A Writer’s Life–Part 1

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I know I’ve been remiss with my blogging. Not just that I don’t blog that often but that I don’t really share much about what it’s like to be a writer. At least my life as a writer. I’m going to change that by adding this new segment to my blog, A Writer’s Life. I’m not saying I’ll blog a whole lot more, but I’m saying I’ll share more about my life as a writer. So without further ado, here’s part 1!

Sometimes writing is easy; other times not so easy; and then there are the times it’s downright difficult. I started working on the third book in my Puzzle House series, probably more than a year ago. And it just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t “see” the story. I’d write some then get stuck, go write something else, then come back and get stuck again. This happened again and again.

Since I started writing this third book, I actually finished three other books and submitted them and got contracts. Yea! I did final revisions on two other books, and started yet another book. Each time I finished a project, I’d go back to the Puzzle House book–currently titled–SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN. Believe me, I was suffering with this book. Anyway, I’d go back to it and start rewriting and then…I’d get stuck once again.

I began to doubt that it would ever get finished, but it was more than half done so I didn’t want to just forget about it. PUZZLE HOUSE tells the story of Rachel and how Puzzle House came to be as Rachel shares about her life and struggles with a young girl named Nia.

THE DAVID YEARS which will release in August of this year and continues the story of Nia.

My idea for SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN would bring the story full circle and back to Puzzle House. But sometimes things don’t go as planned. So I just gave the whole mess to God and asked him to help me figure it out or I was going to forget about it.

Finally about two weeks ago, I realized the story didn’t have a theme. Most of my stories’ themes sort of present themselves to me as I write them. Looking back, this story did as well, I just didn’t recognize it. Once I did, I was finally able to “see” the ending of the story. And so…I’m pleased to say I wrote THE END on the first draft of Suffer The Little Children earlier today!

So when you’re living A WRITER’S LIFE, some days are good and some days are even better!

God Bless & Good Reading!

PS. Prayer works! Praising God for all his blessings, but especially for the blessing of being able to write stories to share with others!

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New Books!

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Here’s a list of April releases by authors that are members of American Christian Fiction Writers that you might want to check out. As you can see, there’s a little bit of everything no matter what genre you love!

 

April 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Children’s:

The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio — Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is preparing her for a greater mission — far beyond what she could imagine. (Children’s from Ambassador International)

Contemporary Romance:

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish — Younger sister Hope has lost her job, her car, and her boyfriend all in one day. Her well-laid plans for life have gone sideways, as has her hope in God. Older sister Faith is finally getting her dream-come-true after years of struggles and prayers. But when her mom talks her into letting Hope move in for the summer, will the stress turn her dream into a nightmare? Is her faith in God strong enough to handle everything? For two sisters who haven’t gotten along in years, this summer together could be a disaster…or it could lead them to a closer relationship with each other and God. Can they overcome all life is throwing at them? Or is this going to destroy their relationship for good? (Contemporary Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Match Made in Heaven by Julie Arduini — Beth Prescott wants to make a difference with the senior citizens she serves as a volunteer coordinator, but their matchmaking efforts leave her guarded. She’s experienced too much pain to make that leap again. Dean Kellerman returns to the Finger Lakes area to help his grandfather and heal his own broken heart. He’s recommitted his life to Christ, and doesn’t want any distractions.
When his grandfather needs assistance with a senior program, it places Dean right in Beth’s path. Can these two surrender their pasts to Christ and have faith in each other and their future? (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)

