Posted in About the Author

What your favorite Indie Author REALLY wants to write in place of the blurb

15After spending so much time perfecting the novel, the indie author must then perfect the most important sales pitch: the blurb. Readers have little clue, if any, as to how difficult and stressful this stage really is. Here’s what your favorite–weary–author secretly wants to write in place of the blurb:

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“Something exciting happens in this book. Read it to find out what it is!”

“I have spent the last nine months perfecting 130,845 words and I don’t have the patience to fuss over 75 more words.”

“Just read the book. It’s good, I promise. I’ve read it over 9 times myself so I should know.”

“This is book three of a continuous series. I have purposely crafted books 1 and 2 so that you would be DYING to read this one, so it needs no introduction. And if it DOES need an introduction it’s because you haven’t read the first two books of the series. Don’t be a dolt! Start at the beginning. FYI The first book has a real blurb.”

“This book is as good as the cover makes it look.”

Leave the back blank with the instructions:
“After reading this book, please fill in the section below with your own personal summary of the story.”
And at the bottom of the blank section write:
“It’s not so easy now is it?”

“If you’re one of those people who will read the backs of lotion bottles while sitting in the bathroom, pick up this book. I guarantee it’ll be more exciting and you clearly aren’t the picky sort, so why should you care what the story is about?”

For Romance novels:
“If it looks like the two people on the cover fall in love, it’s because they do. Read the book to find out how and what their names are.”

“I bet you don’t read the labels on your food as much as you read the blurbs for a book. Shouldn’t you be more concerned about what you’re putting in your mouth than what you’re reading?”

“The celebrities that were talked into saying nice things about my book have all agreed that it’s the greatest I’ve ever written. Who cares what it’s about? Trust a celebrity and buy a copy today!”

“You’re one of those who peeks at their Christmas presents, aren’t you? Shame on you!!”

Lol I hope you enjoyed this look inside an author’s brain.
And authors, I’d love to hear from you! Which of these examples are you tempted to put on your next release? I’ll be honest and say that the one about Book 3 of a series not needing an introduction was what my tired little heart wanted to put on my upcoming release. 😉 But don’t worry. I’ll grab myself a cup of tea and write something awesome…eventually.
And please, feel free to add to my list in the comments below!!

Posted in About the Author, Christian

Standing Before the Burning Bush

Who are you trusting? Yourself or God?

How about when you’re challenged with a difficult task and you’re way in over your head? Are you trusting yourself or Christ?

Sometimes even the most dedicated Christians stumble here. Moses did. Let’s go back to the moment in history in Exodus and examine the scene:
Moses was minding his own business when he walked upon a bush that while on fire wasn’t consumed or being burnt. The angel of the Lord spoke to him from inside this bush. It was here, that Moses learned of his assignment: Go back to Egypt and bring the Israelites out. Out of bondage. Out of Egypt. Out to worship the One True God in a way they had never known before. This was no small task. The Pharaoh was powerful. The people were stubborn. It would have been risky enough to slip back into Egypt and rescue just one person in the cloak of night, but to rescue ALL right in front of the entire Egyptian army and the mighty Pharaoh? Who would dare to do such a thing?

A man called by God.

But in spite of this calling, in spite of the awesome signs God had shown him right there on the spot, in spite of the fact that the Lord, Himself, spoke to him through a burning bush, Moses made a list of reasons why he wasn’t qualified.

In that moment, he stopped seeing how great and mighty God was and could only see himself. He saw his own shortcomings. His failures. His inabilities. And Moses had them. These were not pretend ailments but real issues that anyone could see. In fact, God didn’t deny them. But what did He say?
“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

God told Moses that He would fill him with Himself. He would teach him. Sadly Moses continued to argue and God was angry. But He had mercy on Moses sent his brother Aaron to help him. But what about you? What about me? Have we ever stood before a burning bush and argued with God about how He intended to use us?

I have.

Four years ago, God laid it on my heart in a way that couldn’t be ignored to start writing for the public. I had already been writing privately but now I would allow others to read and criticize my work. And to make matters worse, the story on my heart included Civil War letters. I would actually be in charge of writing letters as if they came off the battlefield! How in the world a meek little woman, who had never so much as been in the army for an hour, write with authority? How would I make it sound real? I wasn’t capable of this task. And I knew it. Much like Moses, I made my list of reasons why I wasn’t qualified. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have the commanding personality to be in the public eye. I don’t know enough. I’m not talented enough. I wasn’t there in history’s past.

And like with Moses, God never denied my list. I never felt the Holy Spirit comfort my heart and remind me that I am good enough. That I am talented. That I am smarter than those around me. The God who created me knew He made me with some shortcomings. He also knew He was able to fill them.

He reminded me that He is the I Am. Everything I lacked would come from Him. He would teach me, guide me, and fill me. He would take my weaknesses and show off His strengths. Alone, Moses could do nothing. With Christ, Moses would storm Egypt and turn the world upside down. The showdown was so powerful and so mighty that we still talk about it today. My task would be much smaller, but I would still make the impact that God had ordained.

But what does this filling look like?

God didn’t fill me outside of my own efforts. That means that He didn’t zap me with His God-gun or insert powers into my body like the spider did when he bit Peter Parker. He didn’t come over me in a cloud. I didn’t fall into a trance at the computer and write a 400-page novel.

No. I sweated every word out. One word at a time. One line at a time.  And, yet, He was there.

Every time I studied, He was opening my mind. Every time I researched, He was bringing me closer to history. Every time I corrected my writing, He was giving me understanding. He brought others along side of me. He opened doors for me that had previously been closed.
I never worked alone. But I did work. And the same is said for repentance. God doesn’t zap us with a do-better ray. Instead, He changes us from the inside as we turn away from our old sinful behaviors. The more we turn from sin, the more we detest it. God is always working with us. But we’re always required to show up and do the work.

I once stood before a burning bush (figuratively, of course) and I argued my merits. I somehow thought that in spite of the great miracles I had read about in the Bible and in spite of the proof I had witnessed in my own life, God wouldn’t be able to use someone who had so little to offer and use them in such a powerful way.

And I was proven wrong.

God delights in using the simple and the weak. It’s not an ego boost to know it. But it is a comfort.

I stood before another burning bush two months ago. I made my list of failings but this time, I smiled and handed them over. God will use them. And I will get a front row seat. I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store. Are you curious to know what the new assignment is?

It’s a new adventure. A new series!

In spite of the fact that I’m in the middle of 5 books series. In spite of the fact that I’ve had mono for over 200 days now and counting. In spite of the fact that I’m also struggling with a Vitamin D deficiency. In spite of the fact that I’ve had to set aside the revisions of my third novel, falling months behind my personal schedule. In spite of everything, God pressed on my heart in a clear way that it was time to start a brand new series. I have begun writing the new novel and I intend to work on both series, side by side.
It’s true, I don’t have enough time or enough energy. Some days, I don’t get any writing done at all because my strength is zapped and my body is drained. But Jesus is the I Am. What I am not, He is. Where I lack, He fills. As I work, He’s working in me.
From where I stand, my progress looks like a snail’s crawl, but I trust my Master. My weakness will show off His strength and I’m looking forward to it.

Now, I might have sparked your curiosity. What is this new series? Fans of Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, and especially fans of Multi-generational series will love to learn more about my new series. I invite you to the Facebook party that I’ll be hosting where I reveal all the secrets concerning this new series. There’ll be games, giveaways, and good, clean fellowship. Set the date for Oct 1 at 10 am, central. I hope to see you there! But if you’re not able to make it, look for the blog post later that night where I reveal all the details for those that missed the party.

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Posted in About the Author, Book Reviews, Fiction Friday

2016 Summer Book Olympics

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been enjoying every minute of cheering Team USA on in the Olympic games. I love the Olympics and eagerly anticipate it every two years. 
In the spirit of this historic event, I thought it would be fun to compile our own Book Olympics. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books with you and look forward to hearing yours! And if you’re one of my readers that isn’t cheering on Team USA give a shout out to your favorite team! 🙂 

Summer Read
My top three favorite reads from THIS summer.
Gold: Greetings from the Flipside by Gutteridge and McKay
Silver: Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell
Bronze: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Authors of the Nations
Three of my favorite authors from THREE different nations.
Gold: Jane Austen representing Great Britain
Silver: Lynn Austin representing USA
Bronze: Lucy Maud Montgomery representing Canada

2016 Release
My top three favorites so far from 2016
Gold: Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell
Silver: The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
Bronze: Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

*All links lead to Goodreads.

Posted in About the Author, About the Book

Sneak Peak at my Future Projects

12I had asked this question to my readers recently and felt that you deserved some feedback from me. So here it is. 🙂

As previously mentioned, the current series I’m writing covers both the Civil War era and the present day. The series is projected to complete in fall of 2018.

But what will I write once the series is finished? I DO have my mind made up and plans are already set into motion!! If the Lord allows, I will be writing a stand-alone novel set in the 1800s. When exactly? The date is still something I’m playing around with but I’m thinking about the end of the Civil War in TEXAS. The book is not intended to cover much of the war.
I’m sure you’re anxious for more details, but I’m sorry. I’m saving those reveals for another day. But you might be interested to know a little more about what else I have on file to write…

I have several solid story ideas patiently waiting for me. I don’t want to share titles or major plot details but I will offer up a little in the way of settings so you can dream and wonder about what I have planned for you. 😉

I have a 3-book contemporary series on file. This series is one of those intense kinds that leaves you hanging at the end of every book until you reach the end of the series. If I write this series one day, I’m thinking about holding off until I can publish them within months of each other so the wait isn’t so hard on you. See, dear reader, I’m thinking about you! 🙂

I have a stand alone Civil War series that I’m super excited about and which could possibly be the 2020 release. 2020?! That sounds extremely far away, doesn’t it? In this series, each and every novel will be completely and totally separate. The series is based on theme only so I may not write the full series back to back but space them out in between projects. We’ll see what the Lord has in store for us.

I have a Jane Austen retelling anxiously waiting for me. And also something for another favorite author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. The LMM novel is NOT associated with Anne of Green Gables but, rather, one of her lesser-known works that had stolen my heart.

I have a very interesting series based on three brothers which was actually inspired by one of the families from my church. The characters will be named after their sons. We’ll venture back to the Civil War for this one. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it, but if we’re lucky the boys will be old enough to sit for the cover. Wouldn’t that be grand?!

I also have a contemporary mystery novella set on file. This is a new development and I’m thrilled to see this one coming into focus. I’ve had a mystery story in mind for over 2 years now and it just never felt right. When I began to develop these mystery novellas, suddenly this other story had a home.

And I MAY have purposely saved the best for last. 🙂 I have a spin-off series in development which features the next generation from the Ancient Words Series. I’m projecting 4 books, one for each major household, but so far I only have 3 stories on file. But God is teaching me patience so I’ll continue waiting for it to fall into place. I know you’re going to love it. However, I’m NOT planning to write them right away. I’m actually looking forward to working on some of the other projects before coming back to our Maple Grove friends.

Now to address the wonderful suggestions you offered: One of the reoccurring suggestions was for a Revolutionary War novel. You’ll be happy to know that, although, I currently do NOT have one on file, it IS something I’ve been extremely interested in and hope to get to someday. You’ll also be pleased to know that I have a Colonial research book on my shelf just in case inspiration strikes. 🙂

Another suggestion was for Regency fiction. Again, it’s something that I’m very interested in. I’m a little more than intimidated by this genre. But…I just so happen to have not one, but two, research books on my shelf. However, I do NOT have a storyline on file for this one.

I’d also like to work with WWI and WWII at some point, but again, I currently don’t have anything in development.

There were several other suggestions and I wrote down every one of them. Inspiration is such a funny thing. It comes and goes at will. Who knows which comment might have sparked the next great novel! 🙂

If you haven’t offered up any future setting ideas, please feel free to do so! I’d love to hear back from you and I promise to add your thoughts to my list. 🙂

Posted in About the Author

S.U.M.M.E.R. R.E.A.D.I.N.G. List

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If you’re looking for something great to read this summer, check out my list of recommendations. And this list just happens to spell Summer Reading, so you know it’s good. 😉
I’ve only pulled out the best for you. I have rated each of these books with 5 stars.

SSilent Governess by Julie Klassen

UUntil We Reach Home by Lynn Austin

M – (The) Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

MMy Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer

E Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson

RReluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

 

R(The) Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

EEmma by Jane Austen

AAll Our Empty Places by Alicia Ruggieri

DDear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

IIn Too Deep by Mary Connealy

NNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

GGoodbye, Magnolia by Krista Noorman

Unfamiliar with some of my recommendations? Here’s a mini review. Some books are  linked back to full reviews. 

Silent Governess is a must read for Regency fans. Klassen takes us on a journey that will keep your attention until the very end.

Until We Reach Home is one of those historical golds. Lynn opens up the world of an immigrant and allows us to walk in their shoes as they seek out their happily-ever-after in America.

The Mistress of Tall Acre takes you back to the year following the Revolutionary War. Frantz will keep you on the edge of your seat with rich detail and a subtle mystery.

My Heart Remembers follows the story of three siblings that were separated during their ride on the infamous Orphan Train. Sawyer will pull at your heartstrings with this warm tale.

If contemporary comedy is your thing, you’ll enjoy Every Bride Needs a Groom. Janice introduces us to a bride, her gown, and her search for the perfect groom.

Reluctant Melody throws two former lovers together. Sandra brings to life the story of redemption in this historical fiction.
*If you’re in the mood for something a little Christmasy this summer, look for Sandra’s novella, The Yuletide Angel. The Yuletide Angel is the forerunner for Reluctant Melody and is best read first.

Venture to Prince Edward Island, Canda in The Red Door Inn. Johnson brings a contemporary story of acceptance to this exceptional setting.
*Book 2 of this series is due to release this fall.

Emma remains a beloved classic for all the right reasons. Austen weaves together romance, charm, and humor in this delightful novel.

All Our Empty Places breathes grace into every page of the story in such a natural way. Revisit the Great Depression with Alicia in this beautifully told story.
*All Our Empty Places is the first of 3 books.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a story like none other. This contemporary story is told solely through letters and weaves hardships, romance, and quotes from your favorite classics together.

In Too Deep is the second book of a delightful historical fiction series. You’ll want to pick up Connealy’s entire series to get to know these three brothers and the women who come to love them.

Northanger Abbey is one of Austen’s lesser celebrated novels, but it’s a must read for her fans. Austen introduces us to a naive girl bound for adventure during her first season in Bath.

Goodbye, Magnolia is another look at the wedding season and perfect for a summer read. In this contemporary novel, Krista brings together a spurned heroine and her nemesis as they compete in the wedding photography business.
*Get to know another character from the story in Krista’s latest release, Until Then.

Did my Summer Reading list inspire you to add to your TBR pile this summer? Have you already enjoyed any of the books on my list? Do you have you a list to share with me? I’d love to hear your recommendations if you do!

 

Posted in About the Author

Birthday Cake 2016

In celebration of my birthday this week, we’re going to look at birthday cakes! I’m also going to share one of my favorite dessert recipes with you.
Before the Lord led me to write full time, I had dreamed of owning a bakery. Now I only decorate wedding cakes and birthday cakes for my children. In last year’s birthday post I had shared some of my favorite cakes that I made for the kids over the years. I also shared one of my favorite cake recipes. It’s perfect for a potluck dinner…or really any dinner. Lol You can view it here.
Here are last years creations:

We had a Frozen summer when my youngest two requested a Queen Elsa and Olaf cake.

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My oldest two challenged me to a Nerf Gun cake and TMNT’s Shreddar cake. For the Shreddar cake, I blended it with a Minion and created a Shreddar Minion and made the birthday boy extremely happy. 🙂 

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As a cake decorator, I’m often plotting and planning their next birthday cake immediately after their birthday. Interested to know what’s on the cake calendar this year?
My daughter is getting a Barbie and Ken cake. My youngest son is getting cupcakes in the shape of Mario. I’m not sure yet about the oldest two, but I’m looking at some sort of Dinosaur cake for Boy #2. We’re still brain storming cakes for my oldest son’s birthday.

This year’s birthday recipe is super easy! I originally planned to share one of my favorite cheesecake recipes, but when I pulled out my recipe book I ran across my Fruit Pizza recipe. I decided to share this one AND make one for myself this week. 🙂 I forget where the recipe came from. Kraft or Pillsbury most likely.

Fruit Pizza:
1 pkg. 20 oz. Sugar Cookie roll
1 8oz pkg cream cheese (soft)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Fresh fruit

Spread cookie dough out evenly on a small/medium cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown.
I always use a rectangle sheet but you could make it round on a pizza pan (as long as it doesn’t have holes) or bake individual cookies, but rectangle is the easiest.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until blended. Spread over cooled cookie and top with fruit. Cut into squares or wedges pending on your shape.
Use whatever fruit you desire. We normally stick with strawberry and pineapple. The flavors are beautiful together.
Keep in the fridge if you’re not eating it right away.

Posted in About the Author

Get to Know Me at a Glance

You can tell a lot about a person by the things they’re attracted to. One of the techniques authors often use in character development is creating a pin board for their character, so they can better understand the mind and personality of their character. The beauty of a pin board is that you can connect with the character in a single glance.

I browsed Pinterest and put together a pin board with the random things that caught my eye. So who I am? 🙂 What personality traits do you see based on my board?

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I’m romantic, vintage, and bubbly. I’m attracted to light and bright rooms, flowers, ruffles, and all things pink.

I want to learn more about you! What sort of things would make up your pin board?

 

Posted in About the Author, Uncategorized

My Bookshelf: TBR Pile

There are so many great books out there! I’ve made a personal challenge for the year to read more books from my To Be Read Pile. I’m not including books that are releasing this year even though several of them will find their way on the never ending list.
I’m sharing 20 random books from my TBR pile today and I’d love to hear from you!
Do you spot a favorite?
Or something I should probably skip altogether?
See something you’d love to read a review on?
Are any of these on your TBR pile?
Or simply vote for the book you think I need to bump up on my reading list.