Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ronie Kendig {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Ronie...

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.

Connect with Ronie...

Twitter: @roniekendig
Instagram: @kendigronie
Purchase: Embers

Author Interview | Ronie Kendig

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing?
...I think I’ve always been “writing”—making up stories as a little girl with my Barbies, but I remember when we were newly married, my husband decided we should splurge and buy me a word processor, complete with the 3’ floppy (that wasn’t floppy). That’s when I realized my husband took my writing seriously—probably more than I did at the time.

What has kept you writing? 
...Writing has always been my therapy – it’s how I relax, how I work things out in my head. In all honesty, I’m not a very nice person if I don’t get to write, and I never knew until my amazing mother-in-law told me that I might be hypergraphic—and I am (except the part that is associated with epilepsy).

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I truly love something different about each novel, but I think I’ve had the most fun writing my very first speculative novel, which someday I hope to see in print.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? 
...The hardest thing about publishing is finding the courage to believe in yourself. There are so many amazing authors out there, so many beautiful (inside and out) people writing, that sometimes it can be hard to believe that what I’ve vomited onto the page is worth reading.

The easiest?
...For me, the easiest part is the first draft. I love love love writing the first drafts of my novels. 

Your Writing
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...Embers was a bit of a fluke. I clearly remember standing in my kitchen peeling potatoes, bingeing on the BBC’s Merlin, and getting so frustrated with the character Morgana. In that scene, she pretended to do something that was in the best interest of Arthur, who (in this series) is like a brother to her. I was so mad, knowing she was being devious and I was so sick of her, that I wondered—What if a sister truly did sacrifice everything to save her brother and the kingdom? And that is where the seed-germ for Embers started.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?

...I think questions like this should be illegal. LOL I mean—what if one character finds out I didn’t choose them? I’ll revert back to what I said about my favorite book—there are things I love about each character. I love Laertes with his cockney-style accent and no-holds-barred tongue. I love Praegur, the stalwart but quiet companion. I love Thiel with her feisty and fiercely loyal disposition, who is always pushing our hero, Haegan, who is finding his land legs—literally and figuratively—in this journey.


When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I’ve always seen my mission as a writer to minister to the wounded, to those who are hurting, and to point them to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing? 
...It’s sounding a bit trite, but I’d say—know the rules, master the rules, but don’t get strangled by them. Use them to springboard your style and voice. And last—be confident. If you don’t “sell” your story, who will?


In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
...Anything pumpkin!!

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be? 
...I had three goals growing up: a teacher, a secretary, and a mom. I’ve accomplished all of those!

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track? 
...Ya know, I just might. I’d love to use that month to hack out a very solid chunk that would go toward finishing the Accelerant, the sequel to Embers. 

I'm so excited to have Ronie on the blog again and I'm happy to offer a copy of her fabulous novel, Embers! I have been blessed to get to know this amazing woman and it is an honor to have her on my blog today! Make sure you check out her links above - her other books (in the military/romantic suspense category) are amazing.

Ronie is an incredible writer and Embers is absolutely fantastic! I haven't had the chance to finish it yet (my life has been absolutely crazy-buzy this last week) but a part of me is dying in side just a little every day it sits unfinished in my kindle! Anyway, enough about me - go buy Embers and you'll see :D


If you missed, I had Deborah Raney on the blog last week talking about her new book Another Way Home. She graciously offered a giveaway and I'm excited to announce that it is....

Pam K

Contact me to get your book!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Carrie Turansky & Ronie Kendig | New Novel News + GIVEAWAY

A Refuge at Highland Hall
by Carrie Turansky

October 20, 2015
Multnomah Books
Purchase: A Refuge at Highland Hall

A Refuge at Highland Hall is the third and final book in the Edwardian Brides Series. Readers will be swept away to England and France in 1915 as the Ramsey family, their staff, and their friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One; yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers caring for them is more difficult than she’d expected. She writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot, who chases German Zeppelins across the sky over France and Belgium. She longs for the day they can be together again, but being an RNAS pilot is a dangerous assignment, and the fallout from those experiences pushes Alex beyond Penny’s reach. Can God restore what has been lost and mend the brokenness of war?

