29 July, 2010

My books of 2010

This is all the books I have bought so far this year through discount stores, library book sales, and even Goodwill. Not to mention a few things from Books-a-Million. (Love that store) I love my books and I have already started to read some of them. I think I'm reading 3 or 4 at once. I know I'm silly that way! :-P

Take Care,
Kenzie

28 July, 2010

Your view/My view?

How many times in the course of writing history has the author taken life experiences and/or people in his/her life and wrote it into the current novel he/she is writing? Countless! I know this from experience; I am one of those authors who have taken life experiences and based characters (or character’s traits) on people I know. I often tell people “Be careful, you may end up in my novel…” However sometimes when the writer actually incorporates people around him/her (including myself, which is why I warn people) when the character is depicted doing something wrong or not exactly like them, it really aggravates that certain person and in return they lash out on the writer.

Whenever I begin a novel, I try my best to depict the character how I see them, how I picture them, and what their traits or flaws are. I make sure my characters aren’t perfect and often they make mistakes and sometimes it injures the fellow characters in the novel. Then over a course of time as I write and change and add plots as well as characters, they sort of evolve into something I never pictured, sometimes good, sometimes bad. However, it’s always what I feel is best for the novel and whatever the certain character turns out to be a villain or hero(ine) know that is NOT how I see the person I based my character on. I’m never sure how the book will end and I ask that you take into account that I am writing fiction. Which means the book (although is historical fiction) is not at all real. Every character, setting, era, plot, etc… I chose or created through my own imagination.

Like I have said, I never know how a plot is going to end up being like when I finally am able to finish it. I always write out a plot outline so I have some guidance, but then I think “Hey it would be neat if I added…” and thus my book slowly evolves into something I never saw coming. Yet in the end I am always very satisfied with the finished project.

I am curious on your thoughts. Has anyone ever used your name, some character traits of yours (good or bad), something from your life, etc… that you didn’t turn out how you thought it would. How did that make you feel?  Did you enjoy the book? Are you still friends with that writer? I welcome your thoughts and any discussions. I hope to revisit this topic later on.

27 July, 2010

Once Upon "A Lady"

For almost 200 years Miss Jane Austen has captivated the world. Why is it? She was not rich, had no title, and never even married. Yet, people love her work. I was introduced to Jane as a young girl of thirteen. I became enamoured with her style technique and her comedic situations. Not to mention that Jane’s heroines always get the guy in the end.
But why have men and women for generations fell in love with her and her work?
Because we can connect with the characters, who are not perfect and regularly mess up. Just take Emma Woodhouse for an instance, she ‘thought’ she matched her governess with a widower and the idea was planted in her head that she should continue. Her match-making resulted in almost losing her best friend and the man she truly loved. Then there is Elizabeth Bennet, who was very much blinded by prejudice to see Wickham for his true colors. Or Catherine Norland’s vivid imagination got her into trouble numerous times.
Ladies whether you want to admit it or not we all want a man who once he loves you, his feelings are not persuaded. Such as Mr. Darcy or Capt. Wentworth, when they fell in love, nothing could change their mind. Yes, ladies there are men out there who do love and they love deeply… and forever!
Jane never knew what her legacy was to be. She had no idea that she would become the best author in English literature, possibly in the world. Jane never married, but loved deeply. She was a hopeless romantic to the core. Her characters were not fiction, they are real, they are average people. Who doesn’t have a little Marianne Dashwood in them or maybe you have a little bit more of Jane Bennet in you. Whoever it is, you can connect, you can relate to their circumstances. Because no matter the time period men and women still encounter financial hardships, losing loved ones, and family who drive you crazy!
Jane’s legacy has also inspired many who dream of being a writer, such as myself. Whenever I think, I will never make a difference in the world. I try to think, Jane never expected to still be entertaining audiences for almost 200 years. Jane has taught me to never underestimate myself, that although I may be young I can someday make a difference. No I don’t expect my own work to be as brilliant as hers, but if my work changes the life of one person. I have changed the world.
I have no doubt 200 years from now, Jane’s work will still be captivating people around the world. She is timeless and though she never imagined her work to make this much of an impact on the lives of so many, it has and will continue to do so.

21 July, 2010

What am I doing?

I have been writing for almost ten years and I can see how God has developed and shaped me into the writer he wants me to be. I have a great imagination, another thing God has blessed me with and I always figured I would get published in the Christian market as soon as I could.

Why?

What good would that do? I’m not here to evangelize to Christians, I’m here to evangelize to the people who don’t know Christ, isn’t that what Christ-followers are supposed to do?

So many in the Christian market sugar coat how life is like and all the heroes/heroines are spotless. I mean when I read a good WWII novel I know there will be nothing harmful in there, why? WWII/the Holocaust brought out the worst and the best in humanity. Why not portray it as it really was. Christians make mistakes and they aren’t perfect little angels. We mess up and we have our good days and our bad days. We are human, the only thing that is different between a believer and a non-believer is that Christ is their Savior.

