One Year Later

A Writer’s Purpose turns 1 today! It’s hard to believe an entire year has come and gone since I launched this blog. I’m so grateful for the opportunities this blog has created for me in the past year and I’m so thankful for you who read what I write. Thank you for sharing my thoughts and my words with me.

When I first created this blog last August I did so to create a platform to pen my thoughts. As time went on my love for words and books created a network of authors and book publicists. My hobby of reading has turned into a freelance opportunity to help promote authors and their work.

I looked back over the 77 posts I made and wanted to highlight the top 10 most visited. Here’s a look back on what happened on The Writer’s Purpose:

10. Looking for a Photographer?

I am so grateful for my friend and former co-worker Ingrid of Grit City Photography. She is crazy talented at making photos and she snapped the pics of me you see on this site. Seriously, if you’re in need of a photographer look her up! She will not disappoint!

9. Inspiring Justice: In Bethany’s Words

Day 235.

After attending The Justice Conference 2012 in Portland I had the initial spark to launch this blog. I wanted to write about things that needed attention, like justice. As a way to build up to the conference 2013 in Philly I started a weekly series “Inspiring Justice” to network with people all over the world and create a dialogue about what they were doing in the justice movement. Through this I met Bethany, who wore the same dress for 365 days to raise awareness for human trafficking. She is now working on a book about that year. Bethany, you are awesome!

8. Sarah Jio Giveaway

One of my absolute favorite authors is Sarah Jio. The Seattle-based author is getting ready to release her fifth novel but as she was launching No. 4 I had the privilege to interview Sarah for As part of the post I gave away a copy of “The Last Camellia.”

7. Book Exchange Book Club

It’s so difficult to not only 1, start a book club, but 2, decide the first book to set the tone of the group. So when I gathered together a group of my book-loving friends we all brought a book wrapped to exchange. It’s a great way to introduce people to books they normally wouldn’t read.

6. She’s A Country Girl


Helping to promote authors is my hobby, but when I have a personal connection with a budding author it means a lot to me to help them spread the word. A high school and college classmate of mine, Sarah Reijonen, traveled the world for seven months with her husband and lived to write about it in her debut memoir. The girl can write and I just love how sassy she is! Seriously though, if you haven’t read “Country Girl” yet, you really should!

5. A Cardinals Family

My job as a journalist at a military newspaper had granted me so many opportunities to connect with some of the most inspiring people, including Teresa Maggart and her son, Blake. Teresa’s husband was serving in Iraq when he was killed in action a few years ago. I have had the privilege to write several stories about Teresa’s everlasting devotion to honor her husband. The family is from Missouri and when former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa visited the base for a book signing I made sure Teresa knew about it. La Russa stood Blake on the autograph table and posed for photos while he wore La Russa’s World Series rings.

4. Princess Fiona Ramona

Pug mug.

Last Halloween was a heartbreaking one, in that our pug Fiona passed away. She was the first dog my husband and I had together and she really was part of our family; my best friend really. I paid a tribute to her by writing this post and sharing what she meant to me. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to adopt Fiona’s mom after her passing, and since then have adopted a second dog. While sometimes I see glimpses of Fiona in her mama, La Di, she truly was a one of a kind.

3. What I’m Reading Wednesday — Julie Kibler’s Calling Me Home

Twitter has put me in touch with so many authors and keeps me up to date on soon-to-be-released books. Thanks to Twitter I was put in touch with Texas-based author Julie Kibler. She was getting ready to release her first novel and I was able to read an advanced copy and feature her with a Q and A interview. Her emotional novel has really taken off and is being translated into several different languages.

2. Celebrate With a Book Exchange Party

Thanks to Pinterest this creative party post has continued to spread! Online searches direct book exchange party planners to this post almost daily, which prompted me to launch a book exchange book club (see No. 7).

1. What I’m Reading Wednesday — Ken Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice

Ken Wytsma Headshot (3)

As part of Wytsma’s book launch team, I featured the pastor’s debut book, “Pursuing Justice” with a Q and A interview. The book was released in February and since then the founder of the The Justice Conference has seen his book used as course text in more than five colleges. I had the opportunity to meet Wytsma in Philadelphia after a break out session of The Justice Conference.