Get to know Carrie...

Coffee or tea? 
I am definitely a tea person. I remember going on a church retreat as a college student where I learned to drink tea and I felt so grown up! I love the smell of coffee, but I could never get past the taste. . . so put on the tea kettle and give me some Earl Grey.

Favorite dessert?
I’ve gone gluten-free this year . . . so that knocks out a lot of desserts that I used to enjoy in the past. When I was at the ACFW Conference this fall they served a gluten-free Crème Brulee that was divine. Now I have a new favorite. In fact I just saw a recipe for Pumpkin Crème Brulee, and I hope to make it for Thanksgiving.

Who is your favorite secondary character?
I love Lydia, Kate and Penny’s lady’s maid in The Daughter of Highland Hall and A Refuge at Highland Hall. She has such a great heart and goes out of her way to help others. She really rose to the forefront of the story in Daughter, and I couldn’t wait to give Lydia her own romance in Refuge. I think readers will enjoy following Lydia’s journey.
*Carrie's giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Ronie Kendig
October 16, 2015
Enclave Publishing 
Purchase: Embers 

He's coming from them. And the kingdom.

Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?

Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does it comes with a terrible price: Haegan's disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This act unleashes their father-king's wrath.

Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.

Get to know Ronie...

What are the names of your pets? If you don't have any, what would you name your pets? I have two pets right now—two dogs. A Maltese Menace named Helo and an Air Force-retired military working dog, Vvolt N629.

What are you reading right now?
I’m bouncing between Zachary Bartels The Last Con and Katie Ganshert’s The Awakening.

What's one chore you hate doing?
Cleaning the bathrooms—it was my job all through my teen years and now it’s the one part of the house I can’t stand to clean. Of course, having two teenaged boys might being affecting my aversion, too.

*Just a note readers...there's a rumor going around that Ronie will be back on my blog on Wednesday and I've heard it told that an Embers giveaway will be burning up the blog (hehe, see what I did there?). So, make sure you come back and say hello to Ronie on Wednesday for a chance to win a copy of this hot-off-the-press book.


 I welcomed the lovely Cynthia Ruchti to my blog last week with her novella An Endless Christmas (isn't the cover amazing?). She graciously offered a copy and we have a winner:

Jane Carlson

Congratulations Jane! Contact me so we can arrange to get you your copy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery | New Novel News

Say what? Another New Novel News book? Yep! Thought I'd sweeten the deal and host one more this week since there have been a lot of releases recently. Welcome back to the blog Jennifer!

by Jennifer Slattery

October 7, 2015
New Hope Publishers
Purchase: Intertwined
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?

Intertwined, part of New Hope Publisher’s contemporary fiction line, is a great reminder of how God can turn our greatest tragedies and failures into beautiful acts of love and grace. Readers will fall in love with the realistic characters and enjoy the combination of depth, heart-felt emotion and humor that makes Jennifer’s novels so appealing. Readers will be inspired to find God in every moment and encounter in their own lives!

Get to know Jennifer...

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
I think my answer to this might change depending on the season I’m in, but lately I’ve been in an incredibly busy season, so I’d have to say, the ability to clone myself. Imagine what I’d get done with four Jennifers. Hm… Not sure my family could handle so much of me, though. I might have to get back to you on this one.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
This is another question that has changed and will in the future, but for now I’d for sure say Seattle. My husband and I spent a week on the waterfront for our 20th anniversary, and it was such fun and so incredibly romantic. It came at the perfect time—at the end of a tight deadline and before another busy season, so it was a much needed time to relax, unwind, and reconnect. Plus, Seattle is where we first fell in love, so it was incredibly special to return, after two decades of marriage. Man, is love awesome!

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning? If it’s a combined experience, can I share two things? I absolutely must start my day with coffee and my Bible, and this is usually a 30-45 minute experience. I’m not ready to face my day until I’ve had both.

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at and connect with her on Facebook at

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Deborah Raney {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

Get to know Deborah...

