Sixty is The New Thirty – Michelle Griep

My guest today is Michelle Griep. I love the theme of her post, Sixty is The New Thirty. Her new book, OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, recently released on Tuesday, Sept 6. Read on to find out more about Michelle, and how you can enter to win a copy of her book, read on and leave a comment.

Michelle: Hero. What’s the image that pops into your head when you read that word? Big and beefy? Sporting the requisite six-pack abs and gleaming smile? You’re not alone. That’s the image that appears in most people’s minds.

But not mine.

I’m the rabble rouser who likes to rattle cages. Mix things up. Write a story where two retired sisters-in-law save the day. Why? Because contrary to popular belief, sixty is the new thirty. Think about it . . .

Life Expectancy is LONGER

Medical advances have banished or at least managed many illnesses that used to be a death sentence—and not just for the aged. Childhood diseases aren’t as much of an issue as they were, either.

Quality of Life is BETTER

Clean water. Plenty of food. A growing awareness that exercise should be part of your everyday life. All these things and more combine to make our lives way more stellar than that of our pioneer forefathers.

The Aging Market is GROWING

Baby boomers are booming, which is a reading market to be tapped. You think this population identifies with young bucks storming the castle? Maybe a few decades ago, but now the market is ripe for more mature heroes.

Armed with those facts, my writerly buddy and I penned a story set in a senior community. Here’s a blurb for OUT OF THE FRYING PAN:

OutoftheFryingPanB (2)

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.


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Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART is her latest release. Follow her escapades at or or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Michelle. To everyone reading this, Michelle is giving a hard copy of her book. Leave a comment for your chance to win. Until next time, blessings to all.



Life Imitated – Sarah Butland

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk on the news and social media about assisted suicide, and whether it’s right or wrong. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the issue, and as many deferring opinions. My guest today is Sarah Butland, who wrote a fiction about it. Her novel, Life Imitated, released just recently. Here she is to tell us about it.

SARAH: When a devastating accident takes away Asher’s ability to move, he has a huge decision to make. Laying on a bed, with only his voice to express himself, he is waited on hand and foot while he recalls living his prime life on the greens. Being hit by a drunk driver is something that should never happen but still does more than anyone cares to know about. With my newly released short story, Life Imitated, I tackle the big issue of assisted suicide, drinking and driving as well as forgiveness.

It is impossible to know what we would personally do under such circumstances even if we think of it every day. Until we face such dire straits, we cannot know what we would do.

Asher struggles with the trying to balance his personal hope with the feeling of taking lives away from his loved ones. Wonders if he should forgive the person who hit him or try to move on as best he can. Writing this story I struggled a lot with how it would end as I wondered what I would do if things were different. Usually it takes me a long time to figure out how to start a story and the end comes quickly and easily when I do. I write like I read, one word and page at a time and letting the story reveal itself to me, being surprised along with the reader.

When I came to the final words of this story they, too, came naturally like the rest and it left me wondering how many people would speak for themselves.

Please read the story and let me know what you would do.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland


Thank you so much, Sarah. I invite everyone to leave comments for a chance to win an ebook  copy of her novel. However, please keep in mind that everyone’s opinion matters, and each one of them counts, even though it may NOT be your own. Please be respectful.

Until next time, blessings



Metaphor and Simile: What They Are and Why You Need Them by James R. Callan

James R Callan, author of A Silver Medallion, is my guest this week. He’s here to talk about metaphors and similes. Hope you find this useful. Enjoy.

James: If you’re writing fiction, you need to use metaphors and similes.  Why?  Because you need to develop memorable characters, characters that your readers can hardly wait to tell their friends about.  “You’ve got to read this book. You’ll (love, hate, laugh at, cry about, want to marry, want to kill—pick one) this character (supply name here).”

So, what do I mean by metaphors and similes in fiction.

“John had big ears.”  That’s not going to make John memorable. “John had large ears.”  Nope. No better.  “John had huge ears.”  A tiny bit better.  “John’s ears looked like weather balloons attached to his head.”  That’s a simile – comparing two things which are dissimilar items, such as comparing ears to weather balloons, and using the word “like” or “as.” Which description are you going to remember?  Sure, it’s a gross exaggeration, but it gets the idea across and in a way that will be remembered.

