Thinking About September

Try to Remember

Fall in Ohio

I’ve been thinking about this song lately. We can have some fantastic weather days here in September. I remember that September 11, 2001, was one of those days. The sky was blue and clear, the humidity was low, the sun was shining. Of course, we all know what happened that day. Soon the weather was all but forgotten. For those in New York City, the sun could not even be seen through the dust. Hard times make us forget.

But as the song says, “Deep in December it’s nice to remember
the fire of September that made you mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember then follow.”

The Difference Between Selective Memory and Choice

I’m not talking about ignoring what you’d rather not think about. Brushing things under the rug does not help us deal with life. And, well, we have to deal. Stuff happens. Thinking about all this is what prompted me to write about adversity making us stronger in my book, Annie’s Stories—I don’t know, maybe I write that into all my stories? It is certainly a theme in Sofia’s Tune. Learning from past mistakes is critical, but focusing on them is a different story. And wallowing in them leads us to think that’s all there is in life. But that’s not true. There are Septembers, sunshine, blue skies.100_1938

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Phillipians 4:8 KJV

When Writers Meet Up

Why We Need Buddies

photo: Werner Presber

photo: Werner Presber

Writing is a solitary undertaking most of the time. It has to be. That is why the occupation is suited to introverts. Not all authors are introverts, of course, but many are and are quite content to work alone. I am. But being an introvert does not mean you don’t like people or never want to be around them. It just means you are happy and productive working alone.

And Then They Meet Up

With Sandy Hart. My usual, eyes shut.

With Sandy Hart. My usual, eyes shut.

The ACFW conference in particular for me, is a chance to reunite with writer friends. It’s a large conference with 600+ attendees, so it’s sometimes hard to encounter some of those friends. I heard this year the conference had almost 200 first time attendees. Another plus is that you are likely to meet someone new, and that new person could become one of your good friends/critique partners/support person.

With Deb Raney. Yeah, the eyes thing, but I did enjoy seeing her. We actually had to planning out the opportunity and meet early in the morning!

With Deb Raney. Yeah, the eyes thing, but I did enjoy seeing her. We actually had to plan out the opportunity and meet early in the morning!

And you get to talk to other writers who get the fact that you hear voices talking to you, you encounter solutions to plot problems in odd places (like the time a series of photographs of violins in a restaurant hallway provided an answer I needed.) Being able to chat with someone who “gets” you really helps convince you all this fictional stuff is not so weird after all.

Meeting Facebook Friends

With Jaime Wright. We've had many online conversations and finally got to meet and hug.

With Jaime Wright. We’ve had many online conversations and finally got to meet and hug.

A writers conference usually provides the opportunity to finally meet those people you’ve been chatting online with, and for me this year I found out they were even more fun in person. 🙂

Meeting Local Friends in a Fun Setting

My Ohio ACFW group meets about every month at my church so I get to see these ladies on a regular basis. In a sea of formerly only online friends and unfamiliar faces, it feels like an oasis to run into these friends, the people you can be real with because they’ve seen you in jeans and messy hair, you know?

OH ACFW group at breakfast, including some husbands. Mine is hiding to make sure I get in the pic.

OH ACFW group at breakfast, including some husbands. Mine is hiding to make sure I get in the pic.

Professional Meetings

It’s not all for pleasure, however. These conferences provide opportunities to have face time with editors, agents, and other professionals that you might not otherwise get.

Other Cool Stuff

The Listening Room Cafe

ACFW was in Nashville this year. Tom and I heard some music over dinner.

Because ACFW is a Christian conference, they have worship times and a prayer room. There are opportunities to go out to eat with writers and other industry professionals. And, in my case this year–the first time he’s gone to ACFW with me–take your spouse out.

Nashville Symphony Angel

Statue outside the Nashville Symphony

And then, it’s time to get back to work!

True Love’s Knot

I’ve been looking at the lyrics of some old folk music from Ireland and England and I ran across the concept of a lovers’ knot.

Bound Together

il_570xN.474209856_t5xbOne told a story of a young woman who was in love with a poor man. Her father forced her to marry a rich man instead. The rich man did not know of his future wife’s devotion to another. The poor man was so distraught that he lay down to die. After the wedding the woman heard about her true love’s illness, so she asked her husband if she could go see this friend who was dying. He agreed, thinking what a wonderful woman she was to go on her wedding day to attend a sick friend. The poor man died when she got there, so she, heartbroken, lay down next to him and died too. The whole village thought the two should be buried together, but the new husband would not think of it. He buried his wife far away from the man.

But love has a way of winning, doesn’t it? A tree sprung up from each grave. The trees grew tall, and the top branches leaned toward each other until they touched, and interwove their branches.

Image from http://engl106.blog.sbc.edu/page/5/

Image from http://engl106.blog.sbc.edu/page/5/

The Knot That Cannot Be Broken

There is a ballad from England that is titled The True Lovers Knot Untied. It’s long, and involved, but here is one verse: Love is Knot none can unknit, Fancy a liking of the Heart, Him whom I love I cannot forget, though from his presence I must part.th

The Symbol of the Celtic Knot

Sometimes people ask me what it means. Can there be any doubt? Love wins. Love triumphs. Love never ends!

2ee38aa4c12d62db31ec7cce8169a3dcThe Meaning of the Irish Lovers' Knot Click To Tweet

Brigid of Ireland is FREE!

Limited Promotion

Through July 19th you can get the Kindle edition of Brigid of Ireland for free! While my Ellis Island books are standalone, meaning you don’t have to read them in order, you really do need to read Brigid of Ireland prior to reading Pages of Ireland.

Find it by clicking here: http://amzn.to/1dSZwab

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Ebook, Book One, Daughters of Ireland

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