Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blood Stains & Civil War? Interview with S. Dionne Moore

When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Elizabeth "Beth" Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named "Joe", it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.

Her mother's mysterious good-bye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her.

Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt's message to its greatest test--but can betrayal be forgiven?

Sandra D. Moore resides in the rolling hills of Cumberland Valley, PA – a transplanted city girl and glad of it! She enjoys ferreting out little-known historical details and crafting a story around them.

Her new releases include Promise Brides (3-in-1 historical romances set in PA) of which two stories are ACFW Carol Award Finalists. In May 2013, A Heartbeat Away, Book 7 in Abingdon Press’s Quilts of Love series, released.

Murder on the Ol’ Bunions released from Smashwords as an ebook in March 2012 followed by Polly Dent Loses Grip and for the first time ever, Your Goose is Cooked, the third and final book in the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series.

To learn more about Sandra and her cozy mysteries and historical romances, visit her website here, Twitter or Pinterest

Some other places to connect with Moore:

Ten Questions with Author S. Dionne Moore  

What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
While the Battle of Antietam rages around her, Beth Bumgartner finds precious comfort in her mother’s mysterious farewell present--a stack of quilt blocks. While she sews each block, Beth wonders if there is more to this quilt than memories of home. Hidden in the pattern is a message of faith that will encourage and sustain her through the dark nights to come, nights that will put Beth’s faith to its greatest test yet.
In answer to part two, see below.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
I had been doing some noodling around online, trying to find a unique angle of the Battle of Antietam when I came across stories of General Robert E. Lee’s Special Order 191. I always like for my characters to have or discover a secret or twist and this was one of the twists I wove into Joe’s story.

Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
I write historical fiction because the genre speaks to me, has always spoken to me, on a level that I find immensely satisfying. Yes, I am a detail-oriented person. Yes, I enjoy hours of reading about places and events that occurred decades and centuries ago. But foremost I am a writer, an author, who loves to take truth and weave amongst those threads an element of romance and wonder.

And in the midst of the characters growing and changing, history surrounds them, molds them, and tweaks their perspective on life. It should do the same for us. By examining times past, we can see far more clearly what lay ahead. By walking in the shoes of those who have suffered and triumphed during tough times, we can pluck hope that we, too, can overcome obstacles.

By understanding what the the people of Sharpsburg suffered before, during and after the bloodiest day of battle in history, we can also understand the great resilience of the human spirit when tapped in to the strength of God.

How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research?
If at all possible, I try to go to the place that I am writing about. Sharpsburg was an easy location for me since it is only about 40 minutes away and Burkholder’s Bakery has the best donuts ever. But the history in Sharpsburg, coupled with an almost complete lack of commercialism, is like touching that place in time that was the Battle of Antietam.
Sharpsburg has preserved memories of the battle quite well. Even the house I stayed in had a blood stain on the parlor room floor--a souvenir from the days when the wounded filled every available shelter. It is going to Sharpsburg, seeing the terrain and hearing the stories of the citizens who had to endure the atrocity and its aftermath, that really helped get me in the right mind-set to write A Heartbeat Away.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
Memories of my father--gone these last 20 years. I lost him young, age 23, and never got to really know him as an adult, but his memory, his passion for history, reading and studying, inspire me.
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
Every aspect of being published has surprised me in some small way. The length of time it takes for an editor to make a decision. . .the time it takes from contract to publication date. Learning that each publishing house approaches editing and marketing of their books differently. It’s definitely a learning experience!
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
Learn to finish a manuscript. It took me years of rewriting the same old chapter before I understood that the most important thing about writing is finishing a manuscript. Editors don’t accept a book based on the first few chapters, they want to see the whole thing.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
Ireland has been my favorite place so far. I loved the rolling green hills with rocky outcroppings, the people, the flavor of the towns and the many, many ruins of old castles dotting the countryside. 
What really interested me is that by seeing Ireland, I could totally understand why so many of our townships (Antrim) and cities (Greencastle) were named after cities of the same name in Ireland--someone was reminded of home. We too have rolling hills with rocky outcroppings of limestone.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
I’d love to go to Australia but wouldn’t mind returning to Ireland either. Hmm. . .? Australia wins!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Penning Board 2013-21

The Penning Board
Items of the Week

Movie: “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971) – Angela Landsbury and David Tomlinson
An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical conman search for the missing component to a magic spell useful to the defense of Britain.

