver gets his own rolling chair next to mine!

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Oliver, Editor In Chief

Diana: I use this wire photo holder to hold the layers I need to put in a book (the layers come from the book Inside Out by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauwk. That is one book every writer should have.

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Karla: I agree. I have that book. Excellent resource. And what a clever way to visualize your story. I may have to steal this idea. Love it! :::goes to Amazon to look up wire picture thingies:::

Diana: My current new release is Mind of Her Own. Tyndale first released it as an ebook and this year brought it out in paperback. I’m excited to hold it in my hands.

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Kindle edition is $1.99 until the end of January! Click to buy!

Karla: Squeee! I love having my books in print. And I must say, that book has an amazing cover. Makes you want to dig right in! How long do you stay at your desk?

Diana: I spend most of my day in the office. If I didn’t have cats that wanted out I think I would forget to get out of my chair!

Karla: With a lovely office such as yours, I can see why! Still, no matter how pretty and user-friendly an office is, writing has to get done in it, and you do it very well.  Readers, be sure to check out Diana’s books:  A Mind of Her Own, A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee and We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed, a Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.

And Sign up for her newsletter to read the first chapter of Mind of Her Own FREE!

More ways to stay in touch with Diana:

Website/blog:  http://www.dianabrandmeyer.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dianalesirebrandmeyerauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianaBrandmeyer/status/587625355088793602

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/pencildancer/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dianabrandmeyer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DianaLesireBrandmeyer

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Tweet this: Check out Diana Brandmeyer’s IKEA office makeover!

So tell me, readers. what do like best about Diana’s office? I can’t decide between the cabinets, the window seats or the under-the-printer pull-out file! Of course, the kitties are a given. Meow!

Where in the world do you write-

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

Time to write!

So teach us to number our days,that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (2)

I’m blogging over at Hoosier Ink today! Please check out my words of encouragement there! 

Stay tuned for an announcement this week. If you’re a blogger, you’ll definitely want to check back!

Happy New Year, friends!

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