<![CDATA[Tanya Stowe - Tanya\'s Travel Topics]]>Sat, 10 Mar 2018 10:12:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Perfect Place]]>Fri, 02 Mar 2018 15:00:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/the-perfect-placeBy Carol James
I remember the first thoughts I had when my husband and I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia from Fort Worth, Texas. We’d driven for sixteen hours with our cocker spaniel, a Styrofoam cooler full of tropical fish, and enough plants to start a small nursery in the back seat of our compact car.
As we made the final leg of our journey around the Atlanta perimeter to our new home, I stared through the window into the pitch black, fighting to stay awake in the early morning hours. And that’s when I first noticed them. Even though “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” the stars outside my window were larger and brighter than any I’d ever seen in Fort Worth.
Suddenly I realized the stars weren’t stars at all. They were streetlights and porch lights—diamonds shimmering through the forest of majestic trees that blanketed the hillsides of Atlanta. Trees. Hills. Rarities for a girl from Fort Worth. And I thought, “Father, please don’t let my eyes ever stop seeing this magnificence. May this beauty never become commonplace or invisible to me.”
While I’ve always loved the splendor of the tree-covered hills in Georgia, with each return trip to Texas, I began to see a stark beauty in the flat, almost treeless landscape around Fort Worth. An allure I never saw when I lived there. An openness that called to my heart. And in the midst of the simplicity of central Texas, the fictional town of Crescent Bluff, the primary setting for my novels, was born.
In a pivotal scene in The Waiting, Katherine, the heroine, realizes she’s lived most of her life in bondage to an idea she now believes is false. The setting for that scene needed to be different from the rest of the novel. It needed to paint a powerful picture of the freedom she’d found. Yet nothing my mind conceived felt right. So I did what I always do when I hit a roadblock. I closed my laptop and took some time away. 

We headed out on a camping trip to Cloudland Canyon in north Georgia. And there, hiking along the rim of the canyon, I found my setting. I looked twice for a “Setting Reserved for Carol” sign, because this was what I’d been searching for—exactly where Katherine needed to be. I snapped a picture. Texas is a big state; surely I could find a comparable location.
Enter the perfect place—and only a few hours from Crescent Bluff. Cloudland Canyon was about to be transformed into Balcones Canyonlands in the Texas Hill Country.
And although she didn’t yet know it, Katherine was going on a road trip.
Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a two-year-old Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.  An English/education major in college, she has taught students as young as kindergarteners and as old as high school seniors. 

Having always loved good stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing as a ministry––to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction. 

Retired from her "real" job, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. 

And, most days in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

You can follow Carol here:
Instagram: cjames5119

The Waiting-

Katherine Herrington has her life under control—just the way she likes it—until she loses her mother, her boyfriend, and her job. When she was a teenager, she made “The List” and believed God would bring her the husband she desired. But after years of praying and no husband, she’s ready to accept the probability that God’s answer is “No.” That is, until she goes on a blind date with Sam Tucker.

​“You have a question you want to ask me,” Sam whispered.
“Oh, I do? And what would that be?”
“You’re wondering why I haven’t tried to kiss you.”
Ktherine’s face was on fire as she stepped away. There’s no way he could have possibly known her thoughts.
“And you think it might be because I’m not attracted to you.” He entwined his fingers with hers and then raised their clasped hands to draw her back to him. “But you’re wrong.”
“Why haven’t you tried to kiss me then?” Katherine asked. “Every other man I’ve ever dated would have at least tried by now.”
“I’m not every other man.”
He was right about that.

<![CDATA[THE GLORIOUS CASCADE MOUNTAINS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST]]>Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:00:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/the-glorious-cascade-mountains-in-the-pacific-northwestBy Christine Lindsay
​They say, “write what you know,” and I know the majestic mountains that I can see from my front door and back porch.  I live in the northern Canadian Cascade mountains, a range that spans the Canadian and US border.  These stunning peaks are mostly non-volcanic, but it was only a few decades ago that Mount Baker surprised everyone by blowing. While the Cascades are a long range, I live at the base of a mountain near the start of the Skagit River that runs southward through Washington State. 
​I love these mountains. Every day these old friends show me a different face, whether the sun peeks over them, or like today, snow brushes their rugged features. The peak of my mountain is too far back and too high for me to see from my front window. 
However, my all-time favorite aspect of these mountains is the alpine meadows. Not only is this range filled with glaciers, but each summer, after the snows melt and fill the rivers with crystal clear water, the meadows bloom. Each year from early July to August I plan at least one picnic in either the plateau-like uplands in Manning Park (Canada) or the North Cascades National Park (US) to breath in that super clean air that fizzles through your veins like Champagne bubbles.