This is a childhood favorite and especially appropriate this week since I am in England and will pay a visit to the famous Portobello Road Market, which was immortalized in the catchy song from this movie. (See link for song below.) If you have not seen this classic, it’s a must see.

News: “Forbidden travel destinations you can visit” 

This article caught my eyes because of travel (of course) and for the word, “forbidden.” Hmm…I was not aware there are actual ways to secure travel to forbidden places unless it’s in secret (AKA espionage) or you are the guest of a highly influential person.
What forbidden travel destination would you want to visit? Would you even think of visiting them because they are after all “forbidden” for a reason?
Book: “A Walk with Jane Austen” by Lori Smith

At thirty-three, dealing with a difficult job and a creeping depression, Lori Smith embarked on a life-changing journey following the life and lore of Jane Austen through England.

With humor and spirit, Lori leads readers through landscapes Jane knew and loved–from Bath and Lyme, to London and the Hampshire countryside–and through emotional landscapes in which grace and hope take the place of stagnation and despair. Along the way, Lori explores the small things, both meanness and goodness in relationships, to discover what Austen herself knew: the worth of an ordinary life.

Fantastic book! I read this right before I traveled to England five years ago and I’m about to read it again. A touching story that goes beyond travel and straight to the soul.  

Highly recommended.

For more information about the author click here and about the book click here.

Bible Verse

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

Travel Quote:

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
Song: “Portobello Road” from the film, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

Great song from a great movie. Check it out here and be entertained. :)

I've actually been to Portobelo Road market in London and it is a phenomenal experience. Here are just a few pics from my trip.

For more information about Portobello Road Market, click here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Research and Being There by Author Christine Lindsay

by Award-winning author Christine Lindsay
Being born into Great Britain—Northern Ireland to be precise—naturally the history of British Colonial India fascinates me. I grew up on the block-buster novels by MM Kaye and the British Raj. So when it came time to write my novels, I wanted to follow in MM Kaye’s grand, romantic, adventure epic style but from a Christian viewpoint.
I love a book that is steeped in history, swashbuckling heroism, romance with a capital ‘R’, danger, suspense. I loved books where big things happen. So that’s what I aim to write.
Adding to my fascination of India were the stories my mother told me about my ancestors who served in the British Cavalry during the Raj. So my first fictional hero had to be a Cavalry officer, just home from WW1 and suffering from shell shock.
I did a huge amount of research while writing the multi-award-winning Shadowed in Silk, reading more than 40 books. There were biographies on Gandhi, the Viceroys of the Raj, missionaries, military families, even cookbooks by Englishwomen living in India. That’s how I learned that a favorite treat a British memsahib would give her growing English child was a chapatti spread with marmalade.
In my desire to be historical and culturally correct, I hired an Indian lady in Bangalore with a PhD in literature, to read over Shadowed in Silk. She wrote back saying, she was shocked that I had never been to India because from my writing it seemed I had.
Just goes to show that good research is always the best way to go. Your local library is unbeatable.
However, when I actually got a chance to visit India it was a thrill to see my research come alive.
Being there—feeling the heat, smelling the spices, being with the vibrant Indian people—gave me the strangest feeling that I was living in my own dream, being in my own book.
One of my most treasured memories was taking a six-hour train trip. The missions group I was with wanted to use the ordinary Indian train accommodations. Nothing first class. As I sat on the hard, straight up seat on the train, looking out through open windows, no glass, only bars, I kept feeling as though I were seeing India through the eyes of one of my heroes of yesteryear, Dr. Ida Scudder, a medical missionary. This true-life missionary features in Captured by Moonlight, which I affectionately refer to as my rendition of the famous classic Love in the Time of Cholera.
Never did care for the novel Love in the Time of Cholera, but I sure like the title.
Seeing India, smelling it, feeling it, only made the writing of Book 2 Captured by Moonlight come alive that much easier. I have walked along the very beach in Chennai (what used to be Madras) that my character Laine—a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps—walks along. I’ve seen the bazaars, the cows, flocks of goats, the red dirt, banana and mango groves. It was wonderful.
The final book to my series Twilight of the British Raj will take the reader up to the Partition of India and birthing the new country of Pakistan. Book 3 will be called Veiled at Midnight and will include many characters from the first 2 books, to be released 2014.
You can tell from the title of the series that the theme is the beginning of the end of the 300-year-old British rule of India.
That twilight began with a terrible massacre in the city of Amritsar in 1919. Due to rising political tension within the Indian people, a British general went off half-cocked one day and ordered his troops to shoot into a huge crowd of innocent demonstrators. Somewhere around 400 to 600 people were killed that day in the Jallianwalla Bagh. They are unsure of the actual numbers. This was a terrible blight on England’s history, and stirred the Indian population, especially Gandhi, to work towards Indian independence.

