Category Archives: book

Quilt Artist to Word Artist

What happens when your brain has “quilt overload?”

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Sometimes a quilter just needs to take a break from quilting. A break from planning, cutting, and stitching. We need to get away from the sewing room, for just a bit. Completely away, no quilt meetings, no quilt magazines. What do we do when we need that break?

Read?

Now there are several authors who write books with quilts in them. They are good books, in fact I will be reviewing some of them later this summer. However, for something completely different, a book that is pure enjoyment, allow me to introduce Mariam Kobras, former quilt artist turned word artist.

I told someone the other day that  my review could be short, sweet and simple, “It’s a good book, buy it and read it.”

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Unfortunately, that doesn’t make for much of a blog post, or tell you anything about the book.  Naomi Carlsson is a “poor little rich girl” in one sense, but she is so much more. Her parents own the world-famous Carlsson Hotels and she is expected to take over the running of them.

Yeah, right. Remember when you were eighteen? Did you have dreams? Did they coincide with what your parents, or society thought you should do? What did you do? WAITING FOR A SONG is Naomi’s story of growth, and independence.

Everyone expected her to become engaged today. After all, it is her eighteenth birthday and her soon-to-be fiance has been waiting years for her to be old enough. Except, she’s not sure she wants to marry him, and there is not a crown prince available for her. Which is a good thing, since she doesn’t want to marry a prince either.

Naomi isn’t the demure little thing her parents and future husband, Seth want to make her into. When Seth, knowing she loves to ride, gives her the gift of a horse, a pedigree Arabian, it reinforces Naomi’s idea that he isn’t the man for her. Especially since her favorite mount is a stallion Apollo. She thinks the Arabian looks like a puppy and has no interest in it. Shouldn’t the man she marries know her and understand her love of Apollo, and how she would view the difference between the two horses?

The horse issue is one more piece of evidence that those who profess to love her don’t know her and only view her as possession, something valuable and needing to be safe guarded at all costs. She feels as though she’s bound with golden shackles, and smothered in loving protection Naomi is her own person and knows her own mind. From riding Apollo and feeling the wind in her hair to following her dream of song writing Naomi begins to find her way out of the maze of concern and protection her parents have hidden her in.

WAITNG FOR A SONG, is Naomi’s story. It’s more than a romance, it’s more than a coming of life story. It is a story we are all know and have experienced to some degree. It is also a bit of a fantasy, imagine running away from  home in style, aboard a jet plane and having the opportunity to see some of your fantasies come true.

Would you take that chance? Would you leave behind all that is familiar to you for the adventure of the unknown?

Unlike most books that are part of a series, WAITING FOR A SONG, which is Mariam’s fourth book (I think, I’ve lost track,) stands on its own and does not need the previous books to be understood, or enjoyed. Although, if you haven’t read the earlier books, now you will want to.

Photo on 5-2-14 at 4.37 PM #3

 

For a change of pace, take a break from quilting and read the entertaining works of quilt artist turned word artist, Mariam Kobras.

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Reading Break for Quilters

Song of the Storm book cover Calling all quilters. The sun is shinning, the birds are singing, it’s too hot for sewing. If you’re ready to take a sewing break and read I have the perfect book for you. SONG OF THE STORM is book three in the Stone Trilogy by Mariam Kobras.

With another captivating episode in the Jon and Naomi Stone saga, author Mariam Kobras has quilted her magic. SONG OF THE STORM,  the last (maybe) book in the Stone Trilogy continues with the real-life characters, conflict,  love and tragedy.

Life with a rock star isn’t easy, but hotel empire heiress, Naomi is determined to build a life together with her soul mate, rock star Jon Stone. Jon is just as determined. However, just as in our lives, their road to happiness is often rocky and the baggage both carry from the past, too many times,  gets in their way. Good news, that another child is on the way leads to more insecurities for both of them.

The book isn’t just about Naomi and Jon though. Their lives are intertwined with family and friends who also have issues. A subplot of the book revolves around one of those close friends, Jon’s manager Stan.

Stan has long-held a one-sided love for Naomi. When he meets Maya, he believes he’s found Naomi’s replacement. Except, happiness isn’t always easily achieved. Maya has a maturity well beyond her young age. She realizes long before Sal does that their love is not made to last. Will Stan find a lasting love? Only readers of SONG OF THE STORM, and the author of course, will know.

The reappearance of Naomi’s parents adds more tension to the story. They have little belief in their son-in-law, and often display concern for their only daughter’s safety, both physical and emotional. Given their background, and knowledge of the past, it’s easy to understand. Yet, this reader, wanted them to just love their daughter and accept her marriage. However, since that rarely happens in real life, it felt right that they continue to suspect their son-in-law and the marriage.

