Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Win a copy of The Magnolia Table and a 25.00 Amazon Gift Card!

You can't get much more Texan then Magnolia! Win your very own hardcover copy of The Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines and find out about four amazing Christian authors!

Monday, May 14, 2018

FREE Trilogy Audible Contest! 10 Winners

I'll be giving away TEN Audible codes for the full Texas Women of Spirit. To enter, go to my facebook post at https://bit.ly/2Gf8DQk and comment with your favorite historical character, real or fictional. Drawing will be held on May 25th.

To see the book on Audible, go here: https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Texas-Women-of-Spirit-Trilogy-Audiobook/B07BL82G5Y?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=9ZJS0BJ14ZDDY5F0447V&

Good luck! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Books that Change Our Lives

As readers, we surround ourselves with new thoughts every time we crack open the pages of a fresh book. Good or bad, the ideas float through the 'windows of our souls' and into our minds, where they merge into our thought process and are either accepted as part of our ideals or rejected as flotsam, scattered to the wind. Even rejected notions can linger, becoming part of our dreams or even nightmares.
Sometimes books can have life-changing, positive impacts on our lives. Here are a few of the books I've never been able to forget, the ones I go back to for inspiration on a regular basis. In my case, the majority are fiction. 

'

Till We Have Faces
  
(Link to Amazon HERE)
At first, this book seems like a simple re-telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. But in classic Lewis fashion, the story is filled with allegorical references and word pictures that have stuck with me since first reading the book. Every time I read it, (every five years or so,) I learn something new. 

A Bargain For Francis
(Amazon link HERE)


My mother first read this to me when I was five, and she used it as a way to teach me about bullying and why it's not okay to manipulate friends. Thelma tries, and succeeds, in tricking Frances to pay her money for a cheap plastic tea set when Francis really wants a china set 'with pictures all in blue.' The way Francis handles her problem is probably not necessarily ideal, but it does teach the nasty Thelma a lifelong lesson. One hopes, anyway. Take away lesson: "Is it better to be careful, or to be friends?"

One Thousand Gifts
(Amazon link HERE)


Ann Voskamp is a vintage soul and a modern-day poet. The way she weaves her words is mesmerizing. The lesson of thankfulness is a hard one to learn in this materialistic society, and even more difficult for those who have walked down the path of sorrow far too many times. Though Voscamp's experience with sorrow began at an early age, she is able to listen to the Holy Spirit as He teaches her to be thankful--for big things and small gifts alike.

Princess Academy
(Amazon link HERE)

It might be geared towards a MG-YA audience, but Shannon Hale's Princess Academy has lessons everyone should learn. Most important: Don't assume what people think because of someone else's perception. I keep copies of this book on hand to give away, the message is so important to me.



Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
(Amazon link HERE)
I had to stop reading this book to my children because no matter how many times I read it, I would break down like a baby and end up sobbing at the end. It just doesn't make for a very cheerful story time. But it's a wonderful story about how a little boy makes friends at an old folk's home next door, and how he helps his very best friend find something she lost. The wonderful illustrations are just icing on the cake. 


Little Women
(Amazon link HERE)
Millions of girls have read and re-read the unforgettable stories of the young March girls and their quest for normalcy in an impovrished family. As the oldest of seven children in a poor family, I can very much relate to their joys and struggles and always dreamed of 'writing myself out of poverty' like Jo March (and the author, Louisa May Alcott). I owe a lot of the inspiration to become an author from this book, and return to re-read it at least once every few years. 


This is just a short list of books I have found inspiring and unforgettable. Do you have any to add? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

                                     



Saturday, March 10, 2018

Announcing . . . The Busy Mom's Guide to Writing AND an Awesome Contest!


So any of you who have followed my blog for 
any length of time know that I not only write about my books and inspiration, but I also write stuff that I hope is helpful to other writers. This journey has been an interesting one to say the least. I've typed a lot, laughed a lot and cried a lot. And had TONS of help from other people along the way. 

Part 2 of this little story involves this amazing writer I met who just happened to end up becoming my real-life neighbor. Not only does Jamie Foley make the most amazing cheese dip I've ever tasted, but she also worked for Harper Collins and Costco as a webmaster and best-selling author Beth Wiseman as a publicist. So we put our crazy, sleep-deprived mom heads together, and came up with this book filled with wonder, words, and hopefully some wisdom that can help any writer, but especially writing moms. 

