Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking Time Out To Say Thank You

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. ~Eckhardt von Hochheim, German theologian, philosopher, and mystic

I’ve often mentioned in this blog the many blessings in my life, and how thankful I am to be so abundantly blessed. So today I want to share with you a little thing I do to remind me to say thank you throughout the day. It’s really quite simple. If you walk into my house, you’ll see Thank You notes of all kinds and colors discreetly propped up in different places. If you look closely you’ll see that they’re not all notes written to me by others. Some of them are, to be sure, but others are blank. The ones sent to me remind me of people I have helped in one way or another. The blank ones I use to remind myself to say Thank You to God for all His help, and the many blessings I have been given.

So if you’re looking for a way to increase your prayer life, here’s something you can try. Just get yourself a box of Thank You notes, and prop or tape them up in the places where you’re most likely to see them. In your house it might be your bathroom mirror, your bedroom nightstand, or even on the ceiling above where you nap or sleep, so you see it when you open your eyes :).

Your entertainment center might be a nice place to put one, or somewhere over the kitchen sink. Maybe even your laundry room, or somewhere you can see it when you fold clothes. You can put one near your computer, both at home and/or at work, or tape it to the top of your laptop. If you don’t work with a computer, I’m sure you can find a place to put one in your workspace, wherever it is. If you’re shy about people seeing it, a simple post it note with the letters TY will do. You’ll know what it means, and chances are no one else will even notice it there.

In your car, there’s the visor or dashboard, or even the trunk. Maybe you can find a place for one in your purse, or gym bag. If you have an exercise bike or treadmill, that’s a great place to put one.

Be creative. I’m sure you can come up with something special. And when you see them, just take a moment to stop, smile, and say Thank You.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking a Break

No post today. My shoulder is acting up again, so I'm taking a break from the keyboard. I'll be spending the day cleaning my office, which is long overdue!

Be blessed,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guest Author, Keena Kincaid

Just a quick bit of housekeeping before we start our interview...the winner of my special birthday drawing of an autographed copy of one of my books, winner's choice, is...Jennifer Mathis! Congratulations, Jennifer!

For a chance to win the same in my regular monthly drawing, just leave a comment here today or on any post in September. Good luck and Happy Fall!

And now...Drum Roll.......Finally, it's the day we've all been looking forward to! Today's guest speaker is historical romance author Keena Kincaid, fellow Rose and Bookspa friend, who graciously shares a bit of her life and her writing philosophies with us, as well as the blurb and an excerpt from Enthralled, her exciting new sequel to Ties That Bind. If you're wondering where my questions came from, most come from the Bio page on Keena's beautiful website, and others from her funny, insightful, and always interesting blog, Typos and All. Welcome, Keena!

Tell us about your Dirty Little Secrets (Workshop).

This workshop focuses on helping authors build three-dimensional characters through the use of their secrets, and then how to use these secrets to propel the plot. My inspiration for the workshop isn't just my own characters, who all seem to have secrets, but also soap operas. I love the twisted, crazy secrets that soap opera heroines and heroes keep--and all the crazy things they do to keep those secrets! I'm giving it right now (September 6 - 30) for Elements RWA. Anyone interested in hosting this workshop, please go to my website for more information.

Give us an example of a mathmatically challenged knight.

Well, from the time my nephews and nieces were toddlers, story time has been one of our favorite activities. They'd gather around, and I'd tell them another installment in the ongoing adventures of the half-faery siblings Alden, Master of the Green Realm, and Freyda, Mistress of the Mirror, and their dragon-lord cousin, Joel (my niece and nephews, of course). Alden can never keep track of the magical arrows in his quiver, and he can't defeat the red wizard until he figures out a basic math problem. It was a way to help my nephew master math.

Tell us more about life to the left of nowhere, and how you incorporate the experience in your books.

I grew up in a small, small farm town and lived all the hallmarks of small town life, i.e. I graduated with most of the kids with whom I went to kindergarten, everyone knew everyone else's business, and whenever I got in trouble at school, at least three people called Mom before I got home that afternoon. There's a type of forced intimacies in small towns that I find very applicable to my 12th-century setting because most of my books take place in crowded castles where everyone knows everyone else's business.

I see you grew up with pigs, cows, brothers, and a half-broke pony named Star. Care to share any sibling stories?

Interesting how you slipped those brothers in there, like they were just another aspect of living on a farm :). Nothing in particular sticks out. Like most brothers and sisters, we argued, but I think we covered for each other more often than we tattled on each other. My mother, in particular, wanted us to be close, and she never encouraged tattling. In fact, we usually got in more trouble for tattling than the one tattled on.

What do you like the best about medieval history?

I'm not sure I can narrow it to one thing or even one sentence. It's a period of change that served as the nursery for much of how we think and what we believe. Most of the our present rituals have roots in this era, yet we know so little of day-to-day life. As a writer, the time period provides a lot of story fodder.

What do you find the most confining when writing about that time period, and how do you overcome that?

The cliches are most confining. Everyone thinks Knights in Shining Armor and Damsels in Distress. But not only was the code of chivalry more like a guideline, it also only applied to noblewomen (if them). If you were a peasant in the field, a knight was the last thing you wanted to see. Additionally, what little we know of medieval women hardly fits the"damsel" motif. There are numerous accounts of women defending castles against siege that defy the stereotype. However, this is what readers know, so it's a balancing act.

