Friday, April 29, 2016

"Sit, Stay, Love" by Dana Mentink ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Dana has graciously offered to give away a copy of the book (US Only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. (Contest ends May 6, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Dana...

Dogs, dogs, dogs! I realized my writing was going to the dogs when I started writing both a K-9 continuity series for Love Inspired Suspense and a dog-themed lighthearted romance for Harvest House at the same time! How did this come about? Well, I love dogs and I love writing lighthearted stories (which I don't get to do very often), so when my agent told me Harvest House was looking for someone to write a dog-themed series, I took off my suspense hat, wagged my tail, and said, "Yes!" Hence, I found myself writing two dog-themed stories at once.

For the suspense novel, I was busily researching the amazing abilities of the bloodhound, and for the other, getting familiar with the ins and outs of baseball and doxies. Things were going along swimmingly until the event that I'd long dreaded finally happened. My beloved Nala, my neurotic, gentle-hearted canine companion of thirteen years, passed away. Our Mentink hearts were broken, and it was difficult to continue to write about these various fictional dogs. The book Sit, Stay, Love was especially hard, since Tippy, the star of that book, is a thirteen-year-old mutt. Tippy is actually based on a real dog that was rescued by the Muttville group, a nonprofit organization based here in San Francisco which finds homes for senior dogs. Part of the proceeds from the book will go to this excellent organization.

In spite of our sad goodbye to my dear Nala, Tippy found a special place in my heart and in the novel. She is gentle and true, devoted and impulsive, the very best kind of friend.  I hope that you will enjoy reading about her antics as she brings two loving hearts together. As they say in the book, "There's just something about Tippy!" 

My Review...

Cal Crawford is a big shot professional pitcher, and he has no time for a relationship with a woman or animal. Therefore, he is less than thrilled to learn that he has inherited his mom’s overweight Doxie mix, Tippy. Gina Palmer wants to be a teacher, but she needs money so she agrees to fill in for her cousin as a pet sitter for Tippy. She falls in love with Tippy, but finds Cal anything but endearing. In fact, he is downright crabby. She is determined to save Tippy from being sent to the pound. Cal just wants to play baseball, but it appears that God may have different plans. Is it possible for Tippy to teach them both lessons about life?

“There's just something about Tippy!” She is truly the star of this book. It’s a winner for animal lovers and baseball fans alike, as well as anyone who enjoys a quick, lighthearted read. There is more depth than I initially expected to find, and numerous scenes had me laughing and crying. Cal undergoes some great character development, and Gina is a sincere, friendly character. It is easy to root for the hero and heroine, and Tippy, and to see God working in their lives. Though this book is a bit different from some of Mentink’s, she definitely hits a home run! The second book in the series will be out in August.

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

Amazon link for purchase...

About Dana...

Dana Mentink is a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and she has also been honored with a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She is pleased to write for Harlequins Love Inspired Suspense and Harlequin Heartwarming. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a naughty terrier mix with a sock fetish, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet. 

You can find her online at:

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Wednesday, April 27, 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 most interesting person that I have ever met...

Happy writing!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."
              — Isaac Asimov

Being a writer means that you are writing. It really is that simple. It is possible to create a writing habit by forming a writing routine. Do you have routine? If not, this week may be the perfect time to start one.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Reunion Mission" by Virginia Vaughan ... and a GIVEAWAY!

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

A Word from Virginia...

I love stories of ordinary people like myself being swept into dangerous situations. The idea for Reunion Mission blossomed from an image I had of a teacher literally stumbling over a dead student in her classroom. Why was she there, I wondered, and what if the killer hadn't left? That train of thought led to her being accused of the student's murder. She needed someone on her side to protect her and believe in her innocence, and since this was the second book in my "Rangers Under Fire" series, I knew my hero would be a former army ranger. Enter DEA Agent Matt Ross, the man who shattered her world and her heart on prom night ten years earlier.

Q & A...

Q:  What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A:  Law school was always in my plans, but I chose to put that dream on hold in order to concentrate on my writing.

Q:  What do you consider the hardest part of being a writer?
A:  The most difficult thing I've discovered about being a writer is finding time to do everything that needs to be done, including brainstorming new ideas, writing proposals, marketing, and maintaining an online presence.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  Finish the book! That's the hardest part of getting started in a writing career. It's so easy to start a book, but finishing it truly is the challenge.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project?
A:  I have two more books releasing in 2016, and I'm super excited about both. My next story is the third book in the "Rangers Under Fire" series. It's titled Ranch Refuge and is releasing in August. The fourth book in the series is called Mistletoe Reunion Threat and releases in December.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to answer a few questions for my readers!

You can read my review in the April 2016 issue of RT Bookreviews Magazine or at the following link...
(I rated it 4.5 - TOP PICK!/5 stars.)

Amazon link for purchase...

About Virginia...

Award-winning author Virginia Vaughan was born and raised in Mississippi and has never strayed far beyond those borders. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. She currently writes for Love Inspired Suspense.

Where you can find her online:

Twitter:     @gin_vaughan

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Do I need a hyphen here?

Tuesday Tip

"Do not overdo the literary device of hyphenating words that are not usually linked: the stringing-together-of-lots-and-lots-of-words-and-ideas tendency can be tiresome."
— The Economist Style Guide

There are some general guidelines which can help you determine whether or not words can, or should be, hyphenated and when they should not. Words with common or short prefixes generally do not require hyphenation. However, if closing up a word could cause confusion, a hyphen should be used. (An example would be recreate vs. re-create.) If you have a longer word where consonants are run together, these can be hyphenated for clarity. (One example would be cross-reference.) Whenever numbers are used to describe the age of a character, there should be a hyphen (for example, a sixteen-year-old girl). 

Friday, April 15, 2016

"Just Claire" by Jean Ann Williams ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Jean Ann has graciously offered to give away a copy of the book (US Only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. (Contest ends April 22, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from the Author...

My own mother became depressed after one of my siblings was born. I was ten years old. As time went on, we lost one of my other siblings to a house fire and my mother descended into mentall illness, and she never recovered. As a tween, I could have benefited from a book like Just Claire. This is what gave me idea of Just Claire, so my hope is this story will help young readers as they go through own losses.

My Review...

Thirteen-year-old ClaireLee Monteiro is left to care for her siblings after their mom gives birth and is rushed to the hospital. They are new in town, and Claire just wants to fit in at school, particularly with the popular girls (the “Lavender Girls Club”). Her new friend Belinda Cruz is poor and unpopular but loyal. When Mama returns home, it is clear to Claire that she is not the same person. Claire must take on additional, and new, responsibilities, though she just longs to be a kid. Will Mama ever be the same again? Will Claire choose popularity over true friendship?

This is a middle grade, clean reads, coming-of-age book which takes place in California in the 1960s. Williams writes in an easy, relatable style. Claire’s inner struggles, particularly with high expectations from her parents, will be relatable to many. Strong dialogue and steady pacing combine to make this book a great one for mothers and daughters to read together. Some difficult issues, such as postpartum depression, are skillfully handled. Claire is a strong character who learned early on to look to God for her strength and support, which is encouraging to see in a character.

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

About Jean Ann Williams...

Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

Downloads available at Amazon:

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Wednesday, April 13, 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:

It wasn't going to be easy, but I had to confront my father about...

Happy writing!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
— William Wordsworth

Your writing should be as natural to you as your own breathing. Don't overthink things. Don't filter things. Just fill your page with the words that come to your mind. Write about what is important to you.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, April 8, 2016

"Most Wanted" by Lisa Scottoline ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release (on April 12, 2016), Lisa's publisher 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 April 15, 2016.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

A Word from Lisa...

I love novels that involve the complexity of moral and ethical issues. And this idea just came to me one day, because I was thinking about how much my daughter means to me, and I'm a single mother with only one child. And I thought about what if I couldn't have had her, and then what if I had used a sperm donor, and then what if my donor turned out to be a suspected serial killer? It was as crazy a what-if as I could imagine but also one that would involve a lot of moral, ethical, and emotional complexity, so I got busy!

My Review...

You can read my review at the following link:
(I rated it 4.5 - TOP PICK!/5 stars.)

Amazon link for purchase:

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and also writes a weekly column, called Chick Wit, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has won many honors and awards, notably the Edgar Award, given for excellence in crime fiction, and the Fun Fearless Female Award from Cosmopolitan Magazine. She also teaches a course she created, called Justice and Fiction, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and regularly does speaking engagements. There are twenty-five million copies of her books in print, and she is published in over thirty other countries. Lisa graduated magna cum laude in three years from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. degree in English, and her concentration was Contemporary American Fiction, taught by Philip Roth and others. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She remains a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, where she lives with her array of disobedient pets.

You can find her online at:

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Happy Endings?

Tuesday Tip

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."

—Orson Welles

When do you know that you are really done with your story? Sometimes you have followed your original outline, but you are tempted to continue the story. This often happens when you are in love with your characters. You need to make sure that you have both a climax to your story and a denouncement. These are not the same thing. The climax is the high point of the story, and the denouncement is when all of the characters, and the reader, understand the final outcome of the action. Every story does not need to end on a happy note. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a perfect example. While it ends on a sad note, it is apparent that the story has reached its conclusion.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"Playing the Part" by Jen Turano (Litfuse Blog Tour)

My Review...

New York City actress Lucetta Plum is forced to go into hiding after a fan’s interest turns threatening. Her widowed, elderly friend Abigail Hart offers to help her out by hiding her at Ravenwood Castle, the home of Abigail’s eccentric grandson Bram Haverstein. Lucetta has no time for matchmaking and plans to keep her distance from Bram. She has been self-sufficient since she was 13 and sees no reason why that should change now. Bram has admired her from a distance for some time and can hardly believe she is at his castle. Lucetta will be in for an adventure when strange events start happening at Ravenwood. She is determined to get to the bottom of things. Will Bram come to see that Lucetta is not all he expected? Is it possible for them to realize that they are exactly what the other needs?

This is the third and final book in Turano’s “A Class of Their Own” series. Turano’s signature humor, mystery, and romance combine. The zany scenes and fun characters are distinctive traits of the author. There is not as much spiritual element as some may expect to find in this lighthearted historical romance, but it is neatly woven throughout the story. The reader will likely be chuckling at many points in the book. It is best to read the books in order to fully appreciate this charming series.

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

Purchase a copy...

Litfuse tour landing page...

About Jen...

Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Ladies of Distinction series and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top 10 romance of 2015 from Booklist. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top 10 romance by Booklist in 2013. Playing the Part, her latest release, will be followed by a new four-book series, The Wallflowers. When she's not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying life as an empty-nester because her son recently abandoned her for the college life.  She can be found at or visit her on the web at She is represented by Susan Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.