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after twenty happy years as a stay-at-home mom. She is currently writing a new five-book series, the The Chicory Inn Novels. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of Deb's novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four children and five grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Connect with Deborah...

Novelists and their garden spots:
Purchase: Another Way Home

Author Interview | Deborah Raney

You and Writing

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...For a long time, I felt guilty choosing one of my “babies” over another, but now that I’ve written 30 books, a few have risen in my mind as my favorites:
  • A Vow to Cherish because it was my first, and the one that inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title.
  • A Nest of Sparrows because despite being the very hardest book I ever wrote (because of research, deadline, length, obstacles, etc.) it turned out to be a wonderful, touching story that won a ton of awards.
  • The Chicory Inn Novels series because there is so much of the essence of my own wonderful family in it. Both the family I grew up in, and the family my husband and I raised.
What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The easiest thing is “having written.” I love having a book newly released. It means there’s no more editing, no more deadline, no more stress. At least for a few months.

...The hardest thing about publishing is first drafting. The blank page terrifies me. (Although not enough to start outlining. LOL! I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer through and through.) But until the story starts “living in me” I sit with my laptop in a state of mild panic, wondering if the story will ever reveal itself to me. It always does. After 30 books I should trust that it will. But I’d far rather rewrite, edit, or even market than write that dreaded first draft.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on currently.
...I’m just getting started on the fifth and final novel of the Chicory Inn series. Book #4, Close to Home, just released this week and I’m so excited for readers to learn Bree Whitman’s story. Each of the novels tells the story of one of the children of Grant and Audrey Whitman, empty nesters who’ve turned their large family home into a bed and breakfast.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That family can be messy, but that messes can be truly wonderful. I wanted to write about a normal, loving Christian family who live close enough together to sometimes drive each other crazy, yet who would defend any family member to the death, and would truly give their life for each other if necessary. That’s a lot like my family. The Bible says God places the lonely in families, and I can’t think of a more wonderful place to be loved and nurtured. I treasure my family more and more the older I get, and I also adore the family I married into. Ken and I are each the oldest of five children. His family had four boys and one girl; mine had four girls and one boy. It’s been a fun dynamic and gave us a great background for raising our own two sons and two daughters. Now that grandkids are coming along (five already, and two on the way! Yay!) we feel like we’re living the very best part of life!

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I want first of all to entertain. Most people read novels to escape and relax. I want my books to make people FEEL—to laugh or cry or even get angry. And to explore what they would do should they ever find themselves in my characters’ shoes. Of course, I want my novels to reflect my faith in Christ and my biblical worldview, but I hope that is simply an outgrowth of writing about characters who are mostly already Christians when the story opens.


In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
...Treat for eating/drinking: pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and hot apple cider or pumpkin spice coffee.
...Treat for the eyes: those miniature white pumpkins and autumn leaves. I LOVE fall!

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
...My mom was a stay-at-home mom who made that look like the best job in the whole wide world. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to give birth to 6 children and adopt 6 more. (Ha! After having 3 of my own, I decided 3 seemed like a dozen…of course that’s when, for good measure, the Lord blessed us with one more. Sort of my “baker’s dozen” and miraculous, given that I was told by several doctors that I probably would never be able to conceive.) It was that same summer when I was 12 that I made the connection between the wonderful books I read, and the fact that someone had to write those books! I knew then that someday (likely after my 12 kids were grown ;) ) I wanted to be an author. I’ve gotten to live both of those dreams.

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track?
I’ve never participated before. I can see how it would be a great way to jump-start a book, but I’ve never been in quite the right place in the writing process to make that work. And alas, I’m a very slow writer. I write one book a year, sometimes a novella or short story in addition to that. But although I can write a first draft in 3 or 4 months, now, it takes me several months of letting the story marinate, and of course, the editing takes additional time once y editors have worked their magic. I’m blown away by people who write multiple books a year!


Thanks so much for being my guest Deb! Readers, this amazing woman is just soo sweet! Every time I saw her at the ACFW Conference she was smiling and her smile is the kind that makes you want to smile too! This is a pic of us and the lovely Courtney Walsh.

I love hearing you're a "pantser" (seat-of-the-pants writer). And wow...30 books? Just incredible! I love the purpose behind your books. It's the most incredible thing that the written word can draw out such strong emotions.

A resounding YES to all of your favorite fall things - I'm right there with you. And I love that you wanted 12 kids - WOW! But how amazing the God's blessed you to "achieve" both of your dreams of being a mother and an author.

Thanks again so much Deb! Readers, be sure to comment below for a chance to win a copy of this awesome book.


Last week we chatted with Pepper about her historical fiction novel The Horn Bearer and she graciously offered a digital copy of it. Our winner is...

Kim Amundsen

Congrats Kim! Contact me so we can get you your copy :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cynthia Ruchti & Nadine Brandes | New Novel News + GIVEAWAY

An Endless Christmas
by Cynthia Ruchti

October 13, 2015
Worthy Inspired
Purchase: An Endless Christmas

On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah Binder asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

Get to know Cynthia...

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? Monterey, CA

Favorite dessert? 
Crème brulee…with a chaser of cheesecake!

What's one chore you hate doing? 
Taxes. That was too simple. :-)

A Time To Speak
by Nadine Brandes

October 16, 2015
Enclave Publishing
Purchase: A Time To Speak

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she's being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude's Clock-matching invention to force "new-and-improved" Clocks on the public. Those who can't afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council's purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

Get to know Nadine...

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
My power would be to be able to jump into and out of storyworlds! It’s pretty much the best superpower ever. Seriously. I’m going to Hogwarts first. Then Narnia.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
I’m addicted to traveling. So far, my favorite place is Russia. 1) Because I love the people and the language. 2) Because hubby and I do ministry there and it’s just…meant for us. :D 3) Much of my writing reflects some of their culture.

Would you rather go to the future or go to the past?
Well, as long as I didn’t have to stay there forever, I think I’d probably want to go to the past. I’d go there with my super-hubby and we’d learn how to dance like pros. Plus…hubby looks good in a fedora. :D

Go join Nadine's awesome Facebook Party TOMORROW (October 20th)! There will be some awesome prizes :D 
It's time to announce the winner from last week's New Novel News about Vannetta Chapman and her new release, Anna's Healing! Congratulations to...

Susan Fletcher

I'll send you an email Susan! And everyone else, if you didn't win I'd recommend coming back often. I love giveaways and, speaking of, I will be hosting a fall giveaway at the end of the week!!! You heard it first here :D Thanks for being faithful readers!

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Books You NEED

I'm coming to this a little late tonight since I've had a full day BUT here I am none the less with books you need to have. I mean, it's just necessary. These are the BEST in the Scifi and Fantasy Christian fiction world right now. If you want amazing writing mingled with strong and dynamic characters all told in a clean way, these are the books for you!

Check these out and get your copies now! There's also an awesome giveaway at the bottom from my friend Rel that you should probably enter too ;-)

A Time To Speak
by Nadine Brandes

YA Dystopian
Click HERE to Purchase

by Ronie Kendig
The Hive
by John W. Otte

Science Fiction
Click HERE to Purchase

by R.J. Anderson

Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior
by Ralene Burke

Click HERE to Purchase

Hop on over to Rel's blog to enter for a chance to win this AWESOME giveaway! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Places & Spaces

In continuing with our fun segments on NaNoWriMo and some easy tips and tricks to conquering the 50k beast in a month, today we're talking about places and spaces. Again, I'll reference last week's post about planning ahead but with the caveat that I'm not saying you have to have everything planned. I get bored with that myself. What I do recommend is giving some key things thought. One of those things is the setting of your novel.

Setting as a Character
Um, Emilie, you may be thinking, I'm not writing a speculative novel. I don't want my walls talking! That's not exactly what I had in mind...though hey, if that's what you write, then by all means ;-)

What I mean by this is the fact that your setting is almost as important as your main characters. (tweet this) That's why I recommend you take some time to really think through where you'll be placing your novel. Setting will help direct the outer elements that affect your characters. It will lend a type of mood to your story. It will also place limitations on you. Once you decide what season(s) your book will be in, then the location during that season will have to be taken into account.