In this book you will:
Help you plan out your writing goals, time management, and financial budget
- Encourage you to enlist aid from the right people--critique partners, editors, cover designers, and more
- Guide you to making the best decision for you regarding independent and traditional publishing
- Give you questions to ask yourself at the end of each chapter to help you move closer to your writing dreams
- Steer you away from mistakes we’ve made

The book will be released March 30th, but you can pre-order it right now for the special price of 99 cents! 

Aaaaand if that wasn't enough, we have an AWESOME rafflecopter contest where you can enter to win a 25.00 Amazon gift card and two AMAZING craft books. And anyone who enters the contest will get a FREE download, "Fifty Websites Every Author Should Know," a list of the very best author-related websites Jamie and I have found over the years. Enter the Rafflecopter and get your download here: 




Good luck! And happy writing!




Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stepping Into the River Girl's World

I've always heard you should write what you know, and I've possibly taken that advice to heart a bit too much since five of my books are based on my hometown of Bastrop, Texas, including my contemporary series, Miss Main Street. (The town in the book is called Wimber, but it's Bastrop, through and through).

Bastrop is a lovely little town, and I've lived here most of my life. We have the Old Iron Bridge, which has been a part of the town in some form or fashion since 1923, but the current one was built to replace an 1890's version. We have a gorgeous river walk, lit now with electric lamps to replace the old-fashioned lanterns that must have bobbed down the trail during fishing expeditions in earlier days.

Photo courtesy of Cherie Haines
In River Girl's Song, I've included references to many buildings in historic Bastrop, including the First National Bank and The First United Methodist Church, which was actually established in Bastrop, TX in 1851. The bell in the church tower was once a bell for the Water Moccasin steamboat that ran along the river in the early 1800's. 

It was so much fun finding little connections like these in my research, even though I didn't get to include them all in my books. History is fascinating to me. 

So while I had the town to study (since I live here), I also wanted to get a feel for how Zillia must have lived. What tools would she have used? What would her house have been like? For this research I paid a visit to Jourdan-Bauchman Pioneer Farms in Round Rock Texas, which is settled along Walnut Creek. 

Pioneer Farm features a working farm environment, complete with animals and several sites created with homes from different periods in history. There's a 1886 Cotton Planter's farm, which would more reflect the affluent life Zillia came from before her pa passed away. 

Then there's an 1873 Texian farm, which would be more like where Zillia lived with her ma when they moved to Texas. 

Vistors are allowed to tour the buildings and see objects used in everyday pioneer life. It really gives a sense of actually going back in time. And it also helped me add in details I might have missed. 
  

The farm also hosts an authentic dry goods store, which was handy for me since I reference them several times in the Texas Women of Spirit series.


All in all, the visit was a wonderful experience, and if you're in the Round Rock area I heartily recommend you visit. For more information, check out https://www.pioneerfarms.org/planyourvisit/. 

To see my books on Amazon.com, go to https://www.amazon.com/Angela-Castillo/e/B00CJUELT0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1518127938&sr=8-3



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Cover and Cover reveal!

So if you have read my latest women's contemporary novella, you might remember the title being Tangled in Time, and you might remember the cover looking something like this:

It was a gorgeous cover, designed, as always, by my wonderful cover designer Elaina Lee from For the Muse Designs. But after a few months, I realized the title and cover were misleading folks into thinking the book was, amazingly enough, a time traveling story. 
So I had to go back to the drawing board. After a month of agonizing and searching for just the right title and picture, I decided to call the book Secondhand Secrets instead, and the long-suffering Elaina Lee created me a brand-new cover to match. 


I believe this cover fits the modern-day boutique-queen moves back to small-town feel I was looking for. 
Which one do you like the best?

Aaaaaand while I had Elaina working on this cover, I thought why not get the second book's cover finished? Therefore, I am please to reveal the cover for Blessed Arrangements, Miss Main Street book 2!!!



Lila's flower shop and wedding business keep her plenty busy. Add in a handsome firefighter and crazy hits the fan. 
When Lila's sister and nephew move back in and a terrible disaster threatens her tiny Texas town, Lila realizes she might not be able to fix everything on her own. Will God send the miracle she needs to get out of this mess?

Blessed Arrangements is up for pre-order for a limited, special price! Find it at Angela's author page at Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2cLNsXp