Here is an excerpt from my Sofi’s Bridge winner of the Readers’ Choice 2017 to give you a taste:

At the summit they reined the Clydesdales under a shady tree. The wind, carrying a clean pine fragrance, blew unimpeded as though they’d reached the top of the world and grasses swayed in the breeze.

Neil walked with Sofi along a pathway strewn on either side with blue and purple lupine, pink phlox, yellow arnica, and red Indian paintbrush. In the distance, pale blue and turquoise ice from glaciers filled crevices between serrated granite heights. Quiet awe filled his face as he swept his gaze three hundred and sixty degrees and studied the glaciers that though they were miles away seemed close enough to touch. Above the tree line, gray peaks scraped the sky, some still capped with snow.

Sofi could only hope that up here for a while he could let go of whatever pain he was hiding from the world, and from her.
These meadows high up in the Cascades make me feel just a little bit closer (physically) to God. The only thing I dislike about these gorgeous meadows is that you can only reach them during the hot summer months of late June to mid-September. The rest of the year the narrow, twisting switchback roads winding up the mountainside are snow bound. 

Like Sofi and Neil in my historical romance Sofi’s Bridge discovered, these mountains can help you draw closer to God. Through their rugged canyons, you can be encouraged that the valleys of grief can eventually lead you out to a broad and bright place, filled with sunshine and glorious color.
Sofi’s Bridge (Winner of Readers’ Choice Award 2017)

Seattle Debutant Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

Gorgeous, short, beautiful music Video trailer for Sofi’s Bridge Click HERE


Irish born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Christine's fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest.  In addition, Christine’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is a must for anyone touched by adoption, and is the true-life story that started her writing in the first place.

You can follow Christine Lindsay at her website:  
Twitter @CLindsayWriter

PURCHASE SITES FOR SOFI’S BRIDGE (winner of Readers’ Choice 2017 for short romantic historical from Romance Writers of America Faith Hope, & Love Chapter)

Pelican Book Group
Barnes and Noble

<![CDATA[Floating Markets in the Sky]]>Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:30:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/floating-markets-in-the-skyBy Raquel Byrnes 
Being a military brat while growing up meant I moved a lot and experienced much of the United States. From dusty desert towns of Texas to lush and rainy islands off Washington state, every trip was sprinkled with wonder at a new kind of landscape. My father was proud of what our country had to offer from sea to shining sea.  I find I draw on those memories as an author when choosing a location for one of my adventures.

For my steampunk novel, however, I found worldbuilding inspiration from outside the borders of America. I wanted to create a sky settlement - a boomtown in the clouds where pirates and pioneers alike work and live on a floating silk road. I didn’t ever come across that kind of location in my travels as a child. In conceiving Outer City, the airship harbor in The Tremblers, I looked to the floating markets of the world-famous Mekong Delta. I wanted to evoke the fluid and frenetic bustle of the constantly moving boats, people, and goods. The smells of bubbling pots and fresh fruit and spices enticed me. It inspired me to think about the kinds of lives these merchants live and how their community interacts with outsiders.

​Outer City is my interpretation of the Mekong Delta market. It is so different from my suburban house with my little yard and corner grocery store. It is not predictable or even constant. The sky harbor is ever changing. Dirigibles and airships with bright netted balloons share space with ballasted shacks selling wares from all over the fractured country a mile below. I picture myself standing on a swinging walkway and looking out at approaching blimps filled with goods from far away.

