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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Ruth Axtell Morren and


RUTH AXTELL MORREN has published 12 romances with Steeple Hill/Love Inspired Books. Her 13th, a Love Inspired Historical, Hometown Cinderella will be out February 2012. She will have a single title regency out in March 2013 for Revell Books, and another Downeast Maine-set historical tentatively titled Her Good Name with Moody Books. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, Polish, Czech and Afrikaans. She was a Golden Heart finalist in 1994. Her second published book, Wild Rose, was a Booklist “Top Ten Christian Fiction” selection in 2005. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and RWA (Romance Writers of America). Ruth studied comparative literature at Smith College, and has lived in both Europe and the U.S. Shortly after college, she committed her life to Christ. Fourteen years later, she committed her writing to Him. Currently, Ruth lives in Maine with her three children and two cats.

by Ruth Axtell Morren
Published by Love Inspired Historical


I didn’t realize I had written a fairytale of my own until the editorial & marketing team at Love Inspired discovered it for me.

Small Town, Big Dreams

After years of traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Hoffman wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Readers, buy your copy of HOMETOWN CINDERELLA today!


Finding—and Keeping—Your Voice

Stick around fiction writing any length of time and you are sure to hear about author’s “voice.” No one knows precisely how to define it, but we all know it when we hear it.

It’s what draws us to our favorite authors, whose books become keepers. It’s the distinct quality of that author’s writing that is hard to define but is clear as a clarion when reading his/her novels.

I’ve just discovered a new writer, Melanie Dickerson. She has two young adult fiction books out now with Zondervan Publishing. They are both retellings of fairytales. What an irresistible combination, right? The first, The Healer’s Apprentice is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, and the one I just finished reading, The Merchant’s Daughter, on Beauty and the Beast. One of the things I like about them is that she takes liberties with the original tales so they are quite original. She also weaves the Scriptures very adroitly through the medieval stories. But what I love most about her stories is her voice. They are most distinctly Melanie Dickerson stories. I could probably identify them if I didn’t have the author’s name on the cover.

Well, for a while there, I had thought I had lost my voice—or at least compromised it to a large extent by trying to fit a publishing house’s guidelines and styles. Then, when a manuscript was turned down, I decided (on faith) to continuing writing it with no invisible editor hovering over my shoulder. I would just write the story I believed the Lord had given me and worry about whether it “worked” or not afterwards when it came time to edit and revise. It was a very liberating and at the same time scary experience, since I hadn’t done this kind of writing without a safety net since my pre-published days. But just this month, I not only sold this story to a new publisher, but I finished the first draft, and ta-da!, read it over and am really pleased with how it turned out. As I said at the outset, I feel as if I’ve rediscovered my voice. We tend to write what we like to read, and I feel I’m back to the kind of stories I best like to read: lots of interplay and emotional conflict between the hero & heroine, but also lots of spiritual growth in them as the story progresses.

I told my daughter when I finished the manuscript, “This is why writers write. To reach this adrenalin high when one has done it—finished the book, a euphoria that will pass when I buckle down to revise and polish. But for the moment, what a feeling!

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Thank you, Ruth, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: If you are a writer or love to write, do you feel you have discovered your voice in writing? When did you realize it? If you are a reader, have you ever loved a certain author's voice only to discover they change it with a new novel? How did you feel? Would you prefer an author maintain the same voice throughout books, or does it matter to you? Why or why not?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered. And if you don’t like to read teen science fiction, maybe there is a teen in your life who’d like the book.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Welcome Jill Williamson and Replication


JILL WILLIAMSON  is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. Growing up in Alaska led to a love of books, and in 2010 her first novel, By Darkness Hid, won the Christy Award. She loves working with teenagers and gives writing workshops at libraries, schools, camps, and churches. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Visit her at, where adventure comes to life.

REPLICATION, the Jason Experiment
by Jill Williamson
Published by Zonderkidz


Abby Goyer is forced to move to rural Alaska when her father unexpectedly takes a job in a remote laboratory called Jason Farms. Suspicious of her father’s decisions, she investigates and finds more than what she was looking for when a strange boy shows up at her door. Martyr, one of fifty-five identical clones, escaped from the underground lab at the farm with one wish: to see the sky before he fulfills his purpose and “expires” on his eighteenth birthday. Abby tries to help Martyr see that God has a purpose for his life, one that is different from the one the scientists originally planned for him.

Readers, buy your copy of REPLICATION, the Jason Experiment today!


Getting to Know Your Readers
One of my favorite things to do is talk with my readers. I love speaking to teens because it gives me the perfect opportunity to meet my target audience. I have so much fun getting to know students after my presentation, taking pictures with them and asking them what they’re reading now, what their favorite books are, or what the story they are writing is about.

I also enjoy connecting with readers online or via snail mail, though that has a very different feel to it. I’ve had some great conversations through email, cried over letters from readers, and had many laughs on Facebook with people who know me through my books. Even though it’s time consuming, I respond to every message I receive.

My husband is a youth pastor, so this is another way that I get to hang out with my target audience every week. And I know most of these teens really well.

And I’m blessed to have a couple teenage critique partners.

I’ve found that success with my readers is all about building a relationship with them. That might start with my novel or it might start with a kind word in an unlikely place. I met a teenager once at the park when I took my kids swimming. This girl was there as a babysitter. While we watched our kids, I asked her what she was reading and we got to talking about books. Eventually it came out that I was a writer, and she was excited about meeting me.

The key is to start conversations with people, and for those conversations to be successful, you want to ask the other person about her life. If an opportunity arises to mention your book, go for it. If not, trust that loving on someone is all that’s necessary that day. It’s the Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, mindset. And it works. That shouldn’t be a surprise, though. After all, Jesus said it best: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If what we all want, deep down, is to be asked about what we are struggling with, how we are really doing, and what we do for a living, then, according to Jesus, those are the questions we need to be asking others.

