Thursday, November 16, 2017

Needtobreath Interview with Seth Bolt: The Extras

Needtobreathe at the Mud Island Amphitheater in Memphis, TN

Back in August, I had a chance to interview Needtobreathe bassist and vocalist Seth Bolt about the band's history and current tour. You can read the official interview - "Needtobreathe finds success in the space between mainstream and gospel"
It's a tight piece and well-edited, but that editing for the magazine meant a lot of streamlining, and there's material from the interview I knew a lot of you would want. So here's a bit more. Call it the special features edition!

Seth Bolt
On Meeting Bruce Springsteen: We did meet Bruce Springsteen when we were touring with Taylor Swift, back in 2011, and he was…the coolest dude of all time. He’s just…down to earth. He kinda saw us, over near the side, backstage at a Taylor Swift concert, it can be chaotic, and have a lot of overzealous fans, super young fans – which is probably different from what it’s like at a Springsteen show – we were up, near the front, and he came over and started talking to us, asked what was going on, and we had a great conversation. He’s genuine and heartfelt, interested in what we were doing, signed a guitar for us, it was a really cool thing. 

On the Pressure to Be More or Less Christian: Luckily, we haven’t felt pressure to be more mainstream or more Christian, more spiritual. Everyone just lets us do what we want to do, and I think for that reason what we’ve done, because it’s genuine, hasn’t really fits in either box that well. And we get push-back from both sides. We’re told that our music, that it’s not Christian enough – which, that’s fine. But then, without a doubt there’s discrimination against our band from the mainstream, because of that label, and because some people see a label, and that’s it. They’re like, “not for me.” I think that’s the one reason why we’ve never categorized ourselves as a Christian band, it’s pushes people off and what we love about music is its power to bring people together. 

That’s the beauty of it. In any given night, you can have people from both sides of the political aisle, from every walk of life, rich, poor, different backgrounds, but music brings us all together. Even though we’ve tried to, sort of, shed the label, it has stuck around, so we’re fine with it but we’re here to make music for everybody. We kind of ask people to put aside anything they’ve heard about the band and make their own decision. 
On their Songwriting Process: Bear and Bo Rineheart are the principle songwriters and they are…prolific. I’m sort of the studio guy who tries to capture it, but they write, like, a million different songs every day, just take turns like that. And since Josh Lovett’s joined the band, too, about six years ago, we’ve had a good process. Bear and Bo are still writing the songs, but we’re speaking to them and it’s a really cool thing to be a part of. 

Needtobreathe, the band.

Our stories have been united for a long time, but now that we’re having all these unique experiences outside of music with starting families and everything, we’re able to bring all that back, and push all of it onto the table when it comes time to talk about what we want to say.

On Why Cages was Released Later: We recorded [Cages] shortly after we performed it for the first time – I don’t know, it’s kind of a wild thing. We recorded the song live, thinking it was gonna be on Hardlove, the proper album, and then as we wrote more and more songs, we got to a point where we were trying to figure out how to still put it on the album, but we also didn’t want to have an album that was 16 songs long, in an age where singles are kind of the thing and they have a song or two patience for an artist, people aren’t listening to albums front to back as much as they were. 

I feel like our fans still do that, but we didn’t want to release a marathon, so we did have to cut it from the record which is  why we’re releasing it now – we still love the song and want it to be out there. 

Advice to Younger Bands: Be yourself. There’s a lot of things you can look at to try to emulate or copy or whatever, people just want to hear you do you. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Together at the Table Sale!

Laying in extra reading for the upcoming holiday weekend? You're in luck! Together at the Table is on sale for a limited time, for only $1.99! Pick up your copy at Amazon, Nook, or Kobo.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Southern Autumn Butternut Squash Soup

Funny thing - it only just began to feel at all like fall, here in northern Mississippi. Until a couple weeks ago, it was just Summer 2.0 - still some heat and humidity, but not as much heat. Springtime weather.

Two weeks ago, I was recovering from a long week and declared, on the way home from church, that I absolutely was not cooking for the rest of the day. But then...the rain and drizzle got to me, and all I could think about was butternut squash soup and chocolate chip cookies. So we stopped at the grocery store on the way home from church, and I zipped through the store for butter and brown sugar (for the cookies) and a squash and apples for the soup. In the end, I wound up spending the afternoon and early evening in the kitchen - but we had good food to enjoy because of it!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Great British Bake Off Series 8 Review

Welcome, Bakers! 

Or, at least baking watchers. If you're like me, you love the Great British Bake Off (or, in the US, the Great British Baking Show, a title so charmingly on-the-nose that it mainly works because it's said with a British accent). 

There was a massive shake-up since the filming of Series 7 (they're called "series" rather than "seasons" across the pond), in which the BBC lost the Bake Off to rival Channel 4 when Channel 4 threw down a giant pile of money. Presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins opted to stay with the BBC and leave the show, and days later beloved octogenarian Mary Berry left the show as well.  Paul Hollywood (yes, that's his real name) stayed, and the internet deemed him a heartless money grabber because dude wanted to keep his job.

Friday, September 22, 2017

New Etsy Shop & Graphic Giveaway!

Guess what - I’ve opened an Etsy shop! If you’re not one of the people who’s had their ear talked off about my love for graphic art and design, this might take you by surprise. (And if you have had your ear talked off, well, thank you for your patience!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Pumpkin Scones with Chai Glaze for Fall

Who's ready for fall? After a long - though admittedly mild, by southern standards - Memphis summer, I'm ready. And for about 48 hours, it felt like fall...and then it was back to highs in the 90's. So clearly, the solution is to make my own autumn, and that means homemade pumpkin scones.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Jane of Austin - The Playlist!

Want to experience the music of Jane of Austin? I've put together a Spotify playlist with the songs and bands mentioned in the book, songs they listened to on their road trip, and music they might have heard at SxSW. Give it a listen - you might find some old favorites and make new discoveries! Click below to enjoy. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Restorative Chicken Soup

Most of the recipes that show up here are ones I've developed and tweaked, and this one is not different. But if you've got the current issue of Real Simple on your sofa, this'll look familiar. I was flipping through and found it the day Danny's parents arrived from Oregon, and thought, "we should eat that."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Inspirational Contemporary Romance Bundle Giveaway!

Exciting news! Booksweeps is holding a super huge giveaway, and Jane of Austin is one of the books in the prize package! See all the included books below and click here to enter.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jane Austen Week: Day 5 - Katherine Reay & the Austen Legacy

I'm sad to see Jane Austen Week come to a close - I've had such a great time!

To help bring things to a close, I've invited Katherine Reay to come and share about Jane Austen's impact on her own writing. It's a gorgeous essay, so I suggest getting a cup of tea settling in to enjoy the read.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jane Austen Week: Day 4 - Reflections on Sense & Sensibility

As  Jane Austen Week wraps, I felt like there was a hole here on the blog for Day 4 and I wanted to shore it up.

As part of the official festivities, we watched Sense & Sensibility together - even if you didn't get to participate, you may enjoy reading over the threads! It was a lot of fun, and I'll do something similar again another time.

Watching the movie over again reminded me of my experience reading Sense & Sensibility in preparation for the writing of Jane of Austin. You see, when I was first tapped to write Jane, all I had was a title. From there, I had free reign to go anywhere I liked.

I hadn't read Sense & Sensibility yet - I'd read Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. But I knew I wanted to write a more rebellious, headstrong character than I'd been writing for the last several years. Of Austen's likable rebels, Marianne was the strongest choice - unlike other rebels (*cough* Lydia *cough*), Marianne gets an entire redemption arc. She learns, she grows, and she's offered a chance at happiness.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jane Austen Week: Day 3 - Q&A with Teri Wilson

Welcome to Day 3 of Jane Austen Week! To recap briefly, on Day 1 I shared the recipe for chamomile and lavender scones, as well as the link to the All Things Jane Giveaway. On Day 2, I got  chat Jane Austen and time travel with author Kathleen A. Flynn.

Today, I'm thrilled to be hosting Teri Wilson, author of Unleashing Mr. Darcy!

Teri came onto my radar via an elderly neighbor from our Vancouver, Washington neighborhood. I'd been gardening and doing yard work with my mom in the front yard and had Shiloh and puppy Sylvie tethered near the front door. The neighborhood's bank of mailboxes was just to the left of our house, and I met most of my neighbors over there. That day a sweet, elderly lady from two doors down introduced herself and, after a fashion, remarked on Shiloh and Sylvie.

