Friday, April 29, 2016

Pocket Prayers by Max Lucado | RE:View

Hope, refreshment, wisdom, so much wrapped up into these six little prayer books! 

Whether you're a grad, a dad or mom, teacher, in the military, or looking to deepen your friendships through prayer, these pocket prayer books by Max Lucado and guest writers are for you.

The first thing I liked about these books is the fact that they are small, compact, and of fantastic quality. They feel good to hold and are perfect for gifts as much as they are for reading. Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that the prayers are short, simple, and yet so meaningful! Each book has different sections that help focus the prayers.

The only thing I wish they had was a table of contents because the prayers are broken up into sections and it would be nice to reference a section you wanted to pray through. It's not difficult to thumb through and find what you want though, so not really a negative.

I would definitely recommend these books, whether that is for your self to jump-start your morning (or whenever) prayer time or whether it's to give as gifts. It's obvious they were created with thought and specified toward each category of people. I'm reviewing them here as a whole set from Litfuse, but you can purchase them separately from Amazon.

Find inspiration, thoughtfulness, and guidance for your prayers through this wonderful little books!

My rating: 4.5*

I'm also offering to give away four of the books I received seeing as I think they will bless others. They are only gently used for my review purposes (and to make that fun bookish-heart above). Enter below!

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I received free copies of these 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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sandra D. Bricker {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Sandra...

SANDRA D. BRICKER was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years where she attended school to learn screenwriting and eventually taught the craft for several semesters. When she put Hollywood in the rearview mirror and headed across the country to take care of her mom until she passed away, she traded her scripts for books, and a best-selling, award-winning author of Live-Out-Loud fiction for the inspirational market was born. Sandie is best known for her Another Emma Rae Creation and Jessie Stanton series for Abingdon Press, and she was also recently named ACFW’s Editor of the Year for her work as managing editor of Bling!, an edgy romance imprint for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. “I believe in the power of the parable,” she says. “And I just love words in almost any form. From the assembling on the page to the polishing and perfecting, there’s almost nothing more powerful.”As an ovarian cancer survivor, Sandie also gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure.

How to connect with Sandra...

Purchase: From Bags to Riches 

Get to know Sandra...

You and Writing

What has kept you writing?
I’ve asked myself that more than a time or two over the last decade. And the thing I always seem to come back to is this: I believe with all my heart that, for whatever reason, this is the plan God made for my life. I don’t know exactly what I have to offer the world with a few fictional storylines and characters, but I know that every time I think it might be time to hang it up, that Holy Spirit thing happens to re-energize me and get me back on the road. So as odd or cheesy as it might sound to your readers, I’d have to say that Jesus is what (Who) keeps me writing.

Your Writing

From Bags to Riches

Jessie Hart has struggled to put her Adornments boutique on the map, but when a celebrity stylist with her own reality show makes the shop a hot spot, Jessie’s hard work is finally paying off. Just as her dreams are coming true, she gets the word: her beloved grandfather in Louisiana is diagnosed with cancer. Of course she feels the pull to see him, but that means returning to the very place she worked so hard to escape. To add further complication, “husband” Jack turns up again and he can’t help but notice the new-and-improved Jessie. As he fights through his residual legal battles, he makes every effort to win her back and marry her for real this time…before Danny gets the chance. In her quest to find the success, true love, and faith that has always eluded her will God really lead her right back home?

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
Although there are some wonderful friends on the landscape of Jessie’s story, I think her grandfather is my favorite character. He has a no-nonsense wisdom that every girl trying to find her path should have in her life. Grampy says what needs to be said, right when he needs to say it for Jessie’s benefit and God’s glory.

What did you learn while writing it?
I never really intended for Jessie and Danny to head in the direction they went in Book 3, the finale of the series. But as I reviewed the lessons they’d learned in the first two books, the ways they grew together instead of apart, and especially the ways Jessie developed as a character, I suddenly knew that taking her back to her roots would solidify the woman she became over the course of the books. She spent most of her life dreaming of this adventure she found in Southern California … but what if she had to return to the starting line to figure out how to come across the finish line? Through Jessie, I found a lot of clarity about myself and my own road.