In the middle of all of the tension, and emotional confusion we are reminded that family, friends, and love are what is truly important when the characters are forced to deal with the real-life tragedy and drama of the September 11 attack.

Wherever you were, the emotions you felt that day will return as you are taken back to that unforgettable experience. However, Jon, Naomi, their family and friends remind us that hope and love are eternal.

SONG OF THE STORM  is a perfect read while you take a break from sewing and quilting. You can curl up on the couch under the air conditioning and continue the journey with Naomi and Jon. If you haven’t read book 1, THE DISTANT SHORE, and  book 2,  UNDER THE SAME SUN, no worries, this book stands alone. Although you WILL want to get book one and two, because you won’t be ready to let them go and you’ll want more time with them.

WARNING!! Do not read this by the pool if you are also watching young children. You will be pulled into the story and forget where you are. Leaving children unsupervised around water is not recommended. However, if  there are no children present, read and allow yourself to be whisked away.

For more reviews, or to meet Mariam herself, check out her blog at  where all the links for the blog hop can be found.

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Mariam Kobras- Word Scraps Create Novel- Under the Same Sun

What happens when a quilter starts writing?  Scraps of fabric make beautiful quilts, word scraps create wonderful stories. At least in the hands of former quilter, Mariam Kobras.

Mariam has gone from sewing scraps of fabric together to form a warm, comforting, cover to stitching words together to create an entertaining, enjoyable read.  Under the Same Sun, is the second in The Stone Trilogy, and follows Naomi, Jon and those close to them as they try to regain control of their lives after the shooting of Naomi. The event  affected  them all in different ways. Added to the mix is Naomi’s desperate wish to have a second child and her difficulty in conceiving.

Mariam’s characters and situations, while figments of her imagination, are real and she could be telling the story of their lives were they actual living, breathing, people instead of just “real” characters from her fertile imagination.

She expertly stitches events and feelings together to form a tapestry that one can almost reach out and touch. Her descriptions are beyond good. She writes with layers, much like a quilt.  Each sentence another stitch in the written quilt, the story.

Mariam’s beautiful sensory descriptions of each new venue allow her readers, even the most frugal of us, to feel as though we’ve traveled the world with Naomi and Jon. Whether we are dancing on a lakeshore in Geneva with them, shopping at Harrods in London or decorating her house in Brooklyn, with Naomi, we are there. We can see the area, feel the smooth wood of the Steinway or the rough cobblestone road, the local aromas waft around us, as the sounds mingle with those of our real surroundings.

Real life drama fills the book and the resolutions are satisfying and make sense.

Sometimes in reading the story I wondered, “how did she know about that?” Because a portion of my life so closely followed the happenings in the book. There are so many real life situations in the book, that most people will be able to relate to at least one of them. Even if we have no idea what it’s like to be a rock star and have more money than we could possibly need.

While Under the Same Sun is the second book in the series, it also stands alone. That is you can read it and understand who everyone is without reading The Distant Shore, but why would you want to? Reading the books are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And of course, Mariam needs to buy a Porsche. How can she do that if we don’t all rush out and buy both books?

I am so happy  to be a part of Mariam’s blog tour, that way I got to read the book sooner. I’d been looking forward to reading it as soon as I finished, The Distant Shore. Now, I am eager to read the final book. Oh. My. Gosh. It won’t be out until next year !

This was the sixth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours now, then while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free.

But first, write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/23, Mariam will be visiting Carrie Bailey.  Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

about the author: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and  two cats.

Join Mariam on Facebook,  her blog, and her publisher’s website.

I am linking up with The Nester during the month of October and posting about one subject each day (more or less). My subject is “scraps”.  Check out her website for other blogs writing on the subject of their choice.

EverGreen or Deciduous?

It’s Spring in Oklahoma, which means the Deciduous trees  have all leafed out, giving out landscape a full lush look, adding to the greenery of the Cedar trees.

Deciduous trees are those that who lose their leaves, in the autumn, after the leaves have turned the landscape colorful with their new orange, red, yellow, and brown before dropping off and leaving the tree bare for the winter.

Both types of trees are needed. We enjoy the benefits of both. The Cedar trees, the evergreens stay green through the cold, dismal winter, giving us a bright spot to view.

Our writing is the same. Some of our stories and articles are like the Deciduous, they have their time, and like the Deciduous trees come back, for use. Seasonal stories and articles can be used each season. Articles tied to events can be revived on the anniversary of the event.

