More Giveaways to Celebrate St. Brigid’s Day!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Come back Feb. 1 for my final St. Brigid giveaway!

For Kindle Readers

Goodreads only allows print giveaways, and I don’t want Kindle readers to be left out. So, here’s a giveaway for you! If you don’t actually have a Kindle device, you can get the Kindle app for your computer or tablet (it’s free, click here to learn more.)

 

 

 

 

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A Giveaway to Prepare for St. Brigid’s Day!

In honor of the upcoming St. Brigid’s Day, I thought I’d host a Goodreads giveaway for a print copy of Brigid of Ireland. Please share!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Getting Ready for St. Brigid’s Day

Tired of winter?

Don’t worry. Soon it will be St. Brigid’s Day.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookIn many parts of Ireland St. Brigid’s Day signifies the beginning of spring. Similar to Ground Hog’s Day, folks would look for signs that warmer weather was coming. Count the hedgehogs you see. Note the new lambs being born. Return to your fishing boat. It’s St. Brigid’s Day!

Why St. Brigid?

I’m often asked how I got interested in St. Brigid. The answer is in her stories—or rather the stories told about her. Unlike St. Patrick who left some of his writings for prosperity, the stories about the life of St. Brigid were written at least a hundred years after her death. But they still make fascinating reading, even when you take into account that monks often wrote these as a kind of propaganda—our saint is better than your saint so you pilgrims should come to Kildare to spend your coins and trade your goods for blessings and sacred inspiration.

Hmmm. Maybe this was a type of storytelling competition. I would give the upper hand to Cogitosus, the monk at Kildare who wrote The Life of St. Brigit the Virgin and to the fifteenth century scribe of Beatha Bhrighdi (The Life of Brigid) found in the Leabhar Breac (The Speckled Book.)

A Story or Two About Brigid

Some brief examples:

From the Leabhar Breac on Brigid’s birth:

“The prophet said that the child that would be brought forth on the morrow at sunrise, and neither within the house nor without, shall surpass every child in Ireland.”

Apparently, Brigid’s mother gave birth to her as she was coming in from the morning’s milking. She slipped on the threshold, fell, and right there Brigid was born, just as the prophet had predicted: neither inside nor outside the house.

In my book, Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland, I recount the legend of Brigid and her father’s cherished sword. Apparently Brigid had been so generous with the poor that her father decided he could no longer afford to keep her. He decided to put her into the King of Leinster’s service.

St. Brigid mural

Mural at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh showing St. Brigid and the King of Leinster

Dubthach took Brigid in his chariot and traveled to the castle. He bid her to stay put outside while he inquired of the king. While he was gone, a beggar happened by. Being away from the dairy, the supply of food from which she had fed the poor, Brigid searched for something to give the poor man and spotted the gleam of metal in the sun. She pulled out her father’s sword from beneath some blankets. It was not an ordinary sword, but one with a jewel-encrusted hilt. Just as she was handing it over to the beggar, her father returned with the king. Dubthach declared that this was just the reason he had to be rid of her. The king, being as wise as his position required, asked Brigid whether, if she were to be under his authority, she would give away his cattle and possessions. Brigid answered truthfully. If she had all the wealth of the King of Leinster, she would give it away to the poor in the name of God. The king was humbled by this reply and told her father that she was far nobler than either of them. He gave Dubthach a sword to replace the one given away and granted Brigid (who had been her father’s slave) her freedom.

Stories > Novel

Story after story declared Brigid’s heart for people and how God showed her favor. I thought, what if those things actually did happen? What would that look like? And then I wrote a whole novel about her. I still enjoy her stories and am inspired by her generosity and selflessness.

St. Brigid’s Day is this coming Sunday. You might weave a cross or bake some bread and look forward to the generosity of the rebirth of the earth—spring!

Thank You For Sending Annie’s Stories to the Polls @FamilyFiction

Annie's Stories in Family Fiction Poll

 

Click here to vote. Lots of great books on the list, so get some reading recommendations while you’re there!

Here I am thanking you in person. The real me. Not putting on airs!

Free Book!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

 

 

I love giving away my books but unfortunately, I can’t afford to give them all way. Still, once in a while I like to run a giveaway on my blog, and today is one of those times!