To this day, old-timers in India remember with a shudder that awful event, and how current it is in British mentality as well. Only a few months ago British Prime Minister David Cameron expresses regret at Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The ties between Britain and India are not that long ago. When I visited India in 2010, the flavor of the British Raj could still be seen in many old buildings, especially the train stations in large cities like Mumbai or Chennai. Those train stations were built in Victorian times and reminiscent of stations in England.
As my series on India comes to an end—at least in the writing aspect—I look forward to what is next on my agenda.  
I’m just starting a brand new series set in England during the Edwardian era. This will include my own spiritual and emotional journey—that of relinquishing my first child to adoption. The spiritual theme for that will be the motherly aspect to God’s love in that He never forgets us.
That’s what’s so amazing about God—getting to know Him is the greatest adventure of all.

Christine Lindsay writes historical inspirational novels with strong love stories such as her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine's long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India.

SHADOWED IN SILK is currently the recipient of two awards and a finalist in a third. SiS won the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Christian Historical, and the 2011 Grace Award. In June 2012 SiS became a finalist in the Reader's Favorite Award. Adding to Christine's Irish pride is the fact that her great-grandfather and her grandfather both worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard and one of the ships they built was the Titanic.

An interesting note about the front cover of SiS, is that the model is Christine's daughter, Sarah, whom she relinquished to adoption and was reunited with 20 years later.

The Pacific coast of Canada is Christine's home. It's a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.
For more about Christine, visit her website/blog and connect with her through social media - Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. For more information about Christine's new release, "Captured By Moonlight," click here. See the book trailer here.

Prisoners to their own broken dreams...

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women flee to the tropical south...and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancé is the owner...and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him, and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home? 

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

First place winner of the 2009 ACFW Genesis award for Historical
She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. But his faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NASCAR, military and murder? Interview with Jodie Bailey