But isn’t a sense of danger also fun? Every haven for the innocent can be a hideout for instigators. Privateers make Outer City wild and dangerous. Like the markets in Asia, they are not regulated in any way. You never know what you might find for sale or who might float into town to cause trouble. However, one might also find just what’s needed.  I hope to share the wonders of Outer City’s cloud settlement along with all the other beautifully haunting locations in the world of The Tremblers.
The Tremblers

Charlotte Blackburn. Beautiful, intelligent, a gifted tinkerer, she lives in a cloistered world of wealth and privilege beneath the Electric Tesla Dome that shields survivors of The Great Calamity. But she is about to discover that technology is no protection at all when her father is abducted and a strange sickness starts transforming men into vicious monsters.

Ashton Wells has a dire mission. Secure Colonel Blackburn and deliver his research to The Order of the Sword and Scroll. But the plan goes awry and he is left with nothing but the colonel’s daughter who has a target on her back and willing stop at nothing to rescue her father, including handing over the means to stop the monstrous plague to the enemy.
Branded as traitors, Ashton and Charlotte brave the treacherous floatin g sky ports of Outer City to hunt down the elusive inventor, Nikola Tesla, the only one able to activate the strange device that harbors the secret to their salvation.
With the government closing in, a rebellion brewing in the streets, and terrifying Tremblers attacking the innocent, they must work together to stop their fragile world from crumbling once more into destruction.

You can follow 
​Raquel Byrnes here:
         Author, RaquelByrnes  

<![CDATA[The Price of Freedom]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:32:07 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/the-price-of-freedomBy Tanya Stowe
I recently returned from a two-week trip to China. Our tour director knew that for some of us this might be the first and only trip to the country so she packed in every important site she could manage. Our tour was a marathon but so very worthwhile.
We started in Beijing and had four domestic flights as we crisscrossed the country, finally flying out of Shanghai for the U.S. We visited the terra cotta soldiers and the Three Gorges Dam. We even took a four-day cruise up the Yangtze.  I have so much to share! You’ll be reading many future posts about China but for this blog, I wanted to share my overall impressions.

​The people were friendly, kind and welcoming. There is still a bit of novelty surrounding all western visitors. My husband is a photographer so he was always away from the group taking shots. He often found himself the object of many selfies…even when he didn’t know it. He’s six-foot-two and white headed so he tends to stand out. I would often look back to check on him and see a local standing close…with him in the picture…as they snapped a shot of themselves. One smiling older man was disappointed as my husband unknowingly walked away before the man’s wife could click her phone camera. 

I doubt the novelty of western visitors will last much longer. Tourism has become one of China’s main industries. They’re hoping it will help pay for their massive dam project. Judging by the number of visitors we saw, I’m sure it will.
Beijing has a population of almost 22 million people. Shanghai has more people packed into a smaller area. We visited one town and the tour guide said, “We are a small city…only 150 million people.” It’s common knowledge that China has a massive population but to see it working day to day, to watch hundreds and hundreds of people flowing in streams is another thing all together. It’s mind-boggling.
It’s also humbling to watch this massive force of people all marching in one direction with one common goal.

​When the government started their massive dam project it cost them over 2 billion dollars just to move villages away from the low-lying banks of the Yangtze to higher locations. This incredible project was completed in a relatively short span of time. They built modern apartment complexes and allowed villagers to move in with little to no cost.
Some were resistant to leaving since many of the villages were over 500 years old. But their standard of living was vastly improved since many of their ancient homes had no running water or electricity and improved roads meant better health access.
One of the members of our tour commented on what would have happened in the U.S. if a project like this had threatened a 500-year-old site. There would have been protests and government reviews and legislation. The whole process would have been slowed, maybe even stopped. The villagers might never have moved into their new, healthier homes.

​Still…those villagers had no choice…no place to go nor a safe method of protest. Here we have choices. We have ways to voice our disapproval, to protest and maybe make a difference. We are not marching in one common direction nor do we have one common goal. We have many directions and many goals. Sometimes those goals are so diverse, they cancel each other out. That’s the price of freedom.
This massive project controlled deadly flooding, improved the quality of life for millions and provided power for an immense country. It created a new industry. Tourism is changing the world’s perspective of China and its people.
In our country this project might never have happened. That, my friends, is a humbling thought.


