When Feeling Thankful is Hard

What the World Needs Now

Sure, the world needs love, but seriously what the world needs now is more people with grateful attitudes. I’m afraid we’ve become complainers, at least in this country. I’m challenging myself to look for the good no matter what. I’ve faced some tough situations, and am currently facing some, but they aren’t things I can change, so I try to talk myself into focusing on what’s good about these things. Or at least, what good can be found.

The World Needs More Thankfulness Click To Tweet

Making the Decision

“If we think that impressive food, decorations, and presents constitute celebration, we will miss out on an important spiritual practice that will draw us toward the joyful heart of God.”~Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent

I took way more than 40 days to finish a 40 day devotional called Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent. But the important thing is I did finish it, today, two days before Thanksgiving. The last  chapter was titled Celebration and she spoke about Thanksgiving. I wrote down in my journal a couple of things she said that spoke to me. (I started this post a few days before I read this chapter. A coincidence that I was thinking about these things and then read this? Probably not.)

“…celebration is not restricted to times when everything is going perfectly.”

The quote above reminds me of The Grinch.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

So the celebration will come, how I respond is up to me. Keri drove that point home in Deeply Loved when she wrote:

“By choosing to be grateful, to celebrate and be joyful, we begin to feel thankful for what we do have, and to transform our attitude about life’s challenges. The discipline of celebration ushers in joy.”

#Feelinggrateful!

5 Reasons Not to be Envious of a Writer

1. Writers Get to Work at Home

Sounds great, right? Usually it is, but…when you forget how to put on makeup or what it feels like to wear shoes, you begin to feel like you are no longer a member of the human race.

Sonia Scommegna

Sonia Scommegna

2. Writers Can’t Say Words

Sometimes, it’s true. A writer is a reader and researcher, and many times this involves reading obscure or unfamiliar terms and not knowing how to pronounce them. Or, in my case, using Irish Gaelic, which is in no way logical. Want an example? Try this one: Taoiseach

Nina Stössinger

Nina Stössinger

3. Writers Drink, Eat, Too Much

Writers are famous for handling the stress of deadlines with coffee, or chocolate, or perhaps something else more destructive. Stephen King actually went as far as saying his addictions, even though he gave them up, made him a better writer. Personally, I’d rather be a better person than a better writer (if forced to choose between the two) but maybe that’s just me.

M Yashna

M Yashna

4. Writers Are Poor

Most of them, in financial terms anyway. Don’t take my word for it. The Guardian gave some details here.

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5. Writers Are Notoriously Insecure

We need support groups. If you believe the analogy that publishing a book is like standing naked in front of your living room window and pulling open the drapes, you’ll understand.

Brittany Greene

Brittany Greene

So, it’s not all roses, but holding a published book in your hands, hearing a reader say she was inspired by reading your story, having a tale to tell and being heard? Well, it’s all worth it. 🙂

Cindy Thomson Books by the Banks Book Festival

The Pursuit

The Journey of a Book

4222f-img_0583Writing is a definitely a creative pursuit, but it’s not all about creating an entertaining read, although it is that. It’s about a journey, a process, a growing and ever-changing trek through the publishing wilderness. And believe me, it is wild out there. I have talked before about my seven years in the writing desert. During that time I thought I was wandering hopelessly about, but in fact there was a plan and Brigid of Ireland would not be my only novel. It’s that uncertainty that makes a writer’s life a journey.

 

 

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

When my advanced copies of Grace’s Pictures arrived, I thought my wandering in the writing desert was over.

The Detours

The thing about journeys is they are usually unpredictable. As soon as you decide you know how things will be, they change. This can be upsetting. People don’t like change, not much anyway. This perspective is sometimes altered by taking a trip. Take for instance these photographs below from my 2013 trip to Ireland. We were visiting St. Brendan’s Cathedral in Clonfert. We went looking for that because I’ve been intrigued by St. Brendan’s journey for some time. I’d seen photographs of this lovely building, and it was a wonder to see up close.

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But then, just a few steps away, I spotted this.

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We went inside after those ladies there were finished and followed the path. It wove around in the woods and past a few spots where children had left toys. A sort of secret garden? And then…IMG_1152

It led to this view. Something we would have missed had we not stopped off on this detour.

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This is only one example. The BEST experiences in Ireland (and probably in many other places) is taking wrong turns and even getting lost because there is so much beauty around every corner.

The best experiences in the life of a #writer are the detours. Click To Tweet

We Are Never Truly Lost

Not if we keep looking up! A wise writer friend with tons more publishing experience than I have once told me how excited she was to find out what God had for her next. And she was sincere. I thought I’d never get to that place, but today (and it is one day at a time) I’m moving in that direction. It’s very much like life. We can plan, but we don’t have control over everything. And often, the best things are experiences and circumstances and meeting new people that we would never have imagined.

What’s your journey been like thus far? What are you looking forward to?

The Leafy Office

Working From Home Conundrum

It’s great working from home for many reasons. One downside is that it’s easy to get distracted when you aren’t punching a clock. When it’s May, and the weather is gorgeous, I’m sometimes wandering around the yard–not taking up projects like pulling weeds, because, I’m supposed to be working. You might find me checking out the progress of the robin sitting on the nest on the downspout or checking on the health of the plants that are new this  year.

