I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

ACFW New Releases for November

Contemporary Romance:
Christmas in Jingle Junction by Tabitha Bouldin — In the small town of Jingle Junction, Holly Winters owns the local coffee shop, Jolly Java. It’s here that she meets Patrick Cooper and promptly throws coffee everywhere. Not only does Patrick not like coffee, he also despises Christmas! It’s up to Holly to show Patrick that Christmas is worth giving a second chance, just as Patrick himself deserves a second chance when he is accused of robbing a local convenience store. In a town full of Christmas spirit, lively debates over the best superhero and riding in a sleigh pulled by actual reindeer is just a normal day. Will Holly be able to prove to Patrick that Christmas is more than a holiday that has to be endured? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
A Picture Perfect Christmas by Candee Fick — Freelance photographers Liz Foster and Ryan Callahan are finally making plans for their future. And what better time to get married than during the festive holiday season that brought them together? If only Liz’s parents weren’t standing in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. Spurred on by the ghosts of Christmases past, Dan Foster has already written Liz out of his will, so even attending the wedding—let alone walking his daughter down the aisle—is out of the question. However, this is the season for miracles and Ryan will do anything to make his bride smile. What will it take to bring this family back together in time for the wedding? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter — When his secret crush joins a dating website, Jack takes a leap of faith and soon becomes Daisy’s online suitor. But when they begin growing closer in real life also, Jack finds himself with an unexpected dilemma. Is Daisy falling for the real Jack or for the online version of himself? And how is she going to respond when she finds out they’re one and the same? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
A Merry Miracle in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker — Baxter Reid returns to his hometown of Romance, eager to see his childhood crush. Unfortunately, Savannah hasn’t forgotten all the ways he used to tease her back then. He’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to get a second chance. Savannah Miller avoids Baxter and the embarrassing childhood memories he evokes…until he apologizes and suggests a truce. Now what is she supposed to do? Only time will tell whether the spirit of Christmas in Romance is enough to transform a grudging relationship into true love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
I Still Do by Melanie D. Snitker — What’s worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can’t escape. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:
A Southern Season by Eva Marie Everson, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda Yezak — Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing. (Women’s Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Historical:


Second Chances by Carol Ashby — A widowed father, still grieving the loss of his wife and child, and a devoted mother, who leaves behind everything she’s ever known to rescue her daughter from the ex-husband who would hurt her, are first drawn together by their love for her little girl, but God has much more for them than either could have imagined. (Historical, Cerrillo Press)

Historical Mystery:


Murder of Convenience by Linda Shenton Matchett — May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. (Historical Mystery, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:


The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection by Lena Nelson DooleyRebecca JepsonCarrie Fancett PagelsCandice Sue PattersonKathleen RouserPegg Thomas, and Marilyn Turk — Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of our nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 at Great Lakes Lighthouses bring hope to the lonely lighthouse keepers and love to weary hearts. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
A Musket in My Hands by Sandra Merville Hart — Two sisters have no choice but to disguise themselves as men to muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864–just in time for things to go very badly for the Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith — Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper. Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Snow Angel by Davalynn Spencer — Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook. Maimed in a childhood accident at Christmas, she believes she is beyond love’s reach—until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind. Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s home with a busted leg and a bullet-creased scalp. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, he is at the mercy of a country doctor whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his heart and open his eyes to the impossible. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:


Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin — After Nina Fischer is accused of murdering her uncle and adopted father, she must unlock deadly family secrets in order to clear her name and learn to trust love again. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
North by Starlight by Diane and David Munson — Attorney Madison Stone hurries to help her client Jordan Star defeat a mysterious relative who claims a share in his inheritance, and during the Christmas season Maddie learns to leave past regrets behind her, embrace the warmhearted people of Starlight, and dig deep to find her true heart. (Romantic Suspense from Micah House Media)
Her Deadly Reunion by Beth Ann Ziarnik — What will it cost an estranged daughter when she meets her birth father at his home and discovers it’s a dangerous place to mix past and present? (Romantic Suspense from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Speculative:


Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — When the new Lady of Ravenwood inherits her family’s secret gift of dreamwalking, she discovers a dark history. Women in her family have been wielding the gift to preserve her family’s legacy—through assassinations. She’s determined to find the true reason behind the gift, convinced there must be a more noble purpose. But she’s torn about upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people. What will she do when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations–but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house? One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen? (High Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Thriller/Suspense:


Stratagem by Robin Caroll — Psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux creates mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s for their executive retreat, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder. (Suspense from Barbour Publishing)

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Prayer of St. Francis

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." Amen.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Victorian Christmas Brides Party at the Inkwell!

Come visit Inkwell Inspirations to share in the party for Victorian Christmas Brides!


CJ Chase and I are each giving away a copy of the book...hurry over! Click here

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Enter to win!

To celebrate the Book Birthday of Victorian Christmas Brides, I'm offering a giveaway!


Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love?

Includes my story, Star of Wonder: 

This Yuletide, Bennet Hett, Viscount Harwood, offers Lady Celeste Sidwell matrimony and the Star of Wonder diamond necklace, as their fathers arranged. When the diamond disappears, will they find a greater treasure?


A Christmas sponge with a star (for Star of Wonder!), Meltaways bath candies, exfoliating Gingerbread Soap, a Re-Generation Moisturizing sheet masque, a bookmark, and a copy of the book!
Hurry! Giveaway ends soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 13, 2018

Take Control of Your Writing

When writing fiction, sometimes it seems the author has little to no control: before we're published, it can be a challenge to get noticed, or receive the contest scores we think we might deserve.

Once we're published, a whole new host of issues crops up. We may feel stuck or pressured to write a better book than the last one. We can receive bad reviews. Or our books might not be priced well or carried in major chain stores (or not make it to the shelves on release day). Also, the market can  change so rapidly, an author can struggle to keep up. 

Wherever you are in your writing journey, there can be a sense of helplessness about writing, but the truth is, we do have considerable control . The key is to focus on what you can control.

  • Finishing manuscripts. Some authors work on a single novel for years, striving to get it to the place where it's publishable. While polishing and editing are valuable and admirable, I suggest that we keep trying new things. Editors will sometimes contract books that aren't perfect, knowing they can help shape the story. With each new book, we hone our skills. Which takes me to the next point:
  • Growing and Learning! Attend conferences and workshops. Read books, articles, and blog posts on the craft.  Follow agents, editors, and writing groups on Social Media. Yes, the market does change, sometimes rapidly, so determine how to keep abreast of new preferences. Joining a national chapter can be an invaluable resource in these areas.
  • Choosing Your Why. You alone can answer this question. Why are you writing? What is it you need to say, and how is God calling you to use this gift? How do you see success differing in God's eyes, compared to the world's eyes? When you answer that question, you have a purpose for your goal of writing, and it can help you stay on track.
  • Stop Worrying About Everyone Else! By this, I don't mean to ignore other authors' work--not at all! But stop comparing yourself to others who are more or less successful than you are. You are on your own journey. They are on theirs. Focus on You, Your Writing, Your Why.
  • Reading! Read the genre you want to publish. Read outside of your genre. Reading molds our writing. Keep at it!
These won't guarantee success, of course, but they can help us take control of our journeys and feel as if we do indeed have power. 

And those things over which we have no or little control? One last thing:

  • Talk to your agent or a mentor (don't have a mentor? Try a writing conference and ask someone experienced to share some insight!). Rely on others for advice and support. 
But some things, alas, are totally out of the author's control. Learn from each situation as best you can, handle it with integrity, and let it go...into the Lord's hands.



What other suggestions would you add to the list?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shaking Things Up!

This has been a season of "shake-ups" in my life, in several ways!


  • In my house, I'm working hard to purge all of the stuff that's accumulated over the years. We've been in our house for a full decade now, longer than anywhere we've lived in our marriage. When we moved in, we were in a rush: we moved in on a Thursday and the kids started school Monday, which meant we shoved a lot of things somewhere...anywhere...fast. Ten years later, some of those things haven't seen daylight! But I've also got extra incentive to clean:
  • We need new flooring! Long story I won't bore you with, but the inexpensive original flooring in most of our house is toast. We've decided to bite the bullet and replace it, which means everything will have to come up off the floor at some point. Which means I have a lot of stuff to get rid of before that day arrives!
  • "Streamlining" might be a theme with me. You may have noticed the blog has changed in appearance: new colors and a simpler look. It reflects a few things: a change in my writing as I'm trying new genres, and a shift in me, too. I don't have a new motto, but if I did, it might be to Choose Simplicity. Hopefully the blog is easier to read now and a little more updated.
  • I'll continue to tweak the blog, and I'm also revamping all of my social media branding, including my website! But first, I really need to...
  • Finish a contracted novella. Currently, it's my only contract! For a few years now, there has not been a day where I didn't have a contract to fill. That's all changed. It's been a good time to re-evaluate, think, and try new things.

How about you? What's new in your life? Do you have clutter to deal with in your house or your life? If so, I encourage you as we walk this path together!