Emilie here: Thanks so much for being my guest Sandra! I've enjoyed your writing for a long time and it's an honor to have you on the blog! Make sure you enter the giveaway readers - depending on the number of entries Sandra may give away up to 3 ebooks!

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Christine Lindsay was on the blog last week and we have a winner for a copy of Sofi's Bridge:

Leslie M. 

I'll be emailing you Leslie! Thanks for entering everyone :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh | Book Release

I am so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only!  So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Author: Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
Praise for The Rose and the Dagger:

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 


About Renée:
Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only.

Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

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The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan | RE:View

Fun, fanciful, mysterious - the perfect read for fans of Sherlock Holmes.

Set in 1910 Toronto, Canada, the two female detectives Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts tackle crime in the city—or, at least they want to. When the deaths of two Irish women kick start their detective business, they find that drastic measures and ridiculous disguises are the only answer to escape the Morality Squad that’s hot on their heels. Add in handsome police constable Jasper Forth and daring reporter Ray DeLuca and you’ve got a mystery worth figuring out.

I enjoyed this jaunt through the streets of Toronto on the heels of mystery and discovery inspired by Sherlock Holmes. I’ve long been a fan of Holmes and enjoyed this nod to his mysteries and detective acumen. I found Jem to be an adorable character who’s growth through the book was enjoyable to watch. Merinda was slightly more difficult to love, as in the way of Sherlock. She had her lovable moments, but there were times when she was slightly oblivious in a way that made me a bit mad at her. Then again, that could have been the point.

I also enjoyed the romance aspect (being a fan of romance) and definitely enjoyed Ray’s character. I did, however wish there was more background into Merinda. I think I expected the story to be more about her (as a Sherlock figure) but that wasn’t really the case (no pun intended).

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was the point of view changes. I’m a stickler when it comes to POV (must be a personal thing) but I love to be “in” someone’s head and know that’s where I rest. I feel as if I can truly get to know a character that way. That was not the case for this story and, often times when it switched POV in the middle of a scene, I wondered how we knew what we did. This always jerks me out of the story and was the case in this book. I’m sure there was a stylistic reason for it; I just don’t personally enjoy it. I did however enjoy the asides by way of footnote – they were fun!

I would recommend this to fans of Sherlock Holmes, historical fiction, and lovers of fun and lighthearted mysteries.

My Rating: 4*
Purchase: The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder

Book Description
 (from Amazon)
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so.
 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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Assault on Saint Agnes by Joseph Courtemanche | New Novel News

Assault on Saint Agnes
by Joseph Courtemanche

Release: April 18, 2016
From: Athanatos Publishing Group
Purchase: Assault On Saint Agnes

When terrorists assault Saint Agnes Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, they expect to find a congregation of lambs: they get Bobby Kurtz, instead. An unrepentant Cold Warrior, Kurtz destroys the terror cell with violent finality.

Against his will, Kurtz is pulled back into the life he left behind decades before. He reluctantly picks up the burden of hunting the terrorists in our midst. He risks his life, and his marriage, in a single-minded pursuit of victory over evil.

Working with a shadowy government agency, Kurtz uses all of his skills and experience to foil a plan that would plunge the Twin Cities back into the Stone Age. The final battle rages across the plains during a Christmas Eve blizzard in a story that will leave the reader pleading for more of Kurtz and his team of experts.

Get to know Joseph...

Coffee or tea? | Cats or dogs? | One chore you hate doing?
I am a coffee person who loves dogs and hates cleaning guns. (three in one.)

Seriously, do I get two more? Good.

Emilie here: Despite his very serious picture, Joe is hilarious! Just thought you all should know this ;-)

Favorite place you've traveled to?
My favorite place to travel is Haiti. I’ve been there twice on mission trips, and I truly love the people and the country. I miss the place all the time.

What's your favorite book?
My favorite book is Shibumi by Len Trevanian. I read it in my teens, and it’s still held up well over the years. Brilliantly written, fun, and a darned good yarn.

One thing I have to do in the morning: consume coffee.
Joseph Courtemanche is a former Police Officer and Middle East/North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy, and an Arabic Linguist with training at the University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate). Joseph holds several military awards, including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the thriller genre. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges as well.


Tainted by Morgan L. Busse is now on shelves and our winner from last week is:

Katie Grace

Congrats Katie! I've emailed you :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Christine Lindsay {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Christine...