We struggle with everyday things like finances and anger. The hardest choice a person will ever make is to either choose or reject Christ. In my case I chose Christ. I hope others will too. But how can I expect others to want to accept Christ if they think we’re perfect little holier than thou angels? When we are polar opposites!

So I have been contemplating on whether or not I should even try to publish my work through the Christian market, when they act like the hot topics don’t exist they’ll just disappear! I live in a little place called reality, no I am not of the world, I just live in it, but I know the Christian life isn’t always sunshine and smiles, it’s tough! I’m not saying people shouldn’t get published in the Christian market if they feel called to do so. But Christians shouldn’t begrudge me thinking about getting published in the secular market.

14 July, 2010

Rosie the Reviewer {Candle in the Darkness}

There is always that special book that leaves its mark on you and sometimes makes you want to make a difference, or even reveals a calling from God that you didn’t see before. So many books have left their “fingerprint” on me and so many of them inspire my own work. It was recently that a book I read had so many parallels to my own novel I started over a year ago. I want to share with you some books and authors who have left their fingerprints on me; it may take a while for me to mention all of them, starting with…

Lynn Austin’s Candle in the Darkness, the heroine Caroline Fletcher is not annoyingly feisty or a shy little weakling. The way Lynn wrote Caroline’s character was outstanding. Her writing style is impeccable and truly unique. Caroline is a happy medium of a mild mannered Southern woman. Yet she is a brave and courageous heroine. One people can sympathize with her when she is in total desperation or cheer with her when she takes her stand against the evils of slavery and when she does whatever it takes to keep her family together.

Candle in the Darkness is the first in the Refiner’s Fire series and in my opinion (I’m a little biased since it’s my favorite) the best. The book doesn’t sugar coat how many Christians in the deep South had such prejudice against blacks and how so many of them excepted it. Lynn Austin knows how to touch a person deeply and I swear by the end of every one of her novels, I’m in tears. Sometimes even more than once. Candle in the Darkness is very edgy and Lynn Austin the queen of edgy historical fiction. And Caroline is a heroine people will love. Especially since Candle in the Darkness has won the Christy Award.

I hope the next time you go to the book store you pick up a copy of Lynn Austin’s Candle in the Darkness you will definitely not be disappointed.

09 July, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY WENGERD

Ashley Wengerd is an aspiring author of Children’s and Young Adult fiction in the Christian market. She currently babysits and cares for children and runs a blog on xanga (HER SITEshe is also on Facebook.



Ashley, can you tell me a little about how you became interested in writing. Or when you felt God calling you to write for him?
I was homeschooled up until 8th grade, and in grade 5 or 6 (maybe 7th) I had to write a story for Language Arts. That sort of sparked my interest, and one summer (this was also during our homeschool years) I had an idea for a story, but it never got off the ground. When I went to public school, I always enjoyed English class and Effective Writing; I always got good grades in those classes, but for some reason never made the connection that this was what I was good at and what I enjoyed doing as well. When I graduated from high school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had written poems and jokes as a little girl and after high school had written some short stories, but it wasn't until about a year or two after I graduated that I realized this was what I wanted to do. I enjoyed it, I was good at it, so I figured I may as well do this for a living!



Who is your favorite author and how have they inspired you in your own work?
I really like Karen Kingsbury and also Melody Carlson. I like Karen because she writes good, inspirational stories that always have a happy ending. I love happy endings! I like Melody because she writes about real-life issues that teens (especially teen girls) face, like homosexuality, self-injury, trying to fit in, etc. They have both inspired me in that I want to write about issues that people face today, not necessarily teens, but I also want my stories to be inspirational, encouraging, messages of hope.



What are some series that you hope to write in the future, besides Children’s/Young Adult Fiction, what would be the genres?
That's a tough one! Maybe the same genres but with some mystery and/or romance added in. I have thought about doing devotionals for adults, and also just adult books too.


Are you writing anything at the present? If so, would you be willing to share a little bit about it?
I am not currently writing anything at the present, though I do have some ideas swirling around in my head, one of which is an idea for a children's book. It's about how when we go to a friends house, our friend is so excited to see us, they greet us warmly at the door, they make sure we are comfortable and make sure we have a good time. Well, the point of that is that Jesus is our friend, and when we get to Heaven, He'll be so excited to see us, He'll greet us warmly by the Pearly Gates, and He's made sure that Heaven is a perfect place where there'll be no sorrow, crying, or pain. We'll be well-cared for and taken care of, and have a grand time!


What genre is your favorite to write/read: historical, romance, suspense, modern day, fantasy, etc…
I love reading modern-day stuff, but I also enjoy some suspense/mystery and romance. I have read some historical stuff in the past that I really liked. As for writing, I like to write modern-day things as well, but I like to add romance and suspense in them too.