Tanya Stowe is an author of Christian Fiction with an unexpected edge.
She fills her stories with the unusual… mysteries and exotic adventures, even a murder or two. No matter where Tanya takes you… on a trip to foreign lands or a suspenseful journey filled with danger… be prepared for the extraordinary.

You can follow Tanya here:


<![CDATA[Cape Town, South Africa]]>Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:27:56 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/cape-town-south-africa​By Susan G Mathis
In the past decade or so, I’ve traveled to more than 40 countries, and I recently made my tenth…yes tenth…trip to South Africa. Why? Because my daughter, son-in-law, and four beautiful granddaughters live there.

I’ve experienced an African safari, the apartheid remnants in Johannesburg, the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, the Cape Vineyards, and the incredible beauty of Cape Town.  I’ve connected with hundreds of South Africans and ex-pats during my visits there and have found that Cape Town is not only an incredibly beautiful city, it is also a very international city.
Because they live in Cape Town, my four granddaughters are “international children” in every sense of the word, and they have an amazing understanding of God’s big world. South Africa is a multi-ethnic society, so the girls have friends from all races, religions, and cultures, and they learn about those cultures on a regular basis. And in today’s global economy and society, that’s a good thing.

When my granddaughters visit us in Colorado, they talk about living in Cape Town, South Africa, and compare cultural differences, even though they are seven and under. They point out “the American flag” every time they see it, and they sing about “seven red stripes and six white stripes and a field of blue with fifty white stars.” But they also speak a little bit of several languages, have tasted all kinds of international cuisine, and can relate to people of many ethnicities.
One of the fun things I experienced during my last South African visit was noticing the influence that the Irish have in Cape Town. Since my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, is about in 1850s Irish immigrant who took the daunting famine-ship ocean voyage with her six young children, I connected with dozens of people who are interested in reading my story. But why would the Irish be at the southernmost tip of Africa?

The Irish immigrated everywhere that the British Empire settled. The Irish came to South Africa as professionals—lawyers, doctors, dentist, retailers, policemen, journalists, and politicians. When the Potato Famine of 1840’s happened, South Africa was one of the countries that welcomed the Irish immigrants. 
I was surprised to learn that, in Cape Town, St. Patrick’s Day is actually a bigger holiday than it is in Colorado, and it’s fun to see my young grand girls learn about the Irish culture. South Africa actually celebrates more holidays than any country in the world, and it has eleven official languages! It’s even called “The Rainbow Nation.”
So even if my grandchildren weren’t the primary draw to this beautiful nation, I always encourage people to visit South Africa. It’s one of the most beautiful, intriguing, diverse, and exciting places I’ve ever been to, hands down!
Susan G Mathis is a versatile writer and author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Susan has two Tyndale nonfiction books, Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness. She is also the author of two published picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure.

​Please visit www.SusanGMathis.com.
BLOG: http://www.susangmathis.com/susans-blog
WEBSITE: www.SusanGMathis.com
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis/
Twitter at https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis
Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut
Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis
Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/108568340293012416399

After struggling to accept the changes forced upon her, Margaret Hawkins and her family take a perilous journey on an 1851 immigrant ship to the New World, bringing with her an Irish family quilt she is making. A hundred and sixty years later, her great granddaughter, Maggie, searches for the family quilt after her ex pawns it. But on their way to creating a family legacy, will these women find peace with the past and embrace hope for the future, or will they be imprisoned by fear and faithlessness?

<![CDATA[Ireland]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 13:00:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/irelandBy Hope Dougherty
From Home Exchange to Daydreams to a Novel

In the summer of 2000, my family took a home exchange to Ireland. We stayed for three weeks in Galway and then moved down to Bandon, County Cork, for three more weeks.

During our six weeks in this beautiful country, we enjoyed many scenes like these pictures.
​And toured many quaint towns from Clifden, north of Galway, down to Timoleague and Courtmacsherry in the south.
We ate brown bread dunked into delicious soups and drank pots of hot tea. We loved our time in Ireland while Irish families stayed in our house. Oh, I’m ready to go back right now!

In May of 2009, I stood near the threshold of the rest of my life. My oldest daughter would graduate high school in less than a month. Two years later, her sister would march right behind her, followed in two years by their twin brothers.
Life as I’d known it for the past eighteen years was about to change.

