1. What thing in particular makes westerns appealing to you?
Faith: All of it! The ruggedness, the danger, the flexibility, the shootouts, the romance, the multiple redemption possibilities, and so much more. Sorry, I can’t pick just one.
2. Where did the idea for Hymns of the West come from?
Faith: It came after I had a beta-reader ask what the next book in the series was about. I wasn’t even planning a series, so I told him there wasn’t a second book. But his question got me to thinking and I eventually came up with the ideas for six or seven books in the series and I am now considering connecting this series to a contemporary fiction trilogy I have ideas for. We’ll see where that goes.
As for the name of the series, that came when I decided to make all the novel titles hymn titles. And since they’re all Westerns, Hymns of the West works perfectly!
3. What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?
Faith: My forgetfulness. I forget things way too easily and sometimes that is a very, very bad thing.
4. What’s the name of a book you’re reading?
Faith: “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. It’s a shortened version of his full-length book by the same name. I haven’t read much of it yet, but it is good.
5. What scares you?
Faith: Heights. Especially suspension bridges or manmade towers that sway in the wind. *shudders*
6. Bonanza or Gunsmoke?
Faith: Bonanza. There’s just something about those Cartwright boys that Gunsmoke doesn’t have. I like Gunsmoke as well, but not as much as Bonanza.
7. Why do you write?
Faith: To encourage and challenge Christians in their walk with God and to hopefully reach some non-Christians for the gospel as well.
8. What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?
Faith: Franz Schubert’s Impromptu Opus 142 number 2. It was on a CD I was listening to and I skipped ahead to it because I didn’t remember which one it was.
9. What is your favorite salty treat?
Faith: Dill pickles. They’re about the only thing I like that has a lot of salt. Even with potato chips, I prefer the no salt chips rather than the salted ones. I’m weird that way.
10. What makes you laugh?
Faith: Jokes. Sometimes. Other people laughing hysterically and unable to stop. Things like that.
11. Who’s your favorite cowboy movie star?
Faith: John Wayne all the way. Can you get anymore cowboy than him?
12. You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?
Faith: Unpack whatever needs unpacking, take my shoes off, and then it depends on what else is going on. J
13. Here’s a free plane ticket! Where would you like to go?
Faith: Scotland! Or Montana, but I could, conceivably drive out there someday, so yeah, I’d pick Scotland. I’ve always been fascinated by Scotland. Of course, since I have some internet acquaintances in Ireland and England, I’d probably try to get there as well since I’m on the island.
14. Before we end, would you tell us a little about each of your books in the Hymns of the West series and what inspired each one?
Faith: A Mighty Fortress is about Joshua and Ruth Brookings and their encounter with Jed Stuart. It’s a story of trust and redemption. The idea for this story came from a picture and a short story contest. I was too old for the contest and the idea I had was too long for the contest anyway, but the picture inspired me to write this novel.
Be Thou My Vision is about Jed Stuart’s sister, Anna, and how the events in A Mighty Fortress affect her life and change it completely. Be Thou My Vision came about when I decided to write Anna’s story.
Amazing Grace is a continuation of Be Thou My Vision, but from Caleb Stuart’s perspective. After finishing one of the drafts of Be Thou My Vision, I knew I had to write Caleb’s story. Since Be Thou My Vision is in first person, I couldn’t do his story in there, so I wrote Amazing Grace.
About the Author
An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, Captaining on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).
As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.
You can find Faith on her Website, Blog, Facebook, and Twitter
Being a blissfully single woman whose got nothing better to do than blog and write books, I spend a great deal of time fussing over my fur baby: Pilot, my dog.
This year for "May The 4th Be With You" day, I wanted to make a Star Wars dog costume so my dog could geek out with me (who knows; I might use the costume for Halloween later as well).
I planned to make several really cool costumes all by myself, then have a photo shoot with my sister's Golden Retrievers and Pilot, and use the pictures to make a Geeky post for May the 4th #StarWarsDay.
Well, needless to say, that did not work out as planned. The only costume that came together in time was Pilot's X-Wing pilot flight suit costume.
The simplest two costumes were going to be Chewbacca and Han Solo:
- Chewbacca costume: a wide brown leather belt, strips of gray tape, and a little brown bag. Put the strips of gray tape on the belt at intervals, attach the little brown bag, and VIOLA! your furbaby costume is done.
- Han Solo: black vest, white shirt (unless your dog has white fur, then the shirt is not needed), a toy gun belt, and a toy gun. TA-DA! Slip it all on your dog and your pooch is now the dashing Han Solo!
It couldn't get any easier, right? Well, in our house, you learn that what should be easy is extremely complicated, and what should be difficult takes a few seconds to do, and what should be impossible takes only a few minutes... Yeah, any plans made in our house are bound to turn into one, gigantic, Firefly/Serenity mess (geeky fandom pun, in case you missed it).