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Thank you, Jill, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: How do you connect with your readers? Do you speak? Are you more of an online communicator? Or do you meet your readers elsewhere? As a reader, what do you like to see from authors whose books you read? If you were to get to know them, what would be your preferred method or sequence from introduction to relationship?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered. And if you don’t like to read teen science fiction, maybe there is a teen in your life who’d like the book.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome Vickie McDonough and Long Trail Home


VICKIE MCDONOUGH is an award-winning author of 25 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Publishers, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost/Summerside, Pioneer Promises, set in 1870s Kansas.

You can find out more about Vickie and her books at

by Vickie McDonough
Published by Moody Publishers


A weary soldier returns from the War Between the States to discover his parents dead, his family farm in shambles, and his fiancée married. Riley Morgan takes a job at the Wilcox School for Blind Children and tries to make peace with God and himself. When a pretty, blind woman who cares for the children reaches through his scarred walls and touches his heart, he begins to find renewed faith and hope for the future. But when he discovers Annie feigned her blindness just to have a home, will his anger and hurt drive him away and ruin all chances for a future filled with love, faith, and family?

Readers, buy your copy of LONG TRAIL HOME today!


Critique Groups – Life or Death to a Writer

I can say without a doubt that I’m published today because of the help I’ve received from my critique group partners. They’ve encouraged me when I wanted to give up on writing. They taught me to show, not tell. I learned point of view from them, and they’ve become my friends. Most of my experience with critique groups has been positive, but that hasn’t always been the case.

I nearly quit writing because of the harsh comments I received in my first critique group, when I was a brand new writer and green as a pickle. The critiques from one member made my manuscript pages look like bloody road kill. I cried many tears over her harsh comments on my many mistakes and lost confidence in my ability to write. Looking back, she was probably right in her assessment, but at the time, I wasn’t ready for such in-depth critiques.

As a more experienced writer now, I crave those detailed assessments. Tell me what’s not working in my story. Did a section leave you scratching your head in confusion? Does the dialogue of the children in my story sound like real children or is it too mature? Is my bad boy hero too unlikable? I want to know what works and what doesn’t.

You may not be at the stage where you want such detailed critiques. Maybe you only want help with grammar issues, or maybe you want help with your dialogue or someone to help you brainstorm a new story. The important thing is to find a critique group that fits your needs.

So, how do you find one? Most online and local writers’ clubs have critique groups you can join. I also did a Google search and discovered there were eighty-two pages of critique group listings! Wow! There are ones for any genre: non-fiction, short stories, all types of fiction, and even children’s books.

There are critique groups that submit weekly, others twice a month, and some monthly. Some groups submit a chapter at a time, while others have a page limit. Some groups are a mixture of writers of different genres, while others are genre-specific.

So why do you need a critique group? Besides the fact that you are networking with other writers, you will learn a lot, especially if you’re a newer writer. Often the more experienced writer just needs another set of eyes to look at her story before it’s shipped off to an editor. A critique group is also a good place to ask questions and to brainstorm.

Some of the key things you want critiquers to look for in your manuscript are:

    • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors – Be sure to submit your best work, not your rough draft. Critiquers will tire out quickly if you use them as a spellchecker.
    • Continuity issues – Does your heroine have green eyes in the beginning of the story and blue eyes at the end? Did you accidentally change your hero’s name? Does your widow heroine have two children at the beginning of the book and one at the end?
    • Overused words – just, really, that, etc.
    • Point of view problems
    • Author intrusion
    • Too many –ly words instead of strong verbs
    • Telling instead of showing
    • Too many dialogue tags – he replied, she murmured
    • Inconsistencies in storyline or character’s behavior
    • Clichés
    • Stereotyped characters
Of course there are plenty other things to watch for, but these are the main issues. The most important thing to do is to point out the positive along with all that needs fixing. I like to put happy faces or LOL at places that make me smile or somewhere that the writing is especially nice, but remember, it’s called a critique group for a reason. It’s not to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but rather to give you beneficial advice on how to improve your story.

You’re sure to find the right critique group if you get out there and hunt for it. You might kiss a few frogs before finding a group that’s a good fit, but it’s well worth the time and effort. You’re writing will improve greatly under the tutelage of a few good critiquers.

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Thank you, Vickie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Have you ever been a part of a critique group? More than one? Were they helpful or not? Why? If you're not a writer, have you ever been part of a group supposed to help you in some way toward a specific goal? Was it successful? How so?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of your choice of ANY book on Vickie's web site. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Welcome Eddie Snipes and I Called Him Dancer


EDDIE SNIPES balances writing between a full-time job, five children, and participating in professional organizations. In 2011, he began serving as the President of the Christian Authors Guild. He has been actively writing since 1998. Eddie contributes to / Sermon Search, is a speaker, and has served as a Pastor and interim pastor. He actively participates in three writing organizations - The Christian Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Atlanta Writers Club, and has won several writing awards. Eddie's favorite genres are not limited to Christian fiction - anything but sappy romance and trashy writing. He reads a little of every genre - as long as he can get it on his Kindle. Connect with Eddie on his website:


I CALLED HIM DANCER is about a boy growing up in a broken home. His fragile world is shattered when his mother leaves him with a relative and walks out of his life. After seeing a man dancing with grace and acrobatics, he decides to imitate the man and discovers a natural talent for dance. His life's passion becomes dance and eventually the young man achieves his dream of Broadway. A drug addiction and his inner demons destroy his life and he eventually becomes homeless. His previous dance partner refuses to let go and reaches out to him, but he rejects her. Bitter at God and the world, the dancer embraces a solitary life on the streets. Though he lashes out at God, the Lord has other plans for the fallen dancer.

I Called Him Dancer has a 5 star average after 26 reviews. It's available in print, but the ebook version is only .99 cents and is available here.

Simple Faith: How every person can experience intimacy with God is also available in print or as a free ebook. Download it here.

Each of us struggle with the tendency to put the weight of faith upon our own shoulders. Christianity can become a fear of failure, and then we miss the joyful journey. According to scripture, the goodness of God leads us to repentance. We follow God's ways because we see the goodness of fellowship, not from fear of punishment. Instead of feeling like God watches from behind and strikes when we drift off course, the journey becomes about intimacy. It's two friends walking the road of life, enjoying sweet fellowship, and being helped - not scolded - through difficult times. The sweetness of intimacy is how the Christian life should be lived. Misunderstanding this makes faith a difficult road. Instead of faith being our strength, it adds a burden. I hope this book helps others realize this truth.


