#Giveaway on Twitter – photography workshop – illuminate

#Giveaway on Twitter – photography workshop – illuminate

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To celebrate #WorldSmileDay on Twitter I’m giving away a FREE spot in my self-care ecourse: illuminate: the art of seeking light

Go here to retweet the link and enter to win!

We explore 6 weeks of themes, slow down, learn to be present and mindful and intentional with our time, and use the creative elements of: photography, writing, and self-care to awaken your creativity.

Taught by an award-winning, published writer, photographer, artist, and teacher.

Good luck and I hope you WIN!! Bonus entries if you follow me on ALL of these: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – BUT you must come back to this post and comment – followed for it to count!

 

an ode to gardening – Bella Grace Magazine – published

An-Ode-to-Gardening

words by Amber Bartek / photo by Brooke Cagle

Imagine a lush garden in your backyard teeming with growth and abundance — full of life. You grow your own fresh ear of corn you can pick right off the stalk, your children can climb up your apple trees and pick juicy, sweet apples right off the tree, and you can pull crisp cucumbers and squash right off the vine for your supper.

There is something about growing my own food and working in the garden, getting my hands deep into the earth — that makes my spirit come alive. My soul awakens when I grow the very food that will nourish me and my family.

> Read the rest of the article over at Bella Grace magazine. {Please share and comment!}

I’m so excited to be a Contributing Writer, Artist, and Photographer at Bella Grace Magazine! It’s a dream-come-true.

I adore this soulful magazine that speaks to the heart and soul about embracing the slow, savoring the simple, and celebrating everyday magic.

P.S. – If you LOVE Bella Grace Magazine – stay tuned. There are some giveaways in the works. More details to follow on my instagram >> @cloud9photographer / @simplelivingwriter and on facebook >> @photosbycloud9 .

Shine Your Light ~ an inspirational interview series ~ Author Beth Wiseman

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{Shine Your Light is a blog series of inspirational interviews with encouraging women, living their passions, sharing their hearts, encouraging others, and following their dreams. I hope it inspires you to Shine Your Light. Because you have a light inside of you that is brighter that you know.}

My very first Shine Your Light Interview is my dear friend and mentor Author Beth Wiseman. Her books are filled with hope, forgiveness, encouragement, and beautiful themes of redemption and faith.

So, without further ado, it is my honor to introduce the lovely Beth Wiseman’s interview. It is my hope that it inspires you to write that book you have hidden in your heart.
Hi Beth! Please tell me a little bit about yourself, and the journey that led to where you are today —
becoming an award-winning, published author of inspirational fiction.

I was born to write, and my first story was to my grandparents when I was about five or six-years-old. It was one of those “on a dark stormy night” kind of stories. Then I wrote off and on for years while raising a family.

Many times, my writing got put on hold. But when you have the ‘bug’…it never goes away. I did alittle freelancing years ago, and then landed a job as a newspaper reporter in Schulenburg for five years.

That was great experience and prepared me for the intense deadlines to come. However, writing fiction has always been where my heart is. When my agent sold my first Amish series in 2007, that was the beginning of a new life for me.

I started writing novels and novellas full-time in2008, and I’ve been riding the wave ever since. I’m contracted into 2015, and I’ll be writing contemporary non-Amish stories and weaving in some Amish novellas as well.

Did you have any valley experiences in your life that led you to your calling; your purpose?

Yep. Right before my first series sold, my son was very ill, and we spent a month at Texas Children’s Hospital with him. I remember dropping to my knees and telling God that I give Him everything Ihave – my life, my dreams, and whatever He needed from me, but I begged Him not to take my son.

I still get teary thinking about it because I know that it was at that moment that the Lord said, “Now, you are ready to work for me.” I was a broken woman. Within a few months, my son made a full recovery. Actually, the doctors had no explanation about a tumor he had that just disappeared.

It was a miracle in every sense of the word, and from there my head was filled with stories that glorify God. I will die before I ever write all the tales that are in my head, lol.

How did that experience shift your perspective in the mountaintop experiences of life?

Daily, I remind myself where I came from, where I’m going, and to stay humble throughout it all. Life can shift on a dime,
and living each day to the fullest is a priority. I thank God every day for His many blessings.

Do you have any writing mentors that you work with?

Surprisingly, no. Until I was published, I was a lonely little girl out in the big world of publishing, trying to make it on my own. I know lots of authors now, but I don’t have a critique partner or anyone who helps me with my manuscripts.

I guess I would have to say that my first editor—Natalie Hanemann—has always been my mentor. She took this first-time author and helped me mold my stories into something that was both entertaining and well-drafted. She taught me about three-dimensional characters and how to give depth to a story.

What is your all-time-most inspiring-absolutely favorite quote?

Miracles happen to those who believe.

Which scripture has made you grow deeper in your walk with Christ. {A fruit bearer, if you will.}

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Which was your favorite character to write in all of your novels? Why?

This would be a toss-up between Jonas, a character in my Daughters of the Promise series, or Martha, a character in my
Land of Canaan series. They are both older characters with snappy personalities. I love writing about people who are up in age. They’ve lived life and have much to offer!

What are the top 5 blogs you read for inspiration?

