Category Archives: Cindy Thomson

My 2014 One Word

My One Word, Changing Your Life

My One WordHave you heard of this? Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen wrote a book in which they explain how choosing one word to focus on for an entire year can change your life. The concept involves praying about what God wants to teach you, and that can be both scary and enlightening. Often the word you pick turns out to show you something you hadn’t considered before or you end up needing that message more than you could have ever imagined. You can read more about the book and the whole movement on this website.

My Words

PEACE

Photo: Muff McElfresh

In past years my words have been: Listen, Kindness, Peace, and Focus. Each year I have learned something new about myself and about where God is leading me by meditating on these words, seeking them out in the Bible, and praying over them. Sometimes they are a slap to the head. I’ll just let you imagine what that could mean! ūüėČ

Often women who choose a word will buy something with that word on it to help encourage them along the way. Usually, yeah, it’s jewelry. But also ornaments, coffee mugs…

I admit I’ve ordered something with my word on it. I’ve even created my own little pictures. They are reminders because I forget easily. The more reminders, the better. I made this little image to place on my desk because in 2014, I really needed to focus.

Cindy Thomson FOCUS

There have been so many distractions keeping me from making as much progress on my writing as I should. Some of them I created. Others have been beyond my control, but overall I just needed to focus and plow through.

How Is That Working?

Slowly. I am so happy God is patient with me. I would like to report that these words have changed me in spectacular ways, but the truth is, I have a long way to go. It’s a journey, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. I should not expect to have arrived. Because of that I’m a little reluctant to let my words go at the end of the year. I haven’t learned everything yet! That is why I’ve been keeping some of them together like this:

Cindy Thomson's My One Word

One thing I have learned from concentrating on one word for an entire year is that there is always something I have indeed learned. Maybe not perfectly, but it’s progress I might have missed had I not chosen to do this.

My 2015 Word

This came to me in church one Sunday, and then I heard the word somewhere right after. And I felt it in my heart.

SHARE

I realize that this word could have several meanings (as is the case with a lot of words) and I am not entirely sure what it means for me. My first thought had to do with mentoring since I’ve been seeing some changes in the way I’ve mentored in the past. My next thought was that I need to give away some of my writing, which feels just a bit painful right now because my writing income is virtually nil. Another thought is that if I don’t FOCUS in 2014 and get the current novel I’m working on finished, I won’t be able to SHARE in 2015.

But there are other things it could mean, such as speaking up, sharing my heart, my passion, the Gospel. I don’t know where it will lead in 2015, but I am sure God has a reason for asking me to focus on this word.

Have you chosen a word to focus on for a year? Are you considering doing so?

An Old Book Gets a New Life

Out of Print? Nope!

It happens, authors know it but dread it just the same. Not many books live forever. Or do they? That used to be the reality. When a book ceased to sell enough copies to satisfy the publisher, they put it out of print. An author can get the rights back (the rights to the story, not the cover or artwork) but in most cases that was the end of the line. Was. Now authors can easily reprint their books or put them out as ebooks, or both. With a fresh cover and more opportunities to reach readers through social media outlets, a book can live again.

My First Novel

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy ThomsonMy first published novel (I have several unpublished novels), was born into the market in the spring of 2006. I loved the process of writing this one, loved the Irish theme, loved imagining how a saint whom many believe never was a flesh-and-blood person could have actually existed and performed¬†miraculous deeds. My publisher kept the book in print for seven years, not the norm for novels today. I actually earned royalties on this book. ūüôā

When it went out of print, they allowed me to purchase the remaining stock. I still have a few boxes of the print version that I sell for just five bucks. But, in 2006 nobody was doing ebooks. Well, almost no one. Certainly not Monarch Books.

Introducing the 2014 Brigid

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookMy friend Deirdra Doan and I have bartered back and forth for editing (me) and artwork (her.) She has read this¬†book and when it came time to create a new cover, she introduced me to her friend Kim Draper. I’m so glad she did! Kim created a lovely cover that I feel conveys the mystery and intrigue of the story.

I chose to publish the ebook on Kindle exclusively for now because most ebooks are sold on Amazon and even if a reader doesn’t have a Kindle, he or she can download the app on their computer for free and read it there. Here is the buy link.