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Born in N. Ireland, it was tales of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her historical trilogy, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the explosive finale Veiled at Midnight. Her Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romance Londonderry Dreaming and in Sofi’s Bridge coming May 2016.

Aside from being a busy writer and speaker, Christine is the happy wife of David of 35 years, a mom and a grandma. She makes her home on the west coast of Canada, and in Aug. 2016 she will see her long-awaited non-fiction book released, Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birth Mother’s Story.

How to connect with Christine...
quarterly newsletter

Get to know Christine Lindsay

You and Writing

While I always wanted to write, it wasn’t until after the reunion with my birthdaughter Sarah in 1999 that I began. Sarah was my firstborn child, and when I gave birth to her in 1979 I was an unwed mother. Relinquishing Sarah to adoption was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But 20 years later when Sarah and I were reunited, the adoption reunion was a great deal more traumatic than I was prepared for. I went through my original feelings of loss all over again. It was during this time that my husband caught me crying one day. He went out and returned a while later with a brand new pen and journal, and said, “Here honey, write it.”

As time passed I felt the Lord urge me to put the spiritual and emotional healing I had received from Him into Christian fiction to encourage others. I love stories, and enjoy taking my readers on a journey that will entertain them for a few days. And while I am entertaining them, it is my prayer that they will start to believe in happy endings for themselves by trusting ALL to Jesus.

Emilie: Wow! What an amazing story Christine! I think it's one of the bravest and most beautiful things for people to share their hurts with others for the benefit of healing.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why? 
While I love all my heroes and heroines, there is always a secondary character that I fall in love with. In my British Raj trilogy that was Eshana, a beautiful Indian Christian. In Sofi’s Bridge it is Sofi Andersson’s housekeeper Matilda.

Mattie has been the housekeeper of Sofi’s wealthy Seattle family mansion since the time Sofi and her sister were born. 1913 in the US saw a great influx of immigrants, and Mattie, coming from Scotland fit right into the Swedish Anderrson family and their other servants. What I love about Mattie is her flamboyant love for her charges, her no-nonsense way of speaking in her strong Scottish brogue with all those rolling “Rrrrr’s”. When Sofi wants to kidnap her sister to take her to safety in the Cascade Mountains, Mattie is the only one she wants to take with her.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
That we cannot save the ones we love. I think there are a lot of Christian folk out there like me, who are tempted to help too much at times when the ones we love are stuck in bad circumstances. This is especially true in families. How often do we try to “fix” things for others when maybe the Lord wants that person to go through their hard times in order to learn wisdom?

This is the case for both Sofi and Neil; each of them is so willing to sacrifice the labor of their heart in order to “fix” the lives of her family in Seattle and his family in Ireland.

We all must learn to trust God not only for our own souls but the souls of those we love. (tweet this)

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
Sort of funny; the trade of steel riveting bridges and ships was inspired by my great grandfather and my grandfather (yes father and son) who were both riveters in the Belfast shipyard, and on the building of the Titanic. The Titanic was my grandfather’s very first ship when he was an apprentice at 14. However, as a family we accept no responsibility for the 1912 sinking of that infamous vessel.

Emilie here: Oh WOW! What an amazing piece of history!

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
Very rarely do I know my characters fully as I start writing. I have a pretty good idea, but in every book I write I discover things about them along the way. Neil coming from a poor background who went to school to become a doctor, and the fact that he is Irish, came more easily to me. I’m Irish so I understood him and his manner of speech.

But Sofi is of Swedish ancestry, only second generation American. It was harder for me to understand a woman from a wealthy background. What made Sofi come alive for me was that, even though she’s wealthy she has a strong desire to work. I’m the same, I love to work.

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Let's talk about your writing...

How long did you write before you got published?
I started writing in 2000, and my debut novel Shadowed in Silk was published 11 years later. The thing that really helped me was winning the ACFW Genesis in 2009 in the historical category for this manuscript. Various agents noticed me at this time.

After that, I could have written a book with a more marketable setting to gain the interest of a bigger agent and publisher. My British Raj trilogy is set in British Colonial India, and wasn’t of immediate interest to the American market. Sad, really, because those who do read the trilogy love it. I completed the trilogy for artistic reasons, and I stuck with the same small press to do so. I’m glad I did because that trilogy earned the following awards: The Genesis already mentioned, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite.

