I want to extend a warm welcome to Marguerite Martin Gray. Marguerite is giving away a copy of the first two books in her series (Hold Me Close and Surrender). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 3, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Marguerite...
for the opportunity to share a bit about myself with you today. As the summer
is zipping by, I am busy writing and editing while spending time researching
and reading. Since my recent move from Texas to Louisiana, I’ve been a little
detached from my “stuff.” Slowly, I am determining a writing schedule in my new
Revolutionary Faith Book One and
Two,Hold Me Close and Surround Me, published in 2015 and 2016, take place in 1772-1774
Charles Town, South Carolina. The pre-revolution drama affects the lives of
ordinary citizens, immigrants, and prominent historical figures. Decisions are
made that will change the world. Louis Lestarjette, a French immigrant and
merchant, encounters a society on the brink of revolution. Who can he trust in
his endeavors to prosper? Will he be able to stay neutral in a battle for
independence? Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of a prominent British citizen, is
faced with making difficult decisions about her loyalties. When the mysterious
Frenchman enters her life, her role in the political battle is challenged. Can
she trust her heart in volatile situations?
Bring Me Near: Revolutionary Faith
Book Three will be
released in Fall 2017. Follow familiar characters through the decisive events
of 1775. Will Charles Town and her citizens support and accept the possibility
of separation from Britain? How will Louis and Elizabeth protect their family
child, I devoured books. When I lived in England for two years during upper
elementary, I started writing short stories. I continued writing journals on my
travels and everyday life until the present. Finally, I became serious about
writing six years ago, and since then I’ve written six novels. I returned to
university and completed my MA in English.
inspired me to research my family history, so I went to Charleston and retraced
some of the steps of Louis and Elizabeth, my main characters. My parents surrounded me with history, travel,
and educational opportunities.
whenever I can: the United States, Europe, and Central and South America. I
find ideas for my stories through people I meet or interesting stories I hear
about the local history. The Revolutionary Faith series is the result of family
history research and my visits to Charleston. In my writing, I always use real
historical characters in minor roles. They interact with my fictional
characters. I place them in historical situations and try to figure out what
they would say and do in their everyday lives.
What am I working on now? I have finished
writing and editing Labor of Love,
Book One in my Gardens in Time
series. This novel is a stand-alone set in 1560 Florence, Italy. Book Two, Promise of Purity, is written, waiting
for me to edit. It is set in 1660 Hampton Court, England. This summer I am
writing Revolutionary Faith Book Four, Draw
Me to Your Side. I’m busy and love it. In the fall, I will add teaching to
my agenda, which I have done for over 25 years.
Thank you for your time. I hope your summer
is productive and inspiring.
Marguerite Martin Gray is the author of Hold Me Close: Revolutionary Book One and
Surround Me: Revolutionary Faith Book
Two. She enjoys studying history and writing fiction. An avid traveler and
reader, she teaches French and has degrees in French, Spanish, and journalism
from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MA in English from
Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Marguerite is a member of American
Christian Fiction Writers, Abilene Writers Guild, Daughters of the American
Revolution, South Carolina Historical Society, and the Preservation Society of
Charleston. Recently, she moved from
Abilene, Texas to North Louisiana with her husband.
This week, I want to highlight some online writing communities which may be useful resources. There are many of them, so I'm only listing three this week.
Figment (http://figment.com/): This site was founded by two former staff members of the New Yorker. This is a place where writers can share their stories or poems, as well as collaborate with others and receive critiques. There is also a chat section available where you can ask questions of industry professionals.
StoryADay (http://storyaday.org/): This is a site to promote creativity, and there are challenges to write a short story every day for a month. Accountability groups and the option to subscribe to a podcast are also available.
WritersNet (http://www.writers.net/): This is a place where you can find directories of writers, editors, publishers, and agents organized by industry.
Everyone likely knows that life is full of pits, and
Moore points out the three ways we end up in one: pushed in, fall in, or dive
in. With down-to-earth and relatable stories, the author sets out to show the
reader how to tell if they’re in a pit, as well as how to get out of them. It’s
obvious that Moore has “been there, done that” before. Since we all get stuck
at times, this book is a good resource for when you’re struggling. The key is
learning that we can’t get out of the pit on our own. I’ve heard some of this
content before, but the book still contains some good reminders. Relevant Bible
verses are woven throughout.
I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the BookLook Blogger
program. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
Tenley Roth’s debut book was a bestseller, and she
fears that she will be unable to replicate that success…especially as she is
dealing with a massive case of writer’s block and a looming deadline. Her
estranged mother throws another kink in Tenley’s plans by asking her to come to
Florida to help her get through chemotherapy.
Birdie Shehorn comes from a privileged background. As
is commonplace in the Guilded Age, her parents have arranged a marriage for
her. Birdie longs to be a writer, but she feels that her dreams no longer
Though decades apart, Tenley and Birdie are tied together
in unexpected ways as they both search for their purpose and way in life.
This story uses a dual timeline to focus on two female
writers. The spiritual message is seamlessly woven in. The historical details
add to the enjoyment of this thought-provoking, entertaining, and engaging tale.
The paralyzing nature of fear is one which may resonate with many readers, as
well as cause them to consider how life’s failures can be something God uses
for His good.
I received a complimentary copy as part of the BookLook Bloggers program. I was
not required to leave a positive review.
Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, bestselling author of critically acclaimed novels such as "The Wedding Dress," "Love Starts with Elle," and "Once Upon A Prince." She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, "Softly in Tenderly," one of 2011's Top 10 Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy and a conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.
I want to extend a warm welcome to Carol Kinsey. She's here to talk about her writing journey. Carol is giving away a hard copy of her book, Greater Love. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends July 20, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Carol...
can be life changers. Never underestimate the power of sixteen year olds.
leading a high school girl’s Bible study. Every week, eight girls gathered
together to learn more about their relationship with Jesus. It was a wonderful
time of fellowship and learning. One afternoon, a couple of the girls started
discussing an exciting new novel they’d read. As I listened, I grew weary. This
“exciting new novel” went against everything I’d been teaching them from the
Word of God. In their quest for entertainment, these young ladies were filling their
minds with smut, worldly thinking, and trash talk.
at Philippians 4:8: “Finally,
brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever
is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any
excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB). I
asked them, “How does this ‘exciting new novel’ hold up to Philippians 4:8?”
smart enough to know the answer. “It doesn’t. But what else can we read?”
that there was a whole world of Christian literature out there, but I could see
I’d hit a brick wall. This book was cool. It was fascinating. Everyone was
started there. I remember it clearly. I’d always had stories in my head. I
loved writing. I’d studied journalism in college and had a far greater love for
words than numbers. So, I sat down at my archaic laptop and wrote a novel for
encouraged me through the all-nighters I pulled in order to crank out that
first book. I printed it out—typos and all, and put it in a three ring binder.
It was a
Christ-centered, teen, suspense novel that held to Philippians 4:8. I’m not
sure who was more surprised that they loved it. Them or me. They devoured it.
After that, they wanted more. So I wrote more. And for the next two years with
that group of girls, I realized I loved writing novels. I loved creating
stories that showed God at work in the lives of people—stories that showed
struggles, faith, purity, the power of prayer, godly relationships, and pointed
to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
my writing continued. When my husband took a job as a youth pastor a few of the
teens found out that I wrote and once again, I was given the opportunity to
point people to Christ through writing. But these teens wanted more. They
wanted to be able to share my books with their friends. They wanted my books
out there in the world. They encouraged me to take my books one step further
and get published.
of my novels has been touched in some way by one of the teens in the youth
group. Whether it’s through cover design, proofreading, social media, or
encouragement, God has used those teens in my life just as I pray He is using
me in theirs.
of the journey has been exciting. It’s still continuing. Through my writing
curriculum and homeschool conferences, I’ve been able to encourage other young
writers to use their pen to the glory of God with Philippians 4:8 as their
about the release of my newest novel, Witness
Protection, which is scheduled to come out this summer. It’s an action
suspense with a powerful Christ-centered message. There’s nothing in it that I
wouldn’t feel comfortable with one of my high school youth group teens reading.
writing and I’m thankful that God has given me the opportunity to use writing
to honor Him.
Netherland is an FBI agent on a mission. Working undercover at a Christian university,
Trey tries to win the heart of Rainey Meadows, the woman who can help him solve
this case. What Trey didn’t expect was for her to steal his heart. Deceived by
the man she thought she loved, Rainey wants answers. Trey wants the bad guy.
Together, Rainey and Trey find themselves in the heart of Columbia searching
for different things. As Rainey struggles to learn who she is, Trey is torn
between the lies he’s told her and the Truth that is fighting to reach his
heart. Tangled in a dangerous plot, can Rainey trust the man whose lies put her
heart in turmoil? Will Trey finally cry out to the only One who can truly set
him free? There is only one Truth and it’s in Him they find Greater Love.
Carol Kinsey lives with her husband and their
two daughters on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved
in youth ministry for over twenty years and currently serve at a small country
church, which inspired her first published novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple. She has also published Greater Love, Until Proven Innocent, and a writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature,
which launched in 2016. Her next novel, Witness Protection, will be out in
2017. It is an action, suspense novel with a strong Christian message. Carol is
a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and co-founded The
Writing Family with
authors, Amy C. Blake and Colleen Scott. Together with Amy
and Colleen, Carol speaks
on developing the writer in yourself and your child at various homeschool
conventions, libraries, and author events. Along with her fiction, Carol is
also published in several nonfiction venues. She has a passion for writing
exciting, Christ-centered fiction that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to
Book title: The Girl Who could See
Author: Kara Swanson
Release date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Young Adult
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after al—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
Nineteen-year-old Fern would love to be normal, but,
instead, she’s struggling to survive and stay out of a psych ward. Tristan has
been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Unfortunately, Fern is
the only one who can see him, which leads doctors to believe she’s crazy. Are
they right, or is Tristan more than just a hallucination? Does he hold the key
to saving the world?
This book is a bit different than what I normally
read, but I’m glad I stepped outside of my “box” and took a chance on this one.
First off, the cover! It definitely grabbed my attention, and it’s a great fit
for the story, which combines fantasy and realistic elements. Both Fern and
Tristan are easy to relate to, and there is sufficient character growth. While
there are time jumps, they are not confusing to follow. There are even a few
surprises at the end. This certainly doesn’t feel like a typical novella, as
the storyline feels fully developed.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy
as part of the Celebrate Lit blogging program. I wasn’t required to leave a
About the Author
As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself. At seventeen, she independently published her debut fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia. Her short story is included in Kathy Ide’s 21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom. She has published many articles, including one in the Encounter magazine, and she received the Mount Hermon Most Promising Teen Writer award in 2015.
Guest Post from Kara Swanson
Did you have an imaginary friend growing up? I did. And I think most of us probably understood what it was like to use our childhood imaginations to create friends and take us places.
The Girl Who Could See follows Fern Johnson, a young woman whose imaginary friend, Tristan, first appeared in her life when she was eight years old—and has never left. Now nineteen, Fern still sees Tristan, only he is no longer her friend. Now he is her curse. The source of her insanity. The reason Fern cannot keep a job and has been passed from one psychologist to another. The reason she is one step away from a psych ward. However, Tristan disagrees. He says that he’s not a figment of Fern’s imagination and is determined to prove it. But, if his existence is real, it has dangerous implications not only for Fern, but for her world. Because the creature that decimated Tristan’s planet is coming for Earth—and only the girl everyone says is crazy can stop it.
I wrote the novella as a way to explore the idea of what would happen if someone had an imaginary friend who never left. What would the psychological and daily implications be? And what if that imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary? The story that grew from those sparks of ideas became an adventure that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did. 🙂