Anyway, all that to say that I only got one costume done:
The X-Wing pilot flight suit was really easy to make, as long as I had a little imagination.
For the computer chest piece:
Small square Card Board piece (whatever size suits your dog)
3 pieces of light colored felt
2 pieces of dark colored felt
2 white, large Lego bricks
1 gray, large Lego brick
1 back of a cell phone case (or anything that's black and square/rectangle shaped)
1 stick of hot glue (using hot glue means that you can use most of the items again later)
12" of Elastic (depending on dog size)
I took the piece of cardboard and covered it in gray tape. Then I hot glued the Lego bricks side-by-side, followed by gluing the back of an old cell phone next to them. I took the quarter and glued it just underneath the camera opening of the cellphone back, then I took the dime and placed it down and a little to the left of the quarter and glued it there as well.
After that, I glued the felt squares in the remaining spaces, placing the two darkest ones above the Lego bricks.
After that, I literally stabbed holes in the top corners and tied the elastic through them so that the entire thing could hang from my dog's neck.
For the white vest:
This took more effort than I thought it would, because I couldn't find a piece of white fabric in our house to save my life.
Finally, I found an old toddler t-shirt. So, I just cut the sleeves off, cut the bottom off, cut the neck out (cutting makes me happy, can't ya tell?) and made a bib-like apparition. After that, I sewed the bottom corners together: right corner to right corner and left corner to left corner (sewing does NOT make me happy, so I don't put much effort into it).
TA-DA! There I have the vest thingamajig... it's a little bit big for Pilot, but nobody will notice...
The Orange Jumpsuit/Shirt:
Now, this is the most striking part of this suit, so I was a lot more picky about it; I pulled an old orange t-shirt out of my dresser and turned it into a shirt for my dog.
For this part, I will let you watch a video.
This particular video really, really, REALLY simplified making a dog shirt, and I did not watch it before I made Pilot's dog shirt.
My dog shirt was a lot more complicated... *cough, cough*...
BUT, I like how mine turned out better than the one in the video. However, I did not have the time to make a video explaining how to make a dog shirt (I'll save that for another time, I guess). So, for a simplified way of making your dog a shirt out of your old clothes, here is a really easy video to watch.
Once you have the orange shirt/jumpsuit for your dog, and the other two accessories all made, then your pet's X-Wing Pilot Flight Suit is all ready to go!
The Educational Link Up party is below. If you'd like to join, here are the "Rules of the Galactic Highway":
· Your post must be educational.
· Your post must fall into one of the following categories - Sci-Fi, Geekdom, or Science.
· Check out what your hosts are up to. - We have been having some great Science, Geeky fun this week and we would love you to check it out. The Hosts will be the first few spots on the link up.
· Follow the person above you or find your fandom and comment on at least one post. - Let's make the universe a little smaller by sharing the love!
Have fun! - If I know the Sci/Fi, Geek, Science world I know you will have tons of fun with this! Keep the fandom conflict out of it though. Trekkies and Wookies can coexist!
Meagan from More Than A Coupon Queen
Jess from Benoit Academy
Andrea from Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries
Kassondra from Motherhood Community
Nessa from 2 Dorks In Love
As far as I'm concerned, my parents raised me right, and one of the things that they did right was raise my sister and I on STAR WARS. She and I took it from there and made sure the younger siblings got plenty of Star Wars education....
Although some people think it's corny and stupid, Star Wars made a huge impact on the movie making world with its incredible effects (which were, at the time, very incredible), its great story line (at the time, it was really great), and its fantastic characters which left a mark on the hearts and minds of fans everywhere.
- Did You Know: All six of the live-action movies debuted in the month of May?
As a result, Star Wars fans created a totally awesome "Star Wars Day" which takes place on May 4th when everyone can say "May the Force be with you".
One of the first records of "May the 4th" being used is in 1979, which was described by author Alan Arnold while he was chronicling the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm:
Friday, May 4
Once the internet became a big thing, "May the 4th be with you" evolved from a saying, into a hashtag, and finally into a full blown holiday! And the best thing about it is this: it is totally fan made.
To celebrate this very cool, fan made holiday, Pilot (my dog) has donned a pretty impressive outfit.
Since his name is "Pilot" it only seemed right for him to be in some sort of flying/pilot suit. Therefore, I made him his very own X-Wing fighter pilot suit!
I know it's hard to tell (note the sarcasm in my cyber voice), but I made the entire thing by myself. That's right! It was all "DIY"...
Tomorrow I will be posting a "How I Did It" blog post for a very special Geeky Group and Link Up that I've come to enjoy hanging out with. So, stay tuned!