Enjoy The Writer’s Journey

If you write it, they will come. It’s the ideology of most new writers. Deep down we all have this unrealistic hope. We’ve put the time, effort, and our heart into a manuscript and believe it’s something of value. The truth is that Stephen King can throw out a poorly written novel and it will be a best seller, but the unknown author can produce a masterpiece and no one notices. You can substitute King with any other big named author and the same rule applies.

The life of writing is filled with frustration and reward. Unfortunately, the reward isn’t usually in your pocketbook. I want to talk a little bit about the journey of writing and get a better view on our expectations and where we should focus our attention.

We’ve all heard it said that life’s a journey. Some people enjoy the journey, others are miserable, while others live such crowded lives that they get to the end and realized they missed the journey. As writers, we have the same tendency. The goal becomes a rush to get published and so much focus is put on landing the contract or winning over an agent that we forget to stop and look around the world of writing we live in. The truth is, we are on a life-long journey and there is much to experience along the way.

I once sat at a dinner table with an agent during a writer’s conference. It became impossible to have a real conversation because everyone looked at him as if he were an end to their means. For some, the agent was their hope. Every time he tried to make small talk, someone would say, “Let me tell you about my book,” and then would begin with their prepared elevator-pitch. One person reached across the agent’s plate of food and offered their manuscript. Later he told me that writers put a lot of pressure on him during the one-on-one meetings. He explained how it bothered him that writers often showed desperation and made him feel that all their dreams of publication rested on his shoulders. “Being the outlet of a writer’s desperation makes me reluctant to get involved,” he said.

Herein is the problem. Desperation. Why do we write? For the money? Very few authors make enough money to live on, much less enough to by a mansion next to Stephen King. If it’s fame, chock up another one in the disappointment category. How many authors can you name? Once in a while a book will come out, like the Purpose Driven Life, which launches the author into the public eye. But for every mega success, there are hundreds of thousands that are well written but remain unknown beyond the niche audience that reads it.

Christian authors will be quick to say that their goal is to glorify God. The truth is, God glorifies Himself and brings us into His work. So why the desperation and frustration? If it’s the work of God, we shouldn’t be carrying the burden of making the way. Let me share a word from the scripture. Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Writers have the calling to write. But what’s not always obvious is the call to call to a journey. If God has called you, then you are His workmanship. And the path of good works was prepared beforehand that we should walk on it. Where the path leads, I don’t know. And you don’t know. One thing we do know is that we are called to walk on the path God has already prepared. Walk. Not Run.

When we rush to the end of the path, we pass the treasures God has also prepared that we should find and enjoy. The life of good works is a journey, not a task. Whether the work is writing or another mission, we must stop and consider the journey. It’s a journey of first learning to walk in intimacy with the Lord. The Lord walks with us, but He doesn’t run after us. He’s prepared the way and calls us to walk where He’s going-not to answer our call for Him to come where we’re running.

Most of us pray something like, “Lord, I’m writing this book for you. I need it in the hands of readers, so I need interviews and a big publisher. Here’s my big plan. Bless it.” Then we’re off to make it happen. When one door shuts, we rush to the next. We become frustrated and wonder why God isn’t responding. That’s when we crawl over a table, shove a manuscript into someone’s face and say, “This is God’s work!” Is it God’s work? Maybe, but it’s been mixed with ours. The door God wants to open is somewhere behind us, or somewhere down a path we can’t see because we are following our plans.

God promises to open the door that can’t be shut. Also, if God shuts it, you can’t open it. The book contract isn’t your reward. It’s God who told Abraham, “I am your exceedingly great reward.” Is God your reward?

If God inspires your writing, trust Him to take you down the road He’s already prepared. The journey is long. Publication is only one event in the journey. Don’t allow a goal to distract you from the journey. The purpose of life isn’t getting a book into print, but walking in the works God prepared beforehand. The purpose is a journey centered on walking with Christ.

Enjoy the journey and the people God brings into your life along the way. Enjoy learning and experiencing the world of writing. Connect and enjoy fellowship with likeminded Christian writers. Enjoy the journey with Christ. Go where He’s going, be patient, and trust Him. Make it your goal to look back on your life and appreciate every step of the journey.

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Thank you, Eddie, for sharing with us today. No giveaway this week, so simply enjoy the post and be inspired.

Everyone in the U.S., have a blessed Thanksgiving this week. For everyone else, may God richly bless your week as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CFBA Presents S. Dionne Moore and Promise Brides

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promise Brides
Barbour Books (November 1, 2011)
S. Dionne Moore


S. Dionne Moore resides in South Central PA with her family. She is a weekly contributor to The Borrowed Book where she posts tips on the writing life, recipes, and teaches on various writing-related subjects. In addition to writing cozy mysteries, she pens historical romances that bring strong focus to locales within her region of Pennsylvania as a way of indulging her passion for history. In Fall of 2011 her first of three romances set in Wyoming, A Sheepherder's Song, will release.


Love is the same, no matter when, no matter where—it never comes without sacrifice. Theodore risks capture for Ellie, but will their hope for a future together be defeated? Can Marylu trust Chester, or is she asking for another broken heart? Will Alaina and Jack find common ground, or will flood waters destroy any possible future? Enjoy three romances from the historic state of Pennsylvania.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promise Brides, go HERE.


When I first met Sandra, we were both involved in the local ACFW chapter zone of the Mid-Atlantic states. Or, we might have first met at an ACFW conference. I'm not sure. Wherever it was, it didn't take long for us to form a fast friendship, full of laughter, fun stories, and camaraderie you don't find unless you share it with other writers. Our shared passion for history is another tying link. Since my first series was set in historical Delaware, a neighbor to Pennsylvania (and once 3 colonies belonging to that state), I knew I had to get this book.

