Author Archives: Cathe Swanson

What’s Your Pet Peeve?

Pet PeeveMy good friend and fellow ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) member, Susan M. Baganz, interviewed me recently for her website.  Interviews are tricky, especially if the interviewer tosses some oddball questions into the conversation.

Susan asked me “What’s your pet peeve?”, and I had an instant motherhood flashback to the day one of my sons mentioned “a pet peeve.”

Me: What is a pet peeve? (yes, I knew the answer.)

Him: It’s something that really bugs you.

Me: But what makes it a pet?

Him: It’s something that bugs you whenever you see it.

Me: Like what? What’s your pet peeve?

Him: People who complain all the time.

Me: Um…

I am generally uncomfortable with the concept of a pet peeve. Most of the time, it’s complaining or something we have given ourselves permission to criticize.

When something makes us peevish, we should examine our hearts. Usually, when I find myself in that state, I like to re-label it. I say I am frustrated or irritated. If I track it back to its source, however, I usually find a root of selfishness: discontent, anger, wounded pride or some other form of arrogance.

The antidote for that kind of peevishness is almost always one of two things: grace or gratitude. Has someone stepped on my toes? Are other people doing stupid things? I should extend grace. Am I not getting what I want? I should give thanks for what I have.

And then one day, as I grappled with the grumbling question, I realized that some things do bother me – and they should! Injustice, bullying and things that harm other people are valid and reasonable fodder for peevery.  (Go ahead… say it aloud. You know you want to.)

Pete’s Pet Peeve

In Snow Angels, Pete’s pet peeve (you can say this one, too) is people who are condescending to the homeless vets and other struggling people at the Unity Plenkiss community center. He does need to extend grace to Lisa as she tries to help them, but he is also right to confront and correct her on occasion. He tries to improve the situation instead of condemning her. Pete’s a good guy. And Lisa means well.

I did think of a pet peeve for Susan’s interview. If you want to know what it is, go read it on her website HERE!  Oh, and for those of you whose pet peeve is finding errors in published writing, I’ve given you the gift of using a noun where I should have used an adjective.  You’re welcome. 😉

Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson

If you want to read more about Pete and Lisa, you know where to find them: in Snow Angels, in the Christmas Lights novella collection.  Christmas Lights is just 99 cents. That’s a quarter per book! You won’t find better entertainment value than that.

Christmas Lights - a novella collection

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How and Why to Give a Kindle Book as a Gift

How To Give a Kindle Book as a Gift – and why it’s a good idea

How and Why to Give a Kindle Book as a Gift
Why to give a Kindle Book as a Gift

Everyone knows that books make great gifts, and digital books are especially nice because they are:

  1. Inexpensive – most Kindle books are under $10. Some are much cheaper!
  2. Environmentally friendly – no physical production or transportation cost.
  3. Fast – forgot to shop in advance? Order online and have the gift delivered instantly. You can also schedule the delivery for later, if you are shopping early.
  4. Convenient – shop from home, in the proverbial pajamas.
  5. Abundant – you can find almost any title on Amazon.
  6. Easy to send – you only need the recipient’s email address.
  7. Free to deliver – you don’t have to pay postage.
  8. Clutter-free – many of us have plenty of “stuff” and limited bookshelf space.
  9. Personal – we share books that we think other people will like.
  10. Easy to read – you can read Kindle books on a tablet, phone or computer. Or even a Kindle.
  11. Returnable – if your recipient already has the book or is not interested, they can exchange it for an amazon gift card of the same value.
How to Give a Kindle Book as a Gift

Amazon has two options for gifting kindle books: they will send a personalized email and code directly to the recipient, or they will send it to you so you can print it out and deliver it yourself.

First, find the book you want to send. This is a good one!

How to give a kindle book as a gift

Click on the “Give as a gift” button.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

To send the gift directly to your recipient:

Your recipient’s email address does not have to be the one associated with their amazon kindle account. You can personalize the gift with a message.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

If you would like to send the gift later, you can select the delivery date from the drop-down menu.

How to send a kindle book as a gift

Be sure to preview your message.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

As with all of your own kindle purchases you will get the notification that your purchase is complete. Note that it does not say they emailed your gift to the recipient. It says they sent it to you. Don’t worry. If your gift was scheduled for immediate delivery, they sent it.  You will get a verification email.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

This is what your recipient’s email will look like:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

When they click on the link, they will be asked to sign into their amazon account. They will be sent to the the Kindle Gift Center window, where they enter (copy and paste) their gift claim code into the box.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

When they click on the “Go get your gift!” button, they get this page:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

After they click “Accept Kindle Gift”, the book will be in their kindle library and they get the usual page:

How to give a kindle book as a gift

You will get an email notifying you that the book has been claimed.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

You can also check your Amazon account, under Digital orders, to see if it has been claimed or not.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

To deliver it yourself:

If you want to give a Kindle book as a gift but add a more personal touch, you can have Amazon will send the email code to you.

give-as-a-gift-14

You can dress up your email by adding pictures or more text and then forwarding it to your gift recipient, or you can print it out and enclose it in a card for mailing.