BONUS: Did you know that the movie "IRON LADY" is really, really good? It's all about Margaret Thatcher, that wonderful woman mentioned in the above quote. She was the first female prime minister in Britain, and she was a fantastic role model for girls and women everywhere.
After you are done watching the ENTIRE Star Wars trilogy today, you should find the "Iron Lady" and watch it too!
Happiness. HAPP-I-NESS. H-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.
You know, once you spell "happiness" so many times, it starts looking like a really weird word. It starts sounding weird too.
One time, a friend asked me "What does happiness mean to you?"
That is a really in depth and broad question. The term "happiness" can cover so many different things on so many different levels. But, when my friend asked me, I didn't need to think long to find an answer.
People tell me all the time that I am such a happy person, that I light up the room with my smile, and that my happiness is contagious. I get the feeling that they often wonder how I do it.
Well, it's not my fantastic personality, I can promise you that. It is simply because I AM happy.
To be truly happy, does it mean that you have a perfect life?
To be happy, do you have everything you want in life?
Does a happy person smile all the time?
So, what does happiness look like?
True happiness results from contentment. When you are content with where God has put you, with the life He has given you, then you will find that you are happy. Whether you believe in God or not, if you learn to be content with where you are at in life, with who you are, then you will automatically find happiness. Trust me. Been there, done that, have a t-shirt.
Often, we believe that, to be happy, we need to "make more", "do more", or "be more".
I have struggled with this:
I have tried joining missions, only to have a road block thrown in front of my face.
I have created kids missions just to watch them fall through.
I have made an effort to improve my community only to have it thrown back in my face.
I have considered marriage, becoming a mom and a wife, but the longing has never taken root in my heart and the right man has never shown up.
I have come to the point where I have looked up at the sky and said "What more do you want from me?! What more can I do?!"
You know what I learned? God wants some people to be busy, go on missions, start community projects, and do "more". But for me, He wanted me to stand back. Why? It took me a while to understand...
I have 5 younger siblings. They are awesome. Used to, I thought they were holding me back, weighting my wings down with spit-up and drool and Legos and Tinkertoys. They were pain-in-the-butts and I thought I had better things to do, more important jobs, than taking care of them and cleaning up after them.
God showed me otherwise.
My siblings are some of the most awesome people on earth (yes, I am biased). I have a ton of fun with them every day! We hardly ever fight. We are best friends. Together, we can build skyscrapers and blow mountains up! It's so awesome!
I would have never known the full awesomeness of my family and siblings if I had flown the coop.
I have an incredible talent for writing. I have a gazzilion stories swimming in my head, barbarians pounding on the inside of my skull, demanding to be released onto paper.
If I were busy with missions, community projects, or kids (mine or otherwise), I would not have realized my potential as a writer. I would never have published a book. My siblings would not be eagerly telling the new friends they make that their sister is a published author.
I am still learning my full potential as a writer. I still have a lot of work to do to become better. I mean, at the moment, I only have one and a half books published... not exactly something that is noteworthy.
Happiness does not look like a life changing trip to Africa. Happiness does not look like big bucks or a masters degree, your own house and car, or your even your own published book. Happiness is a state of mind that you must choose to be in. Nothing can make you happy, but being content with your circumstances is a daily decision.
Just because you are not where YOU want to be, because you don't feel happy, does not mean that you aren't exactly where you should be, where God wants you to be. What your heart longs for is often quite the opposite of what God wants you to do.
For me, God kept me in one place because He wanted me to learn to be content where I was at. Once I learned that lesson, I found an open door that I had never seen before, and it led me to a room full of possibilities.
Am I always happy?
No. It is an ongoing learning process. But it is easier for me to be happy, now that I learned the important lesson of contentment.
Do I get irritated and discontent?
Yep. A lot. I also get depressed, feel like I am out of options, feel restrained and suffocated, and I repeatedly have to put grand ideas and dreams back on the shelf where I got them. But when I stop trying to push my agenda, and take a deep breath and focus on what God has me doing, it gets easier. Sometimes, I even catch a glimpse of a bigger picture that will result if I stay where God has planted me.
What is the secret to contentment?
Stop pushing. Start breathing.
It is simpler said than done, but it is that simple.
Your calling may be sitting right in front of you, like it was for me.
Does this mean you need to stop looking for opportunities? Possibly. God has this cool way of dropping stuff into my lap. Maybe He wants to do the same for you? Or, maybe He wants to whisper the plan into your ear, but how can He do that if you are struggling with Him?
The run down is this: a happy person is a person who is content. Contentment is a choice that the person must make.
Ambition and goals in life are good, but sometimes we just need to stop and take a look at the garden we have been set in, just to make sure we aren't missing a chance to smell the roses.
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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