Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Spring Break: Writing Edition

Hey all!

This past week my family took a spring-break visit to my home state to see friends and visit my grandmother. Sadly, I do not have any pictures to share because I forgot to pack my camera charger and it died on me before I could even arrive. Nor did I snag any pictures with my phone.

Anyway, the best part about these excursion trips is the memories you make and the experience you gain from spending hours in the car. It's great for writing novels in which your main character is in the car a lot. :-) Over the years my family has exercised several different methods of staying entertained for the 16 hour drive. We've played travel Yahtzee and travel bingo. We've listened to audio books and tons of radio. Some of us sleep and some of us read.

But when it comes down to writing boring travel scenes, you can't have everyone but the driver and MC sleeping. You have to carry the scene in a way that doesn't put your reader to sleep. One of the devices I like to use is humor. It lifts the mood and keeps not only me engaged while I write but allows for some downtime between the reader and the characters. It's a time for the reader to get to know the characters when they aren't under pressure, just some things to keep in mind.

To conclude this random post, I had a great vacation and got to see friends I haven't in ages. :) Hopefully I'll get the blog back on its feet over the weekend. Thanks for reading!!


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Hey all! I am so sorry for all the spontaneous posting. My life has hit warp speed for the past week but it should be slowing down after this coming week. Thanks for sticking with me! Anyway, a few weeks ago an old writing friend of mine, Sarah F. tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop over at her blog Inklined. So here I am today presenting you a little peek into my current work-in-progress novel. :-)

What is the working title of your book?: The Patriot Republic

Where did the idea come from for the book?
: Strangely enough, the idea struck me when we made our great big move back in June '12. Mom and I had been listening to the radio and something the talk show host said triggered it.

Kelsey (via)
What genre does your book fall under?: Futuristic Military Sci-Fi. It isn't everyday you hear that now is it?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?: Oh, jeepers. I have about six characters all with names and faces but I'll just share my main character, Kelsey's actress, Amanda Seyfried.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?: When America's Republic crumbles into a dictatorship, the Patriots fight back.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?: I hope to have an agency. :)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?: Uhh... still working on it actually. Almost finished though.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?: Well I would say The Hunger Games, but I think Jill Williamson's upcoming release Captives is more similar, in a sense and that's going by synopsis alone.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?: Though it sounds cliched, God did. Without His push I don't think I could have made it past the plotting stage.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?: Well, I can't speak for all the different kinds of readers out there but for me, the mystery and suspense. Will the Patriots restore the Republic?

I know I'm supposed to tag people but I've never been a big tagger and I've seen this waving through all my writing friend's blogs. So, if you haven't done this yet consider yourself tagged. ;) Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna White

Ring of Secrets (The Culper Ring Series)My Review:
An excellent revolutionary romance!

I have not read many novels set in this era, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed this one in particular. This being the first novel by Roseanna that I've read, I'm exceptionally pleased! It was really easy to lose myself into the world of Winter and Bennet and turn page after page.

Winter is a young woman, who on purpose hides her true wit from the world. She pretends to be someone completely different in society, and it's wearing on her. She is only her true self when with Freeman, a fatherly figure, and Robbie, a childhood friend. Watching her slowly tear down her internal walls and open up to Bennet evoked pride in me and helped me adore her character all the more.

Right off the bat, it isn't clear which man we should root for in winning Winter's affections, at least, it wasn't to me at first. I won't spoil whom won out, but I must say my own heart was torn for half the book. Miss White's great use of setting terminology, character development, mystery, and twists make this book a great read. :-)

I was given a complimentary review copy in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

Back Cover (from Harvest House):
Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she's caught, if she's hung for espionage…well, she won't be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.

Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can’t be ignored.

Both believers…and both committed to a separate cause. Will their faith in God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Back Cover:
At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them. 

Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying. 

Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?

My Review:
Firefly IslandThis is a release from Wingate you won't want to miss!

Merely pages into Firefly Island I discovered my likeness to Miss Wingate's writing style. It has made me wonder why I haven't read anything by her before and how that will have to change. This story is what I would describe as a contemporary romance with a touch of humor and mystery woven in.

Mallory's head is a fun place to be in. She has such a fun personality and outlook on life that made it hard to set the book down. Though she's very practical in a lot of ways she still takes many a leap of faith. While slowly adjusting into her new role as a stay-at-home mom, she does ponder some deep questions about God. It just saddened me that He wasn't as involved in the story as He could have been.

