Thursday, October 31, 2019

Takeover Thursday with Karin Beery ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Karin has agreed to give away an electronic copy of this book. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 7, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) 

Story behind the story...

I love historical romances—especially marriage-of-convenience stories. I have no desire to write historical romance, but I wanted to try writing my favorite trope. That inspired the question:

What would have to happen for two people in modern-day America to decide to get married for practical reasons instead of for love?

That actually required a bit of research, as well as some creativity. The end result? Well …

“It isn't hard to keep turning pages when you have swoon-worthy characters who find themselves in potentially crushing circumstances. Unexpected chemistry and fast friendship make this story a delightful read, and author Karin Beery’s deft words, wisdom, and wit make it a memorable one.” (Kaley Rhea, co-author of Turtles in the Road and Messy to Meaningful)


Ashley moves to a new town to marry her fiancé. Instead, she buries him.

Ashley Johnson moves to northern Michigan to finally meet her fiancé face-to-face, but she arrives in time to go to his funeral. With no home back in Ohio, she decides to stay in what would have been their house, except his cousin Russ lives there too, and Russ has never heard of Ashley. To complicate matters, her fiancé accidentally willed her the family farmhouse. Eager to please everyone and desperate to disappoint no one, she proposes a marriage of convenience that could solve her and Russ’s problems, if they can get past her aunt, his sisters, and an ex-girlfriend.


Ashley wrapped her hands around the white coffee mug. The hot ceramic warmed her chilled fingers. If only it would warm her heart. She could forgive Tom for the missed phone calls, possibly even for forgetting to pick her up, but she’d been in Boyne Heights for two hours and still couldn’t find him. Her patience had walked out with the last diner patron.
The waitress returned, refilling the mug. “Are you sure I can’t get you anything? At least let me get you a piece of pie.”
Ashley smiled at the kind woman. Her name tag said Pearl. Judging by the salt-and-pepper hair and creases around her mouth, Ashley guessed she was her mother’s age, probably had kids of her own. Maybe grandkids. Taking care of people most likely came second nature to Pearl. “Thank you, but I’m fine,” Ashley said. “I won’t be here much longer, I promise."
“Take as long as you need. You look a little worried is all. Are you waiting for someone?”
“How could you tell?”
Pearl’s laughter rolled through the dining room. “Most strangers pass through. I make a decent cup of coffee, but no one’s ever stayed two hours to enjoy it.”
“I’m waiting for my friend. He’ll be along soon. I hope.” Maybe. Ashley offered another smile, but the waitress didn’t smile back.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and know pretty much everyone. Tell me who you’re waiting for, and I can probably find him for you.”
“I’d appreciate the help. I was supposed to meet Tom—”
“Tom Russell?” The waitress frowned.
“You know him?” Sweet relief! “Thank goodness. I don’t have his home address, only his cell number, but he’s not answering. Could you tell me where I can find him?”
“You stay right there.” Pearl set the coffeepot on the table and pulled the apron over her head. “Get whatever you want. It’s on the house. Lou! Get this girl some food!” Pearl leaned over, eye to eye with Ashley. “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.”
Ashley didn’t have a clue where she’d go, and she didn’t have time to ask. Pearl ran down the hall before she could say anything. As soon as the waitress disappeared, a skinny teenage boy set a giant sandwich in front of Ashley. “Are you Lou?”
“No, that’s my dad. He said to fill you up. Sorry about Tom.”
“Uh, thanks. I really don’t need all of this food, though.” The kid shrugged, took the coffeepot, and walked back to the kitchen. Tom had joked about the solitude of his hometown and the characters who lived there, but he’d never mentioned how hospitable they were.
Ashley’s stomach growled. She checked her watch. It had been four hours and eighteen minutes since she found her luggage, rented a car, and finally made her way to Boyne. Maybe she should eat something.
She made quick work of the sandwich, popping the last bite into her mouth as Pearl emerged from the back of the restaurant. Behind her walked a tall, brooding man. Dark hair stuck out from under his ball cap, and dark whiskers shadowed his face. Like Pearl, he looked at her without smiling. Warning tingles raced over Ashley’s spine. She kept her eyes on the frowning man who slid into the booth across from her.
Ashley forced a smile. “Can I help you?”
The man nodded, his brown eyes locked on hers. “Pearl said you’re waiting for Tom.”
Ashley’s pulse kicked up. “Yes. And you are?”
“Russ. I’m his business partner.”
That’s right. Tom’s cousin. “He’s mentioned you. Can you tell me where to find him?”
Russ looked up at Pearl, then back at Ashley. Suddenly the booth seemed too small, too crowded. The stranger across from her didn’t flinch. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there was an accident. Tom’s dead.”

About Karin...

Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.

Where you can find her online...

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tuesday Tip: Everything Agents

Do you have questions about agents, submissions, etc.? Here are three sites you may find helpful:

1. Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc.:  On this site, you can search through a database of over 400 members, which includes both literary and dramatic agents.

2.  Between the Lines: AGents Rachelle Gardner, Rachel Kent, Wendy Lawton, Janet Kobobel Grant, and Cynthia Ruchti of Books & Such Literary Management share their expertise and educate writers about the publishing process, what agents are looking for, etc.

3. Manuscript Wish List:  This site makes it easier to find a place that will be the perfect fit for your manuscript. Agents and editors update their profiles regularly to include bios, submission guidelines, and in-depth information on what they're looking for. They have a podcast, too.

Monday, October 28, 2019

"Take the Day Off" by Robert Morris

My review...

When I read the book description, I knew this book was one I had to read. This is such a timely book ... just the reminder I needed to hear at this point in my life. It's very hard for me to "just be" and take time for rest, but Morris pointed out things that made me realize how I need to add this to my schedule ASAP before complete burnout occurs. 

Morris's book is helpful and easy to understand. There are some chapters that I will go back over from time to time, whenever I need the reminders. The book changed my perspective on rest. It's quite different than society's misguided perception (for example, that resting - laziness). 

The foreword is by Max Lucado, another author who writes books that strike a chord with me. Scripture verses are woven throughout, along with relatable stories. 

One quote that really stuck out to me: 
"Work is not the enemy. The temptation to not rest is the enemy."

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

"The Art of Rivers" by Janet W. Ferguson ... and a GIVEAWAY! (PrismBookGroup)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Art of Rivers
(Coastal Hearts #3)
By Janet W. Ferguson
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 299 Pages
June 30th 2019 by Southern Sun Press LLC

​Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.

After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.

Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.

(Affiliate links included.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository
Also available through KindleUnlimited.


     Hand in hand, they walked toward the Mississippi. She'd painted the the river hundreds of times, from hundreds of viewpoints, during hundreds of sunrises and sunsets, but none moved her like the portrait she would present Jordan on their wedding day. She'd drawn him standing there, watching her work in the early morning, golden light frolicking on his coffee-colored curls and glittering in the deep pools and currents of his gaze.
     "Tell me where were going on our honeymoon. Please." Rivers squeezed his hand, made puppy-dog eyes, and batted her lashes. "I don't know what clothes to bring."
     Mischief danced in his gaze. "Just bring yourself. Nothing else required." His voice held a smile.
     Heat seared her cheeks and churned up a laugh. "You. Come here." She stopped, draped an arm around his neck, and planted another kiss on his lips. All her life, she'd prayed and waited for this man. She hung there for a moment, staring. Could she ask the other question again without upsetting the perfect moment? "Did you call Jay?"
     A sigh worked its way through Jordan's lips. "Tonight. I'm calling him tonight. I got his number from my step-uncle."
     "Really? You're asking him to the wedding?"
     His gaze dropped as he shook his head. "I can't do that to Mom and Dad."
     "I would never want to upset your mom and dad. Brooklyn has been so wonderful to help plan the wedding."
     "But you're right. I need to let him know I've forgiven him, leave the past in the past. Start a new kind of relationship with him." His chin rested on her forehead. "You make me a better man."
     His stomach rumbled, and she pulled away.
     "Or a hungry man." She smiled up at him.
     "I worked through lunch again so maybe the office will leave us alone during our honeymoon."
     "They'd better. Vast River Architecture cannot have you that week. You're all mine." They passed under a cluster of trees and shrubs, and movement caught her attention. "Did you see that?"
     "What?" Jordan glanced back and forth.
     A shiver crept across her shoulders. Homeless people and addicts tottered around downtown areas in most cities, and Memphis was no exception. Despite the fact that she been in this spot often, she stopped and scanned the scene again. Something in her spirit warned danger. "There's someone behind those bushes. Maybe in a hoodie…"
     Jordan and craned his neck. "I don't see —"
     An explosion like fireworks popped and rung her ears. Another blast, this with impact, hard and swift as a kick in the chest. A red-hot burning sensation pierced her shoulder and back. Time slowed, and a scream ripped from her throat.
     Jordan dropped to his knees clutching his chest. Red spread around his fingers, contrasting sharply against his pale blue shirt.
     Hot liquid poured all around her, and her vision tunneled white. A fountain of blood. But she had to get to him. "Jordan…" She stumbled forward and fell to her knees beside him, clutched his face. Spots danced in front of her eyes as throbbing in her shoulder pulsed. Then darkness dragged her into its abyss.

Other Books in the Series

And coming January 2020...

About the Author

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card and signed copies of the first two books in the series, Magnolia Storms and Falling for Grace
US only
Ends November 6, 2019

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Friday, October 25, 2019

First Line Friday

Happy Friday! It's time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

It's time to grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. Today on First Line Friday, I'm featuring a line from A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff.

And the first line is ...

Millions of people would witness the murder of Christine Lewis, and not one of them could do anything to stop it.

About the book...

John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God's calling. He's not the sort of man you'd expect to have a checkered past.

But the truth is, this shepherd was once a wolf--an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to do penance for all the lives he took, pledging never to kill again.

Now his deadly past has caught up to him as a vengeful terrorist swears to take him out for good. All John's secrets are laid bare, and he must face his demons and discover whether a man can truly change. Can he keep his vow--even when his congregation and the brave woman he's learning to care for are caught in the cross fire?

In the end, John's life may be the only sacrifice he has left to offer...

Let me know the first line of the book closest to you and then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating.

If you're a blogger or just a social media-er, we'd love for you to join us, too!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

"A Small Book for the Anxious Heart: Meditations on Fear, Worry, and Trust" by Edward T. Welch

My review...

If you struggle with anxiety, stress, or fear, this could be a helpful book to check out.

The book has fifty readings, somewhat devotional in nature. The book covers a variety of topics, such as: fear, loneliness, forgiveness, prayer, grace, hope, death, and various Psalms. Unlike a standard devotional, the passages don't begin with a Scripture verse, but relevant verses are included in the message. Each entry ends with a response question for reflection or journaling. I read an electronic copy of the book, and it has a clickable Table of Contents, which makes it easy for the reader to choose the topics that interest them, in case they do not want to read the book in order.  The information provided contains practical action steps to help the reader keep their anxiety in check.

Some quotes that stuck out to me:

  •  "Anything of value comes through perseverance."
  •  "Our anxieties want relief now, and God's promises do not guarantee an easier life. He promises a full and abundant life, not an easy one."
  • "'I am with you' is the gift to anxious people."

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Read with Audra program, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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 always thought winning the lottery would be awesome ... until I won.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A review roundup of biblical stories for children

God Made Me Unique

This book introduces the reader to children with special needs in an age-appropriate manner. Children will see that everyone should be treated with kindness, love, and respect, no matter the differences. God loves us all, we are all valuable, and everyone is created in God's image. It's a rhyming story, which makes it more relatable and engaging for children.

At the end of the book are pages with resources and ways to help children understand disabilities and how they're a part of God's plan.

Classrooms and churches could benefit from having a copy of this book available, as a variety of disabilities are represented in the story, as well as some Bible verses.

Gus Loses His Grip

The key verse for this book is Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”

This book is part of the Good News for Little Hearts series. The series is designed for three- to eight-year-olds to help them understand Bible principles.

Gus Loses His Grip features a raccoon with a sweet tooth. He learns that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Gus faces temptation. It threatens to overpower him, and Gus ends up sinning. Papa reminds Gus that nothing is too strong for Jesus, but we have to ask for his help.

The book also contains information to help parents explain things to the child and have a conversation about the gospel message. The images are vivid and will likely catch the child’s eye, and most children will be able to relate to what Gus is going through (whether it be wanting more candy, toys, technology time, etc.) Dealing with the “wantsies” is a key theme. Discussion questions are provided.

An important quote from this story is: “Now we can remind each other that only Jesus can help us lose our grip.”

Henry Says Good-Bye

This book is part of the Good News for Little Hearts series. The series is designed for three- to eight-year-olds to help them understand Bible principles.

Henry the hedgehog has a friend: a ladybug named Lila. Sadly, Henry learns one day that Lila will no longer be a part of his life. He has to come to terms that she’s gone. He must tell her good-bye and move on with his life, but it’s not easy. However, his family helps him learn that Jesus bring comfort to those who hurt and are sad. Grief and loss are difficult for everyone, and this book helps parents teach their child the biblical truth that God is with us, even in our pain.

Tori Comes Out of Her Shell

This book is part of the Good News for Little Hearts series. The series is designed for three- to eight-year-olds to help them understand Bible principles.

In this book, Tori is a lonely turtle. She’s new to the pond and school, and she’s struggling to fit in and make friends. Her teacher helps her realize that she’s not alone, as Jesus is her friend.
Many children will likely be able to relate to Tori’s struggles and concerns about being the “new kid.” There are questions that parents can use to help their children understand loneliness and the biblical truths that Tori’s teacher talks about. Illustrations are inviting and a perfect complement to the story.
A key verse for the story is Matthew 28:20: “I am with you always.”

Disclaimer: I received these books as part of the Read with Audra program, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday Motivation

"If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood."
— Peter Handke

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

"New Every Morning: 365 Days of Worship"

My review...

I love devotional books, so I was excited to review this book, which is a compilation of devotions written by various worship pastors, university professors, and ministers of music. The book is designed for use with individuals, as well as worship teams, making it unique from other devotional books I’ve read in the past.

The setup is pretty standard, as each entry starts with a Scripture passage, a message, reflection questions, and a prayer. It also gives brief information on the person who penned the devotion. The book is organized by week of the year vs. a specific date on the calendar, so you can start it at any time. I liked the variety of entries, but I didn’t care for the super-small print, which would narrow the audience for this book. I was also surprised that it didn’t contain a ribbon bookmark, which is quite common in devotional books.

Some titles include: Worship as an Act of Sacrifice, Be Still and Worship, Seeing Clearly through Blind Spots, He Sings Over Me, Let God Lead, and What? Me Worry?

Some verses used include: Isaiah 6:8, Psalm 46:10, Proverbs 19:21, and Mark 12:30.

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

Friday, October 18, 2019

First Line Friday

Happy Friday! It's time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

It's time to grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. Today on First Line Friday, I'm featuring Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.

And the first line in Chapter One is ...

Like all the pharaohs, emperors, and tyrants before him, Il Duce had seen his empire rise only to crumble.

About the book...

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky  is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man's incredible courage and resilience during one of history's darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He's a normal Italian teenager--obsessed with music, food, and girls--but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino's parents force him to enlist as a German soldier--a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler's left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich's most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, wih the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Let me know the first line of the book closest to you and then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating.

If you're a blogger or just a social media-er, we'd love for you to join us, too!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Takeover Thursday with Kristen Terrette ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Kristen has agreed to giveaway one electronic copy of  each book in the series (#1 - Safe Harbor, #2 - Time and Tide, and #3 - Morning Star) to one lucky blog reader. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends October 24, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) 

Book blurb...

Addie McHenry, restoration home builder extraordinaire, catches her big break when the House to Home network contracts her to film a reality TV show focusing on how she brings homes back to life. She sets her sights on one of the oldest on Moanna's beach and to risk everything just to get it.

Shane Armstrong from Savannah to his mother's Moanna oceanside house when his world shattered five months before. He went on leave from his job as a Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, hopeful his grandmother's peaceful street will help heal him. The reality TV show's arrival threatens his security.

But the construction camera crews are nothing compared to Addie herself. She's tough as nails, challenging, and superbly bossy as she works to get her way. But she's also kind, hardworking, and has a relationship with God Shane can't begin to understand.

With each encounter, Shane's walls start to crumble as Addie brings more than just the historical home back to life, but him as well. Addie tries desperately not to enjoy spending time with the irritable and scowling boy from next door. He hides his heartache well, but she sees it there behind his prickly exterior. Soon she begins to uncover the sacrificial hero underneath the façade.

With both of them only temporary residence on Moanna Island, their thin ice relationship crashes to a halt. Can Shane return to his risky job with the Coast Guard? Does he even want to? And can Addie let him go and follow her dreams even when tragedy strikes?

The story behind the story...

While I was writing the first Moanna story, I was already plotting the second, and the same happened while writing the third. The setting of the series was too hard to resist bringing more characters to! Moanna is much like the island of Hilton Head off the coast of South Carolina, where I vacationed as a kid. It's the perfect getaway location for love to catch one off guard. Plus, I enjoy reading book series that focus on a small town or a family, so I think it was natural to think of how to interweave my new and previous characters so my readers could catch up on old friends.

As the time approached for me to sit and type away at my computer, I began developing the characters. I knew early on that Addie was going to restore a historic home on Moanna--think Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict--and that Shane would be some kind of soldier. I settled on him being in the Coast Guard because there is an Air Station in Savannah. While researching this area, I became fascinated with helicopter rescue swimmers. They jump off a chopper into the ocean during storms to save people! It also helped that the movie, The Guardian, with Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner came on television. After watching it again, it was settled. Shane was an AST, aka a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer. I watched probably thirty YouTube videos on the Coast Guard, the types of helicopters they use, AST training, and live rescues caught on film. I also read many newspaper articles to get a feel for the types of calls they get day in, day out.

Addie's career and character traits came a bit more easily. I worked real estate, namely new homes construction, for many years, so I knew the process of building a home from the ground up. But Addie revives old homes, so it was fun to explore Pinterest and find houses that represented the southern/old world style. I found my imagination closely resembled Second French Empire architecture. I pinned many homes like this and even searched the hip colors of 50s decor and its furniture style.

You can check out Morning Star's Pinterest page here to see what I landed on for this story. 

Something fun...

Every book I write has some playlist. I listen to their songs over and over, and they usually find their way somehow into the story. Here's Addie and Shane's playlist. Check out the songs on iTunes or YouTube.

About Kristen...

Kristen cherishes her Southern roots and lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. She served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years, and wit the support of her husband and two children she now stays home writing Christian fiction and nonfiction. She's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. She also serves on the women's leadership team at her local church and blogs for Crosswalk and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her articles and novels on her webiste.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tuesday Tip: Three websites to offer writing advice (Part 2)

Are you feeling stuck in your writing? If you'd like some writing advice, here are a few sites to  check out: 

1. Writers in the Storm: This blog is run by a group of experienced writers of various genres. They discuss challenges ever writer faces, including rejection and writers' block.

2. Seekerville: "The Seekers" is a group of authors who share their knowledge and advice for what they've learned over the years about the publishing industry and the craft itself.

3. Writing Class Radio: The site is focused on its podcast, which is a writing class you can tune into to hear stories, participate in prompts, and hear writing advice. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

"Healing the Soul of a Woman Devotional" by Joyce Meyer

My review...

This is a companion devotional to Meyer's book, Healing the Soul of a Woman. It's designed to guide the reader through ninety devotions and encourage them through the daily obstacles along the way that may be holding them back. 

I read the companion book, and I love devotionals, so I was happy to see this book. Meyer's didn't disappoint. Each entry begins with a Bible verse or quote, followed by a devotional message, and then a "Declare This" statement. Joyce shares her own personal stories and emotional wounds in an open and honest way to show that there are no shortcuts to healing. The author's advice is practical and encouraging.

A wide variety of subjects are dealt with, so there's likely to be something that most readers can relate to in this book. Topics/Titles include: Overcoming the Accuser, You are Free to Be Yourself, Setting Boundaries, Your Journey Is Unique, It's Time to Let Go, A Shame-Free Life, You Are Beloved, Trust God with the Heavy Loads, No Looking Back, and All Things are Possible.

My favorite part was perhaps the "Declare This" section. some empowering messages in this section include:

"I put my trust in God, and He never fails me."
"I will make the most of the special gifts God has given me."
"I will remember to rest my soul, just as I rest my body, as the Holy Spirit leads me."

The compact size makes this convenient to take while traveling, and it'd make a good gift, as well. I was surprised that it didn't contain a ribbon bookmark, but it's still a practical and inviting devotional overall.

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

Friday, October 11, 2019

"Fatal Strike" by DiAnn Mills ... and a GIVEAWAY!

The publisher has agreed to give away a print copy of this book (US ONLY). You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends October 18, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) 

What to Do When God’s Plan Feels like a Mystery Novel

DiAnn Mills
Ever feel like God’s plan for our lives is a futile attempt to solve a mystery? Our days are spent looking for clues in everything we experience. Is this God’s plan for me? What does this Scripture passage mean? Is God listening to my prayers? Nights are worse because we replay and stumble through the day’s incidents with no conclusion.

You see, I’ve faced the same challenges. But we can turn that mystery into a satisfactory ending. Take a look at the following:

Who is the hero in our life story?
While we may be quick to think we are, that isn’t accurate. God is the hero in our life story. The glory all goes to Him. When we realize where we fit in the grand story of life, we can relax knowing our Hero has it under control.

Establish a problem or a goal.
How do we discern God’s plan for us? We have choices to make, places to go, and things to do. Can’t He simply send us a text?

Who is the secondary character in our life story?
That’s us. We are servants of the almighty God, not the other way around. When we resign ourselves to letting God take control, we can toss off our heavy backpacks of doubt and worry.

Who is the antagonist?
Think about it. Satan doesn’t want us to know and live God’s plan. The evil one is determined to push us in the wrong direction, distract, and discourage us. In short, he’d like for us to give up on God and find another solution to our problems that doesn’t involve God.

How does the plot thicken?
We hear lies, trip, fall, get back up, proceed, and it all repeats. While the victories give us momentary relief and assurance we’re headed in the right direction, the defeats can be painful. But the wounds and scars are how we grow closer into the image of Jesus Christ.

It can seem like God doesn’t care. Are we earnestly seeking Him as a priority instead of self-solving our mystery?

Search for clues.
Are we searching in the right places for God’s answer? Does what I need line up with God’s holiness?

Research Scripture, talk to respected Christians, pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and be aware of God working in your life.

The first clue is John 9:31: “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

The second clue is Jeremiah 29:11-12: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

The third clue is Matthew 7:8: “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

The fourth clue is Psalm 145:18: “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

The fifth clue is Psalm 66:19: “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

And there are many more!

Take definite steps
We must constantly ask ourselves if we are following God’s path or one that may be good but not for us in this season.

We accept that a sovereign God will reveal His plan to us at the perfect time. On the journey we grow, worship, grasp patience, love others, cultivate a servant’s heart, and repeat our commitment to joy in all circumstances.

How do you move ahead when God’s plan feels like a mystery novel?

Great question, DiAnn. Readers, how do you move ahead? Leave your answer below to be entered in the Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of Fatal Strike.

Q & A with DiAnn...

Q:  Tell us about some of the core themes you discuss in this novel. How can your readers relate to these areas in their own lives?

There are two important themes in this story: (1) how unforgiveness can make us bitter and the peace of embracing forgiveness and (2) the power of adoption in families and in the spiritual realm. Leah comes from a family that has embraced adoption, and both she and Jon go on a spiritual journey exploring what it means to be adopted into God’s family.

        Q:  What do you enjoy most in writing about the work of the FBI?
Creating courageous men and women who dedicate their lives to keep us safe while showing traits that make them relatable and real.

        Q:     Can you tell us about some of the research that went into writing Fatal Strike?
I interviewed a gentleman who worked FBI SWAT. I learned so much about teamwork, the role of a negotiator, and the training. A sniper is used as a last resort when all other means of negotiation fail and people are in danger. The sniper must be confident his or her shot will not hurt another person. Following a mission, the team discusses what went well, what went wrong, and how the operation could be improved.

                 Q.     What inspired the plot of this novel—especially the motif of snakes and venom?
First of all, I hate snakes. J And I believe in writing what we fear. I knew I wanted a female FBI agent who also worked SWAT and had the role of a sniper. What if she were afraid of snakes? How would bad guys use rattlesnake venom? While a rattler bite is not always deadly, it is fatal (fatal strike) when injected into the heart. Plus, the bad guy leaves less evidence by eliminating the need to discard a knife or giving law enforcement an opportunity to trace a bullet.

            Q.     What was your favorite scene to write?
Actually, there are two. (1) Leah faces her nemesis when she’s given what she thinks is a box of flowers and a rattler is inside. Loved her reaction. (2) Leah and her dad reunite after years of estrangement. I cried during that scene.

             Q.     What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this novel?
The characters’ journey to solve a horrible crime. On the way they find forgiveness for their pasts and the gift of love.

             Q.     How do you come up with fresh ideas for your books? How do you beat writer’s
My ideas come from the media, dreams, watching TV or movies, and sometimes ideas just pop into my head. Writer’s block means I don’t know what happens next. I’m an organic writer, so the idea of an outline destroys my adventure. When I’m stuck, I do one of three things: (1) write a scene I know is coming, (2) go back to the beginning and read and edit, or (3) do something else creative like cook, garden, or shopping.

           Q.     Why did you decide to become a writer in the romantic suspense genre specifically?
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. My goal is to show real relational people who are trained to keep us safe. And along the way, they find the gift of love.

          Q:    What’s the most challenging thing about being a Christian author in this genre?
Making violence a part of the story, but keeping graphic scenes that glorify the violence out.

          Q:   Can you tell us about some future projects you’re working on?

I’m finishing up a book currently titled Airborne. A female FBI agent boards a plane in 
Houston for Salzburg, Austria. She needs a vacation to renew her relationship with God and to figure out her future. Her husband has moved out, wants a divorce, and he doesn’t know she’s pregnant. Two hours into the flight, symptoms become evident of a deadly virus onboard, and her husband, a bioengineer, becomes a person of interest.

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My review...

FBI snipers Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert are tasked with solving gruesome murders taking place in Galveston. Victims are being injected with rattlesnake venom. The prime suspect is a young man,  seen near the latest body found on the church steps, who is missing. A local gang is claiming responsibility. Leah and Jon have a history together, and in order to solve the case, they'll have to move beyond their past. 

This is a fast-paced thriller that will keep the reader guessing, as Mills is a master with suspense and mystery. The main characters are intelligent and tough, though they still struggle with realistic fears and faith issues. (The religious element was not overwhelming in any way.) The suspense angle was more prominent than the romance angle, which I enjoyed.

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

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is codirector of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter:, or any of the social media platforms listed at

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