Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Mermaid Moon" by Colleen Coble’s ... and a GIVEAWAY! (Litfuse Blog Tour)

Celebrate the release of Mermaid Moon with Colleen and a mystery e-reader prize pack giveaway!

mermaid moon-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 1st. The winner will be announced February 2nd on the Litfuse blog.

mermaid moon-enterbanner

My Review...

After the mysterious death of her father, Mallory Davis returned home to Mermaid Point, a place she left fifteen years ago. After seeing her dad’s new boat, she knows there is more to his death than she was led to believe, as his finances would not allow such an extravagant purchase. She feels he was murdered. Game warden Kevin O’Connor tends to agree with her assessment, but he is leery to trust her again after she broke his heart years ago. Together, they hope to arrange the puzzle pieces surrounding the death. But first, Mallory must stay alive. With his last breath, Mallory’s father left her with some cryptic information which leads her to try and track down her birth parents. Mallory thinks she is being watched, though she cannot imagine who would be after her or why she and her daughter are being threatened. Could everything somehow be related to her adoption? Will she be successful in tracking down her biological parents? Are they connected as well?

This book is second in Coble’s “Sunset Cove” series, but it could be read as a standalone. It is chock full of drama and mystery. The suspense is well executed and keeps the reader guessing throughout, and there are some surprise twists along the way. Key themes include second chances and forgiveness, especially of oneself. Coble is an excellent storyteller, and her latest does not disappoint!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

About Colleen...

Bestselling author Collene Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice,and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Don't Overuse Punctuation

Are you ever confused by the punctuation rules? If so, this post is for you. In general, there are two  keys things to remember:

1. Don't overuse it! 

There are some punctuation marks which tend to be overused. These include exclamation points, ellipses/dashes, and semicolons.

  • In many cases, the dialogue can show that a comment is being shouted. An exclamation point is rarely needed. 
  • Narrative beats can generally be used in place of ellipses/dashes. (For example: "Cut that out." The young man scowled. "I'm not joking.")  
  • Semicolons can often be replaced with a period or comma. This can make your work smoother, particularly in fiction.

2.  Be consistent!

As is often the case, consistency is important. If something is not listed in the publishing house style guide or reference manuals, choose one way and stick with it throughout the entire manuscript. This commonly includes things such as commas, single quotation marks, apostrophes (particularly in relation to words ending in "s"), and curly vs. straight quotation marks.

* Writers and editors should have access to The Chicago Manual of Style reference manual. When in doubt about a rule, it is best to look it up in this book, as it is a primary resource in the publishing industry. While there is some subjectivity involved (particularly in fiction), it is important to be familiar with the rules contained in this resource. Basic punctuation rules are not subjective. There is even an online subscription available for The Chicago Manual of Style at the following website:

Friday, January 22, 2016

"Joshua's Mission" by Vannetta Chapman ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Vannetta has graciously offered to give away a hard copy of the book (US Only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. (Contest ends January 29, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Vannetta...

Joshua’s Mission - The story behind the story

 Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my "Plain & Simple Miracles" series. I’d like to share with you the “story behind the story,” or what inspired me to write this book.

Cornerstones of our faith. My husband is probably my biggest critic—which is a good thing. He keeps me on my toes, professionally speaking. He’s also very supportive in every way. One night we were talking about an upcoming proposal that was due to my publisher, and he challenged me to think of a deeper plot line—something that would touch on the cornerstones of our faith. Wow! That sent me back to the drawing board. I started wondering what makes us, as Christians, different from everyone else. Certainly our faith in Christ. But how do we show that? The answer I came up with was …

1.      We believe in miracles. I did a poll on my Facebook page. We had an outstanding response and the vast majority (close to 98%) said they do believe in miracles—not that they always happen when we pray for one, but that God does still intercede in the lives of believers. That idea gave birth to Anna’s Healing, book 1 in this series.
2.      We participate in missions. As believers, sometimes we send donations, sometimes we pray, and sometimes we actually go and participate in missions. We don’t do this for an award or because our photo might end up in the paper. We do it because God told us “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He told us that when we do this to the least of those around us, we do this to Him. This commandment to care for others led me to write Joshua’s Mission, book 2 in this series.
3.      We care for orphans. We’re also commanded to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” In our society, it’s sometimes easy to overlook those in need and to assume that some governmental agency will take care of them. Sarah’s Orphans, book 3 in this series, addresses the plight of the orphans in our day and age and how we can make a difference in their lives. This book releases in December of this year.

There are certainly other ways that we live out our faith. Miracles, missions, and orphans are three that stood out to me, and they certainly inspired me to write the three books in the “Plain & Simple Miracles” series. I hope that you will pick up a copy of Joshua’s Mission and learn about the wonderful work that churches are doing across our nation and abroad to help those in need.

Now it’s your turn. What do you consider to be a cornerstone of our faith? And would you like to see a book written about it? Or would you like to write one yourself? I’d love to hear from you.

My Review...

 Englishcher, and widower, Charlie Everman loves his community of Port Aransas, TX. He wants to help his friends, who are trying to recover from Hurricane Orion. They will be working side-by-side with volunteers from the Mennonite Disaster Services, which is where he meets Joshua and Alton Kline and Becca Troyer. They live in an Amish community in Oklahoma and volunteer for this mission trip project. Alton has been in trouble during his rumspringa, and Joshua fears he may be considering leaving their Amish community. Joshua’s parents and the Bishop hope the trip will be beneficial for Alton. Becca has been restless and her parents are concerned that she is still single. Joshua is thrilled to have Becca, the bishop’s granddaughter, on the trip, as he hopes to get to know her better. Joshua is uncertain as to whether or not he is being called to minister to the displaced people in Texas or his brother. Becca believes that God is using this opportunity to direct their paths as they work together to rebuild. Is it possible His plan may involve finding love amid the wreckage?

While Charlie’s storyline dominates at times, the tale is told from three points of view: Charlie, a 65-year-old Englischer; Joshua, a 27-year-old Amish man; and Becca, a 20-year-old Amish woman. This book is second in Chapman’s “Plain and Simple Miracles” series, but it can be read as a standalone. It is a fresh take (location, characters, and topics addressed) on what can sometimes be a cookie-cutter genre. The characters are believable and deal with a number of real-life issues, including loss, pain, eating disorders, substance abuse, and forgiveness. They demonstrate that these issues are not unique to the Englisch world. Chapman obviously put a lot of effort and time into researching both the Mennonite Disaster Services and hurricanes, which add to the realism in the detailed descriptions of the devastation as well as the rebuilding process.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon link for purchase…

About Vannetta...

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel Falling to Pieces was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top 10 Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas Hill country with her husband.

Where to find her online...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's a prompt to try today:

" What is your happiest childhood memory? Describe it in detail."

Happy writing!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Motivation: Write the Book!

"If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
— Toni Morrison

Can you recall a time when you wondered, "Why can't I find a book about that?" Even with the help of the Internet, you were unable to find a book to meet your needs. It may have been a biography of a particular person, a twist on a classic tale, or a totally unique idea. If so, perhaps it is a sign. Maybe you are unable to find this book because it is the book that you are meant to write. So, what are you waiting for? Go! Write the book!

"Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it… The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
— Sylvia Plath

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Foul Play" by Elisabeth Rees...and a GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate this new release,  Elisabeth has generously offered to give away a copy of  the book (US ONLY). To enter, go to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. The last day to enter is January 22, 2016. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I will contact you for your information. Good luck!

A Word from Elisabeth...

The central theme of Foul Play is the resilience of God’s people. I am in awe of those who cope with immense tragedy in their lives by digging deep, persevering, and never giving up. God does not always provide an easy path for us. Oftentimes it is crooked and tortuous.  Ex-SEAL, Cole Strachan, has not only lost his baby son to SIDS but his wife has divorced him, he suffers from flashbacks to a terrorist attack at a school in Afghanistan, and his faith in God hangs by a thread. Yet despite his personal struggles, he is able to summon up the grit and determination he needs to protect his old high school sweetheart from a malicious and anonymous attacker at the hospital where she works. The mark of a true hero is someone able to ignore his own personal suffering to focus on doing kind deeds for others. How could any woman not fall in love with a man like that?

Once I had created the character of Cole, the rest of the story kind of wrote itself. I rarely think ahead or make detailed plans when writing. I write by intuition.  The medical plot line took a little tweaking, altering, and researching before I was totally happy with it, but I can’t say too much about this, as I might give some vital clue away.  I mainly enjoyed pushing my characters to the edge of their emotional capabilities and then throwing them a lifeline, allowing their faith to both soar and plummet as the story unfolds. After all, isn’t this how faith works in real life too?

Foul Play is only my third published book, and I feel myself growing in confidence and enjoyment with each one I write. I am humbled that I have been given this opportunity to write Christian romance, and every day I remind myself never to take it for granted.    

You can find my review on the RT Bookreviews website at the following link:
(I rated it 4.5 - TOP PICK!/4.5 stars.)

About Elisabeth...

Elisabeth was born in England but raised in Wales, where she still lives with her husband and two children. She is a fairly new author, having spent the majority of her adult life working in information technology. She sold her first book to Harlequin in 2013 and quit the day job to focus on writing full-time. She currently writes Christian romance for the Love Inspired Suspense series. She loves to hear from readers.

Twitter: @elisabethrees 

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Is this a novella or a novel?

Tuesday Tip

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a novella and a novel? Here's some information which will help you classify your story based on the length.

  • Short Story: ~ 1,000-7,500 words: This story is usually found in anthologies or periodicals.
  • Novelette: ~ 7,500-20,000 words: This category is often a tough sell. Many publishers feel it is too long to include in a magazine, yet it is too short to be a novel. Some authors compile multiple novelettes to create one novel.
  • Novella: ~20,000-50,000 words: Many feel that this is the perfect size for an e-book. Some publishers will combine related novellas, often from various authors, to create one themed novel. 
  • Novel: ~50,000 to 110,000 words: 70,000 words is often viewed as the minimum for submission to publishers for a novel. Some publishers balk at novels over 100,000 words. 
  • Epic or Sequel: ~110,000+: If your story is over 100,000 words, you may first want to consider whether or not there are extraneous words and scenes which could be cut. You may also want to consider breaking the story up into a sequel or trilogy. A single story of this length is a hard sell for an author. Once you become a well-known author, you may be able to get by with a work of this length.

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Amish Homecoming" by Jo Ann Brown


"I can't believe my eyes. Is that who I think it is?"

Ezra Stoltzfus looked up from the new buggy he'd been admiring. His older brother Joshua had done an excellent job with the courting buggy he was building for his son. It was low and sleek, exactly what Ezra's nephew Timothy would want when he was ready to ask a special girl to let him take her home from a singing.

He was about to ask Joshua what he was talking about, but then he looked through the large glass window at the front of his brother's buggy shop in the small village of Paradise Springs. Every word fled from his mind.

It couldn't be. Not after all this time. It had been ten years.

Getting out of a family buggy in the parking lot of the line of shops connected to the Stoltzfus Market was a slender woman dressed plain in dark purple. From beneath her black bonnet. Her white kapp peeked out along with her golden hair that glistened in the spring sunshine.

A small, black dog jumped from the buggy and stayed close to the woman as she spoke to someone inside. She smiled, and he knew it. It was Leah Beiler!

He couldn't have forgotten Leah's heart-shaped face with a single dimple in her left cheek. Not if he tried, and the gut Lord knew how much he'd tried for the past ten years, since she and her twin brother, Johnny, left Paradise Springs. They'd gone without telling anyone where they intended to go. They hadn't come back.

Until today.

You can read my review at the following link:
(I rated it 4/5 stars)

About Jo Ann...

Jo Ann Brown has published over 100 titles under a variety of pen names since selling her first book in 1987. A former military officer, she enjoys telling stories, taking pictures, and traveling. She has taught creative writing for more than 20 years and is always excited when one of her students sells a project. She has been married for more than 30 years and has three children. Currently she lives in Nevada. She enjoys hearing from her readers. Drop her a note at

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's a prompt to try today.

Write a short biography about your sibling or best friend. 

*Begin with a sentence that will really grab the reader and pull them in immediately. Be sure to use examples as to why the reader should be drawn to this person.

Happy writing!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done."
  — Stephen Wright

Sometimes the hardest part is taking that first step. As Stephen Wright states, put down those page numbers. Take that small step, even if it is just getting one sentence on a piece of paper. If you need to, put the work aside and come back to it later in the day. Good writing is a process, and it shouldn't be rushed. The important thing to remember is to take that first step.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 1, 2016

"Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook" by Debora M. Coty... and a GIVEAWAY

In celebration of her latest release, Debora has graciously offered to give away a hard copy of the book (US Only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. (Contest ends January 8, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Debora...

When my book Too Blessed to be Stressed (I call it the "Mama Book," and its twelve offspring are my "Baby Blessings.") came out four years ago, I was amazed at the amount of feedback I received from women across the world regarding the need for more help in managing the overwhelming stress in their lives. So much of our stress as women takes place in our kitchens — planning, preparing, and cleaning up food for families.

Yes, we're all stressed in our crazy-busy lives, but I believe we can be whelmed without being overwhelmed. We just need a little loving, fun-filled guidance to decom-stress. So I came up with the idea of writing a cookbook that is more than just a cookbook … it's a let's-do-life-together book. An ongoing, latte-sipping, laughter-filled chat between girlfriends that includes easy-but-delicious foods, hilarious foodie stories, crazy culinary adventures, time-saving tips, suggested menus, and even pre-made grocery list for up to eight weeks of meals. Best of all, there are over 100 recipes that require less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time so you don't have to stay shackled to your kitchen. Stress-free meals that are simple, satisfying time savers.

My Review...

If you are like most people, you want good meals with minimal prep time. That is exactly what you will find in this book… along with some inspiration for your day.

Coty, author of the very popular Too Blessed To Be Stressed book, has created a cookbook to help decrease stress with mealtime. I LOVE cookbooks, so I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review this one, particularly as I am a fan of Coty’s other books.

The book is divided into four sections: Time-Wise (which includes dump meal and slow cooker recipes), Soul-Fed (comfort foods), Heart-Healthy, and Company-Happy. It even includes menu suggestion combos and grocery lists.  Throughout the book, the reader will find quotes and stories from the author and various famous people, such as Julia Child, Miss Piggy, Nancy Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and Roseanne. A list of staples to keep on hand is included at the beginning, and there are tips for most recipes. Numerous photos are included, as well. Prep time for all of the recipes is 20 minutes or less. Most recipes use basic ingredients that the reader is likely to already have in their kitchen.
There are so many yummy recipes included, and I can’t wait to try them all! Some of the recipes on my list to try first are: Mighty Pleasin’ Potpie, Luscious Lime Pie, Parmesan Chicken and Pasta, Cheesy Broccoli Chowder, Tantalizing Tamale Pie, Sweet Potato Home Fries, and Oyster Cracker Eaties. I’m really looking forward to making the latter, as it was reminds me of something my grandma used to make. I believe this will become one of my favorite go-to cookbooks, particularly on a busy day!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon link for purchase:

About Debora and where to find her online...

Debora M. Coty is a humorist, speaker, and award-winning author of numerous inspirational books, including the Too Blessed to be Stressed line. Debora lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her long-suffering husband Chuck and three audacious grand buddies next door.

Debora hosts two blogs, one personal (Life in the Crazy Lane) and one for aspiring writers (Grit for the Oyster). Both are accessible through her website,

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