Thursday, March 31, 2016

COUNTED WITH THE STARS - Connilyn Cossette - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Connilyn is a member of our local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. It with great pleasure I introduce you to her and her debut novel. My copy of the book just arrived a few days ago, so I haven’t read it, because I was editing a ten-novella collection that was uploaded to Amazon yesterday. I’m eager to read Counted With the Stars.

Welcome, Connilyn. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
What a great question Lena! I certainly do not plan to write myself into characters, but pieces of me inadvertently get scattered in along the way. Sometimes it is a strength, or an interest, but sometimes it is a flaw. One thing I never considered when setting out to write a book was how much the Lord would use my own writing to convict me. When I begin seeing characteristics of myself showing up in antagonists, I know God is dealing with me!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am wracking my brain for quirky things and coming up empty—apparently I am boring. It may not count as quirky but I write in my master-bedroom closet. I was desperate for a quiet space of my own, so a few months ago I did some rearranging, dragged in a desk and shut the door. Since then I have added a comfy reading chair, a lamp, and a cozy heated throw blanket—so if anyone needs me, I am usually hiding in the closet. Of course the kids, my husband, and our crazy cats inevitably find me in my hideout so I may invest in a lock for said closet door…

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
 I was about thirteen years old. I had just read Gone with the Wind, which I devoured in one day (after being home sick from school) and decided that since Margaret Mitchell had died before writing a sequel, I would be the one to do it! I sat down with paper and pen and wrote a scene that I can still vividly remember. Although I did not have the courage, or confidence, to write a novel until only a few years ago, my passion for writing was sparked at that moment.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have always been a voracious reader, mostly historical fiction–which fascinated me even as a kid, but I enjoy well-written contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and have even enjoyed some excellent YA in the past few months. Now that I have a writer’s perspective, I have become a bit of a picky reader but will usually give most anything a chance.

I think it’s interesting that you like to read contemporary novels, but you’re writing historical. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Well, other than consume copious amounts of coffee—I would say the best thing I have done for myself and my family is to streamline my life. There was a time when I was teaching piano lessons, art classes, homeschooling, playing in a band, doing worship at church, and oh, yeah, writing a novel in my spare time. Although these were good, beneficial things, they were not all things I was truly passionate about. I gave myself the freedom to let go of extraneous pursuits so I could focus only on the things God was calling me to pursue. Also, in this world where busyness is a badge of honor and rest is labeled laziness, I have found that taking Sabbath rest is imperative to my spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. God loves us so much that he gave us the privilege of one day a week to lay aside the work of our hands, meet with Him, and revel in His beauty. How cool is that? I find that when I ignore this command I become drained, overwhelmed, and anxious very quickly.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Honestly, that is one of the hardest things about writing Biblical fiction! I spend a lot of time scouring online lists of Hebrew and Egyptian names trying to find names that sound historically accurate but also might appeal to a modern reader’s ear. No one wants to read a book with a hero named Bakbakkhar … right? Or a heroine named Hazelelponi? And of course it’s much easier to find male names since female names are rare on historical documents. And, confession, sometimes—using my (limited) knowledge of Hebrew and names of gods worshipped in Ancient times—I make them up.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
As one of those creative, random-abstract, procrastinating, project-starting-but-never-finishing personalities, I am still stunned that I have completed not one manuscript, but three! And on deadline too! It just goes to show that when God gives you a calling, He gives you the tools necessary to complete that mission, in spite of your weaknesses. I’m also quite proud that I’ve turned my children into voracious book-devourers—as evidenced by our excessive library fines. My 9 year-old daughter recently declared, “Mom, I’m so glad we are a book family!” Made my author-mommy heart go pitty-pat.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Is there an animal that drinks coffee? No? Then I would probably say a bird. The lure of flying, unfettered to the earth, has always appealed to me and I am fervently hopeful that Isaiah 40:31 (And they shall mount up with wings as eagles…) is not only a spiritual promise, but a physical promise that I will be able to fly in the kingdom-to-come.

What is your favorite food?
Well, other than my favorite caffeinated beverage, I would have to say that Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory tastes exactly like cookies my late grandmother used to make. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that chocolate-chip-walnut-cream-cheese goodness is over an hour away from my house.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Perfectionism, by far, is my greatest writing struggle. I was the girl who got an F in art in second grade because I threw all my art projects away for not being “perfect enough.” And strangely, taking an art class years ago helped me deal with this issue in writing. I realized that art was an expression of my heart, unique to my personal perceptions of the world, and that when I kept fiddling too long with a painting to attempt to perfect it, I usually ruined it. This lesson has translated into my writing, I’ve learned that I cannot compare my art to someone else’s, I must write to the best of my ability, release it into God’s hands, and let him make up the difference.

A very wise decision. Tell us about the featured book.
Counted with the Stars is my debut novel. Kiya is an Egyptian who was sold into slavery by her own father. When she is befriended by a Hebrew slave-girl who entertains her with stories of an invisible god, Kiya is fascinated but scoffs at the idea that a god of slaves would have any power. When horrific plagues strike the land and rumors of a Hebrew deliverer reach her ears, she begins to question all that she knows. To save her disabled older brother’s life and break the bonds of slavery, Kiya convinces her family to take refuge with the Hebrews and then flee with them on the Great Exodus. She finds herself following a glowing cloud into the wilderness, drawn to a man who disdains her people, and questioning whether she has led her family to their demise. This book is the first in the Out from Egypt series, which re-tells the story of the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings through the eyes of fictional characters: an Egyptian slave, a Hebrew midwife, and a Canaanite captive.

Please give us the first page of the book.
20th day of Akhet—Season of Inundation 1449 B.C.
My sandals have not crossed this threshold since I was ten.

Inhaling, I focused on the Eye of Horus woven into the papyrus mat at my feet. After summoning an infusion of courage from its steady gaze, I lifted my chin and entered my father’s chambers for the first time in six years.

My father’s braided wig lay on his desk, as if flung aside without a thought for his usual meticulous appearance. He stood with his back to me, studying a papyrus document with such intensity that my quiet entrance had gone unnoticed. Did I imagine that his hand trembled?
Intuition fluttered in my chest.

Appointed with an ornate ebony desk, vibrant tapestries painted by my brother, and a gilded sleeping couch fit for Pharaoh— this room resurrected a long forgotten memory of sitting beside my father as he studied trade reports and his warm hand enveloping mine.

Hoping to swallow the quiver in my voice, I cleared my throat. “Father, you sent for me?”

He startled, but did not turn as he spoke. “Yes, Kiya. Come in.”  Scratching at the silvering stubble on his head with one hand, he continued examining the document in silence.

Fidgeting with the beaded shawl I had purchased this morning, I stroked at the embroidered ibises and the silver beads that twinkled like stars along the hem. I had also been considering a lyre, with roses scrolling down the body of the instrument and petals so lifelike I could almost inhale their delicate fragrance. But before I could make any offer, Yuny, my father’s servant, had skidded to a stop in front of me with his chest heaving from exertion and a curious demand from my father to return home in haste. The stricken look on the man’s wrinkled face had caused me to abandon the lyre and rush back to the villa.

I’m so glad that I can soon immerse myself in this book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is If you’d like to hear about new releases, exclusive content, and great giveaways sign up for my email list there. I also love to connect with readers on Facebook , Twitter ,or Pinterest where I have boards for all my novels to explore. I also contribute to the blog at and

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today Lena! I welcome any questions your readers may have about me, or Counted with the Stars.

My pleasure and great blessing, Connilyn. I know my blog readers are as eager as I am to read this story.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Counted with the Stars -
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Amazon
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt Book #1) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. 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:


Anonymous said...

angela in ky would love to win.

rubynreba said...

Counted With the Stars looks like a book I would enjoy..
Beth from IA

Dianne Casey said...

"Counted with the Stars" sounds like a fascinating read. Adding to my TBR list.
Dianne from Illinois

Connilyn Cossette said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today Lena!

Melanie Backus said...

Conniilyn is a new author to me and I am very glad to find out about her.

Melanie Backus, TX

Sonnetta Jones said...

Excited in New Jersey to read your book. I love the title of the book.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good and fascinating book!

-Melissa M. in TN

Anonymous said...

This is the book I never knew that I've always been waiting to read! I'm so excited about this!
J.C. -Indiana-

Trixi said...

I didn't realize "Counted with the Stars" was a biblical fiction book! I've read a few by other authors and definitely enjoyed the perspective and life-likeness they've given to scripture. I can well imagine myself in those times through the authors eyes!

Really enjoyed the author interview Connilyn (such an unsual pretty name)! You're a new-to-me author and I'm excited to learn of your debut novel. Sounds like you had a lot of fun writing it. Thank you for sharing an excerpt & the giveaway chance :-)

Trixi in OR

Connilyn Cossette said...

Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy Counted with the Stars as much as I enjoyed writing it! Good luck to everyone in the giveaway!

Mary Preston said...

I love that you make up names. What fun. You could certainly make them fit the character well.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy..

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

Sheri said...

I have had my eye on this book for a few weeks now. It sounds so good and I love the cover. Sheri in Georgia would love to win.

Sheri said...

I have had my eye on this book for a few weeks now. It sounds so good and I love the cover. Sheri in Georgia would love to win.

Kathy Anderson said...

What an intriqueing concept! My interest is piqued by reading the first page. I loved your story,Connilyn, describing your writing chamber in your closet.How unique! I signed up for your newsletter and liked you on Facebook, and followed you on Twitter and Pinterest. I look your boards on Pinterest.

Thank you, Lena, for sharng about this b9ok.

Kathy Anderson Neosho, MO
phoneticpanda at gmail dot com

Beth Erin said...

I have seen so many great reviews for this book! Thank you for the giveaway!
Beth in Illinois

Kim hansen said...

Nice cover. north platte nebraska.

kam110476 said...

Hi Connilyn & Lena! Counted With the Stars sounds like a beautiful story and I look forward to reading it!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Abigail Richmond said...

Looks great! Enter me.
Blanch NC

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome contest!!
Conway, SC.

Terrill R. said...

Hello, Connilyn. I started out following your book reviews and was thrilled when I found out you were writing your own book. It's amazing how far you've come and how big your 2016 is. Congrats!

Terrill - WA

rubynreba said...

Counted With the Stars is a book I would enjoy! Thanks!
Beth from IA

Bakersdozen said...

Congratulations Connilyn on your book debut. I would love to read this book.


Connie said...

Connilyn, I also have a hard time listing a specific quirk or outstanding attribute; my answer is always that I am boring!
Congrats on this new adventure and best wishes!
Connie from KY

Caryl Kane said...

Connilyn, congratulations on the release of your debut novel. Counted with the Stars sounds wonderful! I can't wait to read it.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Connilyn Cossette said...

Thank you everyone! I am so pleased to see all the interest in Counted with the Stars! Best of luck in the giveaway!