 

Cindy Thomson's garden

My book reading angels give a hint as to what the owner does.

But am I wasting time?

Breathing in Spring

I don’t think I am, unless I give in and start pulling those weeds or painting the backyard furniture. The truth is, I have trouble thinking if I don’t take time to refresh myself. Observation is an important skill for a novelist. I need to breath the air, note the colors in nature, listen to the different bird calls. A tiny part of what I observe might make it into one novel or another. But mostly, I need to clear my head so that I can concentrate better on my story.

Cindy Thomson's window

Gazing out my window

Listening is Underrated

J. Philip Newell wrote a book I love called Listening For the Heartbeat of God. I try to do that. Every day. It’s hard, you know? But listening is the best way to pray, to learn, to write a novel.

Get Outside

I hope you do, at least for a little while. I know it’s difficult for many people who work inside, but even if it’s just walking back and forth to the car, sniff the air, look at the clouds, pay attention, and refresh your soul. (Just my tip for the day!)

Dogwood

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Win a Free Book!

I recently posted this on my Facebook page:

NEW: Enter to win your choice of one of my ‪#‎books‬. Leave a review (of any one of my books) on Amazon.com between now and May 31 and send me the link. Must send link to be entered. Facebook is not afflilated with this giveaway. Drawing will be held June 1 and winner must respond to message by June 8, 2016. US RESIDENTS ONLY. Please share. TY!

Make An Author Happy

Why I’m Asking Pretty Please

Reviews help readers find books, and mine are off the radar and could use some attention, especially my newest books. If you could help by posting a review on Amazon I would appreciate it so very much. And, you can do more by just copying your review and pasting it on other retail sites such as Barnes and Noble. Goodreads is another excellent site for readers where you can post a review.

photo: Enokson

photo: Enokson

I’m Making it Easy to Post Reviews!

And to make it super easy for you, here are some links:

My Books on Amazon

My Books on B&N

My Books on Goodreads

My Books on Fiction Finder (an excellence service by ACFW that helps readers find books where my books have almost no reviews at all!)

Post a selfie like Jaime to let others know what you're reading.

Post a selfie like Jaime did to let others know what you’re reading.

Shout It Out!

And finally, let others know about my giveaway. If you are on Twitter, click below. If you are on Facebook, share this post.

Post a review for a chance to win your choice of these books! http://bit.ly/1NTnMaN Click To Tweet

Thank you!!

Book Cover Reveal!

The Roots of Irish Wisdom: Learning From Ancient Voices

The updated, revised edition of Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland is ready!

The Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson

What’s New

This is a paperback edition. What’s new is a bit more added information and my own black & white photographs from my trips to Ireland. Much of the book is the same as Celtic Wisdom, just updated.

How to Buy the Book

The ebook edition is on Kindle. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for free. The regular price is 4.99. Very soon the print edition will be available for 8.99. If you’d like a signed copy, contact me and we’ll make arrangements.

What’s So Special About This Book?

I’m biased, of course, but I think readers interested in Irish history and Celtic Christianity will enjoy this wee introduction to the men and women who brought the faith to Ireland, along with some thoughts on Celtic learning, prayer, and art.

What Are Others Saying

On Celtic Wisdom:

“Among the shelves of books available on the subject, Celtic Wisdom by Cindy Thomson is a wonderful distillation of the important truths and legacy of Celtic Christianity.”~John Doan, Emmy-nominated composer and premier harp guitarist, storyteller, and historian.

It’s a perfect sampler for anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith of the Celts and how it has influenced generations.~Christina on Amazon

Make Celtic Wisdom a part of your library, but leave it on the coffee table for others to pick up and enjoy as well. Only 95 pages–small, but that actually makes it more accessible for those of us who are always too hurried to sit down to a longer scholarly work. Well researched and enlightening, Celtic Wisdom is a real treasure.~Cathi on Amazon

This book is an excellent survey but hopefully it will whet your appetite to recapture the whit, wisdom and understanding of an age long forgotten by today’s urban worries. By the time you finish reading it, you will feel the mist on your skin and the peat under your feet and see a light emanating all around you! Yet, it’s a quick read, well worth your time and energy if you are seeking a new old way of approaching God.~Martin on Amazon

Coming Soon: New Books!

Here’s what is coming soon from me:

Celtic Cross photo by Cindy ThomsonIn a few short weeks I will have the reprinted, revised, updated non-fiction book titled The Roots of Irish Wisdom: Learning From Ancient Voices. It’s a newer version of my book Celtic Wisdom, but in paperback with some new material and new black and white photographs. I think you’re going to love it! Subscribers to my newsletter (see link above or click here) will see the cover first and learn when the release date will be. Here’s a synopsis:

This collection of classic Irish wisdom in the form of stories, prayers, and proverbs, reveals the Creator in the natural world and highlights the importance of the Celtic spiritual heritage. Along with historical background on St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Columcille, and the Twelve Apostles of Erin, Cindy Thomson leads the reader on an enriching journey through Celtic learning and prayer.

