Christmas Gift Ideas for Non-Bookworms

Many people in my circle are “bookworms”. But some people out there are non-bookworms.

Some people love everything to do with books, and you could make a placemat from a doctoral thesis and they’ll pretty much swoon.

Other people would look at your word-covered gloves and go, “Huh?”

But Christmas is coming, and in ritual celebration of the gift of God’s Own Son (Jesus) EVERYONE deserves a gift!

This list is for those people…those dear ones in your lives that don’t share quite your enthusiasm for all things paper and folded-in-half: Continue reading

Meet Author Amanda Tero!

Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interviewAs part of the Indie Christian Books Black Friday sale (which is live today through the 30th), I got to interview fellow author and homeschool graduate Amanda Tero! Hope you have as much fun getting to know her as I did!

Interview Q&A

What made you decide to be an author? What encouragements have you had along the way?

I was the kid who tried my hand at story-writing well before I was ten. I don’t remember really deciding to become a writer, I just was one. My family has always been an encouragement to me, whether it was my sisters joining in with story-churning, my mom teaching and editing, and my dad bragging about me, they have never been anything less than supportive.

Tell us about other things you do – work, family, church. What do you do for fun?

Writing is actually one of the smaller things that I do, so this is fairly simple. I do a lot of music—I teach piano and violin, arrange hymns (and sell them at withajoyfulnoise.com), record music (my YouTube channel), play for church, and play for my family ministry. I suppose you could say that music is my work, even though for me it’s a big ministry and blessing. Some hobbies are photography, graphics design, crocheting, and reading (of course). My family—I’ll get to that with your next question. As for church, I go to Pleasant Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, which has been an incredible blessing! Our pastor is a very solid Bible preacher, as well as a big brother figure for all of us siblings.

Family is a big thing for me – especially sibling-love!
Tell us about your family and siblings. Do you all get along? Do you have favorites : ) ? What was it like growing up?

I have eleven siblings from 35 to 8. I’m number 5. Overall, we get along. We have our moments and certain personalities clash a little more than others. But from what I have heard, our family gets along so very well—which is all due to being raised to honor God. As for favorites, I do try not to have favorites. 😉 My siblings are my best friends—they know the best and worst of me, what I believe, and how I communicate.
Growing up was super fun. Since I’m number five, I’ve always had a “large” family feel. We were raised with a lot of music (teased to be the “von Trapps” when we were younger), homeschooled, a lot of lighthearted teasing, animals, gardens, that type of thing.

Why did your parents choose to home-educate you? What’s your opinion? Would you choose the same for your own children, should you have any?

When my oldest sister was getting ready for kindergarten, my family lived in New Orleans. They saw guards packing guns around these little kids running around, and that was what led Dad to make the decision to keep the kids home and homeschool them. It wasn’t a popular decision at the time, and they didn’t know many homeschooling families. Since then, their reason for homeschooling has changed, and it was more of a conviction than a safety issue. I absolutely loved being homeschooled. What stands out to me most are two things: 1) When I think back at my schooling years, it wasn’t just about getting an education, but getting a solid start in God’s Word. The years that my parents invested into me spiritually can never be compared to any education in this world. 2) My highschool years were catered to what God had specifically gifted me in; while other kids were studying subjects that were irrelevant to their calling in life, I was majoring in music and writing. Given my very positive experience, I would definitely homeschool my children.

What are three things about you that are interesting, unusual, or unexpected?

Uh…I’m completely okay with being single…uh…I so have a hard time with words. Like, I use the wrong word in the place of the correct word. I can’t think of a good example, but I might would say something like, “quarantined” instead of “quartered.” And number three…I hate marketing? That’s not a huge unexpected from an author, though. 😉

Who is your favorite author (and book) ever and WHY? (If you can’t pick just one, narrow it down to two!)

Ooh! Well, my favorites change a lot. Right NOW, my favorite authors would be Roseanna White, for her writing ability, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, for her solid, Biblical plots.

How does your relationship with God interact with or influence your writing?

Oh wow. My relationship with God is the backbone of my writing! I pray a lot about my writing, study God’s Word when I’m looking at themes, take from personal-life examples of what God has taught me. I doubt that I’d even be a writer if it wasn’t for God’s leading in this.

Meet Author Amanda Tero! — Kimia Wood — interviewDo you include your own life in your books? Why or why not?

It all depends on the book. My short story, “Coffee Cake Days” was probably most auto-biographical. When it comes to my novels, I do try to reach outside of myself and portray characters who are not all like me, and who go through struggles that I may not go through. The reason for this is that I don’t want all of my stories to sound the same.

Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?

I have several helpers in my writing. Currently, three of my friends are my “writing counselors.” They know my general storyline and/or will read excerpts as I write the story, pray with me as I write it, and bounce off ideas like nothing else. After the writing stage, I definitely use beta readers. I currently have a team of about thirteen working on my upcoming novel. When they are finished with it, my story goes into the hands of my mom, who is my final editor. So far, I have designed all of my covers. It’s something that I enjoy doing, so I’m not quite ready to hand that job over to someone else. 😉

What’s your view on indie versus traditional publishing? Have you tried to be published traditionally, or do you want to?

I have never traditionally published, so my views are limited of that of Indie. So far, it has really worked for me, but I do have strong opinions about it. The ease of indie publishing has opened the doors to hundreds of pathetically patch-worked stories that really aren’t worth being sold. Writers aren’t always learning the craft as much as they are just trying to churn out a story and make some money. Quantity over quality. In ways, a traditional publisher moderates the quality of the quantity that they produce. But enough of that. 😉 For now, I try my best to do the best I can with Indie publishing, but I wouldn’t be opposed to traditional publishing—at the same time, I’m not blinded to the “glamour” of traditional. It still requires work, but it is a nice goal.

Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interviewTell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.

My latest or my upcoming? Let’s settle on my latest: “The Secret Slipper.” A dual-plotline has become my absolute favorite to work with—especially when it covers a girl who has no clue that she has a father, and a father when he has discovered that the daughter he thought dead ten years ago is alive and under the hands of someone he cannot trust. Lia and Raoul make a very neat team. Raoul is a Christian who is struggling with trust—not necessarily for himself, but for his daughter. Lia isn’t a Christian and everything in her life is coming to a cascading fall, swirling completely out of control. Oh, and did I mention that this is kind of a Cinderella-inspired retelling? It was such fun to put an original twist to it!

What’s your next project?

And here’s for my upcoming project: Nat’s story. Oh, Nat’s story. It’s my first full-length novel (currently 70k words) and has been a long haul of a job! But, let me introduce you to Nat. He is a boy raised on the streets, independent, fending for himself. One mistake places him in jail then hauled out on the orphan train out west, going places he doesn’t want to nor has any choice about. Just when life begins to go as he has planned, he is thrown into the War Between the States against his will. Are there ways that he can make choices in the midst of all of these choices made against him?

Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you still hope to be writing books? Are there other accomplishments/projects you hope to achieve?

Well, five years ago I hadn’t planned on being exactly where I am today. I definitely still hope to be writing books. I would like to still be producing music albums and publishing sheet music and teaching. And, if the Lord doesn’t bring a husband, I’d still like to be teaching. Maybe have my own house by then. I don’t know. 😉 I try to live my life by the moment, seeking God for the next step—it’s exciting, cause you never know where it will lead!

Where can people find you on the Internet?

Email: amandaterobooks[at]gmail[dot]com
Website: http://amandatero.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaterobooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandateroauthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amandaruthtero/
Blog: www.withajoyfulnoise.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmandaTero
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/amandatero

Find Her Books!Meet Author Amanda Tero — Kimia Wood — interview

Amanda and I both have books on sale or discounted with the Indie Christian Books Black Friday Sale (site is live Nov. 24–30) so be sure to look her up! She says her short stories are all free, while her novels are discounted – and who doesn’t love free reads?😉

Don’t forget to enter the sale giveaways, too—

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get To Know Author Priscilla J. Krahn

Get To Know Author Priscilla Krahn — Kimia Wood — InterviewToday I get to share my very first author interview – starring Priscilla J. Krahn! This was a new experience for me, and it was great fun to get to know a like-minded author. Please join me in welcoming her!

Interview Q&A

What made you decide to be an author? What encouragements have you had along the way?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve dreamed of being an author for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until one of my big brothers told me that I would never get published that I decided I was going to become an author! Once I decided that I wanted to write, my mom was the greatest encouragement. She never discouraged me and always made sure I didn’t give up. I would NEVER have gotten my first book published, if it hadn’t been for her. Continue reading

Why MacGyver’s Terror of Guns is Silly

Why MacGyver’s Terror of Guns is Silly

Season 4, Episode 2, of MacGyver is a story called “Blood Brothers” where MacGyver protects two teens from drug dealers while experiencing flash-backs of the childhood tragedy that set him against guns and handguns. From Wikipedia:

Back in his childhood home town, MacGyver is haunted by memories of his youth where a friend was killed by a gun while preventing his friend’s son from using a gun to defend himself against hoodlums.

While the episode works very hard to evoke a specific emotional response, and while it explains MacGyver’s phobia of guns, the moral it tries to convey (“When are they going to do something about guns?“) doesn’t apply – not in our modern day of 2017.

(Note in passing: after all the times MacGyver blows up Murdoc, or drops him in acid, or knocks him off cliffs, or drops buildings on him, etc., Mac’s aversion to firearms seems a rather weak stance.)

Back to the specific episode, I shall break down the specific issues point by point.

* * SPOILERS * * Continue reading

6 Things I Learned From Beta-readers

Beta-readers are the people who read your manuscript before it’s published to give you advice about how to make it better.

Sort of like “beta players” in the gaming industry are the lucky dogs who get to see Destiny 2 before the rest of us players who test the game while it’s still in “beta” and not ready to be released for the masses.

So what have they taught me?

  1. I have a coy writing style, frequently sacrificing “communicative” for “cute”.
  2. When you tack a beginning onto the front of your book…people can tell that you just tacked a beginning onto the front of your book.
  3. Layman beta-reader: “I like it.”
    Author beta-reader: *3 pages later…*
  4. Not everyone has lived in my pretend world for years the way I have.
  5. REWRITE REWRITE REWRITE and don’t stress it, ’cause you won’t please everyone.
  6. High-quality beta-readers = worth their weight in gold.

Thank you for reading this week’s stand-in blog post; now I’m off to rework that tacky beginning 😉

Eternity in a Chick’s Eyes

Stare at the Chicken

…And Your Soul Stares Back At You

Meet Gimpy.

When my mom recently mail-ordered 15 baby chicks, one of them came with a bum leg. It seems twisted backward/upside-down somehow, and makes it hard for the poor little guy to walk.

He’s my favorite, though – partly because he’s the one I can usually identify with certainly.

Life isn’t all roses and Starter Feed for our flamingo-wannabe.  Continue reading

My Dad

Why should I celebrate my dad?

  • I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him (!)
  • He’s told me about God for as long as I can remember.
  • I know I am a princess, because Daddy said so.
  • He taught me everything I know (except for Home Ec., introvert-coping, and all the other things Mom taught me instead).
  • What he doesn’t know that can’t be easily referenced from Wikipedia probably isn’t worth knowing.
  • He makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Oh, boy.
  • If I need him, he will come…time and distance no object. Literally.
  • So many computer games I would have never seen without him…
  • Did I mention he’s wildly in love with my mother? My future husband has some expectations to live up to…
  • Don’t tell Dad about the problem unless you want him to fix it – or buy you something. He loves to buy people things.
  • We’ve never had a TV in our house, and we never missed it. Dad is the news, the sit-com, the reality show, the late night talk show, the skit team, and the weather channel – and for commercials we have youtube. (And, yes, he does have different accents for all those!)
  • He is the self-declared “worst influence in my life”.
  • I have a website designer, IT trouble-shooter, network technician, netiquette consultant, and device-whisperer in-house. He fixes my problems because I am his precious little princess.
  • ALL MY STORY PROBLEMS GO AWAY WHEN I TALK TO HIM. Now, remembering the brilliant solutions he gave me when it comes time to write is another thing…
  • One of the reasons I write about fathers is that not everybody could have my dad as a father, but they can have God as a father and that’s even better! But it’s hard for dads to be the superheroes they were built to be, and maybe having role models in fiction will help them, and their kids. (Maybe.)

Whatever the big, scary thing is, I know my daddy will protect me. That’s what daddies do. And if he can’t – because the thing is inside me – he’ll do the next best thing: take it to our Father in Heaven (who is even more big and awesome than anything you’ve ever seen!).

Thanks, Dad. Love you lots – but you loved me, first.

Why I Don’t Need College

It’s a season of transition for many, as students graduate and prepare for the next stage of their lives. My cousin and brother have both graduated from high school. Many high school students will go on to college/university.

But this cultural edifice is not for me.

Be careful how you share this online, so my grandparents don’t see it (!) but in spite of their repeated entreaties, I don’t feel the need for more than my 4.0 Associate of Arts degree. In case some of my reasons resonate with you, I’m sharing them. Continue reading

Distance and the Heart

My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.

I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat… Continue reading

My Mom

  • With the help of the Lord, she “brought me forth”.
  • Since before I understood English, she has taught me about Jesus.
  • She has taught me everything I know (except for Latin, ‘Eighties Culture, and sundry other things).
  • She is my companion, my confidante, my best friend, role model, educator, project buddy, mentor, and encourager.
  • She has a magic touch with little kids. You know those princesses in movies who can talk with the animals? My mom works strange and wonderful things with toddlers and babies.
  • It’s not just me, either! This woman does it all — dirty work, hungry families, unwatched children, messy rooms, late-night overtime, the soiled laundry of half-blind old people…whatever the disaster is, my mom is there, up to her elbows in helping. In the dictionary next to “hard worker,” they’ve put her picture (much to her chagrin, as she doesn’t like her picture taken).
  • Is it any wonder she’s the pattern for all my female characters? (Except for the bland or ditzy ones – those are me.)
  • She gave me my looks 🌷
  • No matter what the situation, no matter where I am, I know my mom is in my corner, and will give me solid advice (even if I don’t like it).

Feel free to disagree, but like it or not my mom is the best there is. The best.

(She will hate this whole post because she doesn’t like being talked about 😉)

Love you, Mom. Thanks for being you, and making me who I am.