Finding New Readers

That is my goal. I have heard from so many readers over the years who have enjoyed Brigid of Ireland, but of course there are many more who have never read it. I’m aware that some people prefer to read ebooks, and some for physical readers must read electronically. These days novels are published in both print and ebook formats (as are Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories.) Some may wish to go back and read my first novel after they read those two, and now they can!

When Brigid of Ireland first came out, my publisher and I were thinking the book was for adults. But so very many young girls have enjoyed it, and there is nothing objectionable that should prevent them from doing so. I have signed the book for girls as young as nine! Of course, these girls are reading above their grade levels. I’m mentioning this in case there is anyone out there is looking for an adventure story set in ancient Ireland for a young reader. Maybe for a Christmas gift?

At one of my first book signings a young girl and her father paused at my table. The girl told her father she loved that book. I was amazed she had read it! She told me she read it for a book report for school. As a former teacher and a current mentor to some young writers, that really made my day. Well, my year at the least. Seeing as there is lots of action in the story, I think boys would like it too, but of course girls relate to Brigid who is a young woman in the story.

One of my earliest fans was the 14-year-old daughter of one my fellow novelists. When I sent my friend my new novel, her daughter snatched it from her to-be-read pile and read it first! I sent her a t-shirt. She is a young woman today, but this was her then.

Jenni, a fan of Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Her review from back then:

Jenni’s Review

My name is Jenni and I’m a freshman at Concordia-Academy Bloomington (a Lutheran high school). I love to read and am currently working on writing a novel of my own. I like fencing and archery, playing flute, piano and guitar, and I hate geometry (but like algebra).

I took Brigid of Ireland from the stack of my mom‚Äôs books because the description on the back cover sounded interesting, and the cover was pretty. I liked the chapter openings with quotes ‚Äď some Bible verses and some Celtic blessings or sayings.

But most of all, I absolutely loved the STORY of Brigid of Ireland. It has such a gripping plot, and is a great inspiration to my faith.

I’ve recommended it to all of my friends, knowing that they would love the suspense and heartbreak in it, as well as the spirituality. I admire Brigid’s strong faith throughout all her troubles. It gives me strength to go through tough things.

In addition to sharing this terrific book with adult friends, consider buying a copy for a daughter, student, niece, or other young woman in your life!

And Finally, Something for you!

Who would you recommend Brigid of Ireland¬†to? Tell me and I’ll enter you in a drawing for your choice of either the ebook or the print version. Only comments on this blog post by Dec. 3, 2014 are eligible, and only if claimed by Dec. 31, 2014. Subscribe to the comments or check back to see if you’ve won.¬†Update. Karen Lewis is the winner of this book. Congrats and thanks for commenting, Karen!

Getting Out There to Learn About the Scots-Irish

Part Two from Finding Help With Your Scots-Irish Line originally appearing in Tracing Your Irish Roots, Moorshead Magazines Ltd., 2012 ©Cindy Thomson.

 How Ireland Can Help Researchers

Family Tree. Tracing your Scots-Irish roots.Tracing a family line back as far as the 17th century might seem daunting, but records do exist. And where better to get help and learn about this group’s culture than a society established for that purpose?

A special school for genealogists researching Northern Ireland roots is offered in conjunction with several Northern Ireland agencies, such as the Ulster Historical Foundation; the University of Ulster; Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone; and local historical societies. Past participants came from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, The Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, to enjoy a holiday researching with the help of local experts. Billed as “An Activity Holiday with a Difference”, the program stretches over a week and involves local history lectures, research visits to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and visits to historical sites. It is these visits to important sites within the homeland of our ancestors that help make this school intriguing to many, but the value of having access to local historians and genealogists should not be underestimated.

Previous students have enjoyed touring Belfast City Hall and Parliament Buildings. They

Tracing Your Scots-Irish Roots, Cindy Thomson

Ulster American Folk Park

also visited historical locations in the countryside, such as Sentry Hill House, and the Ulster American Folk Park and Centre for Migration Studies at Omagh. The Duke of Abercorn gave a personal tour of his home at Barons Court.

[Since this article appeared, I’m not sure the school is still running. But for research assistance options, check this site.]

One benefit is that because this effort is being supported by the University of Ulster, registrants will have access to that university’s library and electronic resources for genealogy research.