Coming Later This Summer:

My novel, the sequel to Brigid of Ireland: Pages of Ireland. More on this to come.

Do You Love All Things Irish?

Tell me why…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Royce Bair Ross Castle, Killarney, Ireland - an ornate 1913 St Patrick's Day greeting card illustration

Royce Bair
Ross Castle, Killarney, Ireland – an ornate 1913 St Patrick’s Day greeting card illustration

From the man himself:

I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favors and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.

From St. Patrick’s Confession

St. Patrick’s Day Eve!

St. Patrick Hill of SlaneHow to Celebrate?

It’s a question I usually ask myself when the day rolls around. How about you? Some people (in America) go to an annual parade, pancake breakfast, listen to live music at an Irish restaurant or pub. All good choices. All things I’ve done in the past.

Some use it as an excuse to get absolutely soused. I don’t recommend that. Drunkenness has nothing to do with the patron saint of Ireland, and can even be viewed as cultural stereotyping. I know we’re in the season of Donald Trump anti-pc rhetoric, but still…

Just How Should I Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, anyway? Click To Tweet

What St. Patrick’s Day Isn’t

Its not about leprechauns, green beer, kissing people who aren’t really Irish…It’s not “Irish I Were Drunk Day.” (Please, throw away that t-shirt!) It also is not St. Patty’s Day. Maybe there is a female saint named Patty with the same day, but probably not. If you must use the shortened version, and I personally have no problem with that, use Paddy, not Patty.

What St. Patrick’s Day Is

I’ve posted lots of thoughts on this:

Here with a guest post

And here

Here

And here

My Favorite Thing to Do On St. Patrick’s Day

Put on some Irish music, maybe Cherish the Ladies, We 3 Banjo, Natalie McMaster. Cook up some Irish stew (here’s a good recipe) and READ! There are some great Irish books out there, either by Irish authors or about Ireland. Of course, I hope you’ll read mine, but leave me some recommendations in the comments, okay? And enjoy!

*Looking for some non American recipes for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out my board on Pinterest.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Ebook, Book One, Daughters of Ireland

Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford, Irish books Cindy ThomsonHow the Irish Saved Civilization, top Irish books Cindy ThomsonThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry/Cindy Thomson Irish books

In Search of Ancient Ireland by McCaffrey and Eaton/Cindy Thomson Irish books

About Those Book Reviews

More of What Readers Need to Know

Reader

via Flickr Laury Rouzé

I posted about this before, but today I read an article in the ACFW newsletter that I think might  best help explain to readers why posting book reviews is critical to authors. I’m reposting here with permission. If you, too, think it’s helpful, please share.

Reader’s review provides at least 4 key benefits for a book and its author via @acfw & @cynthiaruchti Click To Tweet

ACFW Tidbits

by Cynthia Ruchti 

Do you write book reviews? Some say a reader’s review provides at least four key benefits for a book and its author:

1.     Credibility. When publishers, retailers, libraries, and prospective readers see a large number of reviews for a book, they know the book has drawn a measure of attention.

2.     Visibility. Algorithms of online retailers like cbd.combn.com, and amazon.com dictate that books with large numbers of positive reviews will obtain a more prominent visual presence on their sites.
3.     Quote resource. Many authors share snippets of a positive review to help others get a feel for the book’s tone, theme, or impact.
4.     Persuasiveness. Reviews can entice prospective readers, retailers, and libraries to purchase books they might have bypassed without the review.

via Flickr GotCredit

via Flickr GotCredit

If you’re a published author, you’ve no doubt seen both beneficial and what might be construed as harmful reviews. You may have asked others to post a review for your book. Have you also provided a guideline for the kind of review that would be most helpful? Consider using these tips when writing reviews or when inviting others to review a book for you:

·      For a blog or online retail review, if the teaser for the book or the book’s back cover copy is already part of the blog or book information visible to those who will read your review, there’s no need to repeat that information. An online review is not a book report. It’s a reaction to the story and its impact.

·      Resist the temptation to reveal any element about the plot or characters that will spoil the book for other readers. Few things make an author cringe more than having a reviewer give away an important plot point that took two-thirds of the book to set up.
·      Keep it as short as you can and still communicate what you need to or are compelled to say.
·      Don’t change your review in response to what others have said about the book. Be genuine. But do skim other posted reviews to ensure you’re not merely repeating what has already been said. Your review will be most meaningful if it adds another dimension to the reviews’ “discussion” about the book’s merits.
photo by denise carbonell

photo by denise carbonell

·      Limit your comments about the story to the story. If your book was damaged in shipping, or you never have liked that genre (and still don’t), or if page 211 was missing in your copy, or the margins on the Kindle version were messed up, that’s not a review of the book. Those comments need to be directed elsewhere.

·      Watch carefully for what the stars mean. Don’t inadvertently give a book a one-star rating because you think that means it’s a top-notch book, first place on your bookshelf. Take time to make sure you’re communicating accurately.
·      Don’t forget to include a review on Goodreads.comand FictionFinder.com.
Thanks to Cynthia Ruchti acfwrelations@acfw.com for allowing me to reprint this.