Miss Wingate has done an excellent job with Firefly Island. She accomplished writing a great lead character that we can get to know and relate to. And she also brings Moses Lake to life before our eyes. I really felt that small-town closeness. :-) If you like contemporary romance novels with some mystery, this is for you!

I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Interview with Mesu Andrews!

Hey all! Today I got the chance to interview Mesu Andrews, author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love's Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel! :-D

Welcome, Mesu, to Writings of Rosie! Tell us about yourself, for those who don’t know.

I’ve always called myself a “spiritual mutt” because of my variegated theological background. My mom is Charismatic; Dad was Quaker; grandparents Pilgrim Holiness turned Nazarene and then Wesleyan. Whew! Heated dinner debates all my life! I turned my back on that confusing God and was an alcoholic by age nineteen, when an old high school friend introduced me to a personal relationship with Jesus. I married that friend, and we’ve raised two daughters, who are now married and have given us four adorable grandchildren. As a teenager, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom. My teachers were appalled that their 4.0 valedictorian would “settle” for such a mundane dream, but I’ve worked part-time jobs—mostly as an optometric or ophthalmic technician—while our girls were growing up. My passion became studying God’s Word and teaching Bible studies and women’s groups. When my health limited my travel, I began writing. That seems to be where the Lord has opened doors, so I’m walking through them! It’s a joy and privilege—and a new adventure with each new book I research and write. My hubby is a college professor, and we’re entering those “old fart” years, when we get to sit in front of a fire together with our Rottweiler-pitbull, Bouzer, and enjoy quiet evenings—when I’m not on deadline, that is.

Wow, what a testimony! It's amazing what God has done and is doing in your life. How were you inspired to write Hosea and Gomer’s story?

Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love, was the first Christian fiction I ever read, and it’s still my favorite. For those of your readers not familiar with her novel, it’s the story of Hosea and Gomer, but it’s set in the 1850’s Gold Rush. I wanted to tell the story of Hosea and Gomer in the true biblical setting. So much fascinated me about the circumstances surrounding their relationship. Neither Gomer, nor her father Diblaim, is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, so why did God choose her for Hosea? The prophets have always confused me. I read some of those Old Testament prophecies and scratch my head, thinking…huh? I can’t stand it! I NEED to understand God’s Word! It’s a compulsion. So, I dig in and find out which other prophets were alive at the same time. What nations were warring with Israel? What was trade like, and what other challenges nudged Israel toward idolatry? The people in Scripture were flesh and blood like you and me. They made choices based on fear, jealousy, joy, pride, etc. When I discover the context of the folks that wrote the Scripture, that lived in that time period, I find the Bible much more relevant in my own life. When I did the research on Hosea and Gomer, I was inspired to write their story because I AM A BROKEN VESSEL.

Well let me just say, I really appreciate your books. You bring the Bible to life and bring up questions in me that I eagerly study in the Word. :-) Is there anything unique or quirky that you do while you write?

I drink a whole lot of coffee with creamer! Is that quirky? Actually, I don’t know if this is quirky, but it’s a technique I learned from expert, Jeff Gerke, at a writers’ conference. I try to give all my main characters a personality type, a primary love language, an annoying habit, etc. before I begin writing the manuscript. I search for a picture ( or google images) that closely resembles how my character looks in my imagination, and then I refer to that photo/character qualities throughout the book as I write their descriptions and dialogue. It helps keep the characters sharp, distinct, and unique.

I do that for my own stories, it really is helpful! Where is your favorite place to write?

Don’t tell my chiropractor, but I love to write in my “pac-man” chair. My son-in-love gave the chair that name because the pattern of the upholstery looks like the path of the pac-man video game. I know I’m supposed to sit in an ergonomically correct office chair with my shoulders back and feet flat on the floor—but seriously… I sometimes write 12-18 hours a day. I want to sit in front of my nice, warm fireplace with my dog beside me. I want to sit in my recliner, laptop in one hand, coffee in the other, listening to the rain pitter-patter on the sliding glass door. Doesn’t that sound like a little slice of heaven? Ahhhhhh… It is for me.

It does! Oh, and don't worry, your secret's safe with me! Lastly, where can readers find you on the web?

