Friday, August 29, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 33

Phillip Island

Swim In Cold Water 

It wasn’t an ice bucket challenge, as some have excelled in these last few weeks. 

But it was meant to bring awareness... if only to me.

To push, and I mean PUSH me, out of my comfort zone. 

I spent this week on a solitary writing retreat at Phillip Island. More words on the page written on location, my feet on sandy beaches flooded in winter sun. 

Right where my stories are set. 


And I’m grateful. 

During a mid morning walk along the beach where one of my heroines wrestles with all life’s thrown at her, I wondered (for a heartbeat) if I might slip into the ocean and fulfill this week's challenge. 

If there’s water colder than the deep blue sea wrapped around Phillip Island, I’ve yet to find it. And this particular stretch of ocean is a few miles from where my heroine, a shipwreck survivor, is carried to safety.

Glorious Phillip Island ~ even in winter

Good spot to dip in cold water, right? The perfect location to get under the skin of my girl and better understand what it might feel like to bob in icy depths, praying for rescue.


Or... I could’ve returned home to brave the cold waters of our backyard pool.

So, perhaps I chickened out on this one. Perhaps I chose not to risk solitary shivers on a lonely beach, in favour of safer waters. Where family could talk me into the plunge and throw me a towel when they were done laughing. 

And here’s the evidence. (Don't let the sun fool you, folks) 

Surely you didn't think there'd be more of me, did you? 
Me, in a pool. In winter. 

Swimming in water so cold my lungs lost half their capacity to the shock and another quarter to fist clenching pressure I couldn’t fight. Dunking my head took some persuasion, and when I did, the pain jabbed me around the ears so fast I soon forgot my lost breath. 

Lucky for me, my ever-loving son supervised and encouraged this mad experiment. I left the pool when I chose to, (imagine my swift exit) where a fluffy towel AND terry robe awaited.

Not so my poor heroine.

Now, when I edit her shipwreck scenes, I’ll have a better idea of how terrifying cold water can be, and I’ll use my imagination to amplify what it meant for her to float under the cover of night, against jagged rocks, pulled by the smash of the sea ... and the deep green eyes of her fine rescuer. 

Oh, and I’ll be sure to never throw one of my characters into a volcano because I am not doing that challenge. Ever. 


Are you a fan of cold water swimming? What's the coldest swim you've attempted? Did you slip in on purpose or were you pushed? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Camy Tamy ~ Prelude For A Lord

It's a pleasure to welcome Camy Tang to Ink Dots and celebrate the release of her Regency Romance, Prelude For A Lord. 

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance under her pen name, Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, and for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon. Visit her website at to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.

Prelude For A Lord ~ An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?

Bath, England---1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal. 

But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul. 

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo.

Camy Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... England! My trip to England for my 40th birthday was my ultimate Bucket List trip. Rather than throwing a party, I decided to use the money for my dream vacation/research trip. I spent a week in London and a week touring the countryside near Nottingham with a friend and author, Liz Babbs. Much of the detail in the places in Prelude for a Lord were taken from the places I went to during that trip. I absolutely loved my time there and want to go again soon. Sounds wonderful. I made a trip to your part of the world, the US, for my 40th birthday. Bucket list trips must equal a lot of 'significant' birthdays. :) 

The best thing I did today is...Well, today specifically, I’m rather proud of myself because it’s super hot here in California but I went running anyway! I kept myself well-hydrated and went for 5 miles. I’m pretty slow, but I’m training to hopefully run the marathon in Hawaii in December this year, so training in heat should be good for me. Congratulations! What a wonderful achievement. I'm tired and hot just thinking about it! 

A secret pleasure of mine is... Knitting lace shawls with wool yarn even though it’s in the middle of summer! LOL Actually, I love knitting period, so I always have something on my needles. Right now I’m doing several Victorian lace shawls that I hope to give away next month on my blog ( for my big release party for Prelude For A Lord.

I wish I could relive the day when I... Ran my first marathon in December 2010. It was the Honolulu marathon, and it was the day I felt healthier and more physically fit than I’d ever felt in my entire life. It took me seven hours, but I finished!

When I was a child I dreamed I would... Be a writer. Seriously! Luckily, my mom was very encouraging but practical, too. She said, “Well, a writer doesn’t make a lot of money, but if that’s what you want to do, then you go for it.” She was just as excited as I was when my first novel was published in 2007.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I’m an extreme night owl. I go to bed at four or five in the morning and then get up sometime after noon. My brain just seems to be most active late at night, and that’s when I get the most writing done. Wow, that's one topsy turvey body clock. You're almost awake in Aussie daylight hours. :) But there's wisdom in knowing your most productive working hours. And using them. :) Thanks for being my guest this week, Camy. Congratulations and every success with Prelude For A Lord. 


