Posted in About the Book, Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: NaNoWriMo Week 3

It’s week three of my first NaNoWriMo!! You can catch my intro, and Week 1 and 2 recaps. If you’re new to this blog series, allow me to explain: I’m sharing a weekly update during the month of November as I try to take part in NaNo2015 AND self publish my 2nd novel all at the same time. Does it sound difficult? That’s probably because it is! 😉

NaNoWriMo Recap: I know the ultimate goal for every NaNo participant is to add 50,000 words by the end of the month. And while I’m a fiction writer, I’m also a realist. 😉 So my personal goal for the month is 25,000 words. I’ve add less than 1,500 words all week. With only one full week remaining, I think my NaNo days are over.

While it’s nice to see the chapters forming for book 3 of the series, the most important thing on my desk right now is my 2nd born bookie: In the Shadow of Thy Wings. The release date is quickly approaching. I’ve only 2 full weeks remaining!!! So how is it going in the publishing world? Let’s see…
This week I worked on a MAD list of advertising projects that MUST be done by the end of the month. But sadly, even this list was put on hold while I put all my focus on the the final read through for Shadow. Even though this step takes a long time, the good news is when I finish reading it, I’ll be completely and totally done with the book. No more editing. No more revisions. I’ll likely have to tweak some formatting, but the book itself will be complete and not a moment too soon either. The release date is coming soon!

There is much to praise God for this week as He continues to pave my way. Please continue to pray for me as I work on these last minute touches on the novel, it’s launch, and the early stages of writing book 3.

What does week 4 look like: Along with taking time to enjoy some great meals with the family, I’ll need to finish up these various advertising projects.

I had my launch team sharing a collection of memes this week. Feel free to save and share to your heart’s content. 🙂


Posted in About the Author, Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: NaNoWriMo Week 2

November is proving to be even busier than I had imagined. In an attempt to stay accountable, I’m openly sharing my first NaNoWriMo experience. Since it happens to take place during a crucial moment of a book’s life — the march to publication — I’ve decided to give everyone an update on both. You can catch my NaNoWriMo Intro and Week 1’s Recap.

If you’ve read my recap from last week, you’ll recall that I was in a bit of a mess. I had to step away from the high and lofty goals I had set for NaNo and focus instead on what was most important — my sanity. The Lord had used several people along the way with encouraging words and others letting me know that they were praying for me. I can’t thank ya’ll enough. It really means a lot and it’s a big comfort to me. So I want to kick off this week’s recap with some encouragement, whether you’re facing NaNo this month or other trials and daily struggles, let these words be the balm for your spirit.

“One breath at a time.” ~ Sandra Ardoin. Such a simple message, and, yet, it’s one we have to be reminded of all the time.

Walking into week 2, I carried with me a new theme song: Lay it Down. My prayer for the week was to no longer focus on the hundreds of plans and goals but to lay everything down at the Lord’s feet and follow His plans for me in a moment by moment way.

Writing update: My focus this week had to be on the editing/formatting front. Since both has a way of draining me, I had little time or inspiration for writing.
I put in 2,136 words this week. My total for the month is up to 10,335. Not too bad for a monthly total so far. I’m hoping to see more opportunities for writing over the next couple of weeks.

Publishing update: I’m happy to announce that the Lord has blessed my efforts this week and the paperback format came together nicely. I’m still finishing up this round of editing, but everything is going really well there.

Launch Update: My team has been adding In the Shadow of Thy Wings to their Goodreads accounts. One of my members has already finished and posted her review. You can read Kathleen’s review and add Shadow to your To-Be Read list here.
If you haven’t seen the promotional video for Shadow, then what are you waiting for?! Lol Push play and enjoy!

Praise and Prayer Report: We’re praising God for everything, both large and small, that I was able to accomplish this week. But most specifically, the paperback format. We’ve had a little sickness in the house, but the Lord has held us together and kept us from getting just all-out sick.
Please continue to pray for health, patience, for the Lord to bless our efforts and multiply them, and for a smooth path ahead.

A look at next week: I plan to ordered my first proof copy next week. For those unfamiliar with the process, as a self-publisher, I’m required to order a paperback copy once I have something together so that I can be certain that it’s ready to sell. If anything is wrong, then I simply make corrections and order another proof copy. I can’t wait to see how our first attempt turns out. The cover tends to need adjusting everything time I’ve ever published so I expect to order at least one other proof copy later this month. This will be a major step to completing this publishing process.
I hope to take in more writing time next week since the bulk of my editing is over.
I also have what seems like hundreds of smaller projects that I need to complete before Shadow’s release date, one of those being the last and final read through of the novel.
There’s so much left to do, but I want to both glorify Christ in the midst of it all and just enjoy the chaotic joy that surrounds a novel’s release. The moment will be over before I know it!

Posted in About the Author, About the Book, Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: NaNoWriMo Week 1

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. I also happen to be in the middle of publishing my second book. You’ll find more details in the intro post, but today, I’m here to bring you the update on my week. 🙂 

I knew when I agreed to participate in NaNoWriMo, that I would have to keep my eyes set on smaller goals. I also knew it would be a struggle to try to write more while also having to dedicate large amounts of time to raising a family and that small matter of publishing a novel. 😉
Well, as it turns out, all my knowing didn’t save me from the stress and wrongful thinking that I stumbled into at the first of the week. I’d love to tell you that I had it straight from the get-go, but it’s not true. Thank God for second chances!! And also for sending along words of wisdom.

These were the two text messages I received early in the week that made such a big impact that I had to write them down and post them on my desk!
“But don’t get stressed out or your work won’t mean anything. Your writing is meant to be for the glory of the Lord and your pleasure. So don’t let this overcome you; allow God to help you overcome it.” – Aunt Mary
“Just focus on what God wants you to accomplish and keep your eyes focused on Him! He will direct your paths!” – Darla Damron

After encouraging words like that, I was able to put my focus where it needed to be. Instead of pushing for word count, I focused on making some progress and tried to keep up with my publishing to-do list.

I ended up writing 8,199 words so far for week 1. I still have today’s totals to add in, but I’ll add them into week 2’s tallies.

Now for a publishing update. I have formatted the kindle edition and sent it out to the last round of readers. Their job is to read and help me spot lingering mistakes. Things are going well on that end so far and I couldn’t be happier.
Now for paperback. Paperback formatting is a more troublesome creature by nature. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. Lol I’m still struggling to piece this one together. Hopefully, I’ll have better news to share here next week on that end. For now, PLEASE pray for me.

This week kicked off week 1 of the launch for In the Shadow of Thy Wings!! This is such an exciting time as my team set out to share various links and memes. Here’s what they’re sharing this week. Please, feel free to snag and share! 🙂


A look at week 2:
Since I seem to average 1500-2000 words a day, I want to keep this as a writing goal. I won’t meet the 50,000 goal for NaNoWriMo with these numbers, but I will make great progress and keep my sanity. 😉
In the publishing world, I want to focus more of my time in advertising. I have 2 blogs to write for the release week, I need to update my website, and pull together more activities for the launch team. And unless I’m successful today, I’ll still be ironing out that paperback format.

Posted in Book Reviews

Fiction Friday: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

41She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire. 

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
 His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
 Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
 But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.
 Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

I’ve always enjoyed the Reformation story and was tickled to read this book so close to its historic beginning, but what I never imagined was to have my eyes peeled wide open to the realities and dangers of such a bold movement.

Rating: It’s a 5-star book only because additional stars isn’t an option. Lol

What I loved: There’s so much to talk about here. As mentioned, I’ve always enjoyed hearing and teaching my kids about the brave stand of Martin Luther against centuries of lies. I knew it was dangerous, but unless you walk on a day to day level with these real people, you’re likely to water down the idea of what dangerous really meant. Jody Hedlund has done a wonderful job taking the reader back in time to a place and era that few of us have looked into. It was amazing to see this real historic setting come to life for me for the first time. But what I was mostly struck by was gratitude to Christ for all the gifts that we take for granted today. I have a personal copy of the Bible and it’s not threatened. I can worship in truth. It was so sad to see how blinded people were by those that were meant to teach them truth but only taught lies instead. Every time I set the book down, I was left with a new appreciation for this amazing gift the Lord has granted our generation. And a new appreciation for the martyrs who died for it.
Aside from the rich history, I thoroughly enjoyed a love story that not only tugged on my heart stings but kept the pages turning.

What I didn’t like: There were a couple things that I had to adjust to in order to delve into this particular era. For starters, the beer. I can well imagine this was simply part of the culture, but as a dry Christian it was something that I had to learn to accept. Lol I’ve never read a book where the Christian characters drank beer. I know some readers will appreciate the warning, but it also needs to be said that at NO point was Martin Luther or any other Christian character seen drunk. But beer simply was the drink of the day much like tea would be at Jane Austen’s table.

Not having any real knowledge of the era or the setting, I wasn’t prepared for the dark story that sat within the pages. More sensitive readers may like to know that this isn’t your common marriage of convenience type of story. This real life setting is one of mass murder, torture, and rape, and these situations appear throughout the entire book. Having said that, Jody did an AMAZING job with these tough subjects. I’ve found very few authors that can bring the perfect balance between writing about the hard stuff without trying to shock their readers. Everything was tastefully done and in most cases, we were given an overview of the dark activity and not required to walk through it with the characters.

Who I’d recommend it to: I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loves a sweet love story wrapped in a strong, suspenseful setting. This story may be too strong for younger readers.

~I received a copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna White

80Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.
The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close–but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.
As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?
And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of
the very rare treasure in her possession–and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her.

A book this thick promises to be good and I was NOT disappointed! 

Rating: Hands down, The Lost Heiress gets a five-star rating from me.  There was so much to enjoy from this book.

What I loved: When Brook Eden finds her family, she stumbles into a long-held family mystery. With a maid selling personal secrets, a cruel neighbor seeking to marry her to his advantage, her best friend, Justin, who she may or may not love, pushing her away,  an entire household staff that thinks she’s a fraud, new friends that may not be trustworthy, and a mysterious message in a journal that disappears before she can read it, you’ll find yourself swallowed up in Brook’s suspenseful life. This one is bound to keep your attention well into the night. I’m already anxious to get my hands on book 2!!

What I didn’t love: The only problem I had was with trying to keep up with the large number of secondary characters. The author did well to include a basic list of characters and how they related to the family, but I still struggled here a bit. With so many characters being referred to as their title, first name, and last name it was hard to keep them straight. But this minor issue wasn’t enough to ruin the story.

Who I’d recommend it to: The Lost Heiress is perfect for those that simply love a great, clean, historical romance. Or anyone that enjoys Edwardian or English settings. Or those that love a slow boiling suspense.

~ I received a free copy from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Fiction Friday: The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

76There can be only one mistress of Tall Acre . . .
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Some books hook you from the very beginning, and The Mistress of Tall Acre was certainly one of them! This was my first Laura Frantz book, but it won’t be my last!

Rating: I’d gladly give this one a ten-star rating, but since it’s not an option, we’ll have to settle for five. 😉 Frantz kept my attention from page one until the very end with characters you could relate to, mystery, romance, and historical details.

What I loved: I loved the way she told the story. She has an amazing gift for layering the tension on each and every page. You could literally feel the threat against the characters slowly building and building. The same was true about the romance. The characters’ love wasn’t rushed as some novelists are guilty of. I also really enjoyed the setting: after the Revolutionary War. As a Civil War novelist, I appreciated all the references to the war. I think there are enough details naturally integrated into the story to please any history lover, but it was never overbearing for those not looking for a history lesson.

What I didn’t love: Every good book must come to an end and sometimes reaching the end is the only real complaint a reader has to talk about.

Who I’d recommend it to: I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for the next great Christian historical romance.

~I received a free copy from Revell Books in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own.  

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s DaughterCourting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at