What I’m Reading Wednesday

jesus-is-find-a-new-way-to-be-humanI have been busy this summer with book reviews and haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like to. Among the books I’ve read are a few I haven’t yet had the chance to post about. This entry will sum up the books I recently read (or am still reading) and you may notice a theme. I chose each of the four books for different reasons but all the material is faith-based.

1. Jesus Is _______. By Judah Smith

A friend of mine had read this book by Smith, a pastor at The City Church in Seattle. She suggested I read it because it offered a biblical perspective on an issue I was dealing with that involved truth and grace.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy! Smith is one cool dude, who gives Jesus cool press. He is honest — for the most part — and transparent with personal stories and growth. I was a little baffled by why he would neither confirm nor deny if he had seen the movie “Braveheart,” when he referenced a powerful scene from the film.

And because I bleed crimson I have to call out Smith on his declaration that purple and gold are the best colors, and fans of crimson and gray need to repent. But because the Cougs won last year’s Apple Cup, I will let the win speak for itself.

Smith is authentic with a side of humor in his latest book, which received an endorsement from Justin Bieber. I recommend this book to believers (and beliebers) and nonbelievers. Oh, and the forward is written by pro golfer Bubba Watson!

2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Relevant Magazine published a story online of “10 Books Everyone Should Read By 25-ish.” I shared the link on my Facebook page and a friend of mine offered to lend me a copy of “Man’s Search for Meaning” (No. 8 on the list).

The book is written in two parts: Frankl’s experience as a prisoner in an Auschwitz concentration camp and his logotherapy theory. (For complete disclosure I only read the first part). Frankl recounts life in the concentration camp as well as his psychological observations of how other prisoners responded.

It is a powerful and heartbreaking read, but definitely deserves to be on that list!

893998_w1853. Guardrails by Andy Stanley

This summer I participated in a community group at my home church that studied this Stanley series. His book accompanied the six-week DVD series that focused on establishing guardrails in your friendships, marriage and finances to help you avoid regrets.

I have referenced this study to multiple people and benefited greatly from not only the subject matter taught, but also from the discussion from my small group.

4. The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends: Juggling Not-So-Perfect, Often Crazy, But Gloriously Real Lives by Ellen Miller

A friend of mine reached out to me and wanted to start a devotional together to put us in the word daily. Because we both work full-time and she’s a mama, I picked out this book because, well, it sounds just like us! Each day offers an uplifting and encouraging message with scripture.

We now have our books in hand, now we just need to coordinate a day and time when we can study together!

What did you read this summer?

‘On Distant Shores’ Weekend Getaway Giveaway, Facebook Party and Blog Tour

Sundin - On Distant Shores(2)The Wings of Nightingale series by Sarah Sundin continues with “On Distant Shores,” the second book in the three book series. Sarah shares her talent of Christian historical fiction with yet another page-turning World War II-era romance. Purchase a copy here!

Sarah visited “A Writer’s Purpose” about a year ago when I wrote a post about her Wings of Glory series. This time around I received a free copy of her latest novel to review and share with you all. To celebrate the release of “On Distant Shores” Sarah is offering a weekend getaway giveaway (contest ends Sept. 2!). The winner will be announced Sept. 3 at Sarah’s Facebook party! Click on the image below to enter!

In her trademark fashion, Sarah develops her characters to allow her readers to relate to their success and struggles. Lt. Georgie Taylor and Sgt. John Hutchinson become friends while stationed in Sicily. Georgie is a flight nurse who longs for the comfort of home and feels unsuited for her duty while Hutch is an enlisted pharmacist determined to become one of the Army’s first pharmacy officers.

The two friends become each other’s encouragement and support as they strive to fulfill God’s calling for them as both of their lives back home start to fall apart. But obsession and false idols shake up their relationship and lessons in humility humble both her characters and readers.

“On Distant Shores” is a must read for fans of WWII-era historical fiction, because Sarah knows the era so well. I asked Sarah a few questions about some of her WWII-era favorites:

Q and A with Sarah Sundin

Q: What is your favorite song from the era?

A: I love String of Pearls” by Glenn Miller. It’s so romantic and really evokes the era to me.

Q: Favorite plane?

A: I’m very fond of the B-17 Flying Fortress — not only does it have graceful lines, but it was a reliable bomber and very rugged. It could withstand lots of damage and bring its crew safely home.

