Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

— Joe Sabah (click to tweet)

Procrastination. Everyone struggles with this from time to time. At least 20% of Americans define themselves as chronic procrastinators. Procrastination does not involve just putting off unpleasant tasks. A true procrastinator puts off pleasurable ones as well. Don't procrastinate with your writing. Instead, establish a regular routine.  If you never start, you will never have the chance to be great! 

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 26, 2016

"Always Watching" by Lynette Eason

My Review...

Wade Savage has a thriving career as a psychiatrist and radio host. He also has a stalker who is getting bolder. Unbeknownst to Wade, his father hires a bodyguard from Elite Guardians, Madelyn McKay. When Madeleine is attacked, and almost killed, on duty, her coworker Olivia Edwards takes over. Wade is not thrilled to have a bodyguard, but he accepts it after he is attacked, which is a huge step up from the weird gifts and hang-ups which had been occurring. Wade stirred things up with the stalker when he announced on air that he had thrown out the gifts. Now, it appears that the stalker will settle for nothing short of his death. As the danger increases, so does Olivia’s attraction to Wade. Will she be able to keep him alive and save her own heart in the process? Is Wade’s stalker a lonely, hurting caller, or is it someone who has outsmarted everyone?  This is the first book in Eason’s new series, “Elite Guardians.” There is more suspense than romance, and the fast pace makes it difficult to put down. The story keeps you guessing right up to the end because just when you think you have it figured out, Eason throws a curveball!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the Revell Reads blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review.

Amazon link for purchase: 


Lynette EasonLynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. Even as a young girl, she knew she wanted her life to reflect the love of Jesus Christ.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Business Degree she used for a very short time (sorry Mom and Dad), she moved to Spartanburg, SC to attend Converse College where she obtained her Masters degree in Education. During this time, she met the man she would marry—the boy next door!
She is married to Jack Eason, who speaks, leads worship, and consults ministries around the country. They have two children.
Lynette’s books have appeared on the ECPA and CBA bestseller lists and have won several awards.
Too Close to Home – 2011 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest WINNER
Don’t Look Back – 2011 Carol Award Finalist
A Killer Among Us – 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest finalist
When the Smoke Clears – Romantic Times 4.5 Stars, 2013 ECPA 2013 Book of the Year Finalist, 2013 Selah Award Finalist
When A Heart Stops – 2013 Carol Award WINNER
When A Secret Kills – 2013 Line Award Finalist
Some of Lynette’s favorite authors who influenced her writing include, Brandilyn Collins, Dee Henderson, Shirlee McCoy, Karen Kingsbury, Robert Liparulo, Terri Blackstock and Deborah Raney.
Lynette is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), FHL (Faith, Hope, and Love) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).
Lynette thanks God for giving her the talent and desire to spin stories that bring readers to the edge of their seat, but most importantly, to the throne of Christ.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Alliteration

"Also, avoid all awkward or affected alliteration."
— William Safire, How Not to Write

Alliteration is the repetition of the first sound of a word. Some authors do this to make the phrase memorable or cute. While that may work, it does not necessarily make for good writing. Many readers find its a bit annoying, even though it works quite well in spoken language. You want the reader to continue reading, not throw the book across the room.

So remember: avoid alliteration always!

Friday, February 19, 2016

"Ransom" by Terri Reed ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Terri 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 February 26, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Terri…

Ransom is book four of the "Northern Border" series from Love Inspired Suspense. These books feature the men and women who protect the US/Canadian border. The hero in Ransom, ICE agent Blake Fallon, appeared in the previous books and really caught my attention. I wanted to know what his story was and if he could have his own HEA. As I was researching ideas for a plot, I stumbled across a news article about a woman who’d smuggled jewels across the border by swallowing them. This story made me consider what one would do for money. Or love. Which led me to wonder to what lengths would a woman go to in order to win her sister’s freedom from kidnappers? What ransom would she pay? As I began to look at the questions, the plot developed, and along with it, the heroine, Liz Cantrell. She and Blake were such opposites and yet had so much in common. It was gratifying to give them a HEA.

Q & A with Terri…

Q:  What would you be doing if you are not an author?
A:  Prior to becoming a published author I worked for a high-end department store. I would probably still be there.

Q:  What are your thoughts on the publishing industry in general?  
A:  It’s a changing industry that requires those involved to be flexible and adaptable.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors? 
A:  My advice is to study your craft and join writers organizations where you can network and learn from others. Be teachable.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book? 
A:  Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project? 
A:  My next release is out in April 2016.Protect and Serve is book one of the "Rookie K-9 Unit" continuity series from Love Inspired Suspense. A murder has occurred in a small Arizona town. K-9 trainer Gina Perry is the prime suspect, and Officer Shane West and his German shepherd partner are determined to uncover the truth, even if it means putting the pretty trainer behind bars.

Q:  What is your favorite Bible verse? 
A:  Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Q:  That's a great verse. It's one of my favorites, as well. Do you use a PC or Mac?  

Q:  Favorite season? 
A:  Fall, when the leaves change colors and the air is brisk.

Q:  I agree. Fall is my favorite season, as well, for the reasons you noted… and football :-) Favorite band or song? 
A:  "Waiting For A Girl Like You" by Foreigner

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. I'm sure my readers will enjoy the opportunity to get to know you a bit better.

My Review…

About Terri…

Terri Reed’s inspirational romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100, been featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine, finaled in RWA’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest, and ACFW’s The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ or P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224

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Wednesday, February 17, 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:

"When I look in the mirror, I see..."

Happy writing!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"They say writing is lonely work. But that's an exaggeration. Even alone at their desks, writers entertain visitors: characters of  a novel, famous and not so famous figures from the past. On good days, all these come to the table. On bad days, however, only unwelcome visitors appear: the specter of your third grade teacher who despaired of your penmanship…"
— Allegra Goodman

As a writer, you will have good days and bad days. The challenge is learning to go with the flow and keep writing. All writers ask questions about their calling. Has someone else written this? Did they do a better job? Am I crazy to think I can handle this? These are the "unwelcome visitors." Set these aside voices and continue to put words on the paper every day.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Step by Step" by Candace Calvert ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Candace 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 February 19, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Candace...

I so appreciate your hosting me here, Leslie. It’s a delight to “mingle” with your readers, and share a bit about the release of my newest book:

Step by Step is the second story in my new "Crisis Team" series, following By Your Side. (All of my stories can be read as standalones, no worries) This series honors the work of community crisis chaplains, who are in my opinion very real heroes.  In the aftermath of tragedy (disaster, SIDS, suicide, murder, unexpected loss of a loved one), these specially trained volunteers offer a caring presence for the survivors. As one chaplain has put it: “We are emotional paramedics.”

On a personal note, I received Critical Incident Stress Management training during my years as an ER nurse. I was part of an intervention team offering support to hospital staff affected by especially rugged cases. Caregivers cry, too.  But they also know the adrenaline-infused rush of saving a life, enjoy laugh-filled silly moments . . . and sometimes fall in love, too. My hospital-based stories welcome readers to be part of all of that.

Q & A with Candace...

Q:  What would you be doing if you are not an author?
A:  Oh, wow… (Besides being a wife, mom, grandmother, world traveler) I might indulge my fantasy of owning a horse farm or running a bed-and-breakfast in a California vineyard or…

Q:  What are your thoughts on the publishing industry in general and in relation to self-publishing?
A.  More than nine books later, I'm still pinching myself that I'm teamed with Tyndale House. It is truly a dream come true. I've only known traditional publishing, but I'm fascinated by the growth in indie and hybrid publishing— and I applaud my friends who are finding success there.

Q: What advice you have for new authors?
A:  Read widely. Join an organization like American Christian Fiction Writers ( Attend conferences. Network with other writers, especially those just a bit ahead on the path. Study the craft. Keep writing. Don't quit. But, most of all, enjoy the journey. Don't feel you must rush to publication.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  There are many, but I love Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird for humorous, practical and poignant, kick-in-the-pants inspiration. A must-read for beginners is Deb Dixon's GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project?
A:  I'm currently working on revisions for the third "Crisis Team" story, Maybe It's You.

Q:  I know you enjoy cooking. What is your favorite thing to make?
A:  Appetizers. Perfect little scrumptious bites— so creative. And tempting. Facebook friends know that "apron time" always includes my sous chef Happy Spoon.

And here's a picture of Happy Spoon! So cute :)

Q:  Are you a PC or Mac user?
A:  PC. It's a Dell.

Q:  What is your favorite season?
A:  (Spice and smoke scented, crispy air and crunchy leaves!) Autumn, absolutely!

Q:  Favorite band or song?
A:  That's tough. I bought hubby an Amazon Echo for Christmas. It's tied to Prime Music, so I can simply say, "Alexa, play…" Right now she's shuffling some Adele tunes.

Q:  What what do you wish you had written?
A:  Water for Elephants, maybe. I love Sara Gruen's voice.

Think so much for stopping by, Candace. I had a great time speaking with you, and I'm sure my readers will enjoy learning a bit more about you.

My Review…

ER nurse Taylor Cabot has been a widow almost three years and is ready to move on. She has created a “survival list,” and falling in love again is last on the list. Questions surrounding her husband’s death return when crisis chaplain Seth Donovan re-enters her life. Taylor begins to wonder whether or not she really knew her husband at all. Seth is shocked to learn that she plans to leave the crisis team, and he is a bit surprised at his own feelings of jealousy when he sees her with another man. Though he wants Taylor to find peace again, is he worried that she will move on to a life which doesn’t include him?

This is the second installment in the “Crisis Team” series, though it can be read as a standalone. As fans have come to expect from Calvert, this is a medical romance/drama full of complex characters and well-integrated secondary characters, many of whom will hopefully return in sequels. All of the characters have a softer side despite their tough exteriors. The pace is consistent throughout, and there is no cliffhanger ending. Calvert’s medical background adds to the realism in this book, which gives the reader an inside look at the important role played by crisis volunteers.

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

Amazon link for purchase…

About Candace…

CANDACE CALVERT is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical, and Crisis Team series. Often called “medical hope opera,” her stories offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California. 

Where you can find her online…

Twitter:       @CandaceCalvert

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Are multiple punctuation marks ever okay???

Tuesday Tip

I'm sure you have come across the use of multiple punctuation marks. However, even in informal writing, where it is often done for added emphasis, it is a practice that is generally discouraged by publishers. With the use of strong words and appropriate tags, the reader will get your point without using multiple punctuation marks.

Friday, February 5, 2016

"The Hero's Sweetheart" by Cheryl Wyatt

A Word from Cheryl...
The Hero's Sweetheart came about in large part due to feedback from readers and requests for Sully's story. He was a secondary character in the first three "Eagle Point Emergency" books. Sully's Diner was a prominent setting in the series and an establishment that honors veterans like Sully and his son Jack, the hero in our story. I wrote the book to honor veterans and show the struggle that people with learning disabilities have. I also wanted to honor my husband, who has dyslexia that went undiagnosed through high school and most of college. Yet now, he's a well-respected, highly sought after entrepreneur and owner of seven successful businesses. It is my hope that the book will encourage those who struggle with any aspect of learning, and that they will be encouraged to follow their dreams and let God help them overcome. 

Q & A with Cheryl...

Q: We'll start with the more serious writing related questions. What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A:  I'd probably still be working as an RN :)

Q:  What are your thoughts on the publishing industry in general and in relation to self-publishing?
A:   I believe that, while we are definitely in an economic slump, book readers, romance fans in particular, are some of the most loyal consumers on the planet. We authors could not do what we do without them. My thoughts are mostly gratitude that readers make the sacrifice of time and money to buy our books even when times are hard. I believe this is a great time in history to be an author in terms of the ability to self-publish. That said, I do still love and appreciate traditional publishers and pray the industry recovers.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  It seems like my advice to new authors is constantly changing, but what's on my heart right now is that they'd be encouraged to not give up when things get hard. Write often. Write well. Stay teachable but wise in who you let edit and critique your work. Also, remember where you came from and reach back and help other aspiring authors as you've been helped. Also, love your readers. I mean really, truly love them without agenda. To remain humble and approachable. To appreciate and honor those who helped you along the road.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  I love Don Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel/Workbook. Also love GMC by Deb Dixon. Excellent for romance writers. GMC also helps with synopsis writing, in my opinion.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project?
A:  God willing, I plan to continue my "Eagle Point Emergency" series with Harlequin/Love Inspired. I just turned in books five and six. I'm also branching out with some indie series, one of which will feature a second team of PJs (Parachute Jumpers). I'd also love to continue writing romance for Zondervan, and I am working on a proposal there.

Q:  Now for some fun questions. What's your favorite season?
A:   Winter. I love snow!!

(Note: Readers, do you agree?? I know I've already had my fill of winter!)

Q:  PC or Mac?
A:  Mac, as of last year. It was a learning curve switching from a PC, but I feel it was well worth it.

Q:  What is your favorite band or song?
A:  I love anything by Jesus Culture. I also love Lauren Daigle. Have you heard her song "Noel"? Incredible! She is an up-and-coming worship leader with a beautiful and unique voice. I also love "Inside Out" by Seventh Day Slumber. It's a prayer I pray a lot before starting a new writing project and dedicating my work to God. You can listen to it here:  Kutlass is also a favorite band. I love "Strong Tower" and their version of the worship song "Jesus, Jesus (Holy and Anointed One)." I like music. Can you tell? LOL!

Q:  I totally agree! I love music, particularly worship songs. You named some great ones, for sure. Just a couple more questions. What book do you wish you had written?
A:  One that would have been made into a Hallmark movie or stayed on the NYT bestseller list for about two years straight :-)

Q:  One final question. What is your favorite Bible verse?
A:  Definitely Psalms 94:1-4:
1.  He who dwells in the shelter of the
Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2.  I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3.  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4.  He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Verse four is my favorite part :-)

Cheryl, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. I'm sure my readers will enjoy the chance to get to know you a bit better.

( I rated it 4.5 - Top Pick!/5 stars)

About Cheryl...

Not even Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would dream that this sweet, shy intercessor plots mayhem during announcements at church. She is a Registered Nurse turned stay-at-home mom, wife, and writer who loves Jesus with all her heart.

Joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She is convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentines Day destined her to write Inspirational Military Romance.

Cheryl loves to laugh and to make others laugh, so she often plans comedic moments for her defenseless characters in spite of their grumbling. She says it's payback for when they refuse to obey the plot she's set out before them.

Prior to publication, six of Cheryl's manuscripts placed in ten RWA contests. Two of Cheryl's stories also placed First in ACFW's Noble Theme Contest 2005 (Contemporary Romance Category), as well as ACFW's Genesis Contest 2006 (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Category).

She took writing courses through Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild and Longridge Writers Institute of Children's Literature, and she has been previously published in non-fiction (poetry, devotionals).

She currently writes for Love Inspired, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Zondervan imprint, and more. Her stories can be purchased anywhere books are sold.

She can be found online:


Wednesday, February 3, 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:

"The road trip I'd love to take is..."

Happy writing!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"Madame, all the words I use in my stories can be found in that dictionary — it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences."
              — W. Somerset Maugham

All writers have access to the same words. Your job is to find a new way to combine those words and entertain your reader. So, grab your dictionary and a pen (or keyboard) and get writing!

Have a wonderful week!