Through that I gained the interest of another small press, WhiteRose for Londonderry Dreaming set in Ireland, and this May will see the release of Sofi’s Bridge which won 2nd place in the RWA Faith, Hope, and Love contest a number of years ago.

My advice to aspiring authors is to not short-changed your writing apprenticeship (tweet this). There is a lot to learn. Don’t rush, but take your courses, join writing organizations, read books on writing, and go to the occasional writers’ conference when you can afford to. Keep in mind that many conferences, not all but some, will allow you to attend workshops if you attend as a volunteer.

Emilie here: Great advice! I know I can get impatient when it comes to my writing but rushing means I didn't get a chance to really hone what I'm working on. 


What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
I used to love historicals, and as a teen I especially loved Gothic historicals like Victoria Holt books. As a woman on the other side of 50, I now enjoy novels that braid present day with the past. I think this is because as a mom and adult kids and as a grandma, I appreciate how our past lives as families affects us. I love novels where old secrets are uncovered, old hurts are forgiven, and families and individuals find renewed love and joy.

Emilie here: Thanks so much for being my guest today Christine! And thanks for this great opportunity for my readers to win a copy of Sofi's Bridge! 


Last week Liz was on the blog talking about her new release The Red Door Inn and she offered up a copy. Our winner is....

Vicki Geslak

Congrats Vicki! I've emailed you :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Unconventional marketing…because why be normal? by Melissa Tagg | Guest Post

When Emilie asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for her blog about unconventional social media marketing, I instantly said “yes.” Not because I necessarily think I’m an expert on this. I’m not. Seriously, guys. Pinterest makes me twitchy and anytime someone gives me a “rule” for social media, my instant urge is to go and break it.

But no, I jumped at the opportunity to write this simply because in the past couple years I've happened to stumble upon a few things that really seem to work for me social media-wise…especially when it comes to my Facebook page, which is what I’m going to focus on here. No, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers, nor would I win any awards for having the coolest, most consistent presence around. But I do have fun with it and have, thankfully, seen some nice results.

I’d like to specifically talk here about how to create posts that are unconventional … charming … quirky … fun …[insert any word that’s the opposite for “normal” or “boring”].

To make this super organized (a massive feat for the girl who arranges her life by post-its and has never once made it through a whole year of using a planner), I came up with an acronym! So here we go.
Note: All the examples included below are from my Facebook page…not because I think I’m the only one with great content but simply because it’s easier than trying to gather other examples. In other words, I’m lazy.

How to make your Facebook posts more fun and less conventional
Be Relevant:

No, you don’t need to infuse all your posts with up-to-date pop culture references. But before crafting a post ask yourself: Does this have any relevance whatsoever to a) my readers and b) my books and c) my relationship with these people I’m interacting with. And it’s okay if the post is about YOU. I think sometimes we worry that we’re going to come off as self-centered, but people wouldn’t be following our author pages if they didn’t want to actually know us. Crafting posts that give readers insight into both your books and your life creates a meaningful connection.

Example: I did a post recently about how I’m an early bird. I included a picture of my open window and talked about how I love to write during sunrise. I asked my Facebook fans whether they are early birds or night owls. It let my readers know a little more about me and my writing process and also invited them to participate in the conversation.
Be Enthusiastic:

I read this quote once from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically and people will like it more.” It made me laugh…but man, it’s so true. Enthusiasm is contagious! We can foster that in our readers and online friends by writing posts in which we’re just plain excited…not only about our stories and characters, but about the other things in our lives that make us unique and personable. (And also, by being intentionally enthusiastic, we avoid the kind of complainy, ranty, whiney posts that no one needs to be subjected to!)

Example: I wrote a giddy post recently about how much I love baby goats and why I’m putting one in my next story. I had tons of fun interacting with commenters, ended up getting invited to a goat farm AND it gave people insight about me and my upcoming book.

Be Authentic:

Nope, this is not a call for intense and uncomfortable sharing of too many personal details. LOL! Authenticity can be as simple as being silly. I have crafted posts about my slight (okay, fine, massive and ridiculous) crush on my own main character, for instance. But it can also mean sharing little snippets of what God’s doing in your heart or what you’re learning through your writing.

Example: I work at a homeless ministry and recently had the chance to interview a man with a powerful story and big dreams. I wrote a looooong post about how much he inspired me and how I believe God doesn’t give us dreams for no reason. It was a sincere peek into my heart and life that hopefully inspired readers.

Be Lenient:

Be lenient with yourself. Back when I was trying to follow all the marketing experts, literally ALL the fun of social media drained away for me. But lately I’ve pulled away from much of what I thought was a must-do in the past. I’m to the point now where I don’t feel guilty if I need to take a few days away from my Facebook page. Or if I write a post that’s *gasp* six paragraphs long and *double gasp* doesn’t include a fancy graphic. By being lenient with myself and taking off the pressure, I've found myself crafting much more fun and engaging posts—because it no longer feels like a task with a ton of rules attached to it.

Example: Last year, I began doing a series of classic movie/actor face-offs on Facebook. They were a blast and frankly, got lots of traction. But I found myself having trouble getting the posts up on the same day each week. And sometimes I skipped a week. A couple years ago, I would’ve lambasted myself for not being consistent. But I realized, fans couldn’t care less if I do the face-offs on the same day each week…or if I happen to skip a week here or there. Eventually I stopped doing the face-offs for a time, then reintroduced them around Christmas-time. I’ll probably do another round soon. By not forcing myself to keep to a strict schedule or worrying about others’ expectations, it’s keeping it fun and fresh for me.

Did you catch the acronym? Be REAL. Really, I think that’s what the best social media marketing comes down to. Being a real person. Building real relationships. And having real fun. :)

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. She’s also a multi-published novelist. Her latest book, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as retreats and workshops. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Morgan L. Busse | New Novel News

by Morgan L. Busse

Published: April 15, 2016
From: Enclave Publishing
Purchase: Tainted

What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of science. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn't find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.

Get to know Morgan...

Who is your favorite secondary character? 
Captain Robert Grim of the airship Lancelot in Tainted. He's smart, cunning, and a loyal friend to Stephen Grey.

Do you have a nickname? Care to share?
I do. Back in high school, a friend started calling me Mo and it's stuck ever since :)

Cats or dogs or both? 
I'm more of a cat person, however, I do love my two dogs: a vizsla and a jack russel mix.

Visit Morgan:

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I had the lovely Melissa Tagg on the blog last week offering up a copy of her new release Like Never Before. The winner is...

Susan Marie

Congrats! I'll be sending you an email soon :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Liz Johnson {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Liz...

By day Liz Johnson works as a marketing manager, and she makes time to write late at night. Liz is the author of nine novels—including her latest, The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, book 1)—and a New York Times bestselling novella. She makes her home in Nashville, where she enjoys exploring local music, theater, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She writes stories of true love filled with heart, humor, and happily ever afters. Connect with her at or

How to connect with Liz...

Purchase: The Red Door Inn 

Get to know Liz...

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself...

I’ve been writing almost as long as I can remember. It started off as a hobby, a pastime. All through junior high and high school, I was plugging away at the computer, creating wild stories—all of them romances, even then. I blame most of the bad westerns on Gilbert Morris, who I read into the early morning hours of most nights. But somewhere along the way, my writing became less about the joy of storytelling and more about recognizing that God had given me a talent that I didn’t want to waste. That’s what keeps me going now. When life is busy and writing isn’t always easy, I remember that parable of the talents and the servants who were faithful with little. I want to be faithful with whatever talent I’ve been given. And that means I keep writing, no matter how easy or hard it may be.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
I think my favorite character is Aretha Franklin, a native of Prince Edward Island, who introduces herself as no relation to the singer, even though that’s clear to anyone with eyes. She’s a pale, petite woman in her sixties. And she’s an absolute spitfire. But she’s also infinitely compassionate. Her own losses have taught her how to be truly empathetic, and she reaches out to the other characters with a special tenderness.

Emilie here: Ha! I love it! Sounds like she's quite the character.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
My hope is always that readers of my books would be reminded that God is with them and God is for them. In the midst of difficult times, it’s easy to feel forgotten, but I hope that The Red Door Inn reminds readers that God is always working even those hard things in our lives for our ultimate good.

What made you choose the setting for the book?
This book was always going to be set on Prince Edward Island. In fact, it could only be set there—a place so peaceful and magical. On my first visit to the island, I daydreamed a story that eventually became The Red Door Inn, and on my second visit, I walked the boardwalk at North Rustico. I imagined a woman walking that same boardwalk, seeking the peace that so readily abounds there.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
I like to have a Diet Dr. Pepper within arm’s reach. And when the mood strikes (or the writing is lagging), peanut butter m&m’s are always appreciated.

Emilie here: Yum!!!


Let's talk about your writing...

How long did you write before you got published?
I wrote my first story at 7 and signed my first book contract at 27. Of course, I wasn’t actually writing with a goal of publication for much of that time. But I was consistently writing, and there are some really terrible novels in a desk drawer somewhere to prove it. We can all be grateful those won’t ever see the light of day. I didn’t really start thinking about publication until after college when I took a two-year writing course. By then I’d gotten into a habit of poking at a story idea but never quite finishing it. It wasn’t until I was 25 and a coworker challenged me—and kept me accountable—to finish a story idea I had that I began to really write toward publication. After a year of writing and revising, I submitted that story to Love Inspired Suspense. And was promptly sent a very nice rejection letter. It didn’t meet their guidelines. So I wrote back and asked if I could revise and resubmit. The editor sent me back two pages of requested changes. I got to work, and we went back and forth three more times over the next 7 months. And then finally the call that I’d been waiting for came. They published The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn in 2009, and I’ve been writing professionally ever since. I’d been writing a long time and took a lot of classes before I was offered my first contract, and I’m grateful for those years of learning and growing as a writer.

Emilie here: I love the progression of this because it shows that writing really is hard work - even if it's a passion and something you love!

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Yes, keep writing. That’s very important. But I also like to remind writers—especially those just starting on the journey—not to be afraid to write badly. (tweet this) It’s easy for creatives to want to be perfect, to have a vision for what our art could be. But it takes a long time and a lot of practice to get to the point where what we envision actually makes it to the page—or the cd or the canvas. It’s easy to become discouraged when what’s inside doesn’t make it outside. I love what Ira Glass said on the creative process. He says we get into creative work because we have good taste, but there’s a gap. In the first few years that you’re making things, it’s probably not very good. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is a bit of a disappointment. He goes on to say that the best possible thing you can do is create a lot of work. Yes, even the bad the work, the disappointing work. So, yes, keep writing. And don’t quit. Even when your work is bad. Because if you put in enough time and enough effort. Eventually your work will get better. And it will close the gap to your taste.

Emilie here: Great advice!

Are you a Panster or Plotter?
I used to be a major pantser. All of my pre-published books and my first two published novels were written without any plotting. But on my third book, my editor asked me for a very detailed synopsis—more than ten pages—with my proposal. I discovered how much easier it was for me to write from that synopsis. Sure, I change things as I go along. I add characters or swap points of view or even change conflicts. But when I have a solid vision of where my characters are going and what their motivations are, my writing tends to be a little smoother and a lot quicker. I’m officially a plotter now.

Emilie here: I'm heading in that direction's funny because I do that for my work as a freelancer, but I don't like to adopt it for my novels. I may try being a hybrid *hehe* :)

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Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Yes! I love to listen to music while I write. It helps me keep a rhythm to my typing, and it always sets the mood. When I’m writing something suspenseful, I love to listen to really intense music, like a soundtrack from an action movie. And when I’m writing a romantic scene, a good love song is always in order. I often find an album or artist and play them over and over. Needtobreathe is generally on repeat, and lately so is Elvis.

Emilie here: Oh yes, you can't beat a good movie soundtrack!

What is your favorite season and why?
I love the fall. It’s always such a relief after the heat of summer. And the rich colors of the leaves always feel so alive and vibrant. Plus, sweaters and scarves. And the return of football. What’s not to love?

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one genre, as I read fairly broadly across fiction and nonfiction genres. But lately I’ve been reading more historical romance—mostly in the regency era. Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors. I love the history—I always learn something new—and the feeling of being completely transported into another time and place. Plus, I’ve always wanted to visit England, so reading about it is the next best thing.

Emilie here: Thanks so much for this lovely interview Liz! I can't wait to read The Red Door Inn and I'm so happy to have you here on the blog!