Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fiction and Fun in St Louis - the Gateway to the West

St. Louis - the Gateway to The West. Some might say St. Louis was the second gateway to the west, because at one time the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky was considered the western gateway. In the frontier days, the western frontier kept getting just a little farther west all the time as the pioneers kept moving on in search of land and gold. 

But they say if you're in St. Louis, you should go to the top of the Arch and look where you're headed and where you've been. So Darrell and I can mark that one off our bucket list. Here we are at the top of the Arch. 
First we were warned not to buy tickets if we were claustrophobic or couldn't do stairs. No, not because they thought the tram might break down, but because steps lead to the little cars of the tram. Don't the cars look like something out of Star Trek? With his newly repaired knee, Darrell had a hard time crawling inside and then bumped his head on the short ceiling. Plus he had that walking staff. But he was a sport and the view from the top was fantastic even though the windows were merely small, rectangular slits implanted in the curve of the Arch. 

We rode up with a couple from New Zealand and down with a couple from California. Isn't that one of the fun things about being tourists? Meeting other tourists. 

And a great thing about being at the International Christian Retailers' Show was meeting people from all over the world plus some other writers I've heard so much about and read their books. One of those was Irene Hannon who was signing one of her popular mystery suspense books, Vanished, at the Baker Books Booth. I missed out on getting her book. The line was too long, but I did get a photo with her before the signing. 

I also was fortunate to be able to sign an advance reader copy of my book, Christmas at Harmony Hill for the people at the show. So that was fun and you know what? That's something else I can cross off my bucket list. It was fun meeting so many booksellers and Christian book store owners from all across our nation and the world. I shared a table during a break time with a couple from Hong Kong, signed books for people from Nigeria and Malaysia and Australia. Meet a few Canadians too. All good fun in St. Louis. 

Remember about my fun contests going on now to celebrate the release of Small Town Girl. Check out the details on my website or my June 9 blog post, "Celebration Giveaway Fun." Easy to enter and you might win two dozen roses or wind chimes or books. I got lots of autographed books at the convention that I will be giving away in the months ahead. Yay!! But first we'll celebrate my new release. There's also a Facebook contest going on my Facebook author's page. Click on the Win $50 Gift Cards tab there to see details on how you might win if you order Small Town Girl. Worth checking out. Not that many have entered as yet.

Thanks for reading and I'll share some more flower stories Sunday - probably. You never know where I might head off to here on my journal. But I do thank you for tagging along. 

What's on your bucket lists of things you want to do before your time here on earth is through?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meet Me in St Louis

One of the fun things about writing in the Christian market is the writer friends you get to meet. Here I am with Laura Frantz. Laura published her first book, The Frontiersman's Daughter, a few years ago. She lives in Washington state but she has Ky roots and is published by the same company as I am. So she e-mailed me with some questions about the publishing process. She learned well and has published several books since then that have proven very popular with readers and are always up for awards. 

Her latest, Love's Reckoning, is up for a Christy this year. The Christy is a prestigious Christian book award and I've dreamed of one of my books maybe someday being a finalist. So far that hasn't happened, but I'm happy for Laura and the others who are up for the awards. Guess I need to let Laura teach me a thing or two now about writing award winning books. :)

So I'm going to be meeting writing friends here in St Louis. And making new friends too. Do you think anyone will send me flowers? Actually Laura surprised me with flowers after I'd answered her questions about what next on the publishing process for that first book. So I'm still on theme with my flower stories. And you can still jump in and throw your name in my hat for my Small Town Girl Celebration Giveaway. Fun prizes. You can check out details on my website,
I'm doing this on my iPhone so if weird words show up, it's all the phone's fault. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roses - the Language of Love and Thanks

"The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart."

Roses, those most romantic of flowers!
And so, of course, many of the flower stories you shared with me feature roses. 

My husband is a very romantic guy and hardly ever forgets Valentine's Day or our anniversary. One year he sent me a dozen perfect red roses for Valentine's Day. Those roses were beautiful, but then the bill came. Wow! Those roses were not only beautiful, they were EXPENSIVE! I think the price must have sky-rocketed for Valentine's Day that year. Either that or they had a rose shortage. I decided roses were more fun without a price tag attached. :) Actually now I've gotten a few of those sort of rose bouquets from a friend who drives a flower truck. When they can't sell all their roses by a certain time, they throw them in a dumpster. He's saved a few dozen now and again to share with his friends. But I do remember those beautiful roses from years ago - and their price tag! LOL

Brandy tells us about a young boy who knew the power of a single rose when it came to romance while he was still in middle school. Here's her story.

"When I was in middle school we had a band competition out of town. Afterwards I was supposed to have a movie date with a boy. He left on the early bus home. Ours got delayed by about three hours. We finally arrived at the movies and he was still standing outside with a rose!! So sweet I will never forget that."
And roses delivered at work can make a girl happy too. Ellen is still smiling when she remembers a delivery of roses to her place of work even though it happened a long time ago.

"My husband was in the National Guard Army Reserve when we met. We dated a few months when he had to go to 'summer camp.' On the day he left, I received a dozen red roses at work! What a surprise and boy, were the other gals jealous. (smug smile here)  That was almost 50 years ago."

I can almost see that smug smile of yours, Ellen!

Cindy says roses can be a pretty good reason to get reacquainted with an old friend from high school. 

"My husband surprised me with my first dozen yellow roses (my favorite) on Valentine's Day when we first got together. That's a story that would make a great novel. We knew each other in high school and 32 years later, neither of us had married and he came looking for me. I still lived in California in a big city and he moved back to marry me in a small town in Indiana. So now I'm a Small Town Girl. Every Valentine's Day he still sends me yellow roses. We've been married 12 years now."

When Cindy gave me permission to use her story, she shared more.
"Actually, we never dated in high school, I had a crush on him but he was all into his basketball. Our best friend started a Bible study that we both attended as we were both new Christians at the time. There is so much to the was definitely a God thing happening in His timing. We have truly been blessed."

But roses aren't always for romance. Sometimes they are just to say thank you. Robin shared this story.

"I was very touched and surprised once when I was working at the bank. I was working at the downtown branch, so we had several customers that received various forms of Social Security checks. SS check day was usually very busy & sometimes quite hectic. Well, this particular day was worse than usual until one of my sweet 'little old man' customers walked up to my desk with a single rose in his hand and said he thought I needed a smile. I almost cried, it was so sweet!! Thanks for stirring up this memory for me Ann!"

And one last "thank you" story. It's no wonder Linda remembered it. A great story.

"I rarely get flowers expected or otherwise. I did one time many years ago get a beautiful bouquet that was totally unexpected. I had taken care of a young man in the hospital who had survived an attempted suicide. He had had several surgeries and I had cared for him through the entire hospitalization. When he left, he had two dozen perfect red roses sent to me as a thank you. We stayed friends for a long while but finally he moved and we lost contact."

Hope you are enjoying the flower stories. If you haven't shared your flower story yet or entered my Small Town Girl Celebration Giveaway, you still have time. Leave a comment here or send me a message to me. annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com. 

I've also got a new giveaway going at Goodreads. You might win a copy of Angel Sister there. And to keep the celebration going, I'm doing a Facebook Contest on my Facebook page. (Still getting the bugs worked out of the link on that one.) But when we get it up and running, if you pre-order Small Town Girl, you might have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. 

Whew! How am I going to keep up with all these contests and get that new book finished? I know. You are all going to send me great positive thoughts and prayers. I thank you for that. :)