Ties that Bind was a finalist for best Paranormal Romance in the 2010 RomCon Reader's Crown Choice Contest. Congratulations! What can you tell us about RomCon?

RomCon was fabulous. I had a great time and met hundreds of readers. And the sessions were fun. The paranormal tea, speed date an author and the murder-mystery game were my favorites.

I see you're an inveterate traveler. Do you travel light or heavy? What tips can you offer to the uninitiated?

I travel light. I did a lot of backpacking in college. When you carry everything you have on your back, you learn how little you really need. I apply the same when traveling. So I only bring essentials--a few changes of clothes and my computer. My best tips: Layers, wear most pieces of clothes more than once, and decide whether your base color is going to black or brown. That way, you only need to take one pair of shoes.

Let's do some word association: I give you four words and you tell me what comes to mind when you read them:

Intrepid--This makes me think of Liza, my heroine from ANAM CARA. She's definitely a woman who keeps moving in her chosen direction regardless ofwhat happens (until she meets the hero, of course).

Spontaneous--My writing process. Yes, I'm a pantser. LOL!

Wanderlust--An incurable affliction that expensive to treat.

Mystical--This would be the druids in my stories. The hero and his family are descended from druids, but as you know, by the 12th century that society was long past. So they have--as Aedan (hero from TIES THAT BIND) assumes--all the fun without any of the responsibility.

What's up next for Keena?

My next book, Enthralled, sequel to Ties that Bind, comes out October 22. The two share an external conflict and villain, but have different lead couples.


To claim her, he must abandon home, duty, and honor-or reveal the secret of her Sidhe heritage and risk losing her forever to dark magic. William of Ravenglas wants only one woman-his foster sister, Ami-but she is promised to another, a fate sealed by his father's recklessness. Resolved to her forfeiture, he forges a dangerous path to bring stability to the house of Ravenglas, balancing the secret demands of the queen against loyalty to the king.

Ami, true sister to Aedan ap Owen the minstrel, refuses her fate. She wants William. But when his kiss awakens her dormant magic, it triggers cascading events that sweep her into the queen's fiendish web and threatens William's life.

Now Ami must learn to control her fey powers or watch William die. But with a mystery lover in his past, even if she succeeds will he truly be hers?


“You would not dance with me earlier.” Ami stilled, surprised by her own blurting.
“You know why.”
William’s vague acknowledgement of what stood between them shivered and stretched through her, sparking hope and dread. He stared at the flames until the light must have blinded him.
“You kissed me,” she whispered, “on the steps, not a month ago. You…”
“I have kissed you many times.”
“Not like that. Not with…” The memory alone nearly erased her ability to think. He’d not kissed her, but practically claimed her. His mouth firm and confident, her body pressed between his and the wall, no inch of him left to her imagination. The kiss had changed her, and if Aedan and Tess hadn’t interrupted them, he could’ve taken her maidenhead on Carlisle’s steps. She would’ve welcomed the loss. “I would not say no,” she whispered.
“You are not free to give me your consent.” William lowered his hands, his fingers fisting at his side. “Nor I am free to accept it. I cannot give you what you wish, Ami,” he said, the pain his in voice as sharp as a shearing blade. “Ever.”
“But you wish it, too.”
“My wishes are as irrelevant as yours.”
“Irrelevant?” She stepped away from the bittersweet warmth of his presence. The heavy pain in her chest was not irrelevant. Nor was the bitter anger boiling in her stomach.
“You are promised to Hugh of Braose.”
“I do not want to wed him, William,” she whispered. “Please do not make me.”
He turned away from her. “I cannot change that or the terms of the marriage contract. Even if I could, I would not. ’Tis for our elevation.”
“Your elevation.”
“The entire family will benefit. That is the whole point of marriage.”
She looked at the spoon in her hand, tempted to rake it across his face, tried to imagine a lifetime without him and failed. “We grew up in a cold home. Do not put me in another one.”
He stepped closer, captured her in the pool of heat that was as much a part of him as the stick up his ass that made turning him midcourse next to impossible. “’Twill be your home. You can make it as bright and warm as you want.”
The spoon bent in her hand. “Not without…”
You. She swallowed the word, tossed away the mangled utensil and set her hand against his chest. The agitated pace of his heart pulsed against her fingers as the tug-of-war between desire and duty held him motionless.
“Please do not do this to me.”
She let her fear rise to her eyes, pushed it through her body, from her skin to his.
“Stop, Ami. I know your tricks.” He lifted her hand from his chest. “And I will not be swayed by them as I was as a boy. I have already sent a note to Papa. I told him you would be brought home, soon.”
“What?” For a moment, she was frozen by disbelief, then fury swept through her like a forest fire. Wood popped in the hearth, and the kitchen brightened. “Brought home?”
Grabbing his chin, she forced his gaze to hers.
“I will not be dismissed, shuffled off like a cow to market. I will not go. Do you hear me? I will not.”
“Ami, you must go back. I leave with the queen.”
“Then I will ask the queen to invite me to court,” Ami said. “She liked me well enough.”
“No,” he whispered in a dagger-sharp voice. “I would leave you at the steps to hell before I would allow you at court.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What I'm Reading...

Short and sweet today. If you only read one book this year, let it be this one! You won’t regret it. Once you do, you’ll realize how normal you are. That alone makes it worth its weight in gold.

Until next time…happy reading!