It can be yearly, articles relating to the events of December 7 (Pearl Harbor), September 11 (Twin Towers), and April 19 (Murrah Building bomb) are often used every year as the anniversary approaches. Calendar dates can also trigger posts, Memorial Day will be next month. You may want to consider if, and what post you’ll write  for the day, and those who served.

Other date-related stories are used on significant anniversaries, the fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, hundredth, and so on. For example, Arizona was admitted into the Union of the United States in 1912, the first foreign feature film was shown in the United States. If you’re a sports writer, pitcher Cy Young retired, among other sporting news.

What does that have to do with you, the blogger? Just as other publications need both types of stories, you need both for your blog. Sure, around the holidays, write holiday related posts. Your readers are probably going to expect them. Besides, they’re fun to write. And yes, you could relate every post to an event or happening in history. But why not intersperse a few ever-green articles? The advantage of an ever-green is that you can write it when you have the time and energy and save if for those days you just don’t know what to write. You can be calm when considering your blog post.

Although, truthfully, most days I look like this when working on a blog post.

Maybe I could enjoy the calm a little more if I had more Deciduous articles on standby.

You might want to check out a few of my fellow bloggers bloggers who have full lush blogs with Evergreen and Deciduous articles:

Funny lady Amy Mullis writes humor pieces, both on her blog, Mind over Mullis, and with other funny writers at, An Army of Ermas (as in funny lady author, Erma Bombeck.)Some of  Amy’s posts are timely because the humor is based on current events, however, most of her humor is timeless. Warning, don’t be eating or drinking when ready Amy’s posts, you don’t want to have to take time to clean your monitor screen.

Pamela Foster, author of, REDNECK GODDESS, intersperses timely posts, like her most recent, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen with funny fictional pieces like, More – On the Road with Chesty and Rocca.

Beth Bartlett says she has more  One writer who includes evergreens with timely posts is Beth, on her blog, The Writing World of Beth Bartlett. Beth says she has more sides than a D20 die, her blog has a little from all her sides, and includes both Deciduous and Evergreen articles on her blog.

What about you? Are you a calm blogger? Do you have a few, or more, Deciduous articles in your arsenal? Leave a comment and share how you choose a blog topic.

Together Always – Five Minute Friday

It’s time once again for Five Minute Friday.  Once again I’m letting the lead character in my current WIP talk. Today Elizabeth Clayton Storm joins the Five Minute Friday bloggers at The Gypsy Mama.

Today’s word is “Together” – You have five minutes Elizabeth.

Go

Five Minutes? That’s not much time. Why does she give me Friday’s? God gave her seven whole days, she could let me have any of them. But, no. She gives me Friday, with it’s five minute limit and a special word! Oh well. I’ll take what I can get.

I watch my children sleep. They look so peaceful, no worries. How I wish that could remain the truth for them. The fact is, it won’t. I remember when I was younger, safe in my parents’ home, where our family was together. Then came The Reverend.

Now, I’m married, living far from my family. This new town offers little. Inside this little house, where we’re all together everything is fine. Outside these walls though, the world is threatening. How I wish we could all stay safe, together, in this house.

But, that’s not living. God will surround us, wherever we go, however far apart we become, we will always be together in our hearts, and minds.

Oh blessed! My five minutes are up. See you all next week when she once again lets me out to mingle with you nice folks.

Still struggling with this, writing from my character’s point of view, and having fun at the same time. Come play with us at The Gypsy Mama. Rules are simple:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back at The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

 

Share with us your thoughts on TOGETHER.

Twitter Tips

“Experts” tell us to use Twitter as another selling tool for our books. Except, we aren’t supposed to just promote our books. What? Sounds a little  backward, use it to sell, but don’t sell.

Twitter is like a party where we can network, but really, we are there to socialize. Some people are more social and have 1,000 or more followers, friends, social contacts. Others of us are less outgoing, and have far fewer. When this month started I had 325 after a month of ‘working’ Twitter I’m up to 445, the goal was 500 and, do the math, you’ll see, I’m still 55 people short. However, an increase of 110 people in less than 30 days sounds like success to me, plus I still have three days.

Why did I want more followers if I can’t ‘sell’ my book to them? Because, I can ‘sell’ myself to them, they’ll eventually buy the book because of my tweets, or they’ll tell someone else about my book. Also, more followers mean, more interesting people for me to meet.

I’ve met some quilters who are generous with their tips and talents, often sharing tutorials, many of which I’ve included on my blog. More followers, mean more information for me to use when blogging. The blog, of course, is another way of selling books. There are too many quilters to mention, but recently I learned about I Spy bags from Lorelei.

I’ve met writers who encourage, and entertain me. Writers I’d never meet except online. Writers like Mariam Kobras, German author of THE DISTANT SHORE.  Mariam is  author who wrote her first book while overseeing detention at the local school. Now, how could I NOT like her? I love sharing tweets with her, and she in turns introduces me to some of her friends.

Since my book, DEVOTED TO QUILTING, is essentially a devotional, following fellow christen writers seemed a no-brainer. I’ve met some great uplifting people that way. People like Lyn Smith, a minister, speaker, writer, and just plain fun person. Then there’s LisaJo at  who combines family, ministry, and writing. LisaJo’s Five Minute Friday is not only a good way for me to have a Friday post, but introduces me to some fabulous people each week.

So, how do I find these people? How have I increased my friends at the twitter social? I adopted the following strategy:

1. Reply to other tweets-If someone tweets something you find amusing, helpful, or just fun, comment. When I don’t know something, I tweet a question. Twitters are friendly people, they will usually respond, either as a reply or as a direct message.

2. Retweet other tweets. When someone posts a tweet I agree with, or enjoy I retweet it. It only takes a second, and you never know where it will lead.

A few days ago I retweeted a tweet about the future of obtaining a college degree for Agriculture jobs. I live in a rural area, and all of my children have, college education that led to jobs in agriculture. My husband and his brother both taught agriculture. It was a subject dear to me, so I shared it.

A few days later, that retweet, with my twitter feed was mentioned in the Agriculture Blog Daily. http://paper.li/AR_ranchhand/1327775386 His tweet which mentioned me, went out to 2888 followers. Will all of those 2888 people check out my tweets? No. Will any? Maybe. And it’s likely I’ll get new followers, which will eventually translate into more sales.

I didn’t know my little tweet would be spread so far. I didn’t do it for the exposure; I did it because I believed in the original tweet and wanted to share.

The tweets I retweet don’t always result in such exposure, but that doesn’t matter, that’s not the reason I do it. Sometimes I retweet for friends to help get them more exposure; others do the same for me. We help each other.

4. Post links to other blogs or websites you find interesting. I often have trouble thinking of something to tweet, I don’t want to be advertising my book all the time, and I don’t want to be too personal. That’s when sharing links to other blogs or websites comes in handy. Some of my writer friends aren’t on Twitter, or if they are I haven’t found them.  But I can tweet the link to their blog or website for them. This often gets them new readers and shows other twitter people some of my interests.

5.  Answer if someone replies or retweets you. It’s just polite to thank someone for retweeting one of your tweets. If possible, respond to their replies. It gets the conversation going, which helps them to know you and hopefully will sell more books.

Twitter is just one little road that leads others to you, and your books. Enjoy your twittering.

These are some of my Twitter tips. I’m still learning, I’m sure there will be another Twitter post in the future. Do you have others; is there something you do on Twitter that has helped you?

Blogging for Success

Monday Marketing: Blogging for Success

Blogs. Everyone seems to have one. Most authors for sure do, their editors, friends, even family insist we need a blog to help sell our books. We agree, we can see the benefits of having a blog, but then we flounder. What do we post? When do we post? How do we get readers?

I have no idea, I’m stumbling along just like everyone else. To find the answers, or some of them, I read (don’t all writers read?), I read blogs, books, magazines, hoping for some kernel that will if not propel me to the top, will at least make the climb a little easier.

I’d planned to list several blogs here I’d found that might be helpful. However, I once again found Kristin Nador’s blog, Kristin Nador Writes Anywhere, I really need to pay more attention to the blogs I’ve bookmarked.:-)

Last month Kristin ran a series of post aimed directly at helping us make better use of our blogs. So, here are all (I think) of her “blog improvement” posts.

Here are links to her posts:

Part 1 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 4 Ways To Define Your Audience .

Part 2 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 7 Keys to Blogging on a Consistent Basis

Part 3 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 14 Actions to Take to Amplify Your Blog’s Voice.

Part 4 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

Part 5 – Sharpen Your Blogging habits: Get Serious by Relaxing.

I  hope you enjoy Kristin’s posts and they give you some new ideas to try or at least consider. Sorry for my recent Marketing absence, was busy working on entries for the OWFI contest. Deadline has passed, hopefully I won’t become obsessed with another project, but there’s no guarantees :), and will be here regularly on Mondays with my little take on marketing our books.

How have you used your blog to increase your book’s audience? What other methods have you used to sell your product, whether it’s a book, a quilt, or other item? Feel free to share your ideas with us.

Next Monday will be about Twitter since I’m focusing on improving my Twitter usage this month. 🙂