If you'd like to enter to win a copy of Prelude For A Lord, tell us about your most productive hours. Do you work late into the night, rise early to knock off lots on the to-do list, or find you're really humming in the afternoon? 

I'll announce a winner in the comment thread on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 32

Go people watching. 

Watching people can be fun. If they’re interacting in meaningful ways. I tried this challenge in airports recently, thinking that would provide the perfect place for people watching.

Wrong. I came away with very little. 

People in airports don’t interact. Much. They hardly make eye contact and shuffle around each other in search of a spot to settle into their own gadget bubble

Coffee ~ My fuel of choice
But not so if you’re in a local cafe.

I gave this challenge another shot this week in a busy Melbourne eatery. Rel Mollet and I have been known to talk the afternoon away in this establishment, so I arrived early to write a few scenes for my wip and watch the people around me, because once Rel joined me for lunch, I knew the people watching would be over.

This time, I hit the jackpot. People slipped into their regular tables all morning, greeted by the owners with smiles and hugs and warm banter.

Mums with toddlers took up the rear outdoor garden area, where a gas heater kept big and little people warm on the chilly winter morning. 

A young mum came in on her way to work for a take-away coffee, desperate for fuel after a long night with a sick baby. 

A couple arrived for morning tea with their trainee guide dog ~ a handsome lab they introduced as Satin. (Not another name that sounds like it.)

A teacher gobbled coffee and cake and marked a wad of maths tests.

A trio came in, many weeks since their last visit, excited to share they’d been in the US on teen camps as part of their church’s ministry initiative. 

Another young mum came in with her toddler and new born, Lilly. The owner’s wife dropped her tea towel to grab the bub for a quick cuddle and we all melted to see love poured on someone so new to the world. 

Yet another mum came in with her beaming toddler, Sarah. Their cafe stop the tail-end of little Sarah’s weekly swimming lesson. Sarah wore a polka dot skirt and juggled a bundle of coins. Lots of 50c pieces. Her proud mama shared with the owners how Sarah had dunked her head ‘underwater’ for the very first time that morning and was now eager for her prize, a strawberry milkshake. The owner added his own praise and delivered the milkshake with suitable fanfare to ‘our super swimmer.’ He made that little girl's day. The celebration continued when Sarah and her Mummy left to visit Daddy at the fire-station where he works. 

Sarah had only just left when young Ada arrived with her mama. Another plate of chips was delivered to hungry bellies with, ‘Every time I see you, Ada, you’re taller and taller.’ And in that moment, I think I almost saw Ada gain another inch. 

Cozy Melbourne Cafe 
In the lull between breakfast and lunch, the owner sat at the front window for a plate of eggs and bacon and long read of the newspaper. His wife snuck around him to peek at a story which caught her eye before leaving him in peace with his coffee. 

But even in that moment of solitude, the connectedness of this cafe remained. The sense of intimacy and community so palpable it didn’t take much to realise why this stop delivered, and my airport challenge failed.

When someone cares to ask another what their day’s already delivered, when babies are celebrated and when achievements cheered, people return the courtesy with warmth. A smile. A story. 

And in all this, the blessing was mine to consider how sweet it is to watch people in a place where they know they’re accepted and valued for who they are. 

I hope you take the opportunity to ask someone how their day looks, today. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Jody Hedlund ~ Captured By Love

It's my pleasure to welcome Jody Hedlund to Ink Dots this week and celebrate her newest release, Captured By Love.

Jody is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher's Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. 

Captured by Love ~ The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.

Jody Says...
If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... castles around England and Germany. I'm fascinated by old castles, knights, and daring damsels which is the setting of my young adult medieval series that is releasing with Harper-Collins Christian Publishing in March of 2015. How exciting! A medieval series! Congratulations. Lots of my author visitors are wishing for a trip to Europe. I don't blame them. My hand is up, too. ;)
The best thing I did today is... laugh with my kids over silly things and sit down altogether as a family and share fellowship during a meal. 
A secret pleasure of mine is... eating ABC (apple, blueberry, cherry) pie for breakfast. I love sitting down with a cup of coffee and piece of pie when the house is quiet! Pie for breakfast! That not only sounds delicious, but should probably be a daily requirement.  
I wish I could relive the day when I... ate my last dinner with my dad. He visited my home and had dinner with me three days before he died of a massive heart attack. In hindsight, I'm glad I had that last time with him.
When I was a child I dreamed I would... become a best-selling author. (It pays to never give up on your dreams!)
I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I'm the crazy cat lady. I have four cats that rule my house, walk on counters and tables, and basically do anything they want. I even baby-talk to them! Ha ha, we have a cat who rules his kingdom, too, Jody. :) From one cat-mama to another, I thank you for visiting with us this week and wish you every success with Captured By Love. 