About the book:

In 5th-century pagan-dominated Ireland, Brigid is born a slave to her own father and is separated from her mother. Desperately seeking love and acceptance, Brigid becomes a believer in Christ. Knowing how the Irish people cling to superstitions and fears, can Brigid overcome them? Will her hatred for her father and a scheming evil sorcerer destroy her faith? Set in the era of St. Patrick, this fantasy-filled novel will captivate readers as Brigid must choose between God’s will and the desire to save her family.

Brigid of Ireland ebook

If you have an ebook reader, you might like to give this book a try. Even if you don’t, you can download the Kindle app for free and read on your computer.

If you like Irish history, ancient historical fiction, stories of adventure and struggles of faith, saints and druids, kings and monks, you might like this book.

The Giveaway

All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. The more entries you choose, the more chances you’ll have to win. Thanks for participating!
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Why I Can’t Forget 2014

Clonmacnoise High Cross
Always remember to forget the troubles that passed your way.
But never forget to remember the blessings that come each day.
~Irish Saying

And that’s why I chose to count my blessings in 2014. Not that I haven’t learned from mistakes. The true purpose of making mistakes is to learn from them and try not to repeat them. But dwelling on them isn’t helpful. Novelists really do have to protect their minds and spirits in order to focus on writing stories that not only entertain but also inspire.

Now that I’ve written that, I realize that the bad things that happen in life also help to form inspiring stories so long as hope is still visible.

Looking Forward Without Blinders

Author Cindy Thomson's bookcasesComplaining about life only brings you down. Focusing on moving forward, on new opportunities, on the hopeful future is what motivates us to keep on going, don’t you agree? But if that’s all you do, you will miss out on the wonderful experience of counting your blessings. One of my characters (I’m sure it must have been Mrs. Hawkins or perhaps Grace’s mother) taught that no matter how miserable your life seems to you, there is always someone else who has it worse. That perspective is necessary if we’re going to avoid becoming bitter, complaining people no one wants to be around. So I’m taking time to reflect on the blessings that came to me in 2014. I am going to focus on my writing career for this list. I certainly have personal blessings beyond this.

My 2014 Blessings

*I had a second novel published with Tyndale House Publishers! This was a huge blessing. Cindy Thomson Books by the Banks Book FestivalGetting published by a traditional publisher is harder than ever (oops, slipped into a bit of complaining there!) but I was fortunate with this book. It could have very well not happened, but I worked hard, was blessed with fantastic editors and a tremendous cover, and Annie’s Stories was introduced to readers!

*Annie’s Stories was well-received. Sure, there were critics who didn’t like it, but the vast majority of folks who reviewed it, liked it, and most of those liked it a lot. That’s why I wrote the book, for readers. So this was extremely rewarding.

*I did a lot of mentoring in 2014, and I saw many of my students improve vastly. It was a privilege to witness their passion for telling stories. The future is bright with potential when it comes to novels!

*I was able to meet lots of readers this year. I went to many events: book launches, book festivals, multi-author signings, and I saw firsthand how much readers love books. That certainly blessed me.

* I had several media interviews surrounding the launch of Annie’s Stories. That’s a blessing because they are difficult to get for novels.Around Cincinnati radio

*At one of those events (The Dublin Irish Festival–Ohio) I sold a record number of books for me!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook*I was able to re-introduce Brigid of Ireland by making it available on Kindle. There were many blessings involved in that project, including two designer friends who donated their skills: Deirdra Doan who contributed opinions and some of the interior design, and Kim Draper who designed the cover and title page. They really blessed me, and readers too!

*I have learned so much about social media marketing that has helped me connect virtually with readers. My literary agency conducts a yearly marketing seminar, and I was able to go this year. I have also learned a lot from various webinars and newsletters.

*I had another college intern from Denison University this year. Elena did various tasks for me and make some valuable contacts.

*I have some viable ideas and directions for future novels. Woo-hoo! :)

Ready Now, Go!

Those were only a few of the blessings. And none about my personal life because I’m trying to stay focused on one topic. Focus, by the way, was My One Word for 2014. For 2015 it is Share.Sharing I’m not sure what I’ll be sharing, or what the whole scope of that word will reveal, but I’m ready to turn toward the New Year without complaining about the publishing industry. I have to make lemonade out of lemons, but that’s a challenge I can only meet if I keep that frame of mind–what I CAN do, not what I can’t. True, the industry has changed. Authors have been left behind in the dust for the most part. But blessings still abound and they will propel me forward in 2015. Ready, set, go!