"They look just like the dogs from that movie, that Hallmark movie," she said. "The Mr. Darcy movie."

As you can imagine, my ears perked up. Cavaliers? Mr. Darcy?

I did some creative Googling later and discovered that Unleashing Mr. Darcy was indeed a Hallmark Original Movie - which would be re-airing in a couple weeks - and was based on a book by Teri Wilson.

Who has two cavaliers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jane Austen Week: Day 2 - Q&A with Kathleen A. Flynn

Welcome to Jane Austen Week, Day 2!

One of the many pleasures of being a writer is getting to meet other writers. I haven't had the pleasure of getting to meet author Kathleen A. Flynn in person, but I was a third of the way through her debut novel, The Jane Austen Project, when I was in the planning stages of Jane Austen Week.

With its mix of Jane Austen, time travel, and philosophical speculation, it landed squarely in my reading sweet spot. In a nutshell, time travelers Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane are sent to 1815 to recover Jane Austen's letters to her sister Cassandra, as well as a previously undiscovered completed manuscript. But their objective becomes messy as they become involved with Jane's social circle and begin to notice small changes in the historical timeline. And after a while, Rachel  a doctor  begins to wrestle with the mysterious illness that ultimately takes Jane's life.

Intrigued? So was I! After all, Jane Austen Week is all about the 200th Anniversary of Jane's passing; a celebration of her life's work. And because the plot of The Jane Austen Project centers very much on Jane's life, the looming reality of her death, and what might have happened if history had unfolded differently, I'm thrilled Kathleen could participate!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jane Austen Week: Day 1 - Chamomile & Lavender Scones

It's the first day of Jane Austen week! You can click here to see the full schedule of events - I'm really excited.

To kick it off, I'll admit I spent some time thinking about what to say. After all, I've spent a lot of time lately writing about what Austen's work meant to me, and what makes her so enticing to adapt.

So rather than say more just now, I decided to pivot and share a scone that almost made it into the book.

Originally there were three scone recipes in the book, and I nixed this one, and after testing it this week - well, I'm glad I get to share it here!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jane Austen Week!

I'm so excited for this week! In honor of the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen's passing, this week is going to be five straight days of Austen-y goodness, celebrating her work and it's centuries-long impact. 

On Monday, I'll kick things off with a delicious scone recipe (as I do) and information about how to enter to win the Jane of Austin prize package, offered by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Release Day Strawberry Tart

I can't even tell you how thrilled I am that Jane of Austin is finally out and available in the world! For all of you who pre-ordered - thank you, and your copy should arrive today! And for everyone else, you can find your copy online and on shelves!

I'm also thrilled to add that Jane can be purchased as an audiobook! As an avid audiobook listener, I'm thrilled to pieces to have one of my books available in audio!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memphis Diaries: Part I

Memphis bridge - Adobe Stock

Some days I can't quite believe we made it here. In December, we packed most of the very last of our belongings into the truck and car. Stuffed, more like - the car was on a trailer, and everything I thought I might need in the apartment for the first week was wedged inside. Clothes, kitchenwares, bedding - stuffed.

I wrote "most of the last" because some of it just didn't fit. The vacuum? Left with my brother-in-law to donate (we would have donated it ourselves, but it was, like 11pm or so). And there's a lampshade we barely fit into the truck that we left with my mom to mail later.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Be the Loudest: A Q&A with Singer-Songwriter Ginny Owens

So! Last September, before we moved out to Memphis, my good friend Rachel Lulich organized a concert at her church in Lake Oswego, and flew the award-winning singer-songwriter Ginny Owens out to perform.

Ginny Owens at piano in concert
If you ever have the opportunity to see Ginny live - do. She does a fantastic set, engagingly sharing the songs she's written over her 18-year-long career. I recognized songs I'd heard and enjoyed in college, songs that had a different resonance for me now.

We chatted after the show, and I had the chance to invite her to come and share here about her work, her process, and her latest album. I've interviewed lots of book-writers, so it was really fun to hear from someone with a different creative and professional pursuit!

Hillary Manton Lodge: Thanks so much for stopping by for the interview! Let’s start with your newest album, Love Be the Loudest. It’s your eleventh album, and it's got a decidedly more pop-sound to it than your previous releases. What inspired that shift?