I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to many blogs due to time constraints and my tight deadlines. I do enjoy Steve Laube’s blog. He’s not my literary agent, but he has a very good blog and is knowledgeable about the industry. Occasionally, I stumble upon other blogs that I read, but as a rule, I don’t usually subscribe.

What 5 steps would you would recommend aspiring writers do today to take action towards
reaching their dreams?

I have always believed that anyone can get published…if they don’t give up. Unfortunately, publishers and agents only accept about one in a thousand manuscripts for representation or publication…so the competition is fierce. You have to have thick skin and learn how to take criticism and apply it.

1. DON’T GIVE UP!
2. Learn the craft of writing. It’s like playing an instrument or anything else that you want to master. It requires dedication. It is a large misconception that if the story is good enough, a publisher will mold it into shape. Nope. Both publishers and agents expect you to have at least a basic understanding of the craft.
3. Write every day if you can. It teaches the discipline that you will need later as a published author, and it keeps your head in the game. Not to mention, the craft will improve the more you write.
4. READ. I’ve heard more than one author say, “I don’t have time to read because I’m writing.” Really?? Writers READ. It helps improve the craft, and it’s always good to read books in the genre you are interested in.
5. Attend conferences if you can. Even if you can only afford to attend one per year. It’s a great place to meet editors and agents, and there are always classes to attend.

What books are on your nightstand right now? What are you reading now?

Right now, I am reading Waking Hours by Lis Wiehl. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’m really enjoying it! Next, I’ll be reading Night Road by Kristin Hannah. Another first time author for me. Both were recommended to me by my editor.

What surprised you most about being a full-time writer?

That it would be the hardest job I’ve ever had. For sure, it’s the most rewarding. But I had no idea about the process that
takes a raw manuscript all the way to publication. It takes an entire team to get the book on the shelf!

How do you develop such dynamic characters? Do you have a process, or is it more
intuitive?

My characters find me. They pop into my head demanding a part in the story. I don’t use an outline, and I usually do a minimum amount of planning.

I like for the story to unfold as I go along. If I’m surprised by a new twist in the story, then my readers will be
too.

Do you write your books on a laptop, or the old-fashioned way–with a pen and notebook?

I write all my books on my laptop. I’ve moved all around my house, changed offices, wrote in my sun room and in my recliner. But I finally have a nice new office that I love.

It does have a small recliner in it! Most of my drafts are done in that chair. When I do edits and revisions, I like to be at my desk where I can spread out.

What is your favorite word?

Smile. Although, I overuse it in every book! I always have to go back and run a search to remove some of the ‘smiles’.

What is your least favorite word?

Definitely. I tend to spell it wrong constantly – Definately.

What is the best book you ever read? Why?

LOL…there is no way for me to answer this question. There are too many to choose from!

What is one way you live a simple life like your Amish characters?

I’ve learned a lot from my Amish friends. The biggest thing for me is that fear and worry are sins. God always has a plan, so there is no point in worrying. And on a lighter note…we are raising pigs, goats, and chickens! Similar to the Amish folks. 🙂

What is next for you on the writing horizon?

I just finished book #6 in the Daughters of the Promise series—Plain Peace. It will release in October.

I’m starting on an Amish novella that will be included in a collection called An Amish Garden. And my latest release, a non-Amish contemporary called The House that Love Built is hitting the shelves right now.

I love writing stories with a small-Texas-town locale. The House that Love Built is based in Smithville, the quaint town where Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed…and at least six or eight other movies.

My next project is something entirely different from anything I’ve done in the past. I can’t say too much about it yet, just that it was inspired by a true story…and it involves a rescue from a third-world country. It’s a story close to my heart.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books? My website is bethwiseman.com. And I spend a lot of time at ‘Fans of Beth Wiseman’ on Facebook.

Thank you Beth!

Thank you!! 🙂

Beth Wiseman, amish fiction, inspirational author

Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land ofCanaan series. All of her books have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List.

She is a recipient of the prestigious Carol Award, two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner.

Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with Harpercollins Christian Publishing into the year 2015.

As a former newspaper reporter, Beth was honored by her peers with eleven journalism awards, including first place news writing for The Texas Press Association. She has been a humor columnist for The 1960 Sun in Houston and published articles in various publications.

However, writing novels is where her heart is. She left her job as a journalist in 2008 to write novels full-time.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas.

Her first non-Amish, contemporary—Need You Now—released in April 2012 and landed on the CBA Bestseller List.

She enjoyed writing the story based in a town near where she lives, and she’s chosen another small Texas town for her next non-Amish contemporary—The House that Love Built—which is based in Smithville, the same quaint town where movies such as Hope Floats and Tree of Life were filmed. This novel will release in April 2013.

In between her contemporaries, she will be writing more Amish novellas.

Beth and her husband are empty-nesters enjoying country life in Texas with two dogs, twocats, five goats, two pigs, fifteen chickens, and a turkey.

When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. She hangs out at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook and loves hearing from readers.

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Brooke has only loved one man, her late husband.

Owen’s rebuilding after a painful divorce.

Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?

If you would like to purchase The House That Love Built, you can purchase it HERE. Or at AMAZON.

{Be sure to watch for the next interview in the Shine Your Light Series. If you liked this post, please SIGN-UP for the MAILING LIST.}