Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Review and Interview with Jeannie Ewing, author of Sea Without a Shore

Today I'm pleased to be hosting the blog tour for Jeannie Ewing who has just released Sea Without a Shore.

A Sea Without a Shore: Spiritual Reflections for the Brokenhearted, Weary, and Lonely is a series of reflections by Ewing on Scriptural passages, quotes, and prayers. Loosely organized by topic, this devotional is meant to be read piecemeal - perhaps one reflection per day, or left at a bedside to be picked up when one needs a bit of comfort.

If you are a naturally upbeat, optimistic person, this is probably not the best book for you. But if you are like me and tend to suffer from depression or discouragement on a regular basis, you will find much to relate to in these pages. Ewing knows what it is to walk in the darkness. She struggles with her own chronic illness and with the challenges of raising two children with special needs. In this book, she writes of trying to find beauty and stay faithful to God when it seems there is no light to be found. Her journey is one that many of us can relate to and her words are beautiful and honest.

Here are a few quotes from the book that spoke to me:

"Our Lady is the way out of the darkness, for she points the way more quickly and easily to the Light of the World."

"My suffering must be united to Your Passion if anything meaningful or hopeful will become of it. . . Tears of sorrow are the seeds that I plant in Your hands today. With each that falls, I know you collect them all and care for each reason they existed. And then beautifully, majestically, you plant hope that bears lasting fruit from the seeds of suffering."

"When we suffer and choose that God may use it in any way he wills, we are transformed by graces, through hope, into joy."

"God desires my fidelity over secular accomplishments and accolades . . . The only true measure of success is that which leads us to heaven."

"Never underestimate the power of a whisper. There is someone, somewhere who is inspired, touched, and transformed by your faithfulness to God."

"I've realized that people are just starving for someone to notice them, to care about their suffering, to listen. When we do these things, however awkward it may feel for us, we're presenting the mercy of God to a world so lacking in real love."

Purchase A Sea Without a Shore on Amazon and help support this site:

Enter to Win!

Jeannie will be giving away TWO paperback copies of her Meditation Book and TWO paperback copies of A Sea Without A Shore. So be sure to enter and spread the word. The Giveaway ends at 12:00AM Eastern time on January 31st.

Interview with Jeannie Ewing

  1.  Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?
I am an “anytime writer.”  You see, my life does not neatly fit into a box (unfortunately for me).  I have two young daughters and another baby on the way.  Both of our girls have different special needs that require a lot of extra time spent with various specialists, special education programs, surgeries, and counselors.  I spent a good portion of my time at the disposal of a doctor’s availability, rather than what is convenient for my family.
Because of this, I write when I have time.  That might sound like a cop-out, but I don’t waste time.  If I have 10 minutes of a lull in my day, I will write for 10 minutes.  When the girls are having quiet time and I can snag an extra 20 to 30 minutes, I will write.  Most of my best writing happens right after breakfast on a weekend when my husband is gracious enough to watch the girls for me.  But most of what I produce is in the evenings after the girls have gone to bed.

  1. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

I have 3 of them actually.  The first is a book that answers common questions about what to do in specific social or religious situations – a sort of etiquette question and answer book.  That proposal has been submitted to a publisher, who is in the process of checking it out.
The second manuscript is one I am co-authoring with my husband, Ben.  It is a parenting book about using the beatitudes as our beacon for what we do and teach our children on a daily basis.  That, too, is in the process of consideration from a different publishing house.
The third work-in-progress is my favorite to date.  It is a book about the value of waiting and what that looks like from a cultural attitude, as well as a spiritual one.  It includes various points of philosophy, but mainly I’m trying to encourage people in their tough times of waiting, especially when it is prolonged.  I plan to complete that manuscript before I submit it to a potential publisher.

  1. What inspires you when you’re writing?

Prayer – Scriptures, silence, reading reflections and the lives of the saints; music – especially classical or some type of soothing instrumental music; sometimes nature inspires me, and sometimes it could be a conversation with a friend or something I observe while I’m out and about.

  1. What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

Hmmm, probably my perpetual cup of tea!

  1. What’s your favorite genre and why?

Memoir, because I love reading about other people’s journeys in life through their own eyes.

  1. Any advice you have for a blossoming author?

Just begin.  Don’t worry about the details or even the process itself.  Just start somewhere and keep moving forward.  Your first draft won’t be perfect, so don’t expect it to be.  Don’t write with censorship; get into your own flow and let it happen naturally.  Our best muse is God, so I always pray before I write.

  1. What is your writing process like?

I guess the best word I can use is ‘inspired.’  Just when I think I’ve completed a book, a new idea pops into my head and becomes more developed over time.  That’s been the case for this book on waiting.  When I write, it could be jotting down ideas on scraps of paper like a typical creative type, or it could mean I actually sit down and type up a chapter on my laptop.  But I always, always write down inspired ideas, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing.

  1. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Reading, taking care of my girls (homeschooling the eldest), chatting with my husband or watching movies with him, taking walks with my dog through our neighborhood

  1. What or who inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been a writer, since I first learned to put words together creatively and articulately.  It’s a natural talent and also a spiritual charism.  I’ve enjoyed creating ideas through writing – whether fiction when I was a kid or poetry as a young adult or original research papers in college – and now non-fiction seems to be where God wants me right now.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I started journaling when I was about 9 years old.  I received a Hello Kitty diary from a friend for my birthday and wrote in a journal every day ever since!

  1. Are you Self-published or Traditional Published? Why did you choose this type of publishing?

I’m a hybrid author, which means I have some books that are self-published and some that are traditionally published.  I’ll be speaking more on the advantages and disadvantages of this at the Catholic Writers Conference Online in February. 
Essentially, I didn’t “choose” this type of publishing.  It just worked out that my first book was self-published, because each step of the process I had someone offer to help me through it professionally!  My second book ended up being traditionally published, because my editor at Catholic Exchange asked me if I had considered writing a book.

  1. Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?

Writing can be daunting, so don’t think it’s some romantic way of life.  Most of us don’t make a grand living as writers, but we love what we do.  If you are called to write, you will want to share your ideas with others in order to inspire, encourage, entertain, or teach them – maybe a combination of these, or something else. 

Just for fun:

  1. Do you have any pets?

Yes!  A 9-year-old pit bull mix, Lily.  She’s a character!  We love her as one of our family members.

  1. Who’s your favorite musician/band?

Well, I love music and a variety of genres of music.  I’d say it depends, but my favorite genre of music is Renaissance or Baroque.  I especially love Michael Praetorius and Tomasso Albonini.

  1. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

The mountains.  It’s my dream to live in the Smokies one day.

  1. Do you like coffee or tea?

Never liked coffee, but I love tea and drink it daily with a bit of honey.

  1. Did you go to college? If so, what was your major?

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies and Master of Science in Education for School Counseling

  1. Are you a full-time writer or do you also work in another field? If so, what field?

My “full-time” job is a stay-at-home mom. 

  1. Favorite Season? Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer

I like the changing seasons for different reasons.  When I was a kid, my favorite season was summer, but now it’s probably fall.  I love the cooler weather and gorgeous colors.  Plus, there are so many fun things to do in the fall – hay rides, jumping in leaf piles, visiting pumpkin patches and carving them, apple picking and making homemade applesauce, etc.

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