It's in the Details 
Consider your setting as an enhancement. This follows the idea of your setting as a type of character. If your novel is taking place on the white sands of Hawaii or in the dark forests of the Pacific Northwest (with or without sparkling vampires...) that will give a feeling to your writing. A novel in Hawaii will likely be enhanced by the scents of coconut, the feel of sand between your characters feet, and the warmth and comfort of sunshine on their shoulders. Conversely, a novel set in Washington State will likely involve the dampness of rain, the brilliance of deep green forests, and the continual need for you characters to drink coffee. No matter where you place your novel, make sure you can draw in details that will bring vibrancy to your writing. (tweet this)

Know Your Space
This goes to the minute details of your writing. Once you've chosen your place, you must know your space. (tweet this) Just as you are relying on a knowledge of a location, you should also have a good idea of your characters spaces like office, house, favorite restaurants--anywhere that they will (or may) go to.

Depicting details of the space your character is in will help your reader visualize the location, furniture, atmosphere etc. Bring your reader in with details like the ugly Tiffany lamp your characters aunt has had for years or the orange shag rug that hasn't been vacuumed since 1950. Plus, all these details take up glorious words (hehe).

  • Use Pinterest to create a board for your novel. Pin things like decor, houses, locations, and city skylines to help you when you're needing inspiration.
  • Print and post a few pics in front of your work station if necessary.
  • Use Google maps and street view for a detailed visual of locations and to help you plot out specific details to ad
  • Talk to someone from the location (if you're not familiar with it)
  • Go to the town's website. Most have them and you can find helpful, touristy info there.
  • Take time visualizing the interior spaces and get a feel for the house. Make sure you write this down - you wouldn't want your character to go to the left into the kitchen when two pages before they were going to the right side of the house. 
Check out these previous posts:
NaNoWriMo: Why We Write
NaNoWriMo: Brainstorming Tips 

Join our support group to make it through the ups and downs of NaNo:
2015 NaNoWriMo {Support Group} | Facebook

Check out this super fun Blab I was a part of yesterday with amazing authors Johnnie Alexander (a previous guest here on my blog), her daughter and non-fiction author Bethany Jett, and editor Anna Floit of The Peacock Quill. We chat about fun NaNoWriMo stuff and just had a blast!

NaNoWriMo Prep Blab

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pepper D. Basham {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Pepper...

As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian culture into her fiction. She’s an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical romances, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family and is often lurking around her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her historical debut, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, releases in December. 
How to connect with Pepper...

Purchase: The Thorn Bearer 

Author Interview | Pepper Basham

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing? 
...Well, Emilie, my life’s a pretty crazy place, which usually inspires all sorts of creativity, whether it stems from managing my schedule as a full time SLP with 5 kiddos or trying to manage these new writing deadlines. :) I love hats, chocolate, dressing in costume, and hanging out with my kids.

...I also come from a long line of Appalachian storytellers, so I grew up listening to my Granny give oral history back 5 or 6 generations. I think that was one of my early influences to writing, but I also believe God planted this desire for story-creating in my heart.

...I have my first ‘long’ story I wrote (and poorly illustrated) when I was 10 years old, and I have to tell you, I just love writing stories. I love seeing how characters are challenged, how they grow and change, and being a part of that ‘creative’ energy!

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why? 
...Each of my stories are special to me in different ways, but I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be an unpublished novel called Just the Way You Are. I put all of my favorite things into that novel, mystery, humor, romance, a hilarious heroine, a dashing hero, hilarious kids, The Blue Ridge Mountains, and England!

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...Easily the most difficult thing has been the marketing aspect. It’s hard to fit it into the many other things of life. Second on that list would be meeting deadlines, but I’m hoping that’s just a part of the learning curve.

The easiest? 
...Daydreaming :)

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why are did you write it? 
...The Thorn Bearer is the first book in the Penned in Time series. It’s a World War 1 era novel about a young woman’s journey of forgiveness for an atrocious pain of her past. The hero and heroine are childhood friends, but the heroine has romantic feelings for the hero….one secret (among a few) she takes with her as the two of them board the ill-fated Lusitania.

...I’m also finishing up book two in this series and LOVE how the heroine has completely rocked my world. She’s become such an amazing character to write.

...I’m also beginning promotions for my first contemporary novel, A Twist of Faith, which is coming out in December! Very excited about it. It’s a modern day version of My Fair Lady set in The Blue Ridge Mountains. Speech-Language Pathologist meets cattle farmer :)

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why? 
...I really enjoyed the hero in this book…and the heroine’s best friend, Jessica.

...Sam is just a great guy and good friend. I love that he’s flawed but so gentle. Jessica is a spitfire.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...God’s love heals, even when we don’t have answers for all the wounds of this life.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I think it’s difficult to not be inspired by ‘real life’ when writing fiction, and I’m glad of it. I love bringing influences from the ‘real world’ into the imaginary because I think that makes the stories more relatable – whether it is through characteristics of the characters, struggles they face, or challenges they overcome.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I truly hope my stories help people understand God’s love and truths better. Of course, I hope to write an entertaining and interesting story, but at the heart of why I love story is to give ‘hope’…something we all desire at our cores, you know?

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing? 
...Patience is a necessity…patience, positivity, and perseverance. I pursued publication for 11 years before publication, and I’d been writing my whole life. Being consistent with this dream, enjoying the journey, giving the dream to God’s care are vital to stay the course.


In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat? 
...Homemade applesauce. Easy and delicious.

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
...A pediatrician, so I could be called Dr. Pepper :)


Thanks so much for being on the blog Pepper! I too love handed-down stories. How exciting that you've also got a contemporary coming out too. Plus you work full time and have 5 kids. I'm in awe ;) I'm right there with you on the homemade applesauce - apples in fall are the BEST! Thanks again and I hope to see you back on the blog soon!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman | New Novel News

Ana's Healing
by Vannetta Chapman

October 15, 2015
Harvest House
Purchase: Anna's Healing

When a tornado strikes, Anna Schwartz’s life is changed forever. She suffers a spinal cord injury and finds herself learning to live as a paraplegic. But then a miracle happens, and the world’s attention is drawn to this young Amish girl who has experienced the unexplainable.

Get to know Vannetta...

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
I think I’d like to fly. Then I would never be stuck in traffic again or waiting at an airport. I wouldn’t have to stop and think, “Can I afford that airline ticket?” I could just zip zip zip where ever I wanted to go!

What are you reading right now? 
I’m reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to many students throughout the years (I was a high school and college teacher for 15 years), so I was intrigued about this book. I’m about halfway through and so far I love reading more about Scout!

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Every morning we rise and shine early and walk the dogs. Then we brew a cup of coffee in the Keurig, snag a granola bar, and sit out on the back patio to watch the deer. It’s a WONDERFUL way to start my day.

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.


Had Laura V. Hilton on the blog last week talking about her new release The Birdhouse. One lucky person is our winner today and that is...

 Laurie Berg

Congrats Laurie! Contact me so we can get you your book :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Plan Ahead - 10 Brainstorming Tips

Including today, we have 22 days until NaNo starts!

No wait! Come back! It's okay - take a deep breath, everything will be all right. Don't freak out. Planning a novel is a big undertaking but, like most overwhelming things in life, taking it one step at a time and planning ahead usually alleviates some of that stress.

Today I'm going to share ten brainstorming tips for your NaNo novel. Even if you're a "pantzer" (think: someone who flies by the seat of their pants to write their novel) it can't hurt to write a few things down ahead of time...right?

10 Brainstorming Tips

1. Write, draw, or paint it out
Depending on what form of expression you prefer, this first tip is simple. Put your ideas out there. I use a white board and paper but it's really up to you.

I recommend having these things (though this isn't a complete list):
  • Character names
  • Character descriptions (this can be as simple or complex as you like)
  • Goal, conflict, motivation for your characters
  • Basic plot arc (see #9)
  • Location details
  • Minimal research you may need on hand
  • Key ideas & themes
2. Talk to someone
Felling drained of great ideas? Talk with someone! No, this doesn't have to be a writer - literally anyone will do. Last week my community group and I started talking about my writing and they gave me some pretty interesting ideas for some plots - granted a lot of them were slightly far-fetched, but it was inspirational. Steal from your friends. If they aren't writers, chances are they won't mind a bit if you use their idea. Maybe ask to be sure though...

3. Think on it
For those of us with busy lives this is hard...but take time to think. Showers are my favorite time to brainstorm, but this will work anywhere/anytime. Be wary of thinking too much right before bed though...those pesky ideas will keep you awake.

4. Take a walk
Explore your neighborhood or local park/hiking trail. I find being outside to be extremely stimulating to my mind.

5. Listen to music 
This can be combined with the walk or separate, but music can be a fantastic inspiration. I've got a whole Spotify playlist devoted to my scifi/dystopian novel and all I need to do is listen to a few songs to get my thoughts flying in many  directions.

6. Seek inspiration 
This may seem redundant, but sometimes inspiration doesn't just fall into your lap. Sometimes you have to search for it. Aside from what I've already listed, I've also found these things helpful: news articles, asking "what if" questions, starting with one idea and asking why, reading great books, looking at photos for inspiration...the list goes on.

7. Don't take your first idea
This is more on the technical side of things, but as you're brainstorming situations, don't just take the first thought that comes to mind. Allow your characters to fail (tweet this) and then show your readers how they find a new way--dare I say a better way?--around the issue.

8. Dig deeper
Remember those 22 days? Use them! Don't just let yourself dawdle up until the night of October 31st. Take the gift of time you have (even if that's 10 minute's a day) and plan. Explore motivations and dig deep into the minds and hearts of your characters. (tweet this) Chances are if you know them, they will tell you what happens.

9. Perfect form
There are a lot of ways to structure your novel and a lot of great books about these methods. You may not have time to read them all by Nov. 1st, but I would recommend taking a look at some of their ideas (whether that's through Google or Pinterest research or talking with your writing pals). I tend to use the Three-Act structure in its simplest form at the onset of my novel.

*Check out these awesome books about structure: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell (fantastic read), How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson (I've heard great things about this), Story Trumps Structure by Steven James (on my list), Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke (own it and it's in my TBR pile!).

10. When all else fails...fake it
 This may completely discredit the rest of these 9 tips, but at the end of the day you may find yourself a dried up well just waiting for someone to toss in a penny of an idea. If that's the case, it's okay! You can still make it. Pick your character names and when November 1st hits, write. That truly is jumping in the deep end, but it's about the process not necessarily the product at this stage.

What do you think? Which of these is your favorite tip? Have you used them before? Got any to add? Put your suggestions in the comments below so we can all share in the learning experience.

A Time To Die by Nadine Brandes | RE:View

Would you live differently if you knew the day you were going to die?

For Parvin Blackwater, and those living in the dystopian world created by Nadine Brandes, this is reality. A life where your Clock tells you how much time you have to live--and the day you'll die.

Up until her eighteenth year Parvin has played it safe. Her life has been vanilla when she was hoping for cinnamon. With thoughts of her final days on the horizon, she begins stepping out in a feeble attempt to save Radicals from unjust governmental rule. Her actions fall sort, but spark something inside of her. A desire for her life to stand for something. Being forced through the Wall, as is the form of justice, Parvin finds more than she ever could have imagined.

What can I say about this book? It was an emotional roller coaster for me (in the best way). I really felt carried along by Parvin and her ideals, thoughts, and actions. There were times when I was excited for her, frustrated at her, angry with her, sad about the circumstances, and oh so happy for her. I think, as is the case with a lot of first person books, there were times when I was a bit fed up with Parvin, yet I was able to see a truth about humanity in her. We make our decisions, but we're often faced with the reality that our convictions waiver. We falter, even when we're passionate about something. That's what made Parvin real to me.

I enjoyed the discovery of the world of A Time To Die. This first book left me wanting more of the world and more information on certain characters. I'll also say that the ending, awesome as well as tough and yet right. It sets you up perfectly for book two (which I'll likely be starting tonight ha!).

I definitely recommend this book to YA fans and those who enjoy a great dystopian novel. Fans of Hunger Games,  Divergent, and Maze Runner will find similar themes and a story they can sink their teeth into. Be prepared to be pulled in, emotions and all!
The lovely Nadine and I

Rating: 4.5*
Purchase: A Time To Die

Book Description
(from Nadine's site)

How would you live if you knew the day you'd die? Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Check out this awesome video for A Time To Speak (which releases October 16th!): 

You can pre-order it now....  A Time To Speak
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Called to Speak Blog Hop: Silence Isn't The Answer

Today's post is part of a Blog Hop! This hop is to spread the word about Nadine Brandes’s new dystopian novel, A Time to Speak, releasing on October 16th. It is also to encourage myself and others to speak out for our passions and against injustice.

I'm taking a little bit of a different approach to this post and not talking about a typical injustice. Hopefully you'll forgive me, but this topic is something I'm passionate about.

I will speak out against...silence. 

Before moving to Washington, DC I lived in sunny Southern California and worked for a church. During my time there, I also volunteered with our awesome youth group (Souled Out) for just over six years. There aren't words enough to say how much I loved (and still love) those students. Even now I get teary just thinking about them and how much they impacted me. I know, it's supposed to be the other way around and Lord willing I did have a positive affect on them too...but they taught me a lot about fun, faith, and what it looks like to love someone.

The reason I'm speaking out against silence is simple: there's too much of it.

I know, I know...we live in a world that's clogged by noise. Texting, television, radio, music, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, movies, Netflix, SnapChat....yeah I could go on. That is noisy. We've become deaf to the language our hearts were made to speak. To the language of conversation. (tweet this)

The reason I bring up my youth group experience is because I look back on my days spending time with my students (yes, mine - I'm quite possessive of them hehe) and the amazing conversations we had. We talked about everything. Deep things. Hurtful things. Happy things. Real things. And you know what? Our friendships were (and still are) stronger because of it.

I look around me at what our society is becoming and I mourn for the loss of depth. The allowance we make for living on the surface. This isn't just an issue with Jr. High and High School students, its and issue with adults too. We talk about things like sports, fashion, the latest Netflix episodes we've watched, but we're afraid to jump into things that go beyond what's socially acceptable.

Silence isn't the answer. 
(tweet this)

We can't let silence be go-to, the easy thing we turn to when we don't know what to say. I'm not saying "surface" things are bad, but they can't be all we have. When we will post more on Facebook than we will say to the person sitting next to us on the Metro or in line at the grocery story or sitting at the dentist office...what does that make us? Disembodied voices in a sea of faceless cyber people who forgot that they are living in a real world. A beautiful world fashioned for us by our Creator.

It's time to speak up. To break the silence. To enter into vulnerability with those around us. Yes, it's scary, but you will be better for having been known. To realize that you are not alone in this world and that there is solid reality to your friendships. To your life.

Lastly, I have a challenge to parents and anyone who has input into a youth's life. Speak the real things to them. Tell them the truth and be honest. As I dived in deep with the girls in my small group I opened up who I am to them. I didn't sugarcoat my life. I admitted I struggle to find time to read my Bible and pray. I admitted when I messed up. I offered them a look into my imperfect life and I've never regretted that.

Be brave. Be bold. Speak. (tweet this)

I definitely recommend the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes! Book two comes out October 16th and is on pre-order now {find it here} should probably go get that ;) PLUS she's got an awesome party planned on October 20th with some fantastic giveaways (trust me, I know what they are hehe!). Join the Facebook Party!

A Time To Speak
Book Two in the “Out of Time” series.
What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?
Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's the blog hop schedule for you as well - follow along!

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel
9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes
10.01.15 – Jason Joyner
10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)
10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink
10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)
10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx
10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito
10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah
10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine
10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen
10.17.15 – Megan Besing
10.19.15 – Angel Roman
10.20.15 – Charles Franklin
10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees
10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu
10.27.15 – Natalie Walters
10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian
11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine
11.17.15 – Amanda Fender