Please stop by my website and order free bookmarks, or download group discussion or Bible study questions for all three of my books:

Or visit me on Facebook: Mesu Andrews

Twitter: MesuAndrews

Pinterest: MesuAndrews

Blog posts on Fridays (inside scoop on characters, plots, and new releases!):

Thanks again for stopping by! :-)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews (Revell Blog Tour)

Back Cover:
While unfaithful Israel breaks God’s heart, Gomer’s broken spirit tests Hosea’s faith—an epic journey of intimacy, rejection, and betrayal

Deserted by those who love her and betrayed by the gods she once worshiped, Gomer lives a bitter existence…until one day her childhood friend reappears—Hosea. But is it too late for Gomer? Is her heart too broken to capture even a drop of love? While unfaithful Israel breaks God’s heart, Gomer’s broken spirit tests Hosea’s faith. Can the two find faith in Yahweh’s power to love?

My Review:
A fantastic, heartbreaking, fictional account of Hosea and Gomer's story!

Cover ArtMesu Andrews does it again in Love in a Broken Vessel! Having studied the book of Hosea late last year, I was so excited for Mesu's latest! I just adore how she weaves scripture into the story seamlessly. She does not disappoint and I can honestly say I really liked this book. :-)

Gomer is an emotionally broken girl. Her father sold her to a brothel at the young age of twelve and she has never known a love like Yahweh's for his people. Her character and personality felt real on the page. Her internal struggles, her tangled heart, and feelings of abandonment make me pity her. Watching her change throughout the novel was both heart-wrenching and encouraging. She certainly has a few ups and downs.

Hosea has been called to represent Yahweh's love for prostitute Israel, so the Lord sends him to Samaria to marry a harlot. He never expected the harlot he meets to be his childhood friend, Gomer. Reluctantly, she marries him. Hosea's care and love for Gomer goes beyond what he could ever imagine. Through this marriage he finally understands how Yahweh aches for His people to return to Him. It's so powerful to read.

If you like Biblical fiction then this one is for you. I highly recommend this book! ;-)

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Author Mesu AndrewsAbout Mesu:
Mesu Andrews is the author of Love Amid the Ashes and Love's Sacred Song. She is an active speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word, Andrews brings the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

Psst! Check back on Friday for an interview with Mesu! ;-) 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: The Bridesmaid by Beverly Lewis

Back Cover (from Amazon):
Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amishwoman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare.

Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amishman who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?
My Review:
The Bridesmaid (Home to Hickory Hollow, #2)A sweet Amish tale!

After reading The Fiddler a few months back, I was eager to read Joanna's story. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Always a bridesmaid never a bride." Sadly, this saying appears true for Joanna and her sister, Cora Jane, won't let her forget it.

Joanna has such a sweet spirit and kind heart. I think I like her better than I did Amelia in the first book. Though Cora Jane, did some cruel things to her, I loved how Joanna brushed herself off and forgave. That is not an easy thing to do so I applaud her for that.

Eben, Joanna's beau, is faced with a lot of obstacles and I liked how he handled them with a level head, though his heart ached. He's an honorable man, strong in his faith. And best of all, he's a great match for Joanna.

For a girl who isn't an avid reader of Amish fiction, this book is very much to my liking. Beverly Lewis is an excellent author and I can't help but adore her characters.

I checked this book out at my local library, no review required. All opinions stated are my own.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell (Revell Blog Tour)

Back Cover (from Revell):
Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are the cat or the mouse.

Lady CĂ©line Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need-or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.

When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell.

Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, what then will he do? 

My Review:
A mysterious regency romance!

Moonlight MasqueradeThe title very well suits this novel, and not just literally. We are taken back through time to 1813 London with Napoleon Bonaparte at large in France. I confess, I'm very partial to Julie Klassen's regency novels so I set my expectations high and for the most part Miss Axtell came through. :-)

On the very first page I was intrigued and drawn to have my questions answered. Rees is a great gentleman with a strong faith in God and a love for his country. When he's sent on assignment from the Foreign Office to spy on Lady Wexham he's ready to ferret her out. What he didn't expect was for her to be so... charming.

The writing is well done. The setting shows Miss Axtell did her research. And her characters are lovable, except perhaps Valentine... but that's okay. Hehehe! Near the closing of the book it appeared Miss Axtell was building an epic end to the book. However it did not go as I thought it would and seemed to drag out.

To conclude, I did enjoy Moonlight Masquerade and look forward to what Miss Axtell comes out with in the future. If you're a fan of a light mystery or of regency era novels this book may be for you.

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About Ruth (from Revell):
Ruth Axtell is the author of thirteen novels, including Wild Rose, one of Booklist's Top Ten in Christian Fiction. Currently a resident of Downeast Maine, Axtell has lived in the Canary Islands, Miami, and the Netherlands.