Short of making the trip, there are some materials available that can aid your research. Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors by William Roulston, published by the Ulster Historical Foundation, 2005, is said to be the first comprehensive guide for family historians searching for ancestors in 17th and 18th century Ulster.Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors

The society also offers two pocket histories/fold out maps entitled “The Scots in Ulster Surname Map and Pocket History” and “The Plantation of Ulster: The story of the Scots, 1610-1630.” You can order these for only the cost of postage and handling through these links: Surname Map¬†¬†¬† Plantation of Ulster

An online resource worth plugging your surname into is the Scots in Ulster. I found several hits for Thomson in this database, which could provide some clues for own research.

Closer to Home

In America, researchers should not overlook local organizations where help may be found, such as The Ulster-Scots Society of America, whose stated purpose reads: “The Ulster-Scots Society of America is primarily an educational and social organization committed to the promotion of the Ulster-Scots history and heritage, especially as it pertains to the nearly quarter of a million immigrants who left the north of Ireland (Ulster) during the 18th century and settled in America (often referred to as: The Great Migration).”

The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America is another group to check into. From their website: “The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America was founded to promote and preserve Scotch-Irish history and culture of America’s Scotch-Irish heritage and to keep alive the esprit de corps of the Scotch-Irish people. Membership in the Society is available to United States citizens, and to legal permanent residents of the United States, who are of Scotch-Irish descent.” The Center publishes issues of the Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies.

[I had more links in the article, but since links are hard to keep up to date, I won’t repeat them all here. If you know of any, please leave them in the comments. And by the way, did anyone else find it amusing that the Scotch-Irish Society used French to describe themselves, or is it just me?]

Tom&Cindy Thomson, Ireland 2010

Our 2010 trip to Ireland, taken at Inch Abbey, County Down, Northern Ireland.

These are just some of the resources available, but by consulting those who have gathered together to promote research and understanding of the Scots-Irish people, you will find like-minded people who can help you along your research journey.

Reacting to Feedback

Annie's Stories by Cindy ThomsonRight off the top let me say this is not about negative feedback. There will always be people who will not get my work. (Thanks to author Susan Meissner for teaching me that.) Negative reviews are part of the business and to be expected. But that is not to say there isn’t something to be learned from reading reviews, both positive and not so great.

You Can Say That Again

I look for reoccurring statements and think about them. Is there something there I should learn from? Maybe, maybe not so much. But, yeah. Probably there is, whether I want to admit it or not.

For instance. Many reviewers have said my novels are a bit slow. That did not bother some. It did others. Reading is so very subjective. Perhaps there is something I could do in future stories to speed up the action a bit, but only a bit. I’m not going to try to start writing thrillers that hurl you into the action. One of my writer friends noted a trend of writers beginning with an action scene that ultimately had nothing to do with the novel’s plot. I’ve been taught, by wonderful editors, that every single scene needs to matter. The scenes move the story forward.

Not a Kissy-Kissy Story

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Talking about romance in novels

shutterpa via Flickr

What I keep reading over and over again is that the romance in my books unfolds slowly, that the books are low-romance, and that it makes sense that way. Better I let the reviewers express this:

“Thomson‚Äôs story development is refreshing in that Thomson knows how to develop relationships slowly while keeping the action moving. The romance feels authentic and the story keeps you hooked with suspense, drama and emotion.”

“The story wasn’t just a love story, but about self discovery, forgiveness, and family. ”

“And while this story does include a romance, it is not of the highly emotional variety. The two characters have only brief meetings, and it takes a while for them to forget the mistakes and hurts of their past enough to face the future. Personally, I found it refreshing to read a love story that, while sweet, was also more realistic that most.”

“…sweet story with a very light romantic bent to it.”

“The romance feels authentic and the story keeps you hooked with suspense, drama and emotion.”

“Cindy has a way of writing characters that are totally believable. There is a sweet love story in the novel…”

So, I call it romance “light.”

My Voice, My Stories

When I finished this story my agent said, “Please tell me there is romance in this story.” There is, although it may not be typical. I prefer to call it a love story, and like many of my readers are saying, the romance flows at a rate that is believable for these characters. How can anyone who has trust issues due to what they’ve been through fling themselves into a romantic relationship. I just could not make Annie do that, although she does see something of her father in Stephen, something that is appealing.

So what do you think? You can voice your opinion. Click here!

 

4 Reasons I Love Book Festivals

Cindy Thomson, Sandy Hart, Books by the Banks

Me with friend and fellow author Sandy Hart who came to see me at Books By The Banks in Cincinnati.