And Sandra Moore does an amazing job with the historical detail of all 3 books in this collection. I was swept away by the Johnstown Flood story of Alaina and Jack, intrigued by the escape from slavery story of Marylu and Chester, and tugged into the north/south struggle of the war story of Ellie and Theodore. Each one brought unique facets of the history of Pennsylvania to light, and I read the book in 3 short sittings.

The characters all came to life and brought their unique backstory to the pages. If you're looking for some easy reading with some sweet, yet dedicated, love stories, plus a fun history lesson without feeling like you're in school, check out this book. You won't regret it.

*** I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for this review. No compensation was given or received.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welcome Pamela S. Thibodeaux and The Visionary


PAMELA S. THIBODEAUX is an award-winning author, and the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address:
Bayou Writers Group:

by Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Published by Five Star


A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society.  Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?  Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the awesome power of God's love heals the most wounded of souls.

Readers, buy your copy of THE VISIONARY today!


It's All About Balance

As someone who has juggled life and writing for nearly thirty years, I've come to realize success is more than wearing numerous hats or multi-tasking like a professional. This is especially true for an author. Most writers have full-time jobs, home, family, church obligations...and the list goes on.

Success is about being in balance—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and leaving out any one of those areas can disrupt the greatest juggling act.

So how does one stay in balance?

If you figure that out let me know, I am continually out of sync LOL! However, here are a few ideas I've incorporated in my quest to maintain balance in my life.

Spiritual: Prayer/Meditation—I can't stress enough the importance of quieting your mind so that your inner voice/muse can speak to you. Many folks panic at the thought of mediation, but this can be as simple as a 5-10 minute break in which you sit quietly, take deep breaths, still those tumultuous thoughts, and listen to the spirit within.

Physical: Exercise—In addition to eating right & getting adequate rest, exercise is imperative for physical, mental & emotional health. Yeah, I know, you barely have time to do everything on your list, can't figure where to squeeze this in. Statistics show frequent 10 minute walks are as beneficial over the long haul as 3--30 min workouts 3x a week. This is where a treadmill, elliptical, stair master, stationary bike, or simple aerobic step comes in handy. You're going to get out of your chair anyway, why not take an extra minute or two and do 100 steps/pedals?

Mental: Take a moment or two before you begin your writing for the day and visualize your finished project—true, you may be just beginning but imagine holding that book in your hands! Adding prayer & positive affirmations super charges your visualization. Again, this doesn't have to take a long time - a minute or two - you can even combine this with exercise as long as you are careful and/or your prayer/meditation time.

Emotional: There are times when we are just plain stressed out—nothing flows, nothing is finished, you work all the time and accomplish zip. Now is the time to sit down and work through the emotional issues brought on by (or adding to) the circumstances in your life. Journaling is one of the best ways to do this. Hey, you're a writer right? Why not use this time proven method to untangle your emotions and get focused. Again, this can be combined with the Mental and/or Spiritual practices.

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Note: This post is part of a month-long virtual book tour where 4 autographed copies of The Visionary will be given away. Follow the entire tour (list of stops on my blog and leave a comment on each one because the more times your name goes in the hat, the more chances you have to win!

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Thank you, Pamela, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What steps do you take to maintain balance in your life?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Blog Tour - Tamera Alexander and A Lasting Impression

Enter to win one of Tamera's fabulous prizes and RSVP for Facebook Party on 11/15!

Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from Tamera Alexander!

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A fake. A forger. More than anything, Claire Laurent longs for the chance to live an authentic life, to become the woman she wants to be. And she'll be given that choice. But will it come at too costly a price?

Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville only a year after the War Between the States has ended, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe. She considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But after he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged the man. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville's society, Claire believes her dream to create a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her fraudulent past remains hidden.

The Federal Army has destroyed Sutton's home and confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him and to right a grievous wrong reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.


Tamera Alexander is a best-selling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in Nashville Tennessee, along with their two adult children who live near by. And don't forget Jack, their precious--and precocious--silky terrier.

For more information please visit A Lasting Impression, are traveling across the country virtually (with a few international stops as well!), she will be hosting a Kindle Fire Giveaway (11/4 - 11/15) and preparing for a lavish Southern-Style Facebook Party (11/15) (dripping with hospitality, of course). She will be giving away Southern Food Baskets, books, and an array of other fabulous freebies! Don't miss a minute of the fun. Swoon!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Kindle Fire (shipped as soon as it releases)
  • A copy of A Lasting Impression and 3 other special books Tamera wants you to have (for Kindle)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on November 15th. Winner will be announced at A Lasting Impression Facebook Party on the 15th. Tamera will be wrapping up the A Lasting Impression celebration with an author chat and giving away Southern Food Baskets (Loveless Cafe Food Baskets, books, Amazon & Starbucks gift certificates, and copies of Christy Jordan's Southern Plate cookbook), six gift certificates to Starbucks and, and copies of A Lasting Impression! So grab your copy of A Lasting Impression (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might win one!) and join Tamera on the evening of November 15th for an author chat, a trivia contest (How much do you know about the 1860's?) and lots of Southern-inspired giveaways (complete listing here).

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 15th!

The rest of the blog tour:
Blog Tour Schedule: (please include this link in your post:


Lena at A Christian Writer's World

Mocha with Linda

Holly at 2 Kids and Tired Books

Alena at Little Bit Of Wonderful

Jami's Reviews

Tara at Ramblings of the Blonde Mother Bear

Patricia at It's Time To Read Mamaw


Jenny at Book Reviews By Jenny

Diana at hanging by a thread

Debra at Footprints in the Butter

Pam at Southern Gal Loves to Read

Maggie at Tethered Mommy

Renee at Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot


Margaret at Creative Madness Mama

Kari at Alas 3 Lads

Reviews By Jane

April’s Lifestyle Show

Mindy at A Room without Books is Empty

Mary Ann at A Mom With A Blog


Trish at In So Many Words

Faith Hope & Cherrytea

Misha at On my Bookshelf

Diane at That's What I'm Here For

Kim at Window To My World

Amber at Snidbits

Crystal at My Reading Room

Tiffany Amber Stockton


Books, Bina

Laurie's School Days

Michele at My Blessings From Above

Caroline at Happy Four

Stacie at Hobbit Door

Krista at Welcome to Married Life

Elizabeth at Count It All Joy

Casey at Writing for Christ

Annette at Net's Book Notes


Christy at Southern Sassy Things

Mandie at Taking Time for Mommy - Online Magazine for Moms

Celena at The Traveling Sisterhood

Theresa at Frugal Experiments

Christen at mom, writer, crafter, coffee drinker

Whitney at Rambles of a SAHM

Debora at A Book and a Cupcake

Kristen at Read Great Fiction

Katie at Legacy of a Writer l

Melissa at Bibliophile's Retreat

Lauri at Knits, Reads and Reviews

Brooke at I blog 4 books

Paula at Grace Reign


Kendra at Happily Managing a Household of Boys

Andi at Radiant Light

Jasmyn's Reviews

Jendi's Journal

Jettie’s Ramblings

Stephanie at A Cooking Bookworm


Vera at Luxury Reading

Linda's Lunacy

Amy at My Friend Amy

Becky at Christian Chick's Thoughts

Angela at All Grown Up?

Sheila at Showcase Sisters

Suzanne at Clicking Her Heels

Melanie at So Many Books.. So Little Time

Kim at Teaberry Cottage

Sara at Shoopette's Book Reviews

Kathy at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi


Kelli at The Zen of Motherhood

Renee at Doorkeeper

Betsy Ann - Writer at Large

Jen at Happy Little Homemaker

Lauren at 5 Minutes for Books

Michelle at Healing Hearts

Megan at The joys of life

Laurel at Let's Go on a Picnic!


Megan at Inspired by Fiction

Charity at Austenitis

Jennifer at Adventures in Unsell Land

Michelle at Life in Review

Savanah at Ridiculous Reviews

Preslaysa at The Literary Mama

Patty at Broken Teepee

Whitney at Rambles of A Stay at Home Mom

Friday, November 04, 2011

Welcome Rhonda Gibson and A Biltmore Christmas


RHONDA GIBSON is an award winning author who loves being a wife, mother and Mimi. She has held many types of jobs in her life starting with hoeing cotton as a young girl and her last position, outside of writing, was Preschool Teacher. Rhonda is blessed to be able to write full time. Before Rhonda was an author she was a reader. Thanks to her mother’s love of reading, Rhonda started reading at an early age. She believes that that love of reading lead to her desire to write. To learn more about Rhonda, you can visit Rhonda at where she enjoys chatting with readers and friends online. Rhonda hopes her writing will entertain, encourage and bring others closer to God.

by Rhonda Gibson, et. al.
Published by Barbour


The four orphaned Bradford sisters find employment and romance at the Biltmore Estate at Christmastime.

In A HONEY OF A CHRISTMAS by Rhonda Gibson, Peggy Bradford loves being an assistant cook at the Biltmore Estates. She enjoys being close to her sisters and has become what she thinks is an old maid. Will the arrival of beekeeper, Mark Ludman, prepare Peggy for a honey of a romance? And take away her old maid status for good. Or will she feel the sting of a lost love due to her allergic reactions to bee stings?

Christmas is a time for love to glow at the Biltmore Estate.

Readers, buy your copy of A BILTMORE CHRISTMAS today!


Writing Time

I get asked all the time, how much time do I invest in writing? For me the answer isn’t simple. I know there are people who have a “regular” writing time. I’m not one of them. I write at various times throughout the day depending on my day.

Let me explain. I have a family that keeps me hopping. They always want or need something and most of the time whatever it is they want or need can’t wait. I’m one of those people who usually drops everything and does what her family wants. So that makes it hard to keep a focused schedule. That doesn’t however stop me from trying.

So on the days when life is “normal.” I get up; take care of James, do my Bible study, and household things in the mornings. Then I write in the afternoon and some in the evenings. On the days when life isn’t normal, I write whenever I can but I make sure that I write something every day. That is the key to establishing writing time. No matter what happens during your day to interfere with writing take a few minutes and make time to write. You don’t have to write a whole chapter or even a whole page but you do need to write at least a sentence.

How much time do I invest in writing? The answer is: I try to write at least one hour a day. Normally, I write up to four hours a day. Most of the time that is 2 hours in the morning, one in the afternoon and one more in the evening. When I’m on deadline, it’s more. When I’m not, it can be as little as one hour a day.

If you are a writer and this question was important to you, remember: How much time and how much you get written isn’t what’s important, what is important is that you write.

* * * * *

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: So what eats up your time and keeps you from writing? If you aren’t a writer, what eats up your time and keeps you from doing what you feel you should be doing?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

The contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

CFBA Presents Tamera Alexander and A Lasting Impression

I'm pleased to feature a good friend and mentor today on my blog, courtesy of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Tammy and I met back in 2002 working the bookstore tables for the national ACFW conference in Kansas City (then ACRW). We still call each other "book table buddies" and share many fond memories of those times. :) She has since gone on to win the Christy and the RITA awards for her outstanding novels. Me? I'm still trying to balance writing with 2 little ones at home and breaking into trade-length. We'll see how it all goes. Without further ado, here's the feature on Tammy.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Lasting Impression
Bethany House (November 1, 2011)
Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart) continue her signature style of deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose which has earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 2010 and 2007 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2010 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2010 HOLT Medallion, the 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, the 2007 National Reader's Choice Award and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

Tamera's newest novel A Lasting Impression is the first of a brand new three-book Southern historical series, and the first two chapters are available for review. She's at work on her ninth novel which will release in fall 2012.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, along with Tamera's father, Doug, and with their two adult children who live near by. And don't forget Jack, their precious--and precocious--silky terrier.


To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire's path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she's sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville's elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.

All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville's historical Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Lasting Impression, go HERE.


From the first book she released, and even before she was published, I have loved Tamera Alexander. She made a "lasting impression" on me back in 2002 with her passion for history and her winsome personality. Even when she wasn't sure what would happen of this crazy pursuit, she possessed a charm about her that only shines in each book she writes.

