Thursday, September 29, 2011

My first

I opened up my email last night and my eyes were immediately drawn to one particular email, "interview questions" the subject line read! My first interview! This made me feel like I am truly an author! I quickly opened up the email and answered the questions, sending it right away! I loved the questions and am so blessed to have been able to do the interview! Thanks, Holly, for giving me this opportunity! I am truly blessed! Here is the link in case you are interested in reading the interview and book review on Hope for Tomorrow:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another idea for a Book

I had an idea last night about my grandparents' letters to each other. I sat down at the computer to write, and this is what I came up with. Tell me the truth now! Do you like it? Give me some criticism and let me know what you honestly think! :)


“Nana!” Sophia Blake's voice rang out in surprise. Her big, brown eyes shown in excitement as she drew out what appeared to be letters. Some were in plastic bags, some were in bundles with a rubber band holding them together. Others were placed with care in manilla envelopes. Sophia's chestnut brown hair bobbed back and forth as she shook her head. “What are these?” She carefully reached in to the plastic bag and removed a letter. It was dated nineteen forty-four.

Nana shrugged her shoulders, a soft smile playing at the corner's of her mouth. “Those old things?” She took the letter Sophia was holding out to her. “Why, I haven't thought about those in years. My goodness, where does the time go?”

Sophia uncrossed her legs and stretched. She had been spending the day at her grandmother's house. She glanced around at the living room. The carpet was blue, like most of the room itself. Her Nana had had it installed just a few years ago. Funny, though, Sophia thought it was the same blue that was previously there. Nana's white walls were decorated with old pictures Nana's grandmother made out of material. The pictures were framed and bolted to the wall in case an earthquake would jolt them down. Over the fireplace mantle hung a rectangular mirror. Sophia remembered that being there her entire life. Just to the right of the fireplace sat Papa's green chair and ottoman. When Sophia was younger, much younger than her now thirty-five years, she and her siblings would jump off of the ottoman. Nana and Papa never yelled at them for doing so. As a matter of fact, her own children were encouraged to jump off that ottoman by Sophia's grandparents.

“Those, Sophie,” Nana began in her quivery ninety year old voice, “are the letters Papa wrote me when he was overseas in World War II.”

Sophia's eyes grew wide. “You've kept them all these years?”

Nana patted the top of her white hair with her free hand. “I had forgotten I still had them. Oh dear,” she sighed, reading the words written on the aged paper. Nana never said “dear” as it should be said. She always left off the “r” sound and made the word sound like “dea-ya” instead. That was her Maine upbringing. Nana lived in California for over fifty years, yet she still kept her eastern accent. Sophia loved listening to her grandmother talk. It wasn't just the word “dear” Nana said with an accent, but also the word, “park”, which often came out as “pawk.” Sophia would tease her grandmother into saying, “Park the car in the parkway.” Every “r” sound came out the same way.

Sophia chuckled to herself as she stood up and sat on the arm of the floral couch her grandmother sat on. She leaned over Nana's shoulder and read the letter out loud,

Wednesday, November 22, 1944

“Hello Honey-

Well, here I am back at Kandy and still no mail. I find that they have been sending it around to the various places I have been. So it will probably be about a week more before I will be getting any mail.

How's this? I've been reading a western story which was written by an Englishman and printed in India. And it sounds just like one of Zane Grey's yarns.

I've just come back from the movies where I saw, “Two Girls and a Sailor.” It was pretty good. They use the mess hall for double duty-both to serve meals in and as a theatre.

Maybe I should tell you this now, honey, so that you will be forewarned. I'm quite apt to be spoiled by the time I come home. You see, it's the system of servants that they have here. We find tea besides our bunks by the time we wake up in the morning, get our beds made, shoes shined, bags carried, anything! All we have to do is just yell, “Boy!” and he's always on the spot to do anything that we tell him. I feel that such luxury is spoiling me.

I learned something very valuable while I was in India. I met a special services officer and he was telling me about the GI Bill of Rights. I find that I can go to school at government expense after the war and get paid besides. What do you think of that?

It's getting late so I will say goodnight now to my sweet darling wife whom I love with all of my heart.

Good night, Honey. Will all my love,


Sophia slid off the arm of the couch and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “Nana, this is amazing. I can hardly believe you've never told me about these letters! Can I read more of them?”

Nana patted Sophia's hand with all the love Sophia had grown accustomed to. “Take them home with you, if you like. They are all yours.”

Sophia's mouth hung open in bewilderment. “Mine? Really?”

Nana smiled and nodded her head. Sophia reached out and hugged her grandmother's thin, frail frame. “Thank you, Nana! Thank you!”

“If you ever have any questions, just let me know. I will answer them as much as this old woman's memory will allow her to!” Nana tapped her temple with her forefinger.

Sophia gathered up the remaining letters and carefully put them in her giant purse. She was glad she brought her big purse today. Sophia called her children in from the backyard and told them to clean up. It was almost time to leave. Once the kids said their good-byes, she buckled them up in her minivan and maneuvered the vehicle onto the two ten freeway. She was anxious to get home so she could begin reading the letters of love written by her grandfather.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A full time job

This week has flown by! Before I even knew it, Friday was upon me, drawing me to enjoy a quiet day without my three kiddos while they are in Friday school. I love Fridays. It gives me time to myself, which is often needed. Friday give my boys a chance to see what school outside of the home is like. So, when Friday comes, all four of us are excited! Fridays are a chance for me to write, as well.
I love writing. I want to write more through-out the week. I enjoy catching up on the characters of my stories, watching them develop and change. On top of writing, Chris' aunt is editing my second book, Hope for Today. She is doing an AMAZING job doing so! I have been getting chapters pretty regularly with suggestions to dig deeper, improve my writing technique, and not to settle "telling" something, but "showing" something instead. It is hard. I have to think as I change things in the story. I mean, really think. I don't think I have ever really "thought" that hard to tell a story. She is definitely challenging me, and Hope for Today will be all the better for it!
I don't like to wait for Fridays to come to write, so I have been taking out my laptop to work on Hope for Today so I don't fall behind. 45 minutes here, 30 minutes there. The time flies by wat too quickly before I realize I have to put away the laptop and  make dinner, clean the house, or do whatever it is that needs to be done. And of course, I normally wait to take out the laptop until I am done teaching the boys. I don't have a lot of time during the week, I am realizing. Chris is wonderful to give me time when we have it, but even our nights are filling up rather quickly. So, what is the point to this blog? I may still be trying to figure that out! :) I do know that writing is a full time job! I just wish I had the time to do it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Opposite of Faith

My youth pastor from years ago used to talk about the opposite of faith. He would tell us it wasn't doubt. He told the youth group it was negativity. I have been a Christian for over twenty years now, and that one statement has stuck with me (amongst many others Chuck would say). Recently, I have discovered that has been my problem. I was having the opposite of faith. I was negative and complaining a lot. The weird thing is, by nature, I am a positive and optimistic person. I truly am! It is one of the things that has a tendency to drive those I love crazy. I normall look at life through "rose colored glasses". I don't see the glass half empty, but rather, half full. I can typically look at a situation and know it will all work out in the end, and if it hasn't, it's not the end (Max Lucado). So, imagine my surprise one day when I realized how negative I was being. Friends would call and ask how I was. I would complain about the kids or whatever thought came my way! Chris and I were on a date and walking around one of the many lakes we have here in Colorado. I gazed at the lake while waiting for Chris to come out of the bathroom. I saw little ripples form. I was like those ripples. I would start complaining and being negative and my bad attitude would just keep going and going. It wouldn't stop, much like those ripples. I decided at that moment that I was done complaining. No more of it! No more negativity. Because, you see, it really is the opposite of faith. How can I expect God to move in my life if I am negative? He won't always move the way I want, but there is still good in that, too. I have been less negative this week, and it shows in my every day life, including my writing. I am more open to criticism about my writing. I am more apt to make changes and see things through a postitive mind set. So, if you wonder why you aren't joyful, try to be positive and not negative. It makes all the difference in the world. Oh, and Chuck, thanks for speaking the truth! I am thankful, some twenty years later, that you did! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

What People are Saying

I have been asking for feedback in regards to Hope for Tomorrow. I really wanted to see what people were saying and thinking about it. So, I asked on facebook! Below are some people's responses! I am thrilled with the feedback and love hearing what readers have to say! If you have read or are in the process of reading the book, leave a comment here or on my facebook page! I would love to hear from you! And for those of you who have read it and are leaving comments, thank you! I appreciate them! So, without further ado, below is what people are saying about Hope for Tomorrow:

I am reading your book and I'm on page 59! Love it! The characters grabbed me right away ( important to me when I start a book) You are making me care about these folks! :-) - Pam Smith

Joi, You are a fantastic writer. I just finished reading ALL of Hope for Tomorrow. (book title underlined!!!) I couldn't put it down after ch 3. I loved many things about it; ie theme, your vividness in describing the characters, but I loved the way you had them saying little prayers all day in dealing with different circumstances. This is like praying without ceasing. Can hardly wait for Hope for Today to be on the shelves!!!! Ruth Dickie

 I finished mine weeks ago and I am anxiously waiting for the next one. For me the book got better as it went on and it seemed your writing evolved and matured in the book. It was very good Joi. :) Christina Fisher
So I love the book and I cant put it down. My mom comes over and she is reading it and enjoys it. I am on Chapter 10. Congrats! I am going to let all my mary kay friends know about it also. Julie Storlie
Overall, I liked it. I had a bit of a bumpy start. I like to read the synopsis on the back so I know what to expect. The back cover tells about how Jo comes from a tight family and then tragedy strikes. So, I read the first 5 or 6 chapters waiting for the tragedy and then realized "Oh, they're talking about before". It threw me a little and I had to put it down for a few days. When I did pick it back up, it was right where she was starting to see Mark and it went very well from there. Once I started again, I didn't want to put it down and really wanted to see what happened. It caught me from there. I honestly couldn't say whether the first part was just as good because I read it with expectation and was disappointed by that. I personally liked it. I'm really looking forward to the next one. Krista Tucker

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Cup Overflows!

I was up at a most ungodly hour this morning. I jumped online to pay some bills, check my email, and of course, check the ever addicting facebook. What I found on facebook literally brought tears to my eyes! My friends and family had been busy promoting my book before 5:00 a.m. Colorado time! I was stunned! Mind you, most of these people are friends I hadn't talked to or seen in years since before joining facebook. Yet, here they were, encouraging me, supporting me, suggesting to their friends and family to buy a book they haven't even read yet! (By the way, once you do, please post a review on amazon!) My heart was bursting! My cup runs over! So, Mike, Sarah, Steff, Jay, Jeana, Nancy, Kim, Chris, and so many, many more, thank you! Thank you for believing in me! Thank you for putting the Bible into action "encourage one another while it is still called today." Consider me encouraged, dear ones! Consider me blessed! Consider my cup filled to overflowing because of you all!