Throughout my tenure as a stay-with-my-children mom, I’d sporadically written non-fiction pieces for periodicals. I had a portfolio of articles with my byline in print.

With imminent graduations threatening my day job as a domestic engineer, I decided to focus more on my writing. I’d just completed the Life of Moses with Bible Study Fellowship and thought to share wisdom and insight gleaned from thirty two weeks of study.

I wrote What I learned from Moses on the top line of a yellow legal pad. As soon as I wrote this fascinating title, I began daydreaming—about Ireland, not Moses.

In my daydream, a woman in an Irish café, Ellen, scribbled in a journal. A little old man in a tweed vest approached her, introduced himself, and began chatting with her.  I saw the wooden buttons on his vest and the Irish cap he clutched in his hands.  Suddenly another man, Payne, dressed in dusty safari clothes, appeared to the woman’s left, lounging at his table and eavesdropping on their conversation.

This scene interested me infinitely more than what I’d intended with Moses. I turned to a fresh sheet of paper and wrote as quickly as I could everything I saw and heard in the café.

Irish Encounter began that day. I didn’t know it yet, but God did. I hurried back every morning to my desk to see what happened next. Before writing, I’d recite Bible verses from the Moses study:  Exodus 3:12 “And God said, ‘I will be with you’” and Exodus 4:12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” I’d pray for help, and then I’d travel to Galway.

God led me onto this writing journey with much prodding and pulling toward those interesting characters. I’m thankful every day He did.

Which interesting path is God leading you toward today?
Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, as well as nonfiction articles. A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com.

She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons.

Visit her at hopetolerdougherty.com.

Connect with Hope:
Facebook  www.facebook.com/hope.t.dougherty
Twitter Hope Toler Dougherty (@HopeTDougherty) | Twitter 
Pinterest  www.pinterest.com/hopetdougherty/
Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/author/show/13941031.Hope_Dougherty

After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her ife, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she'd buried with her husband.

After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn't ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her--and God again.

Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he's longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?

​You can purchase Irish Encounter here:
http://www.amazon.com/Irish-En counter-Hope-Toler-Dougherty/ dp/0996173420/ref=sr_1_1?s= books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438020699& sr=1-1&keywords=irish+ encounter

<![CDATA[Beijing]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:00:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/beijingBy Karen Whiting
I travelled to Beijing, China and a few provinces nearby Beijing. A Chinese company flew me there with four other Christians who are part of ACCTS (association of Christian counseling and teaching services) that is part of Officers’ Christian Fellowship. We went there on an Imagination Tour to inspire creativity in children and share ideas with educators and parents.
Beijing is one of the largest cities in the world. Skyscraper apartment buildings cover much of the city with small shows on the street level. It’s very busy and yet people smile and seem friendly.

​​I loved getting to meet the people and work with the children. They were excited to speak with Americans and enjoyed the activities we planned for them. I also enjoyed going to a home and learning to make dumplings. It’s great to get to know people from another culture.
​It seemed sad to hear so few birds in the areas of cities where I stayed. They didn’t have enough trees and plants for birds to thrive and are still recovering from a difficult time where the people had little food and hate to eat many of the birds. Outside the cities I saw and heard birds. Beijing’s air was much cleaner than I expected and if they start having plants on the balconies it will be even cleaner.
Beijing appears to have more freedom for Chinese people who want to attend Christian churches. They must limit their home churches to 200 people, but seem to be able to divide and form new ones easily. Southern provinces have less religious freedom.  Many of the Christians I met are first generation Christians and very interested in learning how to raise children to follow God. They would love to have my book 52 Devotions for Busy Families in C=Mandarin.
Also, I spent time in Weifang province, the kite capital of the world and saw many beautiful kites (and bought several.)
​I visited the WW2 internment camp where Japanese imprisoned many missionaries. It is now a museum and a park.  It’s very impressive.
I write nonfiction and did not write a book on this location. Instead, because of my books for children and families, the company Soaring in Beijing wanted me to come and share some of my creative ideas and my puppetry (I have a new puppet book).  They want me to return next year.
You can find Karen's book here: