Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday Tip: OK or okay?

Which should you use? OK? Okay? ok?  

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary lists OK as the standard spelling and okay as a "variant." Most book publishers, however, prefer okay. If you're self-publishing, readers are likely to be fine with whichever one you choose. If you're working with a publisher, be sure to check on their preference. It may even be covered in the house style guide.

Friday, November 25, 2016

"The Remnant" by Monte Wolverton (LitFuse Blog Tour)

My review...

What would happen if the Apocalypse happened, and Jesus didn’t show up as expected? That is the premise behind Wolverton’s dystopian release.

Ninety percent of the world’s population has been eliminated, and religion is to blame, apparently, leading to an attack on the remaining ten percent of the population. Grant Cochrin, wife Dana, their two teens, a techie named Bryan, and a few friends escape from a work camp created for people who refused to renounce their religion. Religious books, including the Bible, have been banned. They head out into “The Wilderness.” They know that in doing so, they will never be able to return to the safe zone again. Grant, along with his friends and family, sets out to find other Christians, but they have to be careful to not get caught. They are going on this journey with only a remnant page from the Bible as a guide. Is it possible that their mission can succeed?

I do enjoy dystopian novels, and I had high hopes for this book, as the premise was unique. However, it did not quite live up to my expectations. Overuse of backstory and over-detailing stalls the plot at times. Some flashbacks seem a bit disjointed, as well. The characters were well-developed, but it was a bit hard to feel connected to them. Some of the language is a bit intellectual, which may be off-putting to some readers. The story does reflect racial intolerance and prejudices found in society. The ending paves the way for a possible sequel.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Litfuse Blogger program.

Amazon link for purchase...

Blog tour landing page...

Wednesday, November 23, 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 something different to try today:

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is...

Happy writing!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"On writing, my advice is the same to all. If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write."
— Anne Rice

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ace Collins’ Magic of Christmas Prize Pack ("The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Ace Collins, LitFuse Blog Tour)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Click on the graphic above to enter the "Magic of Christmas Prize Pack" giveaway (as part of the LitFuse Blog Tour for this new release).

My review...

December means a time of celebration for many, especially Christians. It is often considered the most joyous time of the year. Collins has penned a unique devotional, perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
This book covers December 1st through the 31st. Each day contains a daily scripture verse and a devotional. The story behind a popular Christmas tradition, movie, or song is also included, along with some holiday crafts. It is as if Collins took the best of holiday books and put them together to create this one. It helps the reader keep the focus on the true meaning of the season instead of focusing on the busyness. It is inspiring and practical, and each reading short, making it easy to fit into your day. I believe this book will become part of my holiday tradition from now on.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Litfuse Blogger program.

Landing page link for tour...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Indefinite Pronouns

Tuesday Tip

Certain indefinite pronouns are always singular—even though plurality is implied—  it always takes a singular verb.
— The Writer's Digest Writing Clinic

Pronouns referring to one or more unspecified beings, objects, or places are called indefinite pronouns. Some examples include: another, each, either, everyone, nothing, and someone. They may refer to a group, but a singular verb is used. For instance:

  • Everyone on the soccer team gets a new jersey for the season.
  • Someone is knocking at the door.

If you are trying to achieve gender neutrality, this rule needs to be considered. Phrases such as, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" is incorrect.  Instead, it should be, "Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"Unblemished" by Sara Ella

My review...

Eliyana has always been treated a bit differently by most people. Only her mother and Joshua treat her like she is normal. She cannot wait to graduate, as she has spent most of her life staying in the shadows. Her life changes after her mom disappears and Joshua, who is only a few years older than her, becomes her guardian. Eliyana quickly learns that what she once believed to be her weakness could actually be her strength. She also discovers that there is another world she never knew existed.

Eliyana is a very relatable character. The world often views people based on their outer, vs. inner, beauty… unfortunately. There is strong character development throughout as she discovers herself-worth. The plot is intricate, but still easy to follow, and the characters are well-drawn. A key theme is the age-old struggle between good versus evil, as well as the importance of not judging someone solely on their looks. Ella uses first person POV and blends love and drama perfectly in this debut fantasy tale. The reader will likely be eagerly anticipating the sequel, as there is a cliffhanger ending. The cover is absolutely beautiful, and it really compliments story.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the BookLook Bloggers program. A positive review was not required.

Amazon link for purchase...

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Intermission" by Serena Chase ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of her latest release, Serena is hosting a giveaway. You can find the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post. Good luck!

Q & A with Serena...

Q: What was the inspiration for Intermission?
 A: Intermission began eight or nine(ish) years ago as a short story assignment I completed as part of the Apprentice Course with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. My mentor for that program, author Sandra Byrd, thought it had potential to be expanded into a novel. Many years and many drafts later … it is finally meeting the world.

Q: What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A:  I’d like to say something in the entertainment business, because that has always been my drive, my passion. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of jobs in my area (rural Iowa) in which I can utilize my formal education (my degree is in Music Business—I’d intended to stay in Nashville, where I went to college, but … love brought me back home to Iowa.) I did enjoy being a substitute teacher at some area high schools several years ago, so I might have gone back to school to get my teaching licensure.  Luckily, I’ve found my passion.

Q: What do you consider the hardest part about being a writer?
A:  Social isolation. It is very difficult to balance having a real life off the page with the time and focus necessary to create fictional lives within the pages of your stories.

Q: What can you tell me about your next project? 
A: For November’s NaNoWriMo event I’m heading back to E’veria, the world created in my Eyes of E’veria fantasy series. My original plan was to write a novella about Veetrish Storyteller Rowlen de Whittier, who is a minor character in the existing books. But the more I get into my planning, the more I realize this is a big story, and it will likely turn into a full-length novel before I’m through.  At present, I’m planning it to be a mash-up of two reimagined fairy tales, but I’m not ready to divulge, publicly, which fairy tales quite yet. You’ll have to wait and see!

My review...

Sixteen-year-old Faith Prescott cannot wait to leave her small-town Iowa community for Broadway, much to her parents’ dismay. They, particularly her mother, look down on the music profession. Therefore, they are not impressed to meet Noah Spencer, a nineteen-year-old who shares Faith’s musical theater dreams. Faith doesn’t understand where the dislike comes from, but her parents are determined to keep her away from Noah. When rumors threaten her friendships, and even freedom, Faith must decide what is most important to her: her dreams or obeying her parents.

Chases’s latest is a beautifully written, first person POV coming-of-age story. As a fan of everything musical, I loved it! The characters are likable, and the moral issues and family dynamics are realistic. First love and asserting one’s independence are key themes. I do need to note that there is some verbal and emotional abuse included, though it is handled skillfully. It is nice to read a book where the teen characters have values and a strong faith. Religious themes are woven throughout, but they are not overwhelming. While it is a bit hard to tolerate Faith’s mother at times, she does portray the belief some people have that music is not a legitimate career path. However, dreams are God-given, and the characters accurately depict the struggle of following what is in your heart versus obeying your parents.

One of my favorite takeaway quotes is: “When you’re certain that what you’re holding onto is something true, leap.”

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to leave a review. Opinions expressed are my own 

Amazon link for purchase...

About Serena...

Serena Chase is the author of the critically-acclaimed Eyes of E'veria series and a regular contributor to USA Today's Happy Ever After blog. A lifelong performer who sometimes speaks in show tunes, Serena lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, teen daughters Delaney and Ellerie, and a 100-pound white Goldendoodle named Albus, who is the biggest star of her Instagram account.

Where you can connect with Serena:

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/Serena_Chase
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/SerenaChaseAuthorOfficial/
Newsletter: http://serenachase.com/about-serena/newsletter-sign-up/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/serena_chase/
Website:     http://serenachase.com/
Happily Ever After blog;  http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/?s=serena+chase

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 9, 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 something different to try today:

Write a short biography of your favorite historical figure.

Happy writing!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday Motivation

Some motivation to begin your week:

"It's so easy to fool yourself into thinking that you're working hard. It's so easy not to write. So you use any trick you can to make yourself know there's work to be done. That's why I wear a jacket and tie when I sit down to write.
— Robert Caro

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 4, 2016

"Trust My Heart" by Carol J. Post ... and a GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of  this release, Carol has graciously offered to give away a hard copy (US) or ebook (outside US) of the book! To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post. (Contest ends November 11, 2016.) If you are the the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information. Good luck!

Q & A with Carol...

Q:  What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A:  I would still be writing in some fashion or another, because I can’t imagine NOT writing. Although my first novel was published fairly recently (just under four years ago), I’ve been writing for most of my life. I was one of those weird kids that actually enjoyed doing book reports and research papers. As a child and teenager, I wrote poetry. That evolved into writing articles that found their way into some Christian and children’s publications. My husband and I worked with Marriage Encounter for a short time, which involved writing talks that we presented as part of the program. I even did a short stint writing commercials and skits for a radio station.

Q:  Totally not weird! I loved book reports, research papers, and writing poetry too :) That's very interesting that you wrote commercials and radio station skits! How did you start writing?
A:  Although I’ve always enjoyed writing, I didn’t consider trying to write for publication until around 1990. My husband and I were working with Marriage Encounter at the time, and the leader would edit the talks we wrote. After submitting two or three of them, I received a note back that in twenty-five years of leading Marriage Encounter weekends, that was the first talk she’d received that didn’t require edits. That got me thinking that maybe I had a natural “bent” toward writing and should try to write for publication. The thought had never entered my mind previously.

Q:  What do you consider the hardest part about being a writer?
A:  Juggling all the different aspects of the career. I enjoy speaking, doing book signings, blogging, and interacting with my readers on Facebook and Twitter, but all those activities take time away from writing the next book. Sometimes finding that perfect balance is difficult.

Q:  Yes, those things do take a lot of time, but I'm sure your readers are glad to have the opportunity to interact with you! What are your thoughts on the publishing industry in general? In relation to self-publishing?
A:  I’m not someone who keeps a finger on the pulse of the publishing industry, but I can say that I’m glad, for me personally, that self-publishing wasn’t an option when I wrote my first novel. I was so convinced that the plot was riveting, the characters compelling, and the writing just overall amazing, that after those first few rejections, I might have run out and self-published it instead of buckling down and really learning the craft. That said, though, I’m so glad the option is there. I know a lot of incredibly good writers whose books don’t fit neatly into any of the traditional publishing slots, and I think it’s great that they can get their stories out there and into the hands of readers.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  That one’s easy—join a writer’s group. I started my novel writing career back in the mid- to late- 1990s but got discouraged and quit three different times. If I hadn’t found my way to Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Tampa Area Romance Authors, in 2010, I would probably still be unpublished. Not only have I gained invaluable information from all the workshops I’ve attended, but the encouragement and support I’ve received from the authors in the group have made all the difference for me.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. It’s actually a book on screenwriting, but it has a lot of really great information for novelists and is written in an easy-to-read, engaging manner.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project?
A:  My next book is titled Buried Memories and will release in January. It’s being published by Love Inspired Suspense and is the fourth in my Cedar Key series. Tyler Brant is an ex-soldier who is struggling with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. Nicki Jackson experienced a traumatic childhood but is now under attack and has no idea why. She wonders if the answers lie in her recurring nightmares, terrifying visions that may actually be suppressed memories.

Q:  How did you decide to write in multiple genres? What are the challenges of doing both? Which genre is your favorite?
A:  My first seven published books are in the inspirational romantic suspense genre, but many years ago when my daughter was a teenager, we decided it would be fun to write a novel together. It was an inspirational romance, and I think we made it through about three chapters before we ran out of steam. I always loved the story and some time back, I decided to pick it up and dust it off. I changed the setting from a fictional town in the mountains to Murphy, North Carolina, and started rewriting. Not much of the original draft remains, but Jami and Grant are easily recognizable in those early pages, as are a few of the plot elements.

Besides being my first non-suspense, Trust My Heart is my first “single title” length. (With the exception of one novella that I self-published, all of my suspense books are published through Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line, which is “category” length.) I honestly can’t say I have a favorite. My inspirational romantic suspense stories are fun to write because they’re tense and fast-paced and often a bit eerie. My inspirational romance stories are much more lighthearted, with humor sprinkled in, which makes them fun to write also.

Q:  Who are some of your favorite authors?
A:  I have so many I like that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few favorites. I’m currently reading Another Day Another Dali, Sandra Orchard’s second Serena Jones mystery. I loved A Fool and His Monet, the first book in the series. It was fast-paced, full of quirky characters, and laugh-out-loud funny. This one promises to be as good as the first.

Q:  I agree that Sandra's books are quite good. I haven't read her latest book, but I've read a number of her books. What's something that would surprise your readers?
A:  I once chased a car thief across the church parking lot in a dress and high heels. Many years ago, my husband and I arrived at church a little late on a Wednesday night to find a man stretched across my mom’s front seat working on hot wiring her car. He took off, and I lost him when he jumped the fence at the back of the property. As I’ve gotten older, I’m not nearly as impulsive as I used to be. Now I leave the chases to my law enforcement heroes and heroines!

Oh, my goodness! That was certainly a brave thing to do! I certainly didn't expect that surprising info :) You're very welcome, Carol. Thanks so much for being here. I'm sure my readers enjoyed getting to know you a bit better!

Thank you for having me on your blog, Leslie. I enjoyed the visit!

My review...

Grant McAlilister is in Murphy, NC to sell property inherited from his grandmother. He plans to return to the big city and his job as a lawyer as soon as possible. He is totally perplexed as to why the property was left to him, as his grandmother never wanted anything to do with him while she was alive. He meets Jami Carlisle when she tries to interview him. She is looking to make her big break with her latest assignment, which is an article on the McAllister family and their estate. She hopes Grant can help her with that. However, he never really knew his family, and he is not interested in learning about them now. Neither one is looking for a relationship, though Jami’s boss is trying to play the part of matchmaker. Jami uncovers secrets which may cause Grant to look at his family in a different light. Will he also reevaluate his plans as a result?

This is the first in a new series for Post. While there are times when Jami seems a bit too perfect, this is an enjoyable book which is likely to leave the reader both laughing and crying. The characters and storyline are well-developed, and themes of forgiveness, trust, and love are woven throughout. One of my favorite takeaway reminders from the book is: “Bitterness can ruin your life if you let it.”

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to leave a review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Amazon link for purchase...

About Carol...

Carol J. Post lives in sunshiny Central Florida and writes fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her books have been nominated for a RITA® award and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She also enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

Social media links:
Website – www.caroljpost.com
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Everyday or Every day?

Tuesday Tip

Many people are confused about the difference between everyday and every day. Here are some tips to help.

  1. Everyday is an adjective. It describes a noun. For example: Grading papers is an everyday activity for teachers.
  2. Every day is a combination of an additive and a noun, and it means "each day." For example: Don vowed to exercise at least 30 minutes  every day.
  • Everyday comes before the noun you are describing, and every day comes after.