Wednesday, July 02, 2014

ANNIE'S STORIES - Cindy Thomson - One Free Book

Readers, Cindy Thomson is back with the second book in her Ellis Island series. Her books are rich in historical details and her characters will grab your heart. I just finished reading Annie’s Stories earlier this week. The depth of the characters reveal their foibles as well as their hurts, and I really cared about what was happening to them. The ending was satisfying, and I’ve been mulling over all the details since I finished the book. You won’t want to miss this novel.

Welcome back, Cindy. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Genealogy influences my writing. I’m passionately interested in the stories of our ancestors. Historical fiction goes beyond the names and dates and helps us appreciate the sacrifices and accomplishments our ancestors made—things that influence our lives today.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I got married, followed by the days my sons were born. This August will be 32 years since I married my high school sweetheart, the best decision of my life.

How has being published changed your life?
I suddenly found the courage to speak in front of groups. It wasn’t so hard because I’m invited to talk about the topics I’m passionate about. Being a freelance writer is much less structured than being a teacher, so I’ve had to do some adjusting. This job also does not have a quitting time unless I set one, so it has changed my lifestyle and affected what I do when. It’s all about balance, and I struggle at times to find it, but it’s worth it.

What are you reading right now?
Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke. I love historical fiction of almost any era and Cathy’s books are filled with such detail that I’m transported back in time. I love that!

Yes, I recently read Saving Amelie. I love Cathy’s books, and this one is her best one. What is your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on book three of the Ellis Island series, although there is no publication date for that. I’m continuing with some of the same characters at Hawkins House, but this will be the story of an Italian immigrant who learns a family secret that threatens to destroy her mother’s sanity. A struggling musician needs to find out who killed his father. Their paths cross as they both learn to reach beyond their ethnic community and their preconceived ideas to follow the Master’s Voice and find resolution.

What I can promise readers right now is the short stories that are mentioned in my new book Annie’s Stories. Annie’s father wrote down the stories he told her when she was growing up. These stories are mentioned in the novel but not given. Subscribers to my newsletter can get them for free:

What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation is always Ireland. I’ve been there twice but have not seen the whole country yet. I’d also like to go to Wales and Scotland and follow the paths of my ancestors.

I’d love to go to Ireland, because my mother was half-Irish. How do you choose your settings for each book?
The Ellis Island series was suggested to me by my agent. I loved the idea because of my interest in genealogy. It’s estimated one in four Americans have at least one ancestor who came through Ellis Island. The reason I kept my characters in Lower Manhattan is because of the large immigrant communities there. There are so many colorful stories to be told set in a time of great wealth contrasted with great poverty, and incredible advances in many areas of society. I chose the Brownie camera for Grace’s Pictures, the new book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for Annie’s Stories, and the Victor dog in His Master’s Voice advertising image for book three because these are things we recognize today as having influenced society in some manner.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I assume you mean someone I haven’t already met or imagine I’ll ever have the chance to meet. Off the top of my head I would say Pope Francis. He seems to be such a compassionate man and I would love to hear how he sees God’s people.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
In the summer watching my favorite MLB team, the Cincinnati Reds, is at the top of the list. I also like to experiment with new recipes and try some craft projects. I’m not real crafty, but Pinterest lures me in.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time management. I use a calendar that is synced to my phone to send me reminders. I’ve found that scheduling things that are writing-related but not actually writing helps me to protect my writing time. Before I wanted to jump on every task (blog interviews, email questions, promotional opportunities…) as soon as they landed in my inbox. Scheduling my time has been key.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
It’s so easy to give up, or to want to. I know. On the other hand, some writers are choosing to publish too soon. Don’t get in a hurry to publish. It’s so easy to do now that so many people are rushing to print before their books are ready. It takes time to learn the craft, something people don’t usually like to hear. But if you work hard and allow yourself time to learn the most you can, you will end up with a book people want to read. You want only your best out there. It’s a flooded market. Readers aren’t patient with subpar work.

Very wise advice. Tell us about the featured book.
The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job ... and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned ... where dreams really do come true.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Late August, 1901
Sometimes the smallest things ignited memories Annie Gallagher would sooner forget. This time all it took was a glimpse of a half-finished tapestry Mrs. Hawkins had left on her parlor chair: Home Sweet Home. Annie pressed her palm against her heart, trying to shut out the realization that she was far from home—and not just because she now lived in America.

In a few days it would be her birthday, but she wanted to forget. Birthdays held no significance when your parents had gone to heaven.

For most of her life, Annie had traveled with her father, a seancha√≠, a storyteller from the old Irish tradition. She had learned the age-old stories of the great warrior Cuchulain and the tragic tale of a cruel stepmother in “The Children of Lir.” She learned of kings and monks and lords and wild beasts. But when night came and he tucked her into whatever straw cot they had borrowed for the night, he told her tales that were just for her—Annie’s stories, he called them. Now that her father was gone, those stories were all she had, her only connection to a place, intangible as it might have been, that she called home.

She held on to them, brought them out from time to time to remind her she’d once lived in someone’s heart. Without that, she feared she might plunge again into darkness.
Annie approached the breakfront cabinet gracing the wall opposite a substantial parlor window that looked out to the street. She opened the door, revealing her special lap desk. Suddenly her father’s voice lived again in her mind.

“Look here, Annie lass,” her da called one day from his mat

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thanks for having me, Lena!

And thank you, Cindy, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Annie's Stories -
Annie's Stories (Ellis Island) - Amazon
Annie's Stories (Ellis Island) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Melanie Backus said...

I think this book sounds wonderful and I would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity, Lena.

Melanie Backus, TX

Unknown said...

A new author!! Yay :)


Anonymous said...

my dream vacation would be Ireland or Hawaii! Shelia from Mississippi

Patty said...

I can't imagine coming to a new country by myself and starting a new life! I would love to read Annie's Story.

Patty in SC

Cindy W. said...

I enjoyed your interview and Annie's Stories sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Linda McFarland said...

Enjoyed the interview and Annie's Stories is definitely on my to-be-read list. Would love to win, thanks for the opportunity! Linda

Danielle Hull said...

Looks good! In Indiana!

sm said...

I think Annie's Stories sounds very intriguing. I'm from Ireland so that peaks my interest. Love to win and read it. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Preston said...

This sounds like a fabulous read.

Mary P


apple blossom said...

love to win this book thanks for the chance live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

A Cooking Bookworm said...

I enjoyed Grace's Pictures -- looking forward to reading this one, too!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

Oh my word! Lena I think you've found another winner! I love it. Thanks for the chance to win


Holly I. said...

Sounds like a great book!

Holly, Kentucky

Britney Adams said...

I am eager to read ANNIE'S STORIES and appreciate the opportunity to win a copy!

Britney Adams, TX

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Wow, what awesome looking book, I think all your book look interesting, I haven't read any of your books yet, but I would to read some of your books Cindy!!! I would love to win this book, thanks for the wonderful giveaway and God Bless you!!!
Sarah Richmond
North Carolina

Anonymous said...

I love the themes running through the Ellis Island series, so interesting!
Merry in MN

kam110476 said...

Hi Cindy & Lena! I loved Grace's Pictures so much and I'm wicked excited to read Annie's Stories! I'm especially curious what her da told once she got to his mat!!! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Susan P said...

That is sweet you have been to Ireland! My place I want to go to is Scotland to trace my roots. :)

Cindy Thomson said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm excited to introduce readers to Annie!

beckie said...


Liz R said...

I haven't read this author yet but this certainly sounds like a good read!

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Unknown said...

Ellis island intrigues me!
Tonja VA