With one accusation, Army officer Cassidy Matthews's name, reputation--and life--are on the line. A Special Forces soldier insists that Cassy's Fort Bragg-based unit is smuggling drugs. And the accuser? It's Cassy's handsome, stubborn ex-husband, Major Shane Logan. 
Shane knows Cassy is innocent, which is why he's sure she's being set up to take the fall. Proving it, though, means working together...and trying to ignore the feelings they still share.
The closer they get—to the truth and to each other—the more the danger grows from a ruthless criminal who'll stop at nothing to destroy them both.
Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After fifteen years as a military spouse, she's proud to be a retired military spouse settled in North Carolina with her husband and daughter.
She is the author of the military suspense novels Freefall and Crossfire (coming January 2014), from Love Inspired Suspense, and is a contributor to Edie Melson's devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home.
While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle schoolers to love writing as much as she does (if she's lucky that day and they're actually listening...). Jodie loves to bake, ride the Harley with her husband, and fish the Outer Banks with their daughter. You can find her on the web at or on Facebook or Twitter.
Ten Questions with Author Jodie Bailey
What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
Freefall is my first book. What makes it different? I wanted a heroine who matched the hero’s abilities in every way…but still needed him. The question in my mind was, “What happens when you’ve always been tough, always handled things yourself, and you’re suddenly in a situation where you need help?”
As an Army wife, I also knew I wanted my protagonists to be soldiers and to touch on how constant separation affects relationships, and how God at the center can make those times apart a good thing.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
My agent asked me if I’d ever considered writing suspense and I said no. A couple of days later, I had this picture of a woman coming home, opening her closet door, and finding a man there. The problem?  He was there to help not harm, but the last thing she wanted was his help. The image wouldn’t leave me alone, so I wrote that scene. Then another. And another. Oh, to get visions that clear all of the time!
Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
I can’t change the fact I have hazel eyes. I can’t change the fact I have brown hair. I can’t change the fact that God made me a writer. Honestly, I don’t know what else I would do.
Even when I wasn’t writing “for real,” I was constantly writing. It’s impossible to stop!  I wander around like I’ve lost something when I’m not writing, and nothing else gets down, because I feel like there’s something else I should be doing. :)
How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?
I once read a popular CBA author’s description of my favorite place on earth, and she got one major, major detail wrong that let me know she’d never been there and had probably never even bothered to look at a picture either. I never read another one of her books. That’s something I don’t ever want to do, insult a place someone loves by getting it wrong.
I try to set books in places I’ve been. If not, I visit. Freefall is set on the military base near where I grew up. Crossfire, which is coming out in January, is on a military base where we once lived. I have two unpublished books that take place in NASCAR, so we took a long weekend and went to Mooresville, NC to visit the race shops. I want the details to be right. 
Probably my most memorable experience was researching the unpublished NASCAR book. I emailed a few race shops to ask questions, and the only one to answer was one of the biggest dogs out there. I nearly fell over. 
I exchanged a few emails with their Director of Communications and then, one day, he said, “Hey, come down to Atlanta and I’ll let you shadow one of our PR people for the day.” I wound up all over the “behind the scenes” of NASCAR, absolutely floored by God’s provision in getting me places I would never have dared ask permission to go. That was definitely memorable!
For Freefall specifically, I went to the rigger shed and met the man who does Cassy’s job. It was a day off for him, but he invited me and took me to see everything I needed to see, walked me through his schedule and his duties, and let me talk to a few of the riggers.
But the craziest part? I had a handful of guys sitting in that office helping me figure out how to realistically portray the crime in the novel. Obviously, we didn’t go into national security details, but it was enough to make it “real.” And it was awesome.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
Honestly, “it takes a village.”  There would be too many to list here.  It would be a seven-part blog post.
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
Everything. I was so ignorant when I started. I thought, “If you write it, they will come.” Write a book, publish it… Uhm, no. I had no idea about agents and submission processes and marketing! I finished my first book, edited it with a Beta reader, went online and went, “Oh boy.”
But I think it was necessary for me to do it that way. If I’d known all of the rules ahead of time, it would have paralyzed me, and I’d have never finished that first novel. It’s never been published and may never be, but my agent saw something in it that she liked.
My biggest lesson? Trust God. He’ll take you places you never dreamed.
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
Writing-for-fun Self: You have always loved writing. It’s been an outlet and a joy, because you did it for fun. You’ll always love it, but when it becomes your job, you will realize that some days, writing is a sheer act of sweat-inducing willpower.   
At some point, you will hate, loathe, and despise your book. Push past that, because that’s when amazing things happen. That’s when the sacrifice of self happens and God takes over. 
There will be days when it will be just you and Him, and the only reason words will get on the page is because He says they have to. What you will hear from readers is that the words written on those days are the ones that resonate most. Trust God. Even when it feels like the words aren’t there.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
I love, love, love the southern end of Hatteras Island, NC. I may not live there, but something about it screams home to me. I know God is everywhere, but I almost feel like the veil is a little bit thinner on a certain strip of beach where Jesus and I walk together. 
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
Y’all, I’d be right back on Hatteras. Hands down. Every time. Tell me I can go anywhere, and I’ll plant myself right in that sand. Though if you forced me to choose somewhere else, I’d like to see Scotland and Ireland. My family’s roots run deep there. 
And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be located?
My uncle used to have this great house down at (guess where!) the southern end of Hatteras. It was on the narrow part of the island, so you could see surf and sound. The sunsets? My word, the sunsets. Windows everywhere. Porches galore. No spot without a view.
There was a great, conversational den with a fireplace that just invited talks. And every time we went down there, I’d look at the dining room, windows on three sides, sunlight abounding, with a humongous square table that felt like it would seat twenty. I’d always think, “Man. What an awesome place to plant a group of writers and just write and talk and brainstorm together.”
I’d buy that house back, build an identical one next to it, name it “Inspiration,” and never, ever leave. Come one, come all! My aunt is a gourmet cook who never met a recipe she didn’t try. I’d hire her. The men in my family would take you fishing if you needed to get out of the house. My other aunt would lead you on kayaking expeditions if you needed some exercise. There is no way you could walk through those doors without feeling the itch from your spirit straight down to your fingers.
I had a BLAST! Thanks, Morgan!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Historic Meal along the famed Mississipp