Jody has a copy of Captured By Love for one lucky Ink Dots visitor. If you'd like to enter, tell us one thing you know about medieval times. Many authors claim they're known as the dark ages for good reason. It's a difficult era to research. But medieval settings are becoming more and more appealing to readers. 

So what do YOU know? Share in the comment thread below and I'll pick one winner on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, August 15, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 31

Natural Bridge Caverns

Visit A Forest Or Other Wild Place

For months I’ve pondered ‘Visit A Forest Or Other Wild Place’ on my 52 Author Dates challenge list. And there was never a place wild enough to call me through the busyness of long writing days. I never imagined my Immersion Retreat with Margie Lawson in San Antonio, Texas, would deliver this Aussie writer into the perfect wild depths.

After a week of learning and networking at the RWAmerica conference, my head held just enough active brain cells for a deep editing week. I wrote about my first Immersion with Margie here, last year. I knew what to expect (sort of) for this second experience, and it DID NOT fail to deliver. (Thanks, Margie. You're the best!) 

But when we packed away the coloured pens, Texas beckoned. With a Wild Place so off the map, God hid it. Underground. 

With fellow 'cavewomen' Margie Lawson and Marjorie Brody 

Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the world’s premiere show caverns, and one of the most popular attractions in Texas. Margie and my Immersion hostess, Marjorie, took me on an adventure to this natural playground.

I’d never roamed caves before. I know we have them in Victoria, but like many tourists, I explored the cavernous depths of another country to find stalactites and stalagmites for the first time.

Natural Bridge Caverns
The author in me was charged to write a scene with one of my protagonists IN the wild place of my choosing. Trapped perhaps. Fighting to escape. Lost. Or deliberately missing.

Perhaps someday I will write that scene. 

For now, it’s enough my jet-lagged body experienced the most intense, bone-melting humidity I've ever known... In. Those. Caves. (And I've lived in Bangkok, people!) 

It's enough we blinked away a thin stream of cave water, dripping from the roof into our hair and faces, tapping us on the shoulder in a dim lit other world.

And it's more than enough I fretted over how late I might arrive at the airport and if I'd miss my flight home... because I'd been too busy playing Tom Sawyer. 

One day, I will return to the memory of this author date. Not just to remember the buried treasure of a thousand plus year’s of slow growing mineral formations.

Natural Bridge Caverns
I will return to remember it’s a writer’s obligation to step into the beauty of an unwelcoming place, if I am to find the words to write about beauty... even in the unwelcoming.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sarah Sundin ~ In Perfect Time

I love welcoming the amazing Sarah Sundin to Ink Dots. She visits each year so we can celebrate her newest release. Sarah's the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. You can find her at
In Perfect Time Bold, sophisticated, and coy, World War II flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her. Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings of the past in order to take hold of the future?

Sarah Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...Ooh! What fun! A month ago I would have said Boston to research my next book series—but I was able to spend a week in Boston in July and explore to my heart’s content. Instead I’ll choose the Scottish highlands. Last time we were in Britain, we were so close (Stirling Castle!) but didn’t have time to get up to the highlands. Oh... I'd love to follow you around if we're headed to Scotland! Great choice. 

The best thing I did today is...Checked off a whole lot of items on my to-do list. A whole lot. This was a really boring day for me to answer that question.

A secret pleasure of mine is... Gumdrops. Love that fake fruity chewiness!

I wish I could relive the day when I... My wedding day—twenty-five years ago this August 26! First of all, like most brides, I was so dazed by preparations that the whole day was a blur. Second, my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents were there—they’re all gone now. How I’d love to sit down with them and ask them all the questions I should have asked when I was younger—and just to enjoy their company again. Congratulations! We're celebrating our 25th next year, too. I bet your wedding dress had pouffy sleeves like mine! 

When I was a child I dreamed I would...Be a prima ballerina, a mommy, and a protozoologist (a scientist who studies protozoa, the one-celled organisms that live in the sea). All at the same time.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but...I still want to be a prima ballerina. Not happening. Lol, Sarah. Why not? I bet you've still got all the moves. :) Thanks so much for visiting with us again, Sarah. Wishing you all the best with In Perfect Time. 


Sarah's offering a copy of In Perfect Time to one lucky Ink Dots visitor. Tell us who you'd like to chat to from 25 years ago ... who is no longer with us. I'd love to chat with my grandmother. She lived long enough to celebrate my wedding, but left us a month before my first wedding anniversary. I still miss her. A lot. 

How about you? Leave your answer in the comment thread below and I'll announce the winner on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading,