60-Second Sanctuary is here!

My book, 60-Second Sanctuary, launches today! If you’d like a copy, please buy one now for $6 on Amazon.

dtp_7139330_USER_CONTENT_0This book grew out of my book from last fall, Creative Women’s Devotional (also on Amazon). People told me, “I liked your book, even though I don’t crochet,” or “I liked your book, even though I’m not Christian,” or “I liked your book, even though I’m not a woman! 😀 ”

After visiting with readers like this, I felt the need to write a devotional that connected us to the Spirit in a quick and open-ended way.

In my new book, 60-Second Sanctuary, every single devotion only takes a moment to practice. If you are busy but feel a longing to strengthen your creative and spiritual side, this book is made for you!

I would like to give a special thanks to my endorsers, Nick Larson and Jenny McGee, who wrote these words about my book.

“We all have but a few minutes a day. I know as a young parent and busy pastor that I often have the urge to ignore enriching my creative side because I feel too busy. Genevieve’s 60-Second Sanctuary is a fantastic tool to help focus my creative God spark and is such a grounded, plausible, inspirational tool that can make an impact in your life.”

—Nick Larson, associate pastor at Broadway Christian Church
and co-author of Never Pray Again

 

 

“I highly recommend these daily devotions because they bring you right to the heart of God. You can’t help but have a spiritual and creative transformation as you journey through this book.”

—Jenny McGee, abstract painter, Azulbyjennymcgee.com

I want to thank my family. My son, Derek, who is only in high school, both photographed and designed the cover. He’s way too talented for one person. If you need photos in the CoMo area, contact him. My husband, Logan, was master tea-maker and cheerleader.

❤ Thank you to the many friends and readers who encourage me with notes, gifts, meals, hugs, prayers and squeals when they see me. I love you! You keep me going more than you know!

Tonight (Wednesday) from 6:30 to 9 p.m. (central) I am having an online book launch party on Facebook if you’re interested. What’s an online book launch party? I will post some behind-the-scenes photos of my inspiration, show an excerpt of my raw writing and generally celebrate this happy day! What do I need to do at an online book party? Nothing! Like and comment if you want. Using an event is a way for me to talk about the book to my friends who want to hear about it and not add clutter to the main news feed for friends who aren’t interested. So if you like book stuff, then please join!

As always, God bless you today and always. Wherever the Spirit is leading you, I hope you will follow and find your next adventure. This book has been an adventure for me with ups and downs but a worthwhile journey. I know now I can travel lighter as I work on my next book (a short story memoir about yarn things!)

PS—I hope you’ll let me know how you like 60-Second Sanctuary! If you find it helpful, would you please leave a review on Amazon or on your social media? I’m an indie author and every mention helps the book find its way to new readers. Thanks! ❤

Please support my new book, Creative Women’s Devotional

Creative Women's Devotional

Creative Women's DevotionalI’m proud to tell you that my new book, Creative Women’s Devotional: 28 Reflections for Christian Knitters and Crocheters, is on sale now!

I’m so excited! But I need your help. How?

You can buy the book

You can leave a review

I already have my first review from Amazon! Debbie said,

“The author has written a book that people of all faiths, or even no faith, master crafters or those who are all thumbs, can use as part of their reflective practice in daily life. The author’s writing is precise and crisp and because of that it is so easy to take a moment, sit down and open this book to any page and find a small thought that can inspire and center you. The writer reminds us that the simple small acts we do in daily life can lead to deeper spiritual practices. This is a book to keep by your reading chair or at your desk at work when you need a decaffeinated pick-me-up.”

Thank you, Debbie! Reviews on Amazon are important: they will help this book find its way. If I have 10 reviews or more, the book will come up better in search results. It will raise in rank and visibility.

You can tell someone you know about the book

I wrote and self-published this book as a work of love. It has been a big commitment of time and money to make it real. I started more than a year and a half ago with a calling on my heart to write a devotional. I want to encourage people to use their hands and deepen their sense of spiritual connection. Every single reader counts!

Thank you, Resa, Lisa, Tahna, Mary, Debbie and Laura, for your kind mentions of my book on Facebook!

You can enter to win a free copy

No $ for books this month? I understand! Stop by my website, genevievehoward.com, and click the Goodreads box. I’m giving away 10 free copies. The more readers, the better!

What’s this book about?

I married two of my loves in this slender book: my faith and fiber. You’ll read about how I slow down and use craft time as a spiritual reflection time.

Here are the encouraging words that two famous people I admire said about my book.

Victoria A. Cole-Galo, co-founder of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, said,

Spirit lead! Genevieve has beautifully written a devotional for prayer shawl makers who wish to deepen their spiritual practice through contemplation and reflection. A wonderful accompaniment to the prayer shawl making experience, her prayers and poetry will ‘knit’ their way into your heart!

Lisa Bogart, author, “Knit, Purl, Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative Soul” and “Knit with Love, Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart”, said,

“Creative Woman’s Devotional offers lovely nuggets to get you thinking beyond your craft to matters of the heart.”

Thank you!

I’d like to thank you all for your support of me as a writer, an uninhibited public crocheter/knitter and a friend over the years, and for your help making this book real. I have a large acknowledgement section but I know it could have been three times longer. You strengthen me, you encourage me and you lift me up when I am down.

Bless you, friends. Even if your name is not in the book, I hope you will recognize my love for you in there. ❤

 

Tuesday Fun-day and you’re invited!

scrapghan

If you’re predicting future thirst on Tuesday, I have the solution for you!

I’ll be part of two separate events on campus, and both of them will have refreshments.

MU Staff Arts & Crafts Showcase Grand Opening
Tuesday, May 19
Noon
Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union

Held in Mizzou’s iconic Memorial Union, the show will feature more than 40 different tables of artwork by woodworkers, painters and fiber artists like me. I’ll have a selection of handmade retro-inspired pieces on display and do a live demonstration of crochet.

I’m grateful for the honor of being one of the speakers this year, so I will appreciate any friendly faces in the crowd!

Enjoy art, refreshments and door prizes at this event that is free and open to the public.

A donation for the Food Bank gets you extra chances for door prizes!

MU Campus Authors Reception
Tuesday, May 19
3 p.m.
Jesse Hall rotunda

As if the word rotunda wasn’t appealing enough, you’ll enjoy light refreshments at this event as well. Held in Mizzou’s other iconic building, Jesse Hall, MU authors published in 2014 will have their books on display…in the rotunda.

This event is also free and open to the public.

(Don’t you think rotunda should be our Word of the Day? As an example used in a sentence, “Oh Winifred, let’s make plans now to mingle with the Mizzou authors in the rotunda on Tuesday.” Way fancy.)

See you there

I hope to see all my friends at one or both of these events supporting my writing and my yarn adventures. You keep me going. Without you, my work would be useless.

Because what is an afghan without anyone to snuggle under it and feel how cozy it is? What is a blog post without anyone to read it?

Thank you for encouraging me with my creative pursuits!

Blessings on your week.

NaNoWriMo 2014 excerpt #3: Dot starts her last year at school

I keep on walking the route. I see more homes. Some falling apart. Some look like they will make it through the coming winter. I see people who are alone and people who are in families. Even if I don’t know the exact story of somebody, I can make a pretty good guess.

I can tell if it’s a farm family, or a fishing family, or a family that’s given up and does the drug. I don’t know everybody by name, but I recognize every place on the route. I couldn’t tell you the names of the lanes that lead off it, but I know them all.

I have them memorized from the years of walking by. I notice if someone’s dog is missing or if they cut down a tree. I notice if they buy a new pony or have a baby. Suddenly there are toys in the front.

Once I get to the village, the road gets even and smooth. So many people use it between the houses.

Our school is a simple building. You might not even recognize it from all the other buildings in the village. Last spring, I couldn’t wait to leave it.

Seeing it this morning, knowing it’s my last year, I feel hot in my eyes. So stupid! Who cries on the first day of school for their last year? Even though it hasn’t always been fun, it feels better to be with people than on my own.

I blink. Stop it, Dot, stop it. Get a grip. Head up. Do you want them to see you like this?

I keep on walking.

Of course, I’m the first person. Our teacher says a word of welcome to me.

“Sit where you like, Dot. Did you have a good summer?”

“It was fine, thanks.”

I pick a spot by the window. The grey clouds hang over. They’re light from the long sunrise.

NaNoWriMo-2014-excerpt-3-Dot-starts-her-last-year-at-schoolIn my notebook, I write the date. I doodle in the margins. Ponies, seabirds, swirls.

People trickle in and greet each other. I get their “hellos” and “hey Dots.”

I try to answer back.

Finally, Abby comes in.

“Sorry I didn’t walk with you today, Dot! My ridiculous sisters! I will walk with you tomorrow, OK? They are just driving me crazy!”

She launches into a story that involves her sisters and sweaters and whose was what and who calls it borrowing and who calls it stealing.

I love being friends with Abby. She makes it so easy.

She loves to talk and I love to listen. I hardly have to say a thing and we can have a conversation for an hour. As long as I ask a question here and there, she will keep going.

And maybe, I wouldn’t even have to do that!

NaNoWriMo 2014 excerpt #2: Dot on the route

"Swaledale Sheep, Lake District, England - June 2009" by User:Diliff - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Swaledale Sheep, Lake District, England – June 2009” by User:Diliff – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I decide to take the wagon route.

It’s longer but smoother. This is the route everyone takes with their animals. Anyone not a daredevil, or former mountain runner, or past the age of 40 takes the wagon route. It’s called the route.

My mind made up, I don’t have to bother hurrying. I check out all the places I pass as I walk.

First, the old man’s place. He isn’t out. They say he used to be a big man on the mainland, but the drug got him. Now he waits out the rest of his life just to smoke and dream. He hardly talks. His place is falling down around him. I think it’s depressing.

Further down, I see Violet’s house. She is a sweet woman with twin boys. Her husband’s a fisherman like my dad. I hear sounds from her house. I always like to see what the boys have built in her yard. They construct ships and houses from whatever they can find around the island.

I walk for a while with wild lands to see. The heather looks dusky purple in the dawn. It’s like I am the only one on the island. The wind whirls my hair. It feels fresh and I’m almost in a good mood. Maybe this last year of school will be OK.

Now I see my favorite place. It’s the old woman’s. She keeps sheep. They dot the pasture. Her place always looks lively. She moves them from different paddocks. I don’t know why.

Today they’re in the paddock closer to the road. I lean on the stone fence. Their wool looks thick and cozy. I hear them breathe and chew. I like how they move as a group if anything startles them. It looks nice to be part of a sheep herd. They graze together and go everywhere together too.

I look up toward the barn. Cats sit outside the barn door. I don’t see the old woman anywhere. Just as well. Some people say she’s a witch. She doesn’t mix much with people in the village. I’ve seen her take the ferry to the mainland with a sheep sometimes, or a pile of knitted goods taller than her when she sits next to it.

I don’t know why she wouldn’t just give it to the storekeeper for him to sell. Nobody understands her.

NaNoWriMo 2014 excerpt #1: Meet Dot

This month, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s affectionately known. This year, more than 400,000 people around the world have joined the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. In Columbia, Missouri, we have more than 200 people taking part. On day 5, we’ve already written about 700,000 words as a community. Amazing! I appreciate how NaNoWriMo makes a solitary endeavor into a social one. Send me your luck and encouragement for my adventure of writing fiction for the first time!

For my blog during November, I’ll be posting unedited excerpts from my writing. My story is a Young Adult novel that centers on Dot, a 17-year-old girl in her last year at school on the foggy island where she lives. Just when she thinks her life as an awkward outcast has ended with the start of a new relationship, she has to decide how much she will give to be in a couple. Her boyfriend, Drake, gets involved with an unusual drug. Will she get involved too? 

Excerpt #1: Meet Dot

fogTurning the light on is the hardest part of the morning when my dad’s gone. The house is quiet. It’s up to me to wake up.

Days when he’s home, the light from the kitchen floods in my room. The smell of coffee wafts over my bed. He rattles around, clinking mugs and getting his toast ready. I love it when he’s home. Our house is a much friendlier place.

But it’s the first day of school and he’s not here. I sigh and turn on the light. It’s my job to be the responsible one.

I keep my shawl on the top of my bed so I can wrap up in it first thing. It’s warm. It doesn’t matter than it’s August. We don’t have a warm season on the island. We have a frosty, foggy, windy winter and a foggy, windy, cool summer. They say there are two seasons here where the mainland has four.

Once in the kitchen, I put on the kettle. I only have coffee when my dad’s home. I just make tea if it’s me.

I have all my school supplies set out from the night before. I keep them in a felted wool bag I made myself. We’re known for our wool and knitted items.

I gather my things and leave early so I can make it in time. I know there are people in my class who haven’t even woken up by the time I have to leave my house. They can wake up and run down the mountain to class, making it in time.

For me, I have to plan. “My planner and plodder girl,” says my dad.

I go out the gate and start to walk the rocky way to school.

I still haven’t decided which way to take.

The way most people my age would take is steep. It’s a direct path down to the village on the waterfront. Rocky, rough and only a person’s width, I only walk it if I’m with someone who insists. I’ve fallen too many times on it to make it my first choice.

But I’ve been thinking that I could learn to walk it. If it were early enough like now, maybe I could find all the places I have enough traction. I could go slowly, not holding anyone back behind me. I would save at least 10 minutes.

I stand at the place where the shortcut starts.

The cut or the route?

As always, I see the steepness and catch my breath. If I fall, I will have to start school with bruises and blood. Once again, I’ll hear their names. Dumb Dot. Clumsy Dot. Or even worse, Poor Dot with her bad leg. She must have tried to take the shortcut again.

I imagine the girls shaking their heads in pity over me. I decide to take the wagon route.

Scott Berkun’s new book, The Ghost of My Father

Scott Berkun launches his new book today, the Ghost of My Father, a thoughtful memoir of family and reflection.

Scott Berkun

Scott BerkunI first came to know Scott Berkun’s writing while I was at a communication seminar on campus where I work. One of the required books to read was Confessions of a Public Speaker. I got myself my own copy and was drawn to someone with years of public speaking experience who openly showed what was behind the curtain.

As a person immersed in web, social media, writing and speaking, I hear much about experts who know secrets they would be happy to reveal for a price. Not the case with Berkun.

Generous with his process and materials, he engages his readers with questions and curiosity. I don’t know him personally, but he has been a great help to me in my professional development as a writer and speaker. I use his Speaker Checklist at each conference where I speak.

He’s a clear and graceful writer, his skills honed from years of putting thoughts to paper. He opens up mysteries using his considerable intellect, much as Houdini exposed spiritualists of his day.

He’s recommended books to me that I have relished and showed all his readers the process of making this memoir. I voted on the cover (my bench choice won!) and read the raw excerpts on his blog. I’ve learned from him as he’s gone along, seeing how he markets this memoir and rallies his fans to support it.

Celebrity often comes with condescension. Again, not the case with Berkun. Honest with his readership, he doesn’t shy away from confessing he doesn’t know everything.

In his heart, he is a learner.

Memoirs

The Ghost of My Father by Scott BerkunLoyal readers of my blog know I’ve gone through two drafts of my memoir, with a fresh rewrite planned for next year after I finish my devotional.

I read a lot of memoirs so I was interested to see how a writer I know in other contexts would approach this genre.

With this personal story, Berkun turns his intellectual power of careful examination to his own family. In Berkun’s memoir, you won’t find extreme drama like in Liar’s Club or Hope’s Boy. Instead, we read a story of difficulties most people will recognize.

The effects of his father’s affairs are described in poignant detail. We learn of Berkun’s personal transformation from a kid eager for his father’s attention to a man who sees his father as “a fool”.

As hard as he looks at his family dynamics, he looks at himself even harder. He seeks to connect the events of the past with his current outlook. How many times has he reached out to his father? Why does he repeat what didn’t work?

In the end, being a best-selling author who has studied business processes and the cognitive aspects of creativity doesn’t change Berkun’s role as son.

That is the truth for all of us. No matter how many accomplishments and experiences we add to our lives, we will always remain sons and daughters who long for our parents’ acceptance, acknowledgement and affection.

We want our parents to be people we understand and respect.

I had great compassion for his father as I read. I could see parts of my own father and parts of myself. As parents, we underestimate our influence. His father, whether unable to feel or unable to express himself, lashes out in short bursts and retreats in silence for long periods, leaving everyone stranded in their own interpretations of what the silence means.

In that silence, the seed of this memoir was planted.

With vulnerability and reflection, Berkun wrestles with the question, why can’t my father love my family the way we need to be loved?

He writes, “Art is how you find yourself.”

He can’t make what he wants to: a stable, close family. He makes the next best thing: art.

The pain, the confusion, the frustrated desire to connect but be unable to: all this becomes material for art in the form of this memoir where growth still seems possible. We see a tentative peace in his family. Optimism for his nieces and nephews. An offering of his own family story in hopes of helping others.

Ghost of My Father is available now (read an excerpt: bit.ly/ghost-excerpt). Fifty percent of the profits will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.