Gorgeous Rosalie antebellum mansion in downtown Natchez
Natchez, Mississippi is not only a truly historic city set along the famed Mississippi River in the Southern United States, but it's also my birthplace. I always liked to say I was born near the "Mighty Mississipp."

I've never lived a day in MS though. I was raised across the river in Louisiana and I still live within an hour's drive of Natchez, which is the reason my Mom, her co-worker and I recently headed to this historic city for a special dining night out - a progressive dinner.

This trip was a spur-of-the-moment excursion. Mom and her co-worker had mentioned just going to eat somewhere and then I threw out the idea of a progressive meal. They were sold. The most fun part for me though was that each location was a surprise. I’d set the culinary boundaries in downtown Natchez and the restaurants within a few blocks of each other.
The first stop on the three-part dinner tour I had organized was the perfect kick-starter for this trip – Biscuits and Blues. The restaurant, located at 315 Main Street, is not only a place of finger licking good biscuits but also live blues music on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Crawfish-Mushroom Beignet, Biscuit & BLT Potato Skins
We parked on the street and walked into the small but busy place a little after 6:30 and were seated at a nice little table near where the night’s musician sang soulful ballads by Norah Jones and similar artists.
Our waitress brought over the complimentary basket of biscuits and apricot butter, which paired with the biscuits is a little slice of Southern-style paradise. This stop was for appetizers only and I had to get the place’s other starter specialty – the Crawfish and Mushroom Beignet.
The dish consists of crawfish tails and mushrooms sautéed in a light garlic cream sauce and served over a warm beignet. According to their menu, this dish was actually made famous by Natchez Author Greg Iles in his novel, “The Quiet Game.” A new appetizer I hadn’t tried before was our other dish – BLT Potato Skins, which were potato skins topped with cheddar, bacon, lettuce and tomato with Ranch dressing. It was all quite delicious and my two other eating companions agreed.
Our main course stop for dinner was at nearby Pearl Street Pasta – 105 S. Pearl Street. We were seated right away near the entrance. I had actually never eaten there before, though I’ve heard rave reviews from others.
Pearl Street Pasta and Crab Cake with homemade Remoulade
During these types of progressive dinners, I like to sample the best of the venue, so we split their signature entrée - Pearl Street Pasta with a side of crab cakes served with housemade Remoulade and a basket of garlic bread.

