Writer of the Day–Alice K. Arenz

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AND A GIVEAWAY!

My writer of the day is  Alice K. Arenz.  Though she’s known for her cozy mysteries and romantic mystery/suspense novels, the Carol Award winning author has branched out with her newest release, The Wedding Barter, a romance that is both serious and funny. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Awards: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist). These novels have been followed by An American Gothic, Portrait of Jenny, and short story, Home Cookin’.  Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com

 

Good news for you, Alice is going to giveaway an e-copy of her new book, The Wedding Barter. Keep reading to find out how to enter the giveaway.  So let’s find out how a mystery/suspense writer came to write a romance in her own words. Alice K. Arenz:

 

Though romance—to some degree—has always been part of my books in the past, I hadn’t attempted one in…well, let’s just say too many years to count out. Let’s just leave it as being in the ancient times of the early 80s. It didn’t go very well. I was told my contributions were filled with too much comedy, too much mystery, and not enough sensual content—at which point I said “EW-www,” then promptly moved on.

Back to the story of how The Wedding Barter came to be part of the TRYING OUT FOR LOVE boxed set published by my incredibly awesome published Forget Me Not Romances. To be honest, the encouragement and confidence in my ability to write a romance sealed the deal. I was convinced it was the correct decision when, after a lot of prayer, the title for my “short novel” as well as the names of the lead characters were “given to me.” From there, it was a question of how to fulfill my commitment—which had suddenly become more difficult because of health issues. But, I’m a firm believer that God wouldn’t have given me the idea and details if He didn’t have the solution already worked out.

After stewing over the dilemma for about a month, my husband suggested that I dictate to him as he typed on his laptop. Um, seriously? Would that work. Really??? He was not only serious, but was dedicated to the project—even when absolutely nothing was happening! He tried to understand how “my process” had always involved me sitting at my desk, eyes closed, fingers on the keyboard while I prayed and waited for the “connection.” I can’t even begin to explain how much more difficult it was to find a way to verbally describe what I saw happening in my head! But, like my characters in Barter reminded themselves, all it takes is a mustard seed of faith. That’s what I sought, and the result is a 49,000 word short novel—a romance based in the same fictional town of Tarryton, Missouri where The Bouncing Grandma Mystery series is set. No murders, but a few twists and turns, and, I hope, some laughs as well.

 

THE WEDDING BARTER by Alice K. Arenz

Riley Carr has been best friends with Amy Lawton since they were toddlers.  While Amy awaits her discharge from the Army, Riley’s been left in charge of helping to arrange “a very small, intimate ceremony with no fanfare” for Amy and her fiancé. But, Riley has something else in mind.

With the aid of two other friends, Riley presents her “wedding barter” idea to groom, David Herron. He agrees, providing best man, Mike Todd, stays in the loop to keep things from getting out of hand.

It doesn’t help that the giant of a man is threatening, overbearing, and just doesn’t seem to like her or her ideas. But, when Todd gives Riley an ultimatum of producing results in three weeks or he’ll take over, she’s determined to prove him wrong. . .in more ways than one.

AMAZON LINK

To enter to win an e-copy of the Wedding Barter, leave a comment. Winner will be picked on July 16th. Thanks!

Thanks, Alice for sharing your story with us–both the book and how you came to write a romance. So, readers, do you prefer your favorite writers stick to one genre or are you willing to read something different from them?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God & His Goodness

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Romans 8: 28

And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

 

This verse is one of my two go-to verses during the past six years while struggling with brain tumors and side effects from the tumors as well as from the treatments. At my lowest points (physically) I would repeat this verse as often as I needed to remind me that God hadn’t forsaken me or forgotten me. That he was with me and watching over me and that he indeed would work this out for my good–even though I couldn’t imagine how.

One of the truly miraculous things during this time has been that I could still write my stories. At times, I had to crawl up the steps to my office because I was so weak and my balance was so bad. Then I would sit down at my computer and…the fog would lift and I would write. Sometimes it would only be for five or ten minutes before the fog rolled back. But those ten minutes became a published novel and then another and another.

As I grew closer to God during this time, my writing changed. I still love and write action-packed suspense and romantic suspense but I had other stories to tell as well. I call PUZZLE HOUSE the story I never wanted to write because it came about as a direct result of my brain tumors and a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). The main character, Rachel has the same brain tumors as a result of NF2 as I have.

AMAZON LINK

I would never have written PUZZLE HOUSE if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors and NF2 and that means Puzzle House would never be a finalist for The Carol Award! The Carol Award is the American Christian Fiction Writer’s award for excellence in Christian Fiction. Puzzle House is a finalist in the novella category. The winners won’t be announced until September, but as far as I’m concerned, being a finalist makes me a winner!

So you see God really does work all things out for the good of those who love Him!

PS.  Don’t forget, I also have a devotional that goes with the novel–DEVOTIONS FROM PUZZLE HOUSE.

AMAZON LINK

 

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

HELP ME BRAINSTORM!

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I’m working on a series of novels that will show God’s supernatural power. My idea is to have an overall title then a specific title for that novel.

Example: Miracles: A Small Blue Purse

But I’m looking for something other than Miracles because I don’t want to make people think the stories are real. Something catchy but readers will know right away they’re fictional and have a touch or two of the supernatural. Any ideas? Here’s a few of my ideas. Feel free to expand on them or come up with one of your own.

 MIRACLES: A SMALL BLUE PURSE

MIRACLES; A ROCK’N ROLL CHRISTMAS

MODERN DAY PARABLES: A ROCK’N ROLL CHRISTMAS

MIRACLES, PARABLES, & GOD: A SMALL BLUE PURSE

 

PS. I’ll make a gift of one of my ebooks if I use someone’s idea!

So Many Choices–Christian Fiction!

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As promised, I’m giving a list of Christian Fiction books today that you might want to check out. And, of course, you can always check out my books as well. Most of mine are suspense or romantic suspense and don’t deal with social issues, but the list below focuses on books that have a variety of difficult or controversial topics.

It was compiled by author, Deborah Raney and she gave me permission to share it here. You can learn more about Deborah and her books at www.deborahraney.com. 

 

CBA NOVELS THAT ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES
Abortion: 
BECAUSE OF THE RAIN, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
LIKE ALWAYS, Robert Elmer (WaterBrook Press 2007)
A HILLTOP IN TUSCANY, Stephanie Grace Whitson (Bethany House 2006)
SAVING GRACE, Denise Hunter (Howard Books 2005)
THE ATONEMENT CHILD, Francine Rivers (Tyndale House 1999)
Adoption/Infertility:
AS WATERS GONE BY, Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon Press 2015)
ANOTHER WAY HOME, Deborah Raney (Abingdon Press 2015)
LOST AND FOUND, Gayle Roper (Amazon Digital Services 2014)
CATCH A FALLING STAR, Beth K.Vogt (Howard Books 2013)
PERFECTING KATE, Tamara Leigh (Multnomah 2007)
Aging/Body Image/Menopause/Obesity:
INVISIBLE, Ginny L. Yttrup (Shelterwood Press 2018)
ALWAYS JAN, Roxanne Henke (Amazon Digital Services 2017)
FOOD BABY, Linda Kozar (CreateSpace 2015)
MISS INVISIBLE, Laura Jensen Walker (Thomas Nelson 2007)
AIDS/Homosexuality:
THREADS OF HOPE, Christa Allan (Abingdon Press 2012)
A SEASON OF GRACE, Bette Nordberg (Harvest House 2004)
TIGER LILLIE, Lisa Samson (WaterBrook Press 2004)
SPRING RAIN, Gayle Roper (Multnomah 2001)
Alcoholism/Codependency/Drug Abuse:
ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE, Beth K. Vogt (Howard Books 2016)
LEAVING NOVEMBER, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2016)
DREAMING ON DAISIES, Miralee Ferrell (David C. Cook 2015)
A PROMISE KEPT, Robin Lee Hatcher (Thomas Nelson 2014)
CRITICAL CONDITION, Richard Mabry, M.D. (Thomas Nelson 2014)
NIGHT LIGHT, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan 2006)
Bullying:
JUST LOOK UP, Courtney Walsh (Tyndale House 2017)
FEAR HAS A NAME, Creston Mapes (David C Cook 2013)
SHATTERED SILENCE, Margaret Daley (Abingdon 2012)
Cancer/Dementia/Terminal Illness:
AFTER ANNE, Roxanne Henke (Amazon Digital Services 2017)
A VOW TO CHERISH, Deborah Raney (Harlequin Special Release 2017)
ALL MY BELONGINGS, Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon Press 2013)
A TIME TO MEND, Angela Hunt (Steeple Hill 2006)
THE HEALING QUILT, Lauraine Snelling (WaterBrook Press 2002)
Child Abuse/Domestic Violence:
YOU’LL THINK OF ME, Robin Lee Hatcher (Thomas Nelson 2017)
A NEST OF SPARROWS, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
TO WHISPER HER NAME, Tamera Alexander (Bethany House 201
REKINDLED, Tamera Alexander (Bethany House 2006)
Cloning:
THE PEARL, Angela Hunt (Thomas Nelson 2003)
IRREPARABLE HARM, Randy Singer (WaterBrook Press 2003)
Crisis Pregnancy/Premarital Sex:
FALCON, Ronie Kendig (Barbour 2015)
WHEN MERCY RAINS, Kim Vogel Sawyer (WaterBrook 2015)
DANCING WITH FIREFLIES, Denise Hunter (HarperCollins Christian 2014)
RESCUED BY THE FIREFIGHTER, Gail Gaymer Martin (Love Inspired 2014)
MAJOR LEAGUE DAD, Kathleen Y’Barbo (Barbour Publishing 2013)
PAINTED DRESSES, Patricia Hickman (WaterBrook Press 2007)
Depression/Mental Illness/Suicide:
BECOMING OLIVIA, Roxanne Henke (Amazon Digital Services 2017)
SONG OF SILENCE, Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon Press 2016)
PROMISE TO KEEP, Elizabeth Byler Younts (Howard Books 2015)
THE OAK LEAVES, Maureen Lang (Tyndale House 2007)
THE NOVELIST, Angela Hunt (WestBow 2006)
THE LIVING END, Lisa Samson (WaterBrook Press 2005)
FINDING ALICE, Melody Carlson (WaterBrook Press 2003)
Divorce/Infidelity/Troubled Marriage:
A FRAGILE HOPE, Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon Press 2017)
SWEETBRIAR COTTAGE, Denise Hunter (HarperCollins Christian 2017)
YESTERDAY’S EMBERS, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
THE FIVE TIMES I MET MYSELF, James L. Rubart (HarperCollins Christian 2015)
CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE, Beth K. Vogt (Howard Books 2015)
REDEEMING LOVE, Francine Rivers (Multnomah 2004)
Drunk Driving:
AFTER THE RAINS, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
WAITING FOR MORNING, Karen Kingsbury (Multnomah 2002)
False Religions/Cults:
A STAR CURIOUSLY SINGING, Kerry Nietz (Freeheads 2016)
SHADOWS ON THE SAND, Gayle Roper (Multnomah 2011)
POCKETFUL OF PEARLS, Shelley Bates (FaithWords 2005)
Homelessness:
ALMOST FOREVER, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
NOBODY, Creston Mapes (Multnomah 2007)
Human Trafficking:
SAVING HOPE, Margaret Daley (Abingdon 2012)
DELIVER ME FROM EVIL, Kathy Macias (New Hope Publishers 2011)
WISER THAN SERPENTS, Susan May Warren (Steeple Hill 2008)
THE LIGHTS OF TENTH STREET, Shaunti Feldhahn (Multnomah 2003)
Immigration/Refugees:
CATCHING THE WIND, Melanie Dobson (Tyndale House 2017)
BEYOND JUSTICE, Cara Putman (Thomas Nelson 2017)
Incest/Rape/Sexual Abuse:
THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS, Roseanna M. White (Bethany House 2016)
BECAUSE OF THE RAIN, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2015)
THROUGH THE DEEP WATERS, Kim Vogel Sawyer (WaterBrook 2014)
PROMISE TO CHERISH, Elizabeth Byler Younts (Howard Books 2014)
BELOVED COUNTERFEIT, Kathleen Y’Barbo (Amazon Digital Services 2013)
REVEALED, Tamera Alexander (Bethany House 2006)
Interracial Dating/Marriage:
HOME AT LAST, Deborah Raney (Abingdon Press 2017)
FIRETHORN, Ronie Kendig (Barbour 2012)
The Occult:
CORAL MOON, Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan 2007)
DARK STAR, Creston Mapes (Multnomah 2006)
Organ Donation:
INSIGHT, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
THE GOOD NEARBY, Nancy Moser (Tyndale House 2006)
Pornography:
WISH YOU WERE HERE, Beth K. Vogt (Howard Books 2012)
PRESUMED GUILTY, James Scott Bell (Zondervan 2006)
LAST LIGHT, Terri Blackstock (Zondervan 2005)
THE LIGHTS OF TENTH STREET, Shaunti Feldhahn (Multnomah 2003)
Racial Conflict/Reconciliation:
NO ONE EVER ASKED, Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Press 2018)
TO WAGER HER HEART, Tamera Alexander (Zondervan 2017)
ARMANDO’S TREASURE, Melody Carlson (WhiteFire 2017)
ABOVE ALL THINGS, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2016)
TO WIN HER FAVOR, Tamera Alexander (Zondervan 2015)
THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS TOUGH, Neta Jackson (Integrity 2005)
Single Parenthood:
THE MASTERPIECE, Francine Rivers (Tyndale House 2018)
A SCARLET CORD, Deborah Raney (Raney Day Press 2017)
Terrorism:
SKY ZONE, Creston Mapes (David C Cook 2014)
UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Why Don’t Christians Read Christian Fiction?

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Much of mainstream fiction is filled with bad language, graphic sex scenes, and all manner of wrong-thinking. Considering that, you’d think more Christians would want to read books that come from a Christian worldview–and yet I know many Christians who don’t read Christian Fiction. So why don’t they?

They haven’t even heard of Christian Fiction or if they have…

They think Christian fiction is all based in Bible times.

They think all Christian fiction is sweet romances.

They think Christian fiction is really a sermon disguised as a book.

They think it’s not as professional as mainstream fiction.

They think it’s corny, cheesy, or too preachy.

They think it’s not fun, interesting, or exciting.

They think Christian fiction is not socially relevant.

Whatever the reason, I’m here to say they’re wrong. Modern Christian fiction has something for everyone, no matter what they enjoy. It ranges from very mild Christian content to strong. It has every imaginable genre you could want except for erotica or porn. It ranges from sweet to edgy to even more edgy. It has characters ranging from facing the realities of this life to characters facing aliens or magical beings in another time or place.

So what puts the Christian in Christian Fiction?

In my opinion, there are two things that make Christian Fiction Christian Fiction.

First you have to follow some rules…I know…writers hate rules. It stifles our creativity, right? But without rules there would be anarchy!  And that’s never a good thing.

To me Christian Fiction is a label, much like the movie-rating system and that label should mean something. Readers should be able to trust that label when they make their reading choices. The traditional list for Christian Fiction included: conservative Christian values; Christian characters who didn’t drink alcohol, play cards, dance, or gamble; no profanity; no strong violence; chaste relationships that focuses on the emotional side of love, not the physical. In recent years these rules have relaxed. In fact, some publishers have relaxed beyond a point that is uncomfortable for me.

My own list includes these DO NOT HAVES:

Explicit sex scenes.

Superfluous violence.

Four letter words or any other words that might offend my readers

Second of all, there must be Christian content—how much depends on your specific story.

One of the ways I describe the Christian part of my stories is to say that all of my main characters are on a spiritual journey but they aren’t all in the same place spiritually. Some are devout Christians; some are lukewarm and some are even backsliders. And some are not Christian at all but searching for answers. As Christian Fiction writers, we need to help our characters find the answers. And in the process we might just help our readers find some answers they’re searching for as well.

 

So I hope this post has got you thinking that you might like to give Christian fiction a chance. Tomorrow, I’ll post a list of books that can get you started!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

A Book Review–If I Run by Terri Blackstock.

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Wow! I knew it had been a while since I posted here but I had no idea it was before Christmas.  Anyway, I just finished book 3 in the IF I RUN series by Terri Blackstock so I thought I’d do a review of the series. I love Terri Blackstock books. In fact the first time I read one of her book, I said to myself–she writes like me! So, of course, why wouldn’t I love her books?

The If I Run Series Collection: If I Run, If I'm Found, If I Live

Anyway…the series contains three books–If I Run; If I’m Found; and If I Live. I’m not going to talk about each of them individually but as a group. As always, the story is filled with loveable characters as well as villains to hate, lots of action but some sweet moments as well. All three books follow Casey who has gotten herself in a big mess–not of her own doing but still a mess. Even as Casey runs for her own life, she’s brave enough not to turn her back on others when she can help them.  And, of course, she falls in love during the course of the stories but I won’t ruin it by telling you who it is. The story has a strong Christian content which I enjoyed as well.

So, I loved the story but and it’s a big but for me, the story is written in first person present tense instead of the traditional third person past. If you don’t know what that means and there’s no reason to unless you’re a writer or a speech pathologist or an English teacher, I’ll demonstrate it for you.

3rd person past:   As she walked down the street, a man jumped at her.

1st person present: As I walk  down the street, a man jumps at me.

A lot of young adult novels are written in the 1st person present tense. Personally I don’t like it but Terri Blackstock is such a masterful writer that I was able to overcome my dislike of the format–this time.

So I’d definitely recommend the books if you’re looking for some romantic suspense with a Christian theme.

 

Until next time…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

Christmas Tree Extravaganza!

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My publisher, Pelican Book Group, has a Christmas Extravaganza where she publishes new Christmas-themed novellas and puts all the previous titles as well as the new ones on sale for 99 cents! To check it out CLICK HERE.

So anyway I’m having a Christmas Tree Extravaganza!

Every year as Christmas approaches, we clear off our enclosed porch and up comes the trees from the basement. This year, according to my husband, we have 17 trees up. One lonely tree stayed in the basement.  Twelve are on the porch and 5 are in the house. No, they aren’t all full-sized trees. We have large ones, medium ones, and small ones. It’s a bit of work, but the results are so much fun, I don’t really complain about it.

Anyway, here’s my 2017  Christmas Tree Extravaganza! My photography’s not the best but at least you can get an idea of what it looks like.

     

   

   

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & GOOD READING!