“Mano’s hand was a catcher’s mitt.”  That is a metaphor — the comparison of two things that are in general not alike, without using “like” or “as.” The reader knows this guy didn’t really have a catcher’s mitt for a hand. But the reader knows very clearly, this guy had big hands, exceptionally big hands, beefy hands. Your reader will remember that feature about him. You, the author, can use that fact later in the book to good advantage. And guess what?  The reader will remember.

“Her eyes were like sapphires cut to catch the light and sparkle.”  Simile. (Her eyes were like…) “His eyes were lasers, the kind that cut through steel.” Metaphor.  (His eyes were …)  “He was only five feet tall, but his feet were as big as a seven foot giant’s.” Simile.

In my latest mystery Over My Dead Body, I say, ” … Syd’s small, frame house, like a giant, square tumbleweed.”  Simile.  In my book A Ton of Gold, I describe a woman’s hair, ” black and shiny as obsidian.”  Simile.

Can you overdo the use of metaphor and simile? You most certainly can. They should be like the habañera: not used on everything, and not used too much. (Simile.)

Remember, one of your goals is to develop memorable characters.  Similes and metaphors can help make a character memorable. <><

Thanks, James. I hope everyone finds it very useful. James is giving away an ebook copy of Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel and also one of How to Write Great Dialog. For your chance to win one of them, leave a comment below.


After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favourite genre, mystery/suspense.  His eleventh book released in June, 2016.



Author’s page on Amazon:

Buy link for A Silver Medallion on Kindle:

Buy link for A Silver Medallion paperback:


Creating Character Emotions – Gail Pallotta

My guest this week is Gail Pallotta, author of Breaking Barriers. I hope you enjoy her tips on creating character emotions.

Portrait shot  Gail Pallotta

Gail: Lately, I’ve heard the more emotion the characters in a story exhibit, the more interesting they and the book become. So, I’ve been exploring ways to create their emotions.

Some physical descriptions that work are lips turned down or shoulders slumping for someone sad; fists balled up ready to strike and a red face for an angry person. Of course, happy characters lips turn up on the corners and their eyes dance or twinkle.

We can also use similes and metaphors and relate them to our particular stories to show emotion. For instance, in a book about a circus, we could describe a sad person as looking like the clown after someone drew tears on his cheeks. If we were writing a book about a quarterback, and he was making a life decision with his wife, he might chew his lip as if he tried to decide what to do on fourth and goal. A wife arguing with her husband while she’s cooking breakfast might have his words turn her brain to scrambled eggs. In a war story, a soldier possibly would stare at someone as though he had him in missile lock. These poetic devices used in conjunction with the subjects of our book keep the reader tuned into our stories and show emotions.

Even though we’re told clichés are a no-no, it’s fine to change them to show emotion. I enjoy swimming, so I like to put swimmers in my books. If one of them becomes weak for one reason or another, I can have them grow as limp as a wet bathing suit as opposed to as limp as a wet dishrag. Other clichés that we could use include someone who’s as angry as a wasp instead of angry as a hornet. We might have a heroine who believes the grass is always greener on the other side. We can’t say that, but we can write she thinks her neighbor’s flowers bloom brighter than hers.

Even after learning how important emotions are and how to give them to my characters, I sometimes get wrapped up in the story and leave the characters on their own. According to my editor for Barely Above Water, Paula Mowery, one good way to make sure I’ve put in emotion is to do a search for telling words, such as “felt,” “sad,” “lonely,” “happy,” “sorry,” and “guilty.” Then take those out and describe how the character looked when he or she experienced that particular emotion.

These are a few of the devices I’ve picked up in my writing journey and try to use in interesting ways to let the reader know how my characters feel.

Book Blurb for Breaking Barriers: In this action-packed thriller gunshots ring out as Ann Jones enters church. She hides in the bathroom until they stop then stumbles into the sanctuary. The congregation lies dead in pools of blood. To rebuild the church she starts True Light Guardians. At the first meeting she’s attacked by a terrorist but rescued by James Crawford. He melts her heart, cold from her father’s abuse, and they fall for each other. She’s afraid to commit to love that might grow angry later like the type she knew as a child. James yearns to stop other attempts on Ann’s life, but can’t. Tormented by her constant risks, he breaks up with her. When an assault sends her to the hospital, an unlikely ally shares Ann’s plight with James, but he reveals a lead that puts all three of them in even more danger.

