Friday, February 27, 2015

Author Spotlight: Debbie Macomber

Author Spotlight Week 2

This time, I have chosen one of my favorite authors, Debbie Macomber.

     Debbie Macomber is an American best selling novelist. Debbie Macomber has over 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide, but she is best known for her Cedar Cove Series. The acclaimed series, as you may know if you're a fan, has been made into a television series and is featured on the Hallmark Channel. Cedar Cove will be starting its third season in July. I had just seen some previews for the first season of the show right after starting the first book in the series. Right away, I knew I wanted to read all the books in the Cedar Cove Series before watching the tv show that was going to be based on the books. Just like in movies, I always believe that the book is better than the movie/tv show. A few of her other novels have also been made into movies - Mrs. Miracle, Call Me Mrs. Miracle, Trading Christmas and Mr. Miracle.
"In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope." (www.
     I wanted to copy that above sentence from Debbie's page because it tells exactly why I love her books and why she easily became one of my favorite authors and why she's one of the best authors out there today. To be honest, I think Debbie Macomber writes about real situations in a true sense in fictional way. Her characters can be pretty close to what real people go through and experience throughout their lifetime. There's not many authors who can make realistic characters go through realistic situations and feelings, as well as do it in a way that is captivating to readers.

     In addition to writing, Debbie also happens to own a tea room and a yarn shop in Port Orchard, Washington. She lives with her husband, Wayne, there and spends winter in Florida. She has a passion for knitting and is a spokesperson for World Vision's Knit for Kids charity initiative.

Links for More Information:
Debbie Macomber website:
Debbie's Tea Room, Victorian Rose Tea Room:
Debbie's Yarn Shop, A Good Yarn:
Knit for Kids Charity:
Cedar Cove Series:
Facebook Page:
Twitter Page:

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fear of Rejection

Hi there. Today I'm going to be writing about the fear of rejection.

Fear of rejection is a common thing that all writers deal with when first starting out. And bouncing back from rejection after rejection is a big obstacle that writers face as well.

Rejection happens. Get over it! No, I'm just kidding. But it does in fact happen and we shouldn't let it control our life. If someone is scared of getting rejected, then what is the point of writing in the first place? It's important to think about why you wanted to become a writer in the first place. All of your reasons should be able to outweigh the fear of rejection. It's also crucial to remember that you can't please everyone. It's something that's impossible. Just because one publisher doesn't like your book/story, doesn't mean that the next one won't. It's when we stop trying that's the problem. As a writer, we have to put ourselves out there, fight for our book(s) to get published. There's a chance that you can get 50 rejections, but that 51st publisher might be the one that likes your idea, likes your book, likes your story, sees something special in you.

I think the fear of rejection ties in with not being good enough. There's always going to be someone out there who is better than you and being good enough is impossible. But how do you know you can't be great at something until you try it? If you want to be a writer, just do it. Keep writing and writing and don't ever give up, even if you do end up getting rejected by publishers a thousand times. Put yourself out there because that's when you will succeed. It may take awhile or you could become an overnight success, but in any case, you'll be doing what you dream of doing. Getting published and getting your name out there in the case of writing is hard work. Nothing in life is ever easy, but if we stop trying, we won't get anywhere. There could be another writer who comes out with a book with what you were thinking about, but never put in into words. So my advice is that if you have an idea or ideas about a story, get it down on paper and get it out there. Granted, given with feedback and constant editing, you will have to keep writing the same story over and over, but that's how you get better, how you get published, and how you stop getting rejected. It's how you win in getting over that fear of rejection in the first place.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Author Spotlight: Colleen McCullough and More

I'm starting an Author Spotlight feature and I will be making some notes at the end of this.

Author Spotlight Week 1

For my first author, I've chosen Colleen McCullough. I just finished reading The Thorn Birds the other day. In addition, Colleen died at the end of January and has been in the news recently.

Colleen McCullough was an Australian author who is best known for The Thorn Birds and being a  romance novelist. When she first started writing, she had established the neurophysiology department at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, as well as being a neurophysiological researcher at Yale for ten years and would write in her spare time. She was often criticized for supposedly basing her characters off of other books. However, Colleen always stated that she wouldn't copy off other authors' works. Altogether, she would end up writing 25 novels in her career. Colleen passed away on January 29, 2015 at the age of 77 and leaving behind her husband Ric Robinson.

Colleen was known for sexist and lude writing, which was joked about in an obituary that an Australian newspaper published right after she died. Here's my take. Sex scenes in books/movies sells, there's no denying it. And the romance genre is above love making and sex of course. I've actually read authors who were more descriptive and provided more detail than what Colleen did in The Thorn Birds.

The Thorn Birds. Since the characters in the book were Catholic, this brings up an interesting point. Father Ralph was a priest, but still had feelings for Meggie and vice versa. It goes to show that nobody in any given vocation or career is perfect. Priests have to go to confession just like everybody else who believes in God. I am a born and raised Catholic myself. In recent years, I admit that I've fallen a bit out of my faith and that's okay too. It's okay to question anything and everything, including religion/faith. I hope and pray that someday I will get back fully into the Catholic faith. I'm not going to get into why I've lacked faith over some years because the issues are personal and I will figure out some way to deal with those issues and move on. I do believe in God and most of the Catholic faith; it's only little things and I know I'll get through it by trusting in God, among other things.

Second chances in life are acceptable and maybe someone thinks they would like to be in a certain profession/career/vocation/calling, only to find out that once they are, they don't care for it like they originally thought. It's like Maria in the Sound of Music. Maria thought she wanted to be nun, but couldn't really get into their rules/way of life and fell in love with a man instead. I knew someone in high school who wanted to do anything and everything to do with horses. When she went to college for it, she found out she wasn't interested in that type of lifestyle on a professional and permanent level. You have to do what makes you happy and writing romance was what made Colleen McCullough happy.

My Favorite Quotes from The Thorn Birds:
“The bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it.”

“Belief doesn't rest on proof or rests on faith...without faith there is nothing.”  

“We can know what we do wrong even before we do it, but self-knowledge can't affect or change the outcome, can it? Everyone singing his own little song, convinced it's the most wonderful song the world has ever heard. Don't you see? We create our own thorns, and never stop to count the cost. All we can do is suffer the pain, and tell ourselves it was well worth it.”

“There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.”  

Information on Colleen McCullough:

Special Notes:
I'm going to try my best to write a post every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday/Sunday. Author spotlights will be on Thursdays except for this one of course. On Tuesdays, most likely I'll post writing tips/exercises and personal essays. And for the weekend, I'm going to attempt to do something fun, like a book tag or a personal tag, etc.

In April, I will be taking part in a blog challenge and I'll tell more about that in the upcoming weeks.

Happy Reading and Keep On Writing!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thorn Birds Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

The list for this challenge can be found at

3. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
    Reading Challenge Theme/Topic: Book your mom loves

Synopsis: Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, this is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story's heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican...but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life. (

My Review:  I thought it got off to a bit of a slow start but after a couple chapters, I started to enjoy it and get into the story. And it brought a lot of emotions for me. The story centers around Meggie Cleary and I definitely felt for her as she went through a lot of tough times. I related to Meggie the most because of certain things. In the beginning, she often got overlooked and underestimated just for being a female - found myself getting frustrated that Fee always got upset with her and expected so much out of her, especially when it came to taking care of her younger brothers. I couldn't stand that those who she truly loved and cared about and they the same for her either ended up going away or dying (Frank, Hal, Father Ralph, Paddy, Stu and I'm including Dane). I wanted more of a mother-daughter relationship since Meggie had so many brothers. Just like I kind of wished that Frank and Paddy would eventually make up to have a real relationship with each other, even if Frank wasn't his biological son. I liked the friendship between Meggie and Ralph - thought that Ralph should have fought more for her, I get that he wanted to stay true to his priestly vows. Needless to say, I was devastated when Meggie married Luke just for the sake of getting married. Luke was the one person I couldn't stand at all. He treated her badly, put his whole life into his job, and used her and married her only for the money. It takes two people for a marriage to work and survive, except that it wasn't so. Which made me feel bad for Justine when she was born. Obviously, Luke didn't care about her because she was a girl and Meggie didn't want her at all in the beginning. So it was no wonder that Justine and Meggie didn't really get along and that Justine always did her own thing regardless of what anyone said. I was glad when Meggie finally realized that Luke was just using her and she finally went home. I only wish that she would have divorced him, but it is what it is. Dane was by far my favorite character because he always put everyone else ahead of himself and he tended to keep to himself a lot (something I tend to do). He also thought that he was never good enough and kept wanting to pay back for it. We often go through times that we feel that we aren't good enough, myself included, and truth is, we are never going to be good enough. It's impossible, but we can't stop trying at the same time. I was upset that Meggie didn't go to Dane's graduation, when he got ordained into the priesthood for personal reasons that Dane had nothing to do with. I was once again devastated when Dane died after saving people from drowning, but didn't like how everyone reacted to it. Meggie didn't want to even think about it and Justine didn't want to have anything to do with anybody. I understand why she blamed herself for his death (I personally have blamed myself for someone's death in my family and it took a long time for me to come to terms with the situation), but I think it would have helped her if she had more people around her and if she talked to others about it. I know that people grieve differently, but it just bothered me a little. The most frustrating relationship throughout the story was the one between Justine and Rainer. I felt that Rainer could have fought harder for her (felt that he played hard to get) and that Justine could have come out with how she really felt about him as well. I definitely feel that Justine should have come to her senses about Rainer before she actually did, but I was glad when she finally realized she loved him and when they finally got married. Loved the ending. So, I thought the story was well written and I would highly recommend this book for people to read. Don't have anything negative to say (remember all this was how I felt at times about the characters, but not the actual story. One of the best books I have ever read.

I'm going to end this here, as this seems long enough. I will be doing a follow up soon about Colleen McCullough and some of my favorite quotes from this story.

Happy Reading and Keep On Writing!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate Book Tag: Perfect for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!! I was going to do a tag tomorrow, but figured I would do it today since it's Valentine's Day after all. First and foremost, I am single and have never had a valentine and it's just fine with me. I also think it's important to note that I believe love should be shared every day and not just on Valentine's Day.

I am doing the Chocolate Book Tag because who doesn't like chocolate on Valentine's Day. I know I like chocolate all the time, as I'm sure most people do, especially women. Enough talk, let's get on with it:

1. Dark Chocolate: a book that covers a dark topic
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I read this is January. It's about a teenage girl who fights for her life after getting in a car accident that kills the rest of her family. She has an out of body experience in which she can see everything that happens around her and how the rest of her family and friends try to cope with the situation, but no one can see her.

2. White Chocolate: your favorite lighthearted/humorous read
    Marley and Me by John Grogan. Simply about a dog who misbehaves all the time except when someone is hurting or in pain or needs that special something to help them feel better.

3. Milk Chocolate: a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read
    The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I'm a little late to the game with this one, but the series did bring about a lot of hype with it. I read Divergent last year and now I can't wait to get Insurgent, the second book in the series.

4. Chocolate with a Caramel Center: a book that makes you feel all gooey in the middle while you read it
    Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. I'm not going to give too much of an explanation because I can't really describe the feeling, but this book just melted my heart when I read it.

5. Wafer Free Kit Kat: a book that has surprised you lately
    The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I am currently reading it now and almost done it. To be honest, I didn't really care for it in the first section (to anyone who doesn't know, it's divided into sections for different characters) of Meggie, but after a couple days, I started to enjoy and "fall in love" with Meggie's character and the story on a whole.

6. Snickers: a book you are going nuts about
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It's just an incredible story about a relationship that forms between two teens who are battling incurable cancer, but live life as normal as possible and doesn't really let it get them down.

7. Hot Chocolate with Cream and Marshmallows: a book that you would turn to for a comfort read
    I have several. Once again, I'm going with The Fault in Our Stars. But I'm also going to say For One More Day by Mitch Albom or any book by Mitch Albom really. His books have a habit of just speaking to me, offering me hope or comfort when I'm feeling down or something like that.

Hope you enjoyed this little fun tag and hope everyone has a good Valentine's Day.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Questions About Books

I came across this Questions About Books Tag and I've decided to do it. So here goes...

1. What is your favorite book?
    I can't really choose because I have so many favorite books. Some of my favorites would have to include: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares; Divergent by Veronica Roth; The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle; The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom; Night by Elie Wiesel; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; and The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William Paul Young.

2. Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
     Debbie Macomber, Suzanne Collins, John Green, Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Danielle Steel, Mitch Albom, Veronica Roth, J.K. Rowling, Karen Kingsbury, Luanne Rice, and Nicholas Sparks. Once again, I couldn't pick just one and I do like more than what I have put down.

3. What genre do you prefer?
     I will generally read anything except for some thriller/horror and fantasy. I do read a lot of mystery and fiction and some Christian fiction.

4. What is your favorite book series?
    Once again, I have a few; deal with it
    The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling; The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins; Divergent Series by Veronica Roth; Cedar Cove Series by Debbie Macomber; and the Alex Cross Series and the Women's Murder Club Series by James Patterson.

5. What books did you hate reading in school?
    A Separate Peace by John Knowles and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'm sure there were a couple more, but these were the only two that came to my mind. Keep in mind that I had to read them for school and eventually I will go back and re-read them now that I'm older and maybe I'll end up liking them, who knows.

6. What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
    I don't remember an exact book, but I know I read several of the books in the Little Golden Books collection.

7. Bookstores or libraries?
    This one is real easy: bookstores hands down.

8. How many books do you own?
    I honestly have no idea, but I have a lot.

9. Do you read before bed?
    Sometimes. I always used to and I don't always do it nowadays, but I have been working on actually reading before going to bed.

10. What is your most comfortable reading position?
      Either sitting or laying down relaxing on my bed.

11. What is the most recent book you read?
      So far this year, I have read The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom and If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I am currently reading The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.

12. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?
      "When someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times." - Mitch Albom's For One More Day
      This just reminds me of my grandmother. I was really close to her and she was like a second mom to me. Unfortunately, she died almost 5 years ago and it was a very difficult time for me, as well as my family. I really do believe in angels and believe that our loved ones are always watching down on us from up above. I also believe that they send us messages/signs and I've felt the presence of my grandma at times when I just needed it.

13. Science fiction or fantasy?
      Science fiction, but really wasn't into it until Harry Potter and I have enjoyed the genre ever since. I actually had to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for school in 7th or 8th grade. I started out not liking it at all, but ended up falling in love with that book and the rest of the series.

14. What books do you regret reading?
      I don't really regret reading any book. I have read books that I didn't like, but I don't regret it either.

15. How large is your bookshelf?
      I have two bookcases, both with three shelves each. They have held a lot, but not all of my books fit on them either and I keep them in boxes/containers.

16. On average, how many books do you read a year?
      I would like to say around 50. Last year, I ended up not reading that much because I had so much going on, but I've set a goal of 52 books to read this year and I'm hoping to surpass it.

17. What books can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?
      Harry Potter, The Fault in Our Stars and any book by Jodi Picoult.

18. Do you like to read outside?
      I don't usually read outside unless I'm down the shore (beach) for vacation and then I'll usually read outside the hotel room at night because it gets really quiet and I like the air. I prefer to get comfy on the couch or bed to read.

19. What's the biggest lesson you've learned from a book?
      That there's always hope in even the darkest times.

20. Of the past year, what's the greatest book you read?
      Since it's only the 2nd month of 2015, I'm going to answer this on what I read in 2014.
      I have three: Divergent by Veronica Roth; Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares; and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
      So far, the greatest book that I've read in 2015 is The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. Let's see if this stands true at the end of the year.

Hope you enjoyed this.

Happy Reading and Keep On Writing!