1. A Book Festival is About Readers

It’s not about the authors, regardless of how it might seem. Book festivals are an opportunity for readers to meet authors and ask questions. And boy do readers have questions. I absolutely love that! Everything from why did you write this book to what did you learn while researching this story?

2. It’s a Celebration of Books!

Everyone comes to learn, to gather, to shop for gifts, and they are all there because of books! Children’s books, young adult books, fiction, non fiction, art books, illustrated books, wee books and heavy coffee table books. Librarians, artists, and writers. It’s an atmosphere charged with creativity.

3. I Get Away From My Desk

Cindy Thomson at Books By The Banks in Cincinnati

I was asked to describe myself in one word.

Writing is for the most part a solitary undertaking. Getting out and talking to readers energizes me for the long hours ahead. If I know who I’m writing for, that people are actually enjoying my tales, I feel better about getting writer’s cramp and drinking so much tea while I work. (Well, okay, indulging in so much chocolate too. It’s a necessity.)

4. New Readers are Introduced to My Characters

It’s hard to get noticed these days in the vast ocean of books out there. Going to a book festival enables me to say, hey, here are some new stories you might want to try, to people who might not otherwise run across them. It’s marketing, yes, but for me it’s mostly sharing. Some are not interested, and that’s fine. At least we got to exchange smiles.

What About You? Have you been to a book festival? Which one? What did you like about it? If not, would you consider it sometime? (Just Google book festivals in your area or ask your local librarian where they are.)

Writer’s World Blog Tour

The Writer’s World Blog Tour Continues!

Fellow Tyndale author Cathy Gohlke invited me to join this blog tour. Several authors around the web will be answering the same questions. Below you’ll find my answers, but before I get to that, you should get to know Cathy and check out her books. I recommend them! Besides being a sister author over at Tyndale, she’s a wonderful weaver of tales. (At the end you can find out who I invited to continue the tour.)

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites in search of a story, Cathy and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, thrilled with the new-every-morning joys of grandparenting.
Visit her online at www.cathygohlke.com and on FB at CathyGohlkeBooks.

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And now my part of the Writer’s World Blog Tour

What are you working on?


I’ve been busy promoting my latest release Annie’s Stories all summer. But now I’m beginning to get back to writing. I’m hoping to make some major progress on book three of the series (no publication date is set yet.) This book will feature an Italian immigrant who finds herself suddenly in need of a place to live because her Italian family can longer keep her due to a family secret that is threatening to take away her mother’s mental well-being. The male protagonist is a vaudeville pianist dreaming of being a concert musician and his sidekick is an adorable mutt everyone thinks looks just like the Victor dog on the record labels.
Photo by: The Sun and Doves via Flickr
After that I’ll be working on a different time period–a story with a contemporary line paired with a historical one that involves the Chicago Cubs in 1946.

Here’s a hint, something that will be an important part of the story:

Photo by: fourth photography via Flickr

And, if I decide I don’t need sleep or a clean house, I hope to put my out-of-print novel Brigid of Ireland out as an ebook along with a sequel I wrote years ago.–I guess these are my long-range plans, God willing!

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

In my Ellis Island series I’ve focused on a historical element that is well-known today: the Brownie camera, the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the Victor dog and “His Master’s Voice.” I focus on the stories of our ancestors and what their lives (which I try to portray as appropriate to the times they lived it) have to teach us today.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m passionate about history and history’s lessons. I’m always exploring what the past can teach us and I believe God has instructed us to learn from the past and to keep the stories of our ancestors in our hearts as we journey along creating our own life stories.
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.~Jeremiah 6:16 NIV


How does your writing process work?


The toughest question saved for the end! It really depends on whether or not I have a deadline. When I do, I’m committed to putting in several hours a day writing. When I don’t, no matter what I tell myself, I end up writing less. But basically I write full-time so whenever life events don’t get in the way, I’m in my office writing most days.

Learn more about my books on my “books” page tab above or click here.
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And next week continue the tour with these authors:


My friend Danica Favorite’s debut novel will be out this fall! Danica and I have the same agent and we’ve gotten to know each other at conferences and other events, and we both love tea so of course we hit it off!

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun. Her first book with Love Inspired Historical, Rocky Mountain Dreams, is out in November.

www.danicafavorite.com


Carole Brown and I met at our local Ohio ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group. She has so much passion for writing and promoting her books in the marketplace that at times it’s difficult for me to try to keep up!

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/