The main dish was superb with angel hair pasta, sliced grilled chicken breast seasoned with lemon pepper and served with pearl onions, mushrooms and a rich cream sauce.
Our third and final stop for dessert actually surprised me. Two years ago, I had enjoyed its unique atmosphere reminiscent of a quaint bistro in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter. Since then though, the Cotton Alley Café has moved to a more prominent location at 208 Main Street (not too far from Biscuits and Blues) and it’s atmosphere has risen in uniqueness and elegance.
Lovely front of the Cotton Alley Cafe
At this point in our food journey, we were becoming quite full, so we opted to split two desserts at the café with its lovely glass front with a wrought iron bench and its lovely little tables with tablecloths, plants and art-covered walls. I definitely would like to return to eat a sole meal there.  
Delicious Brownie & Tropical fruit cake
The waitress showed us to their dessert case to make our selections, which were a double caramel and chocolate brownie and a slice of homemade tropical fruit cream cake. The cake had three layers of soft, spongy lemon and orange cake with a light kiwi icing in between and over the top layer, which was sprinkled with green grapes and a slice of kiwi. Both selections were fantastic.
It was the perfect end to a nice evening in downtown Natchez. I would recommend paying a visit to all three of these establishments and if a progressive dinner is the goal, keep the party count down to four or less, be flexible and be willing to skip one place if you have to. Just enjoy the company, the experience and the atmosphere in this historic city.

For more info about Natchez, check out their official website here.

Have you had a progressive meal? Where was it? Have you been to Natchez? What did you do there? I'd love to hear about it below in comments.  :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Penning Board 2013-18

The Penning Board
Items of the Week

Movie: “Tom and Huck” (1995) – Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Brad Renfro and Rachael Leigh Cook
A mischievous young boy, Tom Sawyer, witnesses a murder by the deadly Injun Joe. Tom becomes friends with Huckleberry Finn, a boy with no future and no family.

Tom has to choose between honoring a friendship or honoring an oath because the town alcoholic is accused of the murder. Tom and Huck go through several adventures trying to retrieve evidence.

In honor of spending some time by the Mississippi River, I picked this childhood favorite movie of mine. I was the girl that had Jonathan Taylor Thomas—known as JTT—posters splattered across my bedroom, so naturally I loved this movie. It is cute and I have a special link to it since my great-aunt was an extra in it. J

Cute take on two classic tales by Mark Twain. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

News: “Want to visit Mars? Applications being taken

At least 20,000 really adventurous people have applied for a crack at a permanent trip to the red planet. After only one week, submissions to the Mars One project are pouring in—600 from china alone.

Although the trip and training sound daunting, the requirements for candidates are wide open. If you show resilience, adaptability, and curiosity, you might qualify. Scientific and astronaut's skills, however, are not required.

We might add that patience is a plus, since this particular one-way ticket to the red planet, offered by the Dutch organization Mars One, won't be available until 2023.
Is this a one-way trip you'd ever want to take? In fact, is there anywhere you'd take a one-way ticket too? I choose Heaven.

Book: “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass
Take your fiction to the next level!

Maybe you're a first-time novelist looking for practical guidance. Maybe you've already been published, but your latest effort is stuck in mid-list limbo.

Whatever the case may be, author and literary agent Donald Maass can show you how to take your prose to the next level and write a breakout novel - one that rises out of obscurity and hits the best-seller lists.
Maass details the elements that all breakout novels share - regardless of genre - then shows you writing techniques that can make your own books stand out and succeed in a crowded marketplace.

Then, using examples from the recent works of several best-selling authors - including novelist Anne Perry - Maass illustrates methods for upping the ante in every aspect of your novel writing. You'll capture the eye of an agent, generate publisher interest and lay the foundation for a promising career.

This now classic fiction writer’s handbook is a must-read for aspiring authors. It’s jam-packed with great insight and interactive ways to strengthen your writing.

Highly recommended. Check out more about the author here and the book here.

Travel Quote:
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

Bible Verse:

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” - 2 Timothy 4:3-8
Song: “A Picture of Me without You” – George Jones

In honor of the legendary country singer’s recent passing, I thought I would pay tribute to him by featuring my favorite song he sang. It’s a lovely and sweet song.

If you haven’t heard a song from the “Possum” before, check this one out here.