This latest is no different. And in my opinion, it's her best book yet. The rich detail of Nashville's Belmont Mansion, the accurate portrayal of a war-torn South, and the engaging characters reflecting the emotional upheaval following such a destructive war -- all of it is smoothly blended into a compelling story of a daughter running from certain fate and her family, and a son determined to avenge his father's death. Their worlds collide, and with every experience or interaction, you feel you are right there with Claire and Sutton.

Painstaking research and close character study bring this novel to great heights and take you on an exhilarating journey you won't soon forget. The only down side is having to wait for book 2!

Thanks, Tammy!


I'll also be sending a FREE copy of this book in a random drawing from the comments answering this question:

When have you felt wronged in some way, pursued restitution or resolution for it, then learned another lesson along the way? If the incident is too personal, share the lesson you learned.

The contest is open to anyone in the US/Canada.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

New Releases in Christian Fiction - November 2011

Lots of good reading abounds for November with these selections from ACFW authors. Think Christmas shopping perhaps?

More in-depth descriptions of these books along with their covers and other books by these authors (plus many more) can be found on the ACFW FictionFinder website.

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander -- Historical Romance from Bethany House; To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greatest weakness. All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Bound by Grace by Amber Stockton -- Historical Romance from Barbour. When Charlotte Pringle’s father disrupts her idyllic relationship with Richard Baxton by announcing he’s been working on a marriage arrangement to secure her future, Richard despairs over the loss of the woman he’s come to love, until his niece persuades him to fight.

Fatal Reality by Jonathan Wakefield -- A Thriller/Suspense from OakTara -- In this race only the winner will be allowed to live.

Gateway Weddings; Romancing America by Myra Johnson -- A Romance from Barbour. Three Missouri women enter the gateway to life, love, and longing.

Hope and a Future by Betty Arrigotti -- Romance from OakTara; Will Marjorie Gloriam overcome her fear and trust God to be a Friend with plans to give her Hope and a Future?

I Can Do Better All By Myself by E. N. Joy, --Biblical Fiction from Urban Fiction (Kensington). The singles ministry at New Day Temple of Faith is beginning to unravel, and the pastor is considering dissolving the ministry. Some members believe the only way to hold it together is by getting their pastor to join. And why shouldn't their leader show support by joining, considering the pastor's own single status?

Katie’s Way by Marta Perry -- Romance from Praise (Penguin). A quilt shop brings Amish and Englisch together, and trouble follows...

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble -- Romance from Thomas Nelson. Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen and never found. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

Mind Over Madi by Lynda Lee Schab -- General Fiction from OakTara; All men cheat. At least, that's what Madi's mother has always told her.

Peril by Suzanne Hartmann -- Thriller/Suspense from OakTara; A top-secret agent must trust God to protect her many secrets when she accepts high-profile assignments but can she trust Him when He leads her to reveal her secrets and takes her to death's doorstep?

Promise Brides by S. Dionne Moore-- Historical Romance from Barbour; Love is the same, no matter when, no matter where-it never comes without sacrifice.

Protection for Hire by Camy Tang-- Thriller/Suspense from Zondervan; Tessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her uncle’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, her abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for a wealthy socialite and her three-year-old son. But there’s a problem or two … or three ….

The Land of Darkness; The Gates of Heaven Series by C.S. Lakin-- Speculative Fiction from Living Ink (AMG); Jadiel is twelve and things couldn’t get much worse—or could they?

The Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough-- Historical Romance from Moody Publishers; When Riley Morgan returns home after fighting in the War Between the States, he is excited to see his parents and fiancée again. But when he arrives he learns his life will never be the same again.

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson-- Historical from Zondervan; An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude a recluse. She must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

The Rancher’s Courtship by Laurie Kingery-- Romance from Love Inspired; Though Caroline Wallace can’t have a family, she can still have a purpose. Becoming Simpson Creek’s new schoolmarm helps heal the heartache of losing Pete, her fiancé, to influenza. Then Pete’s brother arrives, trailing a herd of cattle and twin six-year-old girls.

Thyme for Love by Pamela S. Meyers--Romance & Mystery from OakTara; April Love has always dreamed of being a chef. But she didn’t expect a former fiancé or murder to be part of the recipe for her new job.

Turnabout’s Fair Play by Kaye Dacus-- Romance from Barbour; When Maureen O’Connor begins scheming to match her grandson Jamie with Flannery McNeill, the last thing she has in mind is a romance of her own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Welcome Martha Rogers and Autumn Song


MARTHA ROGERS is the author of the Winds Across the Prairie series which is four books about Oklahoma with a prequel, Amelia’s Journey coming in January. Her new series, Seasons of the Heart now has books one and two released. Not on the Menu, was part of a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo; and River Walk Christmas, a novella collection with Beth Goddard, Lynette Sowell, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. A former schoolteacher and English instructor, Martha has a master’s degree in education and lives with her husband in Houston, Texas where they are active in the ministry at their church. When not writing, Martha enjoys spending time with her family which includes nine grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

by Martha Rogers
Published by Charisma Media


Why does everyone think a girl’s only lot in life is to find a husband and settle down?

Kathleen Muldoon is twenty-three and tired of ranch living. Fiercely independent and determined to become a nurse, she has left her family’s ranch to study medicine under Old Doc Jensen andlive in town with her Aunt Mae, who runs a boardinghouse.

Daniel Monroe has just arrived in Porterfield to set up his law practice. Sparks fly when he is introduced to Kate at the boardinghouse, but the initial attraction quickly dissolves into an argument—the first of many. Daniel is enamored with Kate but uncomfortable with her independent spirit and dreams of becoming a nurse.

When trouble erupts between the ranchers and lumberjacks over timber rights, Kate is furious to learn that Daniel has worked out an agreement she believes will destroy her father’s land. Can they overcome their pride and help each other become everything God wants them to be?

Set in the late 1800s, the Seasons of the Heart series follows the lives of four women and their families, weaving together their stories of faith, life, and love as they bond in friendship only God could orchestrate.

Readers, buy your copy of Autumn Song today!

Summer Dream and Autumn Song are now available from CBD, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Check with your local Christian book store for availability. E-book editions will also be available. These are available from the Realms fiction, a division of Charisma Media.


