Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Good writing is clear thinking made visible."
— Bill Wheeler

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Marguerite Martin Gray ... and a GIVEAWAY of TWO BOOKS!

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...

Thank you 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 home.

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 and community?

As a 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.

My father 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.  

I travel 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.
Enjoy the journey.

About Marguerite...

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.

Where to find her online...

Instagram:   marguerite.gray

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Online Writing Communities

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 ( 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 ( 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 ( This is a place where you can find directories of writers, editors, publishers, and agents organized by industry. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Get out of that Pit" by Beth Moore

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.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the BookLook Blogger program. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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:

Do you remember the time we...?

Happy writing!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"The Writing Desk" by Rachel Hauck

My 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 matter.

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.

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

About Rachel...

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.

You can find Rachel online at:

Twitter:        @RachelHauck

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Carol Kinsey ... and a GIVEAWAY!

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...

            Teenagers can be life changers. Never underestimate the power of sixteen year olds.
            I was 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.
            We looked 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?”
            They were smart enough to know the answer. “It doesn’t. But what else can we read?”
            I explained 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 reading it…
            It really 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 those girls.
            My husband 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.
            From there, 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.
            Every one 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.
            Each step 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 filter.
            I’m excited 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.
            I love writing and I’m thankful that God has given me the opportunity to use writing to honor Him.

- Carol Kinsey

Blurb for Greater Love...

Trey 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.

About Carol...

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 God. 

Where to find Carol online...

· (Professional author website)
· curriculum website which is tied into my personal website.
· Instagram
·         Goodreads Author Page

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Websites for Mystery/Crime Writers

This week, I want to highlight some websites which may be useful resources for those of you who write mystery/crime stories.

  • Jungle Red Writers ( This site  has daily chats about suspense writing from eight crime fiction writers. There is a lot to investigate on this site.

  • Elizabeth Spann Craig ( This is the site of a bestselling cozy mystery author. She offers advice on topics such as publishing, motivation, and self-publishing.

  • Miss Demeanors ( This set features six suspense and mystery authors who share advice on writing, research, reading, and much more. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

"The Girl Who Could See" by Kara Swanson ... and a GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

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.

My review

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 positive review.

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. 🙂

Blog Stops

This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit. Follow along with the tour for a list of  tour stops!


To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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:

I was anxiously awaiting the bus, but when it pulled into the terminal...

Happy writing!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
— T. S. Eliot

Have a wonderful week!