An Amish Reunion by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kathleen Irvin, and Beth WisemanTheir True Home by Amy Clipston: Marlene Bawell’s new friendship with an old crush is threatened when change once again disrupts the home she’s tried to make in Bird-in-Hand. A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman: Separated after tragic grief, husband and wife Ruth and Gideon Beiler are reunited when they accept an invitation to a family reunion they each believe the other has declined. A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller: Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else? Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin: Abandoned by her father, penitent single mother Hannah Kauffman finds support in her old friend Phillip, who has loved her for years, but fears risking another mistake by opening herself up to love. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Her New Amish Family by Carrie Lighte — Widower Seth Helmuth needs a mother for his sons, but for now, hiring the Englischer next door as their nanny will have to do. Trina Smith plans to stay in Amish country only long enough to claim her inheritance and sell her grandfather’s house. But as she falls for Seth, his twin boys and Amish life, will she inherit a home and a family? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beauty for Ashes by Kathleen Neely — Well-known novelist Nathan Drummond revisits painful memories when family responsibilities force him to return to his home town. Although he’d intended the living situation to be temporary, Nathan didn’t count on falling in love. As guilty memories threaten a return of panic attacks, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly. Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Restoring Her Faith by Jennifer Slattery — An artist fighting to save her career must find a way to work with the handsome yet stubborn cowboy overseeing a church restoration project–without falling for his southern charm. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sweet On You by Becky Wade — Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. As they work together to investigate Zander’s uncle’s mysterious death, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

General Contemporary:

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli — A dying request from an elderly neighbor forces a woman in a troubled marriage to find the 300-year-old story of a young colonial woman—one forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden to her by society. (General Contemporary from Hope Creek Publishers)

All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey — Meet five women who struggle with life’s deep sorrows. Beth fights to recover from alcoholism and to mend her relationships with her family. Ann doesn’t believe God will forgive her. Kathleen wrestles with a years-old fear and with saving her marriage. Cassie needs to learn to deal with chronic depression. Martie finds herself the single parent of the eight-year-old niece she barely knows when the child’s parents die in a car wreck.
See how God gives them the gifts of hope, healing, and love. (General Contemporary from Mantle Rock Publishers)

Historical:

The Refuge by Ann H Gabhart — Can Darcie Goodwin find love and a way to keep her baby in a community that doesn’t believe in marriage or individual family units? (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere — At loose ends in London after a near-tragedy, Cara Bernay finds herself at odds with the Earl of Morestowe after she befriends his brother, a talented but troubled young artist. Soon she finds herself drawn to the earl as she becomes more involved with his family. Like Cara, they are suffering from unresolved mistakes in their past. Can they form an unlikely alliance and find a way to a new beginning? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse — Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the 1849 Gold Rush. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Delivered by Patricia Bradley — An escaped victim of sex trafficking must find the courage to report her captors to the authorities—some of whom could be corrupt—when her niece is kidnapped by the ringleader. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

You Shouldn’t Have by Susan Page Davis — “I SAW MY NEIGHBOR MURDER HIS WIFE!” But the police don’t believe Petra Wilson. There’s no body, no evidence, no murder. But Petra knows what she saw. And now her dangerous neighbor knows it, too. Her sisters introduce her to private investigator Joe Tarleton. Petra tells Joe her story, expecting him to decide there is no case. But the dedicated P.I. accepts her word, and he vows to uncover the truth. Still, he can’t guard Petra twenty-four hours a day. In spite of her precautions, her neighbor makes inroads in her vulnerability. Petra is left open to a killer intent on silencing the only living witness. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)

Beauty in Battle by Robin Patchen — Harper doesn’t want to return to Maryland to face the police. The mess she left behind makes her look guilty of the worst, but it’s too late to run again. Red is safe and the authorities are waiting. At least Jack is by her side.
Now that Jack knows the truth, his feelings for Harper are deeper than ever. He’s not about to leave her side, especially knowing a killer is after her. But Derrick is on their trail, and he’s come unhinged. And he may not be the biggest threat lurking. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])

Speculative:

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family’s destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new role as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself. With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: accept the Dark Lady’s offer or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other freedom. But time is running out, and if she doesn’t choose soon, her decision will be made for her. (Speculative Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy by K.A. Cummins — Transported into another world, an Austrian girl must face a genetically-engineered warrior with an army of vicious hybrids. (Hard Science Fiction (for Children), Independently Published)

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings — A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job. A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding. And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive. When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcases from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave. (Speculative Allegory from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Review: Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker

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RISE OF THE MYSTICS is the second novel in Ted Dekker’s Beyond The Circle series, supposedly a two-book series but he does leave the door open for more stories in his note to his readers at the end of the story. I read the first book last year and he tells you that you should read the first story before reading this one. A very good idea. I think you’d be completely lost in the story if you haven’t read THE 49TH MYSTIC.

The stories feature a young girl (17) named Rachelle. Rachelle finds herself caught between two worlds–Earth and Other Earth. When she sleeps in one of the worlds, she awakes to find herself in the other world. Are they merely dreams or two different realities?

When Rachelle wakes up in Other Earth, she discovers she’s more than just a girl–she’s The 49th Mystic. Thus begins her spiritual journey that will cross over between both her worlds–Earth and Other Earth. Her actions in one world has consequences in both worlds. As with any spiritual journey it’s not an easy thing. She has enemies in both worlds who want her to fail. And they are willing to do anything to make sure she fails–even if they have to kill her.

These books are what I call modern-day parables. What’s a parable? An earthly story with a heavenly message. Using that definition, these books are definitely parables. There are many spiritual truths that are demonstrated in these stories. Whether you choose to embrace the spiritual message or only enjoy the earthly story, these books are definitely worth your time. 

They are on my short list to read again!

God Bless & Good Reading!

Ted Dekker and Bravery?

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I thought I’d share a writer’s secret with you today.  This was something I learned as I wrote my first manuscript many–many years ago. It was surprising. It was unexpected. It was unsettling. In fact, it was terrifying! At least terrifying to an introvert like me.

Are you ready for this big secret?

A writer shares a part of themselves in every book they write!

Maybe that doesn’t surprise you, but it sure surprised me at the time. After all, fiction is fiction, right? By its very definition that makes it not true. I’m not talking about the facts of a story or the plot, though I’m certainly guilty of borrowing from my own life now and then as I write my stories. I’m talking about on a different level.

I’m talking about the truth of who we are.

We can’t completely hide ourselves as we create stories about the human experience. And every fiction story is about the human experience even if the story’s set in another universe or time or with robots, animals or other creatures as the main characters. It’s still about the human experience.

So what’s this secret have to do with Ted Dekker and bravery?

I just finished reading his novel, RISE OF THE MYSTICS. It is the second novel in a two-part series. The first was THE 49TH MYSTIC. I’ll do a review tomorrow, but today I want to talk about Ted Dekker’s bravery. If you don’t know Ted Dekker’s books, they can be described as horror, supernatural, and/or fantasy but with a Christian message. And he’s been successful–very successful. HIs books are best sellers.

As you read these two books, it will become obvious that he’s sharing his own spiritual journey and truths with his readers in the form he’s so good at–fiction. Whether you like or dislike the story, whether you agree or disagree with him, you can’t deny that Ted Dekker is willing to make himself and his readers uncomfortable in order to share his spiritual journey. And that makes him one of the bravest writers I know!

Well done, Ted Dekker!

God Bless & Good Reading!

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2)

The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Winners!

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As promised, here are the winners of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

 

DAY 1–Kathy H.

Day 2–ClickClickMyCat

Day 3–Kathy H.

Day 4–Marisela Z.

Day 5–LoRee Peery

Day 6-Reba

Day 7–Kay B.

Day 8–Tracy T.

Day 9–JoanArning

Day 10–FishingJan

Day 11–Pamela

Day 12–Carol James

And the grand prize winner is…..ClickClickMyCat!

 

Congratulations to all the winners. I’ll notify the authors tomorrow about who won but remember it’s a busy time so you may not hear from then until after Christmas! Thanks for playing, everyone! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

God Bless & Good Reading and…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

ENCLAVE by Thomas Locke

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Enclave

Enclave by Thomas Locke is the first book I’ve read by the author, but it won’t be the last.

I found the book to be a slower pace than many books these days–and that’s a good thing. It gave me time to get to know the characters in a way that fast-paced books can’t.  It reminded me of the classic cowboy novels of times past. and yet it’s set in the future.  A future that is rather dismal but certainly possible. Fifty years before there was a Great Crash that left America not just fractured but broken.

This story will keep you reading but it will also make you wonder–could this happen to America?

Definitely worth reading!

 

Here’s the back cover blurb:

It’s been 50 years since the Great Crash and what was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed on the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern states, is relatively stable and maintains a successful business of trade with nearby enclaves, including the one at Charlotte Township. But when a new vein of gold is found beneath the feet of those in Catawba, it’s only a matter of time before trouble finds them.

Now the future of Catawba may be in the hands of an untried 21-year-old trader named Caleb. And Caleb knows that if his secret were ever to come out, he would never see another dawn.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

Christmas in East Kansas by Regina Smeltzer (DAY 12)

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On the 12th day of the Christmas Giveaway, my true love gave to me, 12 drummers drumming and…

A FREE copy of GOD, LIFE & HULA HOOPS by Lillian Duncan on Amazon! It will only be FREE today so click on the link before you forget.  AMAZON LINK

Keep on reading to enter for today’s prize!

Regina Smeltzer loves the unusual, the unexpected, and ALWAYS cheers for the underdog! Her favorite experiences include riding a runaway camel in Egypt and catching Camen in the Amazon and holding a snake-charmer’s python. Her biggest adventure was marrying a career military man and raising four children. Now five grandchildren hold her heart.  Regina writes:

I wrote my first story in grade school (Akron, Ohio), and had my first short story published at age fifteen. During my busy motherhood and nursing career years, my writing included developing protocols, writing grants, and creating workshops, as well as creating puppet shows for VBS, and providing holiday dramas for my church.

I moved from Ohio to Darlington, South Carolina in 2006, took an assistant professor position at Francis Marion University and also began teaching online as an adjunct for Indiana Wesleyan University. I love speaking to groups about my faith, my life’s challenges, and my writing journey. I currently have three novels published by Pelican Book Group, Deadly Decision, Retribution, and Light of Logan and one novella, Christmas in East Kansas.

East Kansas is the picture postcard of Christmas with the mountain peaks, wreath-covered storefronts and holiday music streaming into the streets. During the holiday season, ice skating on Miller Pond is the main social outlet for the town. A new road through the mountains will ease the town’s economic struggle, but will destroy the pond which is fiercely protected by Olivia Miller. Even though Olivia hates Thomas Baker, the man hired to build the road and destroy her family’s legacy, she also finds herself unexplainably drawn to him.

Thomas Baker plans to spend another Christmas alone until he is offered a chance to supervise the construction of a new road. His excitement fades when he finds out the job is in East Kansas, the one place he swore to never return to. Besides avoiding the man who lives there, Thomas must protect his heart against the young girl who stole it 15 years ago.

Just as Olivia and Thomas begin to kindle a relationship, history between their two families surfaces. The past threatens to kill both their futures as well as the road. Will this be the last Christmas for East Kansas?

A Christmas miracle is needed in East Kansas.

AND THAT CONCLUDES THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all the great Christian authors and their books. You still have a few days to go back and enter for all the days’ prizes.

 

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway!

 

TODAY’S PRIZE: An ecopy of Christmas in East Kansas.

To celebrate Christmas, I’m having A Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway. Each day, one of my books will be FREE on Amazon so everyone’s a winner!

There will also be a daily prize, but you must leave a comment for each day to win that day’s prize as well as be entered for the grand prize. If you leave a comment each day, that gives you 12 entries for the grand prize!

Grand prize:

$10 Amazon gift card from me;

$10 Amazon gift card donated by Molly Jebber;

$10 Amazon card donated by Anita Klumpers;

An e-book of Two Suitors for Anna by Molly Jebber;

An e-book of Everything About You by Lisa Lickel

A print copy of Without a Song by LoRee Peery,

Your choice of one of my e-books!

 

Winners will be chosen on December 20th and announced on December 21st (I hope!).

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for today’s prize.

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!