What Does Age Have to Do With Anything?

We make so many excuses for not submitting our writing. I don’t have enough time. I have too many other obligations. I’m too young. I’m too old. I’ve got too many rejections. I don’t have an agent. Any sound familiar? If I had used the excuse of age, I would never have been published. My agent believed in me and kept submitting my manuscripts. When I wanted to quit, friends encouraged me to keep on.

When God calls us to a task, He expects us to finish it. If we’re obedient to that call, He will give us what we need to complete it because He who began the work in us will carry through until it’s completed. Galatians 6:9 tells us not to grow weary when we’re doing God’s work because we’ll reap a harvest when God sets the time.

At one time I asked God if He’d forgotten how old I was getting and how time passed by. Of course He knows how old I am and how long I have on this earth. I just wished He’d let me in on His plans. With so many younger authors were getting contracts and having success, I began to think it would never happen to me, but I persevered, not ready to give up.

Well, God doesn’t forget. He doesn’t sleep. He never quits work. He’s always there willing to help us reach our goals when we call on Him for help. The Lord does expect us to do our part. That part is to put ourselves in that chair and write.

Whether you first contract comes at age twenty-three or seventy-three, God’s timing is always perfect. He’ll never let us down. The answer may not always be what we hoped and prayed for, but His answer is the best for us at that time. It always is.

I’ll be 75 in two months and by that time I will have five novels and one novella published with another five novels contracted. When God opened the door for me, He kicked it wide open. Prayer, perseverance and patience reaped the harvest at the time God ordained.

Do whatever it takes to write. Quit making excuses. If you’re serious, God will help you find the time, face rejection, find an agent, or create the stories. At other times He may tell you to wait a season and take care of other things first. Listen to His voice and calling. Write as much as you can when you can. Be patient, and pray for His guidance in all that you do. Jeremiah tells you to call on Him, and He will answer and tell you great things you do not know. Jeremiah also tells us that God has great plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. So press on to what God has called you to do whether it is to wait for a season to begin or whether it is to work hard now. Pressing on will lead you where you need to go.

* * * * *

Thank you, Martha, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: So what excuses have you used to keep from submitting? And if you aren't a writer, what excuses have you used to keep you from doing what God is calling you to do in your life?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome Patti Lacy and Reclaiming Lily


PATTI LACY, at the age of 50, traded her grade books for a writer’s pen after the Still, Small Voice encouraged her to novelize the story of her best friend. Patti’s first three novels, An Irishwoman’s Tale, What the Bayou Saw, and The Rhythm of Secrets, explore the secrets women keep and why they keep them.

Patti’s fourth book, Reclaiming Lily, a Bethany House title, transports readers to the steps of a Chinese orphanage, where two cultures and two women collide. Claiming writers as diverse as Francine Rivers and Jodi Piccoult as influences for this novel, Patti weaves a story of grace and God’s mercy with an insidious hereditary disease and a rebellious teenager. Reclaiming Lily transports the reader from Fort Worth to China to Boston in a quest journey of faith, of love…of Joy.

Patti soothes her itch to teach by leading seminars, facilitating writing classes, and speaking at women’s events. Patti and her husband, Alan, a college administrator, live in Normal. They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

by Patti Lacy
Published by Bethany House


Two women. Two cultures. One child.

Can Kai, a determined Chinese doctor, and Gloria, a worried pastor's wife, shatter the prejudices and pride that enslave them and partner to save Joy, a rebellious teenager who just happens to be Kai's sister...Gloria's daughter?

Span seas and secrets and the depths of God's grace in Reclaiming Lily!

Readers, buy your copy of Reclaiming Lily today!


Writing and Noshing—Do the Two Mix?

Gather round. Perk up your ears. It’s time for a secret from Patti Lacy, the author who spans seas and secrets and has a new Bethany House release, Reclaiming Lily.

We’re not handling the usual heavy topics of a women’s fiction writer. Not on a Wednesday!!

Ready for the revelation?

I nosh.

When words clog in the cerebral journey from gray matter to fingertips, I turn to the system taught by a dear college friend...

“Kathleen, I’m sick of this.” The dorm bunk sags as I shift my weight, rearrange Baylor Bear pillows. “We’ll never get through.”

Kathleen smooths straight hair into a ponytail. “Oh, yes, we will. We have to.”

I’m tired. Bored. Sure I’ll never pull off a decent grade point this semester…or any other. “No, we won’t.”

Like the lawyer she’s studying to be, Kathleen folds her arms across her chest and fixes droopy blue eyes on my face. “Okay.” She taps her pencil against our handouts. “We’ll do one page, then get a Coke. Do another, get some candy.”

My stomach growls, as well it should. We skipped dinner…to study. I close my eyes. Hear the Snickers—no, the Almond Joy, with its creamy dark chocolate, chewy coconut, nut-crunch, calling to me from the vending machine down the hall. “How about the candy first?” I blurt out.

She eyes me, wondering if more argument will exhaust her waning store of energy. “Okay. Candy first.” More tapping. “But it’ll cost you two pages.”

Noshing—whether to relieve the daily page requirement of a writer, the mundane job of scrubbing toilets, the twenty items on a Mom’s to-do list—has been officially classified as a coping technique for difficult, mediocre, hey, sometimes IMPOSSIBLE days.

Peanut butter slathered on crunchy crackers and topped with dried cranberries. Dove dark chocolate. Chilled carrot sticks. Hummus. Yogurt. Roasted peanuts. Hersheys almond bars.

Since domestic veganism has claimed us Lacys as “victims,” cheese has been slashed from the menu. But never chocolate!!

Hey, wait! You’ve got to write 500 words before you head to the fridge!

As my age and waistline have expanded, I’ve implemented other rewards for meeting page or word count or domestic goals:

Check Facebook comments. Dance to a Pandora hit (Ashley Cleveland’s on right now.) Look out the window. Pet Laura the dog, who as house publisher rules from the lumpy ottoman in my office. File nails. Make a phone call. (No, not THAT phone call. A fast one!)

* * * * *

Thank you, Patti, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question:  Do you implement a finish-and-feed system to persevere? Does it involve chocolate? Share your favorite nosh to be eligible for a random drawing giveaway of Reclaiming Lily.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welcome JoAnn Durgin and Second Time Around


JOANN DURGIN is a full-time estate administration paralegal and lives in southern Indiana with her husband and three children. She is a winner and finalist in several writing contests, an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and its Indiana chapter, as well as the Romance Writers of America. Awakening, JoAnn’s debut novel featuring the adventures of Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke, released in November 2010. Second Time Around, the second in The Lewis Legacy Series, released in September 2011. It’s her desire to touch hearts with the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. She’d love to hear from you at or send her a friend request on Facebook.

by JoAnn Durgin
Published by Torn Veil Books (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)


A fateful misstep steals a newlywed’s memories and becomes her groom’s fall from grace. Determined to help her reclaim her life, Marc Thompson makes great strides until a ghost from the past threatens to destroy it all. Join their journey as Marc and Natalie travel from Massachusetts to Montana and enlist the help of Sam and Lexa Lewis and the lively TeamWork crew. Along the way, they discover that surrendering all isn’t failure, it’s faith, and it might be the only way back to one another . . . the second time around.

Second Time Around has grace as its central theme, with Hebrews 4:16 as the key verse: Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NASB). Other themes are also present−forgiveness being a major one. The pervasive truth I’d like the reader to see is that when we put ourselves aside and give it all to the Savior, He will bless. So many people have trouble surrendering their lives and their troubles to Someone more capable, but when they do, they find strength, solace, comfort, peace and joy. As Marc Thompson, my hero in Second Time Around, learns, surrendering all at the throne of grace isn’t failure (his greatest fear), it’s simply faith.

Readers, buy your copy of Second Time Around today!


“Getting to the Heart of Contemporary Christian Romance”

Lately I’ve been pondering why romance novels in general are popular, and more specifically, what elements make them popular. While I’m aware there are detractors who look down their noses and believe romance equates with “fluff” or claim not to read romance for various reasons, based on sales figures and the preponderance of romance novels available, it would appear romance is alive and well and will be around for a long time to come. Thank the Lord! Not to be flippant or discount any of the following, but−strictly for the record−here are some of the predominant reasons I’ve heard for not reading (or writing) romance novels: Never had it, don’t want it, had it and lost it or (perhaps saddest of all), don’t think I’ll ever find it.

Let me start with the reason I personally write romance. First of all, I write what I love to read, and nothing is more precious than love. God first loved us, after all. I’m blessed to have great love in my life and have been married to the same man for almost a quarter century. While not a prerequisite for writing romance, of course, I know it’s helped in my own writing. Of course, there are many forms of love, but is there anything more exciting than that first blush of love, that tingly feeling, that shortness of breath from a glance or a touch, when a man and woman first realize there’s something between them? Sometimes it’s at first glance (it can happen!), but most often love takes time. Depending on characters and circumstances, a lasting, lifelong kind of love can take anywhere from days, weeks, months or years to develop.

If you’ve read my debut novel, Awakening, you’ll know that I don’t write formulaic romance. Sure, it follows the basic formula, and I’m a great believer in happy endings. When you start the book, you pretty much know how it’s going to end, but it’s the unique journey of the characters that makes the difference. I’ve had those who shook their heads and told me I got Sam and Lexa together too quickly in the book, they kissed too early, there wasn’t some earth-shaking event that kept them apart, and I was even told several times over that no one would want to read a book about a couple working together in a summer missions camp. Good thing I didn’t listen and followed the Lord’s leading, and readers are responding in a very positive way. Almost a year after its release, I’m thankful Awakening is still selling very well, especially as a debut author with a new publisher. I give all the praise and honor to the Lord as He gives me the inspiration and the impetus to keep going when arrows are slung my way (it’s inevitable and, trust me, it does happen – one of those hard, but important, lessons to learn as a new author).

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to propose the following as reasons why Awakening is a marketable novel. Please understand I share these not from any "Look at me!” viewpoint but because I’ve been asked by other writers, especially those starting out, wanting to know how I broke “out of the mold.” These are my specific ideas and thoughts concerning Awakening, but many of the following elements would apply to any romance novel.

1. A hero and heroine who are attracted to one another physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally (they challenge one another on certain levels)
2. A spiritual journey on both the part of the hero and heroine
3. Circumstances that force them together, willingly or not
4. Something in the past of both the hero and heroine that impacts their outlook on love
5. Internal and external conflicts
6. A lively cast of secondary characters
7. Realistic, smart dialogue
8. Humor and identifiable situations even in the midst of unusual circumstances at times
9. Good pacing – action interspersed with dialogue for a plot that moves
10. Something that breaks the hero and heroine apart (no matter the length of time), but they find their happy ending by the end

The last item on the above list is key in Awakening. Sam and Lexa experience a breakup halfway through the novel, but based on the strong foundation and mutual respect they’ve developed, they overcome it. I’ve heard that once a couple is “together” in a novel, there’s no reason for the reader to keep reading. This is why most romance novels build up to the romantic reunion in the final pages. But it’s my belief this “formula” is stale for many readers, and it’s why they find Sam and Lexa’s story refreshing. The reader will keep reading if the writer gives them a reason to keep reading. With my characters, there’s a maturity level, and a willingness to seek the Lord’s will, that helps them face the obstacles. They’re more tentative with one another and don’t immediately resume their romance, but they work through difficulties together, and that bonds them and strengthens the friendship. When their love is later tested by a geographical separation, this couple stands the test of time.

The most important element in my romances is faith. My readers know when they pick up one of my books, they’re going to get a solid biblical message. The spiritual journey of a character should be interwoven, natural and seamless. My books aren’t literary, but they’re the books of my heart. As long as I stay true to the Lord, I know He’ll continue to open the doors of His choosing−but in His time, not mine. The story of my journey to publication is posted on my website at

Thanks so much for allowing me to share with you today! Blessings. Matthew 5:16

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Thank you, JoAnn, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question:  What is the one element of a Christian romance (whether historical or contemporary) that makes it memorable for you as a reader?