Q: Favorite military uniform?

A: I do love the Army Air Force pilot’s uniform — the khaki and olive drab, the leather flight jacket, and the “crush” cap. But I also love the naval officers’ uniforms and the WAVES uniforms — blue is my favorite color, and the designs are smart."SundinQ: Favorite historical event?

A: Favorite? How about most interesting to me? That depends on what I’m researching at the time. Right now I’m doing research for my next series about the Battle of the Atlantic in 1941, before the U.S. was actually at war — but our ships were escorting British convoys and battling U-boats. Really interesting.

Q: Favorite movie about WWII?

A: It’s a tie between “The Longest Day” (for combat) and “Mrs. Miniver” (for the home front).

Q: Favorite book about WWII (fiction or non-fiction)?

A: I read Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War when I was in college and couldn’t put it down, which was bad because I was reading it during midterms. He covered areas of the was through one family, and I was riveted.

Conan From the Front Row

IMAG0724-1My husband and I have an evening weeknight routine that goes like this: 1, make dinner; 2, catch up on each other’s day while making dinner; 3, watch “Conan.” Thanks to the magic of the DVR we never miss an episode.

When my husband and I took a California vacation two years ago I entered the ticket lottery to see Conan live. No luck. Instead we spent a day in Hollywood and saw the WB Studios from the freeway. As we planned for this summer’s California trip I again threw our names in the hat. This time, SUCCESS!

We received an email about a month ago that said we’re in and instructions for the day: where to park, where to check in, no cameras, etc. Conan’s website has a comedic video explaining how to be an audience member. To sum it up, it’s a lot of waiting. And when you think you’re done waiting, there’s more waiting.

On our second day in California we rented a little bitty Chevy Spark (dubbed Sparky) and took to the craziness of California freeway driving. The day of waiting began. We arrived to the designated parking garage outside the WB Studios at 11:30 a.m. We went through security and were given the No. 12 (12th Man to the Seahawks fans!) to hold our place in line. We sat in a holding pen of benches and other Conan fans waiting for the first set of instructions.

Riding the elevator down.

About an hour later Conan’s people came out to say we were free to go for a couple hours as long as we returned by 3 p.m. Being the worrier that I am, I was fearful we would drive somewhere and get lost or we would lose our parking space, so I made the suggestion to my husband that we explore on foot. He graciously followed along and we walked and walked and walked under the very warm California sun until we came upon a Taco Bell.

After our afternoon snack we hiked back to the holding pen that was bustling with excitement and music. It was almost showtime! But first we had to wait.

Outside WB Studios.

While we sat staring at people around us (we were trying to save our phone battery for Google Maps) we noticed a Conan writer walking about the crowd, taking notes and observations of the crowd for a skit. After 3 p.m. we were gathered in groups based on our place in line and were herded on to the WB properties. We walked past massive studios where shows like “Friends,” Two and Half Men,” and the “Big Bang Theory” are filmed, but unfortunately no photos allowed.

We then waited outside under a semi-covered area. More waiting. And did I mention it was hot? But soon Conan’s people arrived in golf carts with Popsicles for everyone! Eventually we made it into Conan’s studio where we were blasted with amazing air conditioning.

As the 12th group in line we just so happened to be directed to the bottom of a column of two-seater seats. Front and center! Which is only really awesome when Conan does his monologue because he stood right in front of us, but when he interviewed Eric Bana and Josh Gad the seven cameras on the floor caused an obstructed view.

My husband proudly wore his bright green Seattle Sonics T-shirt and Seattle Mariners baseball hat to represent home if we were seen on TV (which we were!). But sadly, Conan didn’t notice us.

After the show was filmed Conan addressed the audience and asked if he could record his monologue for the following day’s pre-recorded show with Harrison Ford. So not only could see us on TV on Wednesday’s show, but you could see us on Thursday’s show, too!

That’s us on the left of the screen!

By the time we were escorted off the studio property it was 6:30 p.m. and prime freeway traffic time. But luckily the Dodgers were in town so we made a detour before heading back to Anaheim.

We’re glad for the opportunity to experience Conan’s comedic genius in person and I encourage you to try to snag tickets if you’re in town! The wait is definitely worth it!

What shows have you seen live?