Wednesday, August 30, 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:

It's true when they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Let me explain...

Happy writing!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Prose is architecture, not interior decoration."
— Ernest Hemingway

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Carrie Fancett Pagels (and a GIVEAWAY!)

I want to extend a warm welcome to Carrie Fancett Pagels. She's discussing Mackinac Island and her new book. She's also giving away a book: winner's choice of either My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring (RT Book Reviews Top Pick) or Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands (ECPA bestseller two months in a row!)  (U.S. ONLY) You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 31, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Carrie...

The Blessing of Mackinac! By Carrie Fancett Pagels

The first time I went to Mackinac Island, despite living just an hour away, was when I was sixteen and looking for a job. I was a little nervous about both applying for work and living away from home. I’d been a babysitter for years but had never worked in a business. My father had been dealing with neurological complications (he later had a stroke) and had lost his job, and things were tight at home. I had no idea what a blessing it would be to live and work on Mackinac Island, nor that four decades later I’d have a book published, set there! A book that received a Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick even!

I lived in a large house, Pine Cottage, which was owned by my boss’s mother-in-law. Located off the main street, up a steep hill, the cottage had a lovely side yard. We had a rack out front for our bicycles, the main form of transportation on the island. I initially shared a room with a bunch of other girls, I think six of us in a large room, but these college gals were way ahead of innocent Yooper me! Thankfully, the house mother put me over with a different room with another roommate. My roomie was older but was a quiet young woman who didn’t have as many wild “tales” to tell as the first group I had!

On my days off, I always took a bike ride around the island (about 7 ½ miles), stopping to wade out into the rocky-bottomed water which was cold but refreshing. The gorgeous sights of the island and the water soothed my soul. I also liked to go sit in the park and watch the tourists and look at the yachts in the harbor and the ferries coming in. My lunch was usually grabbed at Doud’s Market, a fixture on the corner near Fort Mackinac and the park.

It wasn’t until years later that a story percolated. I was a psychologist and met up with my friend, Rosemary, whose family was from the island. We made some visits around the island to places and she gave me some background that fueled my imagination. Move forward a couple of more decades, and that story finally made it onto the page. I am delighted this novel was selected to be part of the “My Heart Belongs” series from Barbour. And was I ever happy to sign eleven cases of books while I was up North all of July promoting this book!

One liner: A journalist posing as wealthy industrialist loses his heart to an heiress working as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Blurb: Is anyone really who they say they are? Journalist Ben Steffan pursues a story about men pursuing heiresses for their money. Abandoned by her fiancĂ©, island resident Maude Welling yearns to run the inn she’s supposed to inherit. When her father refuses permission for her to take over the inn, she seeks to prove herself by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel, where Ben is staying. Even Maude’s supervisor at the Grand isn’t who she pretends to be—she’s a rich, reclusive eccentric—and Maude fears she plans to buy her inn. Ben is within reach of an exposĂ© that will launch him to his coveted position of assistant editor. If Ben’s paper publishes his article then Maude, who has captured his heart, may reject him. If Ben doesn’t deliver a scoop to his editor, another journalist will receive the promotion.  To claim her inheritance, Maude must marry and live on the island, but Ben’s journalism career is at the Free Press in Detroit. When scandal threatens to destroy them all, will they be able to survive the truth with their love intact?

Thanks Leslie for letting me visit on your blog! I have a second book, which released in June, as part of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands, also from Barbour!

Carrie Pagels Fancett: Dime Novel Suitor

When a British dime novel enthusiast finds himself flat broke in Kansas, he discovers what western life and true love are all about. Barden Granville IV grew up at Cheatham Hall, Kent, England, devouring cowboy stories and dreaming of the day he, with no prospects of inheriting estate nor title, could escape to the American frontier. Educated and ordained an Anglican priest, his trip to America is his “last hurrah” before accepting a vicarage in a small town far from his aristocratic family’s estate. When a series of misadventures leaves him without money and stranded, he must take up employment immediately.

After her father dies, widow Caroline Kane becomes the owner and proprietor of a restaurant and inn. She also assumes responsibility for her five teenaged siblings. Caroline’s busybody married sister insists that an Englishman who purports to answer an ad for help, is the perfect candidate for Caroline’s next husband. While she’s relieved to have help, Caroline finds Barden’s primary asset to be his silver tongue. When his efforts finally bring fruit, Barden receives word from England that could leave Caroline worse off than before, for her heart will leave with him. Will Barden answer his heart and God’s call in Kansas, or will his family responsibilities compel him to leave his dreams behind?

About Carrie...

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at

Where to find Carrie online...

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Websites about agents (part two)

Welcome to part two of websites pertaining to agents. As there are a number of useful sites, there will be one more post on this topic in two weeks.

  • Rachelle Gardner ( Rachelle is an agent, editor, and publishing coach. She has a well-organized archive of posts covering a wide variety of topics (from blogging to publishing).

  • Bent on Books ( Jenny Bent shares resources on marketing and working with an agent. She has an Agents' Wishlist tab for a monthly update on what her colleagues are currently looking for.
  • Janet Reid, Literary Agent ( Janet is a longtime literary agent. She offers advice on pitching, querying, and revising. She has a checklist and FAQ section which are useful for anyone pitching a book.

Wednesday, August 16, 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:

As the plane rolled down the runway...

Happy writing!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Motivation

"Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist."
— Jane Smiley

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Of Mess and Moxie" by Jen Hatmaker

My review...

Jen Hatmaker continues to be a cheerleader for her readers. This book is like sitting down and having a conversation with a good friend. As is standard with Hatmaker’s books, this is an honest, yet hilarious, book which contains stories that will be relatable to the average woman. It is a wonderful collection of essays which remind the reader to live in the moment. Numerous recipes are included throughout, as well as practical advice. Hatmaker shares personal stories and infuses Bible verses throughout. My favorite parts were the “How to” chapters, which are absolutely hilarious. The author points out on a number of occasions that the reader no longer has to be who they once were, which is a good reminder. This book is perfect for females of any age, no matter how “together” they are. It’s okay to be who God designed them to be. The reader may want to keep a pen and notebook, or a highlighter, nearby!

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Takeover Thursday with Kariss Lynch

I want to extend a warm welcome to Kariss Lynch. She's discussing how to have a balanced writing life. She's also giving away a print copy of her book Shaken (U.S. ONLY) You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends August 17, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.) Now, here's Kariss...

Writing Life Equals Balanced Life 

You’ve heard the age-old story: Creative individual decides to write a book. They sit down with paper and pen or keyboard and painstakingly write that heart story. Sometimes it takes months. Sometimes it takes years. When talking with their friends, you often hear them say, “Something just came up. It isn’t quite right yet. I just haven’t had the time.”

It’s pretty clear that time is precious. In fact, outside of my loved ones, my time is my most treasured possession. Since signing my first contract in January 2013, I have learned an important writing tip, probably the most important tip:

There is NEVER time, unless you choose to make it.

In fact, I’ve noticed one common trait among the published: They make time to finish. After signing that contract, time to market becomes important. And time to edit. And time to promote. And time to interact with readers. Lot’s of time. So it’s important to figure out how to manage it.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned a few tricks to maximize my time in every area of this writing journey.

Create margin.
Determine your best time of day to write or create and maximize those short windows. I am a night owl and can write and create relevant marketing content easier when my checklist for the day is accomplished. It clears my mind to be creative.

Set a timer.
Write every day. Set the timer on your phone for an hour, then put your phone on silent and put it on the other side of the room. Clear your mind and write. I found when I did this, I could easily write over two thousand words an hour, and I like the challenge of racing the clock.

Strategize for online interaction.
The internet is a wonderful tool, but managing our online interaction can eat our time if not managed correctly. Block out thirty minutes every few days to catch up on emails. Take a few minutes to respond to every person who comments on social media (within reason of course). Know your brand, what you are passionate about, and have character and author interviews on hand for guest blog posts. Schedule our social posts through the week. Don’t overthink. Just do.

Read, read, read
This one is important. Reading is as much a learning tool for me as it is a brain break. I love diving into a story. Make time to see what else is out there. Read books in your genre and in others. Read craft books. Just read.

Managing time is as much mental as it is physical. At the end of the day, be satisfied with what you accomplished and leave the rest for tomorrow. 

Bio and where to find Kariss online...

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Tip: Websites about agents (part one)

This week, I want to highlight some websites which may be useful resources for those of you who are searching for an agent. There are a lot of good websites, so this is just three of them. I'll list more in upcoming posts.

  • Between the Lines ( The agents at Books & Such Literary Management blog about a variety of topics (from platforms and branding to working with an editor and finding your writing routine). Their posts offer inspiration and encouragement.

  • Bookends Literary Agency Blog ( This site is full of tips on perfecting submissions and figuring out how agents communicate. It's useful for writers at the submission stage. 

  • Red Sofa Literary ( Agent Dawn Frederick shares clients' success stories as well as her best advice. There are numerous guest posts from authors and agents.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Plain Retribution" by Dana R. Lynn

Q & A with Dana...

Q: What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A: I work as a teacher for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

Q:  How did you get started writing? 
A:  I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote stories and poems even as kid. I didn't try to write for publication, however, until 2013. Harlequin had a contest called "So You Think You Can Write." I finished that contest with my first full manuscript. I was hooked.

Q:  What do you see as the hardest part of being a writer? 
A:  Balance is the biggest challenge. I have a family, a full-time job, and am active in my church. Making sure I meet all my commitments requires some prioritizing.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  Don't give up. Even with rejections and revisions, there are often comments. Keep working and improving your story. And when you finish one, start on another.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  I have two that I love. Super Story Structure by James Scott Bell and The Story Equation by Susan May Warren.

Q:  What can you tell me about your next project? 

A:  I am hoping to continue to add a few more books to my Amish Country Justice series. Also, I have hopes of writing some contemporary romance. Inspirational, of course.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dana. I'm sure my readers enjoyed getting a chance to know you a bit better.

My review...

While she was on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller was kidnapped, along with her friends, ten years ago. Now living in the Englisch world, Rebecca finds herself a target once again. Officer Miles Olsen is the only one of the force who is able to communicate with her, as Rebecca is deaf. When the threats increase and those close to Rebecca turn up missing, Miles questions his ability to keep her safe. Is this related to the incident years ago, or is someone else out to get her?

This is the second installment in the “Amish Country Justice” series. I was happy to see Rebecca as the heroine, as I enjoyed her in Plain Target. The fact that she is deaf adds to the danger angle in this story. The action starts on the front page. There is great chemistry between Rebecca and Miles, and the mystery keeps you guessing throughout. Spiritual elements are woven in and are not preachy or overwhelming. I look forward to reading the final book in this trilogy.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About Dana...

Author bio...

Dana R. Lynn grew up in Illinois. She met her husband at a wedding and told her parents she had met her future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in rural Pennsylvania with their three children and enough pets to open a petting zoo. In addition to writing, she works as an educational interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing and is active in several ministries at her church. Dana loves hearing from readers and enjoys interacting with them on social media.

Where you can find me online...

Twitter:       @DanaRLynn

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