Mini Monuments on My Christmas Tree

Thomson Christmas Tree 2014

Ornaments With Meaning

This is my Christmas tree this year. As with almost every year in my married life, I decorated it myself. Yes, it’s in front of a closet. It’s that kind of Christmas because our reno isn’t finished yet. But I promise you, next Christmas will look different. I did not put all my ornaments on this year. I left some of the most fragile in the box this year. I’ll look forward to seeing them next Christmas. But I still have several with special meanings. I’ll bet you do too. I’d thought I’d share the meaning behind a few of my “mini monuments.”

One of the Oldest

Musical Angel

This is one of the first ornaments Tom and I picked out together. I don’t think it was from our first Christmas, but definitely from early on. Angels are such an important part of the Christmas story that I have many of them on my tree. I love that this one is playing a violin. For years I thought it was breakable and always hung it near the top, out of the reach of little hands and pets. Then a few years ago I realized it’s plastic. It could still break, but it’s not as fragile as I thought. I still hang it near the top, however.

 

From My Home Church

Chi-RhoThis one is fairly old too. It’s the Chi-Rho symbol, The Greek letters for Christ (the first two letters of the name.) Sulphur Grove traditionally had a tree with these symbols. They might still. One year we were encouraged to include them on our own trees and I bought this one at the church Christmas bazaar. I hang it to remind myself to keep Christ in Christmas.

From Christmases Past

Cindy Thomson's childhood ornamentThis is certainly the oldest ornament I have. I snagged it from my mom a few years ago. It’s one of my favorites from when I was growing up. I loved decorating the tree when I was a kid. It’s something that did not get passed down to my boys. I guess some men are like that. Decorations? Whatever! But for me this one brings such happy memories.

Remembering Happy Times

There are lots of ornaments like this. Maybe for you too. This one is from a special vacation I took a couple of years ago with my sister Bev and my mom. We went into a Christmas shop and that’s where I got this one. While we saw lots of moose crossing signs in Vermont, we did not see any moose. But we are very familiar with them from the time we lived in Alaska. We loved Vermont.

Vermont Christmas Ornament

 

Ornaments That Remind Me to Pray

Our previous pastor always held an event where you brought an ornament with your family name written on it and hung it on a tree in the sanctuary. At the end of a service you went to the tree and picked a different ornament. Then you prayed for that family throughout the Christmas season. I have more than one of these but this one is for a couple that still need prayer because of the wife’s health issues.

Praying Angel Ornament

My Giving Ornament

Some of my readers have identical ornaments because I’ve given out a few of these over the last couple of years in contests and drawings. I will always think of them when I look at this on my tree. I believe I have one left to giveaway next year.

Irish Christmas Ornament

Remembering My Publisher

This one was included one year in a gift I received from my publisher. I am so grateful Tyndale House published Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories, and this reminds me of the wonderful people I was privileged to work with there.

Star Ornament

 

From a Facebook Friend

Isn’t it amazing how you can make friends through Facebook? Kind of like pen pals. This ornament reminds me not only of the person who sent it to me, Cindy Z. from England, but also of all the wonderful people I’ve met. Cindy wanted to send me something authentic from her country. Isn’t this jester adorable?

 

English Ornament

My Celtic Heritage

This one was a gift from my son Kyle and his wife Kelsey. It reminds me of our Celtic heritage, and also how thoughtful they are!

Celtic Cross

 

From Ireland

This one I picked up on our last trip to Ireland. I kinda went nuts at the Belleek store, but you couldn’t buy these here for the price I paid. I just love this Santa and will always think about our tour of the Belleek Factory when I get it out to hang on the tree. Yes, this one is breakable, so we’re being careful. It’s the same on both sides so it doesn’t matter if it gets turned around. Isn’t that genius?

Belleek  Santa

Go Reds!

I mean, my favorite team has the right color for Christmas, so why not?

Reds SnowmanThese are just a few of my favorites. I have more so maybe I’ll do this again next year. Care to share one of your favorites with me? Post a picture or tell me about it in the comments. Merry Christmas!