How to give a kindle book as a gift

The rest of that process is the same as the first option.

It’s not hard to give a Kindle book as a gift… it only looks complex because I showed so many screen shots from the perspectives of both the giver and the recipient! The step-by-step instructions make it a very simple and quick process.

By the way…

A person could, of course, look up the price of the book on Amazon, but the price is not shown in the gift card or claim windows.  If the recipient does not want the book, they can exchange it for an Amazon gift card of the same value (in which case they would learn the value of the gift).

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Nativity Scene Christmas Lights giveaway

Christmas Lights ~ Enter to Win this Gorgeous Nativity Scene

 

Christmas Lights is finally here, and we have a great giveaway to share with our readers!

We like to celebrate our new releases this way, and it’s especially fitting during the holiday season. It was hard to find just the right prize, but we all fell in love with a handcrafted nativity scene we found on Etsy.com!
Isn’t it beautiful? This lovely backlit Christmas silhouette scene will be a favorite with children and grandchildren for years! Handmade in Ukraine, this nativity artist ships worldwide, so this giveaway is open to readers in all countries!

Nativity Scene Christmas Lights giveaway

Each of three pieces is 8″ tall, 20″ long and 5.5″ deep, so the complete set can cover a fireplace mantel or you can display the pieces separately. Use battery-operated votive candles or a string of lights to create a three-dimensional display of silhouette and shadows. Enter by October 23rd for a chance to win this gorgeous nativity scene. In addition, we will also be giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards – just in time for Christmas shopping!

nativity_etsy_3

We think you will enjoy Christmas Lights. In a variety of genres, the four “light” reads in this novella collection will warm your heart and ignite your Christmas spirit! Most of all, we look forward to sharing the one true Light of Christmas with you.

Nativity Scene - Christmas Lights Giveaway

Christmas Lights ~ A Novella Collection

Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage, a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”

Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels. This debut novel is an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.

April Hayman: Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with Trip the Light Fantastic. This novella features mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”

Chautona Havig: As the author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection with Christmas Stalkings.

Enter Below to Win the Handcrafted Nativity Scene

Nativity Scene - Christmas Lights giveaway

This is going to be a popular prize, so enter soon! No purchase is necessary to enter the giveaway, but there are easy ways to improve your chances of winning. Just follow the prompts in the promosimple form!

Snow Angels and The Real World

Snow Angels is the story of a young woman who gets roped into serving Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter. The story flowed from my fingertips to the keyboard, and I was several chapters into it before I realized that it wasn’t working.

When I conceived the idea, I wanted to use the Milwaukee Rescue Mission (but set in Chicago) as the model for my setting. I was inspired by my limited involvement and knowledge of that and other ministries as well as the experiences of my husband, who has spent many years working with “troubled youth” and the juvenile justice system. I wanted to write a story about real, human people going through hard times, finding hope and love, with funny scenes as well as the sad stories.

Snow Angels by Cathe SwansonAs I researched homeless shelters and other rescue missions, it became increasingly clear that I could not set my lighthearted Christmas romance—especially a short novella!—in that setting. The scope of those ministries is beyond amazing. They meet needs I didn’t know existed. Thousands of staff members and volunteers pour themselves into serving others. The more I learn, the more humbled I am. There is certainly love and hope and humor there, but it feels disrespectful to try to create an entertaining, happily-ever-after story in 45,000 words.

So I scaled back. I have more experience with small-city ministries, decaying blue-collar neighborhoods, as well as senior centers and a few years of working with elderly people, so I created the Unity Plenkiss Community Center. We live between Milwaukee and Chicago, but at least one of the other Great Lakes books is set on the Indiana/Illinois border so I chose Chicago for the setting of the book.

But where in Chicago? It truly is a city like no other! I could never do justice to its rich and diverse culture, so instead of setting my little ministry in one of the many distinctive and unique Chicago neighborhoods or suburbs, I decided to create a small neighborhood of my own. It’s probably closest to Hegewisch, or even Calumet City, so I gave it some of those demographics.

The characters in Snow Angels aren’t based on actual individuals, but they do represent a few of the people you might find in the area. I have tried to portray them as ordinary humans with dignity and personality instead of making them into stereotypes. I’ve had fun with them, but if they were real, they would probably need a helping hand.

We are a military family, so the problem of homeless vets, especially those with PTSD, is something I am familiar with, but I was shocked to see the high number of homeless female veterans. Fortunately, the issue is getting more attention recently and being addressed by a number of government and community organizations. If you know a veteran who needs assistance, encourage—or help them!—to visit their local VA representative. There are good people there.

The Unity Plenkiss Community Center can’t fix the very real problems found in this area, but it can provide a warm place to sit down, a few hot meals, encouragement and activities for the young people, a safe haven for women in crisis, food and clothing for those with a need, tutoring, companionship and information about available resources. Like all such ministries, they are always in need of volunteers and money and wish they could do more. I hope you enjoy getting to know the people of Maly Park and are—just maybe!—inspired to become a snow angel in your own community.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Association of Gospel Rescue Mission – Find a Rescue Mission in your area. http://www.agrm.org

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