Click HERE to buy Breaking Barriers:

LoveIs_BreakingBarriers web size

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s been a best-selling author on All Romance eBooks. She’s published five books, poems, short stories, and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Gail loves to connect with readers.

Visit Gail her on her WEBSITE 

Gail is giving away an eBook copy to a lucky winner. Leave a comment for your chance to win. A name will be randomly selected on Wednesday June 29. Good luck, everybody.


SING A NEW SONG ~ Caryl McAdoo

Hello everyone and welcome back. A lot has happened over the past few months. But I’m back and delighted to have Caryl McAdoo as a guest today. Welcome!


Caryl: I’m blessed to be with Renee-Ann to tell you about SING A NEW SONG, Book Two in my contemporary Red River Romance series.


The untimely death of her father shatters Mary Esther Robbins’ heart, and her mom moves, separating the twelve-year-old and her best friend. Samuel Baylor writes her without one response in twenty years. She sings God’s praise; he tends cows and shares the Good News. Then the Lord brings her home…

Here’s a sneak peek of Chapter One:

Mary Esther waved her key card then turned around and extended her hand. He took it and pulled her toward him, leaned in. The desire to close her eyes and surrender, let him kiss her, washed over her like a sweet summer rain. She should pull away, but instead, at the last heartbeat, turned her cheek instead.

He smelled of summer pomegranates carried on ocean breezes, crisp and clean, though he’d been on the go with her all day. His lips brushed her burning skin. He kissed her then moved on to her ear. “I don’t want to leave. Can I come in?”

She pushed him back and smiled. “No, you may not. But you can write me. I love long letters.”

“How about I call instead? Where’s the band headed next?”


He nodded then seemed to study her shoes a moment. When he looked back up, a troubled expression wrinkled his forehead. Staring into her eyes, he reached up and tapped the tip of her nose. “There’s something I need to tell you before you go.”

“Okay. What is it?”

“I’m, uh…” He grimaced, showing his perfect teeth clenched, then offered her a weak smile. “See? Uh, I’m married. Well, separated. I mean she’s gone, left me. No one’s –”

“You’re married?”

“Legally, yes—for now—and you’re beautiful.”

She pushed him back hard. The urge to slap his face burned her hand as though she had, but a long time ago, she learned not to go around hitting guys. “Married? What was the last week all about, you jerk? Get away from me, Richard. Go home. I cannot believe you… You… You’re nothing but a…” The only words that came to mind weren’t worth speaking. She shook her head to make them go away. “Mercy, man, you’re an associate pastor. And you’d be an adulterer, too?”


This book is a special favorite story because it contains many of the ‘new songs’ God has given me over the years. A writer must be careful about using lyrics of songs because of copyright laws, but these I could! And I hope to have a YouTube link where readers can go and hear the new songs!

I want to let you know that I give a free book away every quarter for being a subscriber to my newsletter The Caryler. I try to make it interesting and keep everyone up to date on what’s happening in my world, share some of my favorites: authors, bloggers, singers, movies, etcetera. You may subscribe using the link below.

Renee-Ann, thank you again for having me. It’s been a pleasure!

A little About the Author: Christian ‘hybrid’ author, Caryl McAdoo currently has three series: historical ‘Texas Romance’; contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; and ‘The Generations’ Biblical fiction. She loves singing new songs the Lord gives and painting. In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from DFW—home for fifty-five years—to the woods of Red River County. She counts four children and fifteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings, believing all good things come from God. She prays her story gives God glory and minister His love, mercy, and grace. She lives in Clarksville, Texas with her husband and two grandsons.



Thank you so much, Caryl.

You can learn more about Caryl, follow, and contact her at the links below. And if you leave a comment and sign up for her newsletter, The Caryler, you will be entered in a draw.

Until next time, blessings and happy reading.

All Books

Sing a New Song 

Website  (All First Chapters are offered here)

Newsletter  (Get FREE books for subscribing!)

Christian Evaluaters








Christmas Read, anyone? Part 4.

Drum roll please ! I’m delighted to announce the winner of Darlene Franklin’s