Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Guest Post: Christine Steendam's Heart Like an Ocean


I met Christine Steendam about 6 years ago or so, when we were attending the same church. While I've moved on to a new congregation where I met Philip, we've recently started talking a lot more again as we've both taken up blogging and as a blogger it's great to have friends who share that interest. Christine has one-upped me though, in that she just came out with her first book! I want to welcome Christine here today to share a little bit about her new book as well as what it took to not only write a book but move and build homes with her husband, Kyle. While Philip can't appreciate the whole horse thing (he's a teency bit scared of horses), he can appreciate the writing world and so we thought we'd share this guest post. Enjoy!




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Thank you, Cass and Philip for letting me crash your blog today.


As you may have gathered I’m writing this guest post as a part of a blog tour to promote my new book, Heart Like an Ocean. 


What does writing have to do with home renos and the life of newlyweds? Well, my book has nothing to do with that, but my writing journey might fit in here quite well.


Besides being a writer, my husband and I, married for two years now (still newlyweds, right?), like to build houses. Okay, my husband likes to build houses and I mostly put up with it and enjoy a nice new house for a year or so before we start the process all over again.


As you can imagine, this makes for a very busy life. We started our first house together (my husband’s second house) during our engagement and moved in after our wedding. The house had plywood floors, no railing around the stairs, counters made out of two-by-fours, plywood and macktack, and no doors. It was fun, really fun. Slowly, throughout our first year of marriage we made our way through the house finishing what needed doing, and just this last June we sold it.


Since then we’ve started our second house. It has been an adventure and a half, and somehow between the running around choosing flooring, paint colours, brick, kitchen design….etc… I managed to get my book published. How? Just by getting it done. There is no magic formula or deep dark secret.


Heart Like an Ocean was basically finished before all this craziness began, but editing, submitting and the actual publication process was not. I had a lot of support from my husband, took advantage of my son’s naps, and woke up bright and early to get as much done before he woke up as I could.




Building or renovating does not come without its sacrifices. Sure, it’s great having a nice new home but it’s a lot of work to get there and sometimes you have to give up some sleep or some social time if you have something else you love to do, like writing. If you follow this blog you know that Cass and Philip have their own writing journey as Cass writes to you almost daily and Philip hopes to get some rejection letters this year (I’m hoping he gets an acceptance). I’m sure they can attest to the fact that if it’s something you love, you make time for it. Even though the house, spouse, kids, friends, family can take up all your time, if you care about it you’ll find a way to get that next blog post out or that next chapter written and this goes for any hobby you might have.

If you interested in more of my writing journey you can read the previous posts on writing the first draft, editing and beta readers. And stay tuned for the next post on submission and  publication on March 26th.


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Welcome to to the Heart Like an Ocean Blog Tour. It is running from March 1st-27th and will feature a variety of blogs and posts. Please take a moment to visit the previous tour stop and the next one And don't forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.

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In a society where she doesn't belong, Senona Montez, a strong-willed and free-spirited woman refuses to follow the path expected of a Don's only child. On the eve of her marriage to a stranger, she saddles her horse and flees everything she knows, only to discover the petty concerns of society did not prepare her for the harsh life on the open sea. She finds an unlikely protector in a reckless privateer, Brant Foxton. Straddling the worlds of independence and privilege in 1600's Europe, this captivating man challenges her in ways she never thought possible, shows her what living to the fullest really means, and allows her to follow her heart wherever it leads.

So excited for Christine! I haven't had the chance to read her book yet, but enjoy this preview and if you like what you read, head over to purchase it at Amazon or one of the other sellers.
Amazon -  Smashwords -  Barnes & Noble -  iTunes -  Kobo

Excerpt Spain-1666 

Senona looked around the room full of swirling dresses of so many shapes and colors. It was like a dream and left her overwhelmed and unable to tear her eyes away. Tonight she was a princess in her new dress with her hair curled, cascading in loose waves down her back. Tonight she was perfect. 

Browsing the room, this time in search of familiar faces, Senona spotted Caton Amador, and Isidro Amato. The boys, although older, were her friends and a welcome relief to the overwhelming nature of her surroundings. She made her way around the perimeter of the room in their general direction. 

 Isidro was never very serious about anything and enjoyed teasing Senona, which annoyed her to no end. Caton was much more subdued and quiet, at least around her. Although they were not as close as they once had been, the families remained good friends, and the three of them spent many hours riding around the countryside or playing games in the garden. When they were younger, Isidro and Caton had been her constant companions, helping her sneak out of tea with their Madres or rescuing her from lessons with her tutor. Now they never voluntarily saw each other, but due to their families’ relationship, they found themselves together often enough. 

“Senona, my Chica! You are a picture of beauty, as always,” boomed Isidro’s obnoxious and teasing voice. 

Caton turned to look at the young girl. “Leave her alone, Isidro.” 

“Come on, Caton. She’s glad to see us.” 

Caton frowned but said nothing, turning his attention back to the pretty girl standing next to him. Isidro seemed to accept that as permission to continue, and he smirked mockingly at Senona, beckoning her. The small flock of girls that surrounded the two boys giggled, causing her to blush and become hesitant and uncomfortable. She had never seen the boys in this environment, and she quickly questioned her decision that she belonged with them. 

“It’s okay, Isidro. I just wanted to say hello.”

“Well then, run along. There must be some of your friends around.” 

Senona forced a smile and turned to Caton. “Hello, Caton.” 

He barely acknowledged her with a brief glance and nod in her direction, and then returned to ignoring her. Unsure of how to deal with Caton’s rejection, she walked away, her eyes burning with angry tears that threatened to spill over. Why was he being so rude? Not even so much as a hello, as if he were embarrassed to be associated with her. 

As she pushed her way through the crowd, she heard one of the girls laugh. “Caton, I do believe you hurt her feelings.” 

Caton’s deep, unmistakable chuckle cut through the din and his voice was all she heard. “She’s a silly, strange girl. I would rather not encourage her.” 

Senona expected this behavior from Isidro, but from Caton? She had always thought he was honest and simple, but his actions tonight had shown her otherwise. She had been a fool to think that these older boys were her friends. 

Escaping into the shadows, she hid from the sneering glances and mocking laughter that seemed to follow her wherever she went. She had thought that tonight would be different, but nothing had changed. She was just a strange little girl. 

The night was a blur, a blur of swirling skirts and obnoxious voices. To nearly everyone she was invisible. Even her Madre and Padre, who had never been overly affectionate towards their daughter, seemed to have completely forgotten her existence. But that wasn’t so different from normal. They weren’t very affectionate people ever, even towards each other. 

At the end of the night, Senona lay in bed, her new dress hanging in her wardrobe, mocking her. She had realised tonight how far she fell from society’s standards, her own parents’ standards. Any illusion she had of being a princess, of being perfect for one night had been shattered. But that didn't really bother her. The truly odd thing was that she felt a weight lifted from her shoulders. Perhaps she didn’t have to be that way. Perhaps now she had the freedom to do as she wanted. It wasn’t as if anyone cared about her anyway. She was just a strange little girl.

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