Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Reads: "The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest" by Melanie Dickerson (and a GIVEAWAY!)

This Friday, I'm reading and reviewing The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson.

Melanie has graciously offered to give away a hard copy of the book to one lucky person (US only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. Good luck! (Contest ends August 31, 2015.)

My Review...

Odette Menkels longs to help the poor. She does her part by poaching deer from the margrave’s game park to feed them. It is illegal, so she does it in the secrecy of darkness. She lives with her uncle Rutger, who has been her guardian since her parents died. Many her age would already be married, but he is agreeable to her pickiness. She is searching for one who would also be willing to help the poor and, for her uncle’s sake, one who is wealthy.

Jorgen Hartman is the margrave’s foerster. He is charged with capturing poachers and seeing to their punishment. He meets Odette at the Midsummer Festival. He is intrigued by her but fears that her uncle would find him unworthy of her hand.

Odette is interested in Jorgen, until she learns his job. Then the realization that he could send her to the margrave’s dungeon for poaching sets in. He is very determined to find the poacher, as he wants to avenge his father’s death from a poacher. She knows what she is doing is wrong, but she feels compelled to continue in order to help others.

When two men propose marriage, Odette must determine whether or not she will follow her heart or marry out of obligation.

Dickerson pens a medieval fairy tale which is perfect for adults, with Odette being a female version of “Robin Hood.” Odette is a feisty and courageous character who wants to do what is right for everyone. Feeling responsible for others, even when it is not one’s place to do so, is a common occurrence for many. This is a beautiful tale with the perfect blend of danger, intrigue, and romance. This is the first book I have read by Dickerson, and it is not my typical genre to read, but it will not be my last.

Here's the Amazon link for purchase...

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Motivation: Positivity!

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
                                                                      — Oprah Winfrey

"It makes a difference in your life when you stay positive."
                                                                                           —Ellen DeGeneres

"Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."
                                                                                          — Michael Jordan

"Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will."                 
                                                                                                                        —Zig Ziglar

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Reads with Iris Blobel: Journey to Her Dreams (and a Giveaway!)

To celebrate her latest release, Iris has offered to give away three (3) e-book copies of this book!  This is NOT just for U.S. residents. To enter, please see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of the post. You must enter by the end of the day on August 25, 2015. If you are one of the luck winners, I will contact you to get your information to pass along to Iris.  Good luck!

“It’s not the money that makes you rich. It’s the knowledge
that the other person loves you and is always there for you, no
matter what. That makes you content and, therefore, rich.”

♥♦♥  SYNOPSIS ♥♦♥ 

Would you travel around the world to uncover the reason for your dreams? Hollie Anderson does.
A young woman from Tasmania who lives on a farm just outside Launceston, she has got good looks, likes her job, and loves to hang out with her friends. She should be happy, right?

But it’s a recurrent dream that throws her daily life into chaos and takes her on a journey to Ireland. While on her quest for answers she meets Sam in Dublin under unusual circumstances and both women, so different in many ways, find out they have one thing in common - and it changes their lives forever.


Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada, where she her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.
Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Social Media Links:
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Eliminating Repetitive Phrases

Repetitive words and phrases bog down your story and frustrate the reader, as they are a  waste of their time to read.  To avoid this, here are some phrases to watch out for in your writing.

           Phrase                            Reasoning

  • absolutely certain            A certainty is absolute.
  • actual experience            An experience has occurred, so it's actual.
  • advance planning            Planning occurs before an event (in advance).
  • ask a question                 What else would you be asking?
  • at the present time          "At present" is the same as "At this time."
  • blue in color                    It's apparent that blue is a color.
  • cash money                     Isn't cash always money?
  • combined together          Things must be together to be combined.
  • completely filled             If it's filled, it's thoroughly done (or complete).
  • each and every                These mean the same thing.
  • invited guests                  Guests are people with an invitation.
  • mix together                    You can't mix something apart.
  • month of July                  It's a well-known fact that July is a month.
  • repeat again                     To repeat is to reiterate something.
  • small in size                    Small obviously refers to a size.      
  • still remains                    If something remains, it's still there.
  • sum total                         When you have a sum, it's a total.
  • triangular in shape          It's obvious triangular is a shape.
  • unexpected surprise        By its nature, a surprise isn't expected.
  • unintentional mistake     A mistake isn't planned or on purpose.

Minor revisions can fix these errors in your writing and add clarity to the story. While it takes practice, this list can help you recognize repetitive phrases so your writing can become stronger.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August Featured Book #2 … and a GIVEAWAY

Diana has graciously offered to give away two (2) hard copies of "A Remarkable Kindness." In order to be entered, see the Rafflecopter giveaway link at the end of this post. The last day to enter is August 31, 2015. If you are chosen, I will be in touch to get your information to pass along to Diana. (US residents ONLY)

A Word from Diana...

One of the reasons I’m so excited about the publication of A Remarkable Kindness is that it fits into the genre of books that people read and then learn something new—and unexpected. Readers love Orphan Train not only because it’s a combination of two wonderful stories but also because they can say, “Wow, I just found out something fascinating about a hidden part of American history.” That was how I felt when I read The Kite Runner—I had a deeper understanding of the culture of Afghanistan.

I hope that my novel will be received in the same way. It gives readers a look behind news headlines about Israel. It also tells the intertwined stories of four American women who are members of a burial circle in a small beach village in northern Israel. I hope that as readers learn about this sacred ritual, they will also be inspired to incorporate spirituality and faith into their daily lives.

My Review...

I reviewed this book for RT Bookreviews magazine. You can read my review at the following link:

Diana Bletter is the first-prize winner of Family Circle Magazine’s 2011 Fiction Contest. She never, ever thought she’d win but she entered and won, which only proves that it’s important to take chances. She has been writing ever since she first learned penmanship in third grade. While raising six children in a blended family, she did freelance writing for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. After many years of hard work, she is finally publishing A Remarkable Kindness, her first novel. She lives in a small beach village in northern Israel near the ancient ruins of a Byzantine Church and believes that writing means practice, practice, practice. It is like exercise. You don’t want to get started … but once you do, you feel great.

You can find Diana online at...

Twitter: @dianabletter

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sole Sister by Brooklyn James … and a GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate her most recent release, Sole Sister, Brooklyn James has agreed to do a giveaway. To enter, go to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. You must enter by August 19, 2015 to be eligible to win.

The inspiration behind the book:

Brooklyn: "The inspiration behind Sole Sister was driven by fans of The Boots My Mother Gave Me. I never intended to write a sequel to 'Boots.' I figured it would be a stand-alone forever. But with encouragement from fans, I decided to continue the series from Kat's POV. I think a lot of readers identify very well with Kat, maybe even more with her than with Harley. And, as a writer, it was great to play with Kat's character development. To see her transform from that lost, rebellious teen/young adult into a conscientious woman making better choices for herself was fulfilling for me."


The second book in The Boots My Mother Gave Me series, Sole Sister picks up several years later, continuing the story of Harley LeBeau and her rebellious sister Katrina ‘Kat’ LeBeau.

Relocating to Nashville to be closer to Harley and Miah, Kat aspires to launch her Sole Sister fashion line. A gutsy and impromptu plan suddenly lands her on the cover of The Ville Spill—the local celebrity gossip rag—alongside country music’s latest heartthrob, giving Sole Sister the push it needs. But Kat quickly learns that not all press is good press.

Years removed from an abusive childhood and teenage pregnancy, the past that Kat never talks about continues to seep into her life and relationships. Still struggling with the images of finding her father after his suicide, Kat forges ahead, vowing to avoid past mistakes. To focus on her career and responsibilities as a single mother, she swears off the disappointments of love. The first man she ever loved, her father, broke her heart. The first boy she ever fell in love with, her daughter’s father, broke her heart.

What Kat didn’t plan on was Nashville SWAT Officer Connor Reese. She and Connor have more pulling them together than keeping them apart. Kat finds herself in familiar territory when her plan to steer clear of heartache is derailed after spending a night in his arms. Will facing her past help to secure her future? Will Connor offer her a second chance at life and love? Or will her heart break yet again?

Staying true to its predecessor, Sole Sister explores the dynamics of strength in sisterhood, the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mother and daughter, and the courage to become more than one’s past.

Sole Sister buy links:

Author Bio:

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. This book has ranked in Kindle's Top 100 Coming of Age and Women's Fiction.

When she is not writing books, she can be found playing live music around Austin as part of an acoustic duo. Brooklyn has been in a Weezer video, met Harry Connick Jr. as an extra on the set of When Angels Sing, and she was Mira Sorvino's stand-in on Jerry Bruckheimer's Trooper pilot for TNT. She most enjoys being a wife and mother, reading, dancing, working out, fishing with her hubby, and a good glass of kombucha.

Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum. She serves as a Guest Speaker with a focus on awareness and prevention of Domestic Violence and Suicide.
You can also find her music on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, YouTube, and Pandora.

Brooklyn James
The Boots My Mother Gave Me
Sole Sister
The Vigilare Series
Let It Go
Just Not Ready Yet
Get This Body In A Barn: The Milkmaid's Guide To Fitness

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Motivation: Trust Yourself!

"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string."
                                          — Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What the mind can see and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve."
                                          — Norman Vincent Peale

"Self trust is the essence of heroism."
                                             —  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life."
                                                — Golda Meir

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Reads with Erica Vetsch, Becca Whitham, and Kathleen Y'Barbo ... and a GIVEAWAY!

This is the final week where I'll be sharing the novellas contained in The Homestead Brides Collection. As a thank you for sticking with me through these reviews, one of the authors (Ruth Logan Herne) has graciously offered to donate a hard copy of the book to be given away to one lucky reader. In order to enter, please see the Rafflecopter box at the end of the post. The contest will end at the end of the day on August 11, 2015. If you are the winner, I will contact you to get your mailing address to pass along to Ruth. (US residents only)

In case you didn't read my last posts, I will tell you a bit about the book. It contains novellas by eight veteran authors (Mary Connealy, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Erica Vetsch, and Kathleen Y'Barbo) and one newbie (Becca Whitham). The stories provide a quick read that will fit in perfectly to your day. They all focus on the pioneering folks of the 1800s, but each story contains its own cast of characters on a search for land and a new future. This collection is a wonderful way for readers to be introduced to new authors and possibly find some favorites!

A Palace on the Plains by Erica Vetsch: Julie Farrington and all her luggage are headed to Nebraska. There, she is met by Cyrus Haskell. She was a hired to create a trousseau for Cyrus’ soon-to-be sister-in-law. Cyrus is a widowed father and has no time for distractions, and he makes it apparent that he believes Julie is a waste of money… and her excessive luggage is a waste of space. Julie longs to find a home, love, and a place to belong. Is there any way that can be found in Nebraska? Even though Julie seems to be spoiled rich, she is a likable character. This is a beautiful tale filled with lovely reminders, such as one from Julie: “Anyplace, even a sod house, is a palace if the person you love is there.”

You can find Erica online at:

Waiting on a Promise by Becca Whitham:  Karl Reinhardt went to claim land in Oklahoma, and his fiancĂ©e Marta Vogel longs to join him. He is in the middle of a land dispute and doesn’t want her to worry or cause him to be distracted. She can tell by his letters that something is awry, so she decides to join him. He is surprised to see her and wants her to leave as soon as possible. What exactly is Karl mixed up in? There is some mystery and danger in this story in which the characters will remind the reader to place their trust in God.. This is Whitham’s debut, and she is off to a solid start.

You can find Becca online at:

The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek by KathleenY’Barbo:  Iz McBride returns home to Texas to find a surprise visitor at his house, and she claims to be his wife. Cora Duncan believed Iz was dead, so she set out to claim the land that his father stole from her family. She didn’t realize Iz was alive and engaged to someone else. Cora is willing to share the ranch with him, but he has other plans in mind. While this is a fun and enjoyable read, it feels that things wrap up a bit too quickly and neatly. This is a book that would be even better as a full-length novel. Perhaps these characters will show up again in another of Y’Barbo’s books.

You can find Kathleen online at:

This ends my review of this book. I hope you will check it out. You can purchase it at the following link:

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Terms You Should Know

Terms Every Writer Should Know

Every field uses technical jargon. Writing is no different. Here are some terms that you are sure to come across in your writing journey:

Beta Reader:  This is a person outside of the author, editors, and proofreaders who read an early copy of the book to spot additional errors or places for improvement.
Bio:    This is biographical information on the author that is given to an agent or publisher.
Copy Editor:   This is the person who will read through the manuscript and point out grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies in plot, places that need to be clarified, etc.
DL:    Deadline: This is the final date that a submission can be received.
GL:    Guidelines: This is a description of what a publisher is looking for when accepting submissions.
MC:   Main Character
MG:   Middle Grade: This generally refers to readers between the ages of eight and 12.
MS:   Manuscript (MSS is the plural, manuscripts)
POV: Point of View: This is the person through which the story events are viewed.
Proofreader:   This is the person who looks over the version of the manuscript ready for printing and compares it to the original manuscript to determine if additional errors need to be addressed.
Query letter:  This is a concise, generally one page, pitch of your idea that is sent to an agent or publisher to see if they would be interested in reading your manuscript.
SC:    Secondary Character(s)
Slushpile:   This is what publishers and editors call the unsolicited manuscripts that they receive.
YA:   Young Adult: This generally refers to readers between the ages of 12 and 18.
WIP: Work in Progress: This is what you're currently working on.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Featured Book #1 ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Dr. Mabry has graciously offered to give away  two (2) autographed copies of  "Rx Murder". In order to be entered, go to the Rafflecopter giveaway link at the bottom of this post. The last day to enter is August 14, 2015. If you are chosen as one of the two winners, I will be in touch to get your mailing address to pass along to Dr. Mabry. (US residents ONLY.)

A Word from Dr. Mabry…

     Almost every story I write has an inciting incident, from my hometown experiences that led to Code Blue to idle thoughts on the loneliness of a parking garage that presaged Stress Test. However, my novella Rx Murder was written to plug a gap. Having changed publishers, there was a year's hiatus between my novel Critical Condition and my forthcoming one, Fatal Trauma. To remind people I'm still around, I wrote and self-published Rx Murder. Responses to the work have been good, and I'm pleased.

My Review…

I was honored to have the opportunity to interview Dr. Mabry in September, 2014. We discussed a number of things, including this novella and his May, 2015 (traditionally published) novel, Fatal Trauma. In addition to my review, I'm posting the interview link below.

About Richard L. Mabry, M.D. …

I'm a retired physician who got into non-medical writing after the death of my first wife with my book, The Tender Scar: Life After the Death of a Spouse. I'm gratified that it continues to help those who have lost a loved one.

From that point, I moved into writing fiction. Thus far I've had seven novels of medical suspense published.Code Blue, Medical Error, Diagnosis Death, and Lethal Remedy were the first four. The second and third books listed were named finalists for the ACFW Carol Award and Romantic Times' Best Inspirational Novel respectively, and Lethal Remedy won the Selah Award.

Then came Stress Test (also a finalist for Romantic Times' Best Inspirational Novel). My next book, released in October, 2013 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, was Heart Failure. The most recent is Critical Condition, which was released in April, 2014.

I'm pleased to announce that Fatal Trauma was published on May 19, 2015, with more to follow. Further, I've just self-published a Christian fiction novella, RxMurder, which is currently available.

I am a past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a proud member of the International Thriller Writers and the International Crime Writers Association.

When I'm not writing, I'm busy being a husband and grandfather, working on my golf game, and doing the hundred-and-one other things that retired people do. I'm busier now than I ever was while in practice — and loving it.

Readers can find him online at:


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