What is your writing style like and which authors to do you read to help your skill?
My writing style is very casual and modern, and as for authors; again, I really like Karen Kingsbury and Melody Carlson. If it's interesting, I'll read pretty much any book, but my favorites are modern-day stories, and that's usually what I like to write.



Is there someone you can go to as a good sound board to bounce ideas off of?
One of my cousins also likes to write, and we often share ideas and advice with each other.


Outside of writing can you tell the readers what other hobbies you have and what keeps your life busy?
I enjoy reading, obviously, as well as baking and cooking, watching TV & movies, listening to music, going on walks, and hanging out with my family and friends! Work pretty much keeps me busy, as well as church and youth group stuff.


How has deciding to write for God as a career impacted your life? Are people supportive/critical?
Well, I don't have a career in writing yet, so I can't say that it's actually impacted my life. Most people are very supportive and encouraging, which helps a lot.


Can you give any last words encouraging other aspiring authors?
Just keep trying, don't give up, and especially don't worry about what other people think of you or your stories! (I'm working on the last part for myself, lol.) If you have a story in your heart/mind, go ahead and write it!  If you feel too self-conscious about showing it to someone, again, don't worry about what people will think of it, but if you really aren't ready to show anyone, then keep it to yourself. It's kind of nice writing something just for your eyes only. :)









Sean MacKenzie: Is the author of three blogs (Blogspot, Shoutlife, and ECFL) and is also a member of Facebook. She herself is writing a piece of fiction herself set in heart of Nazi Germany as well as many other pieces she hopes to publish one in particular is about the US Airborne. Don't forget to follow her if you wish for further updates.

08 July, 2010

THE NEXT INTERVIEW

The next interview in my aspiring author interview series is.....


Miss Ashley Wengerd

I will try and post the interview tomorrow or Monday. Have a blessed day!

06 July, 2010

Rosie the Reviewer {Refiner’s Fire Series}

5 stars *****

Candle in the Darkness:
The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised in a culture that believes slavery is God-ordained and biblically acceptable. But upon awakening to the cruelty and injustice it encompasses, Caroline's eyes are opened for the first time to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. Her journey of maturity and faith will draw her into the abolitionist movement, where she is confronted with the risks and sacrifices her beliefs entail.

Fire By Night:
Book 2 of Refiner's Fire. The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses--and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.

 
A Light to my Path:
Refiner's Fire book 3 Kitty, a house slave, always figured it was easiest to do what she'd always done--obey Missy and follow orders. But when word arrives that the Yankees are coming, Kitty is faced with a decision: will she continue to follow the bidding of her owners, or will she embrace this chance for freedom? Never allowed to have ideas of her own, Kitty is overwhelmed by the magnitude of her decision. Yet it is her hope to find the "happy ever after" ending to her life--and to follow Grady, whom she loves--that is the driving force behind her choice. Where will it lead her?

Author:
Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places was made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near in Illinois.
 
My Thoughts:
I have been waiting for the time to finish this series for years. I read the second book Fire By Night first and wish I hadn’t. I like to read a series in order and this time I broke tradition. The first book Candle in the Darkness is from the eyes of Caroline Fletcher and her love for her family of all colors. She grew up in the slave state of Virginia and unlike others, she loved the slaves and wished they could be free. I liked how Ms. Austin brought out the hypocrisy of the North in this book, that although they didn’t own slaves they still segregated the blacks from the whites. Fire by Night is told from two view points, Julia Hoffmann and Phoebe Bigelow. Julia wants nothing more than to marry the pastor and will do whatever it takes, even becoming a nurse. In the meantime she learns to love herself the way God does and sees what He wants for her life. Phoebe’s brothers went off to fight in the war for the Union from West Virginia; she hates how she is awkward and wants to make a difference. She decides to enlist as well and serves in the Union Army. In A Light to my Path Grady Fletcher was ripped away from his loving family as a child and has dealt with years of growing hate for the white people and waits for the day when he can escape and be a free man. Anna “Kitty” Goodman is eager to please her Missy and just wishes that Grady would one day love her the way she loves him, but when he escapes, she thinks she’ll never see him again.

I absolutely loved this series and although it was published a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to finish it. Lynn Austin is a one of a kind author that truly knows how to portray the bleak days of the American Civil War in an amazing way. This series is edgy and blunt, it doesn’t hold back or sugar coat that the South wanted the right to keep slaves and the North were at times hypocrites segregating the blacks. Only Lynn Austin could have written this series, a moving and wonderful series and each book will make you feel the grief, the anger, and understand the tears of each character. I highly recommend this series to everyone.

03 July, 2010

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happyness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long
train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these

States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
   John Hancock
Maryland:
   Samuel Chase
   William Paca
   Thomas Stone
   Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
   George Wythe
   Richard Henry Lee
   Thomas Jefferson
   Benjamin Harrison
   Thomas Nelson, Jr.
   Francis Lightfoot Lee
   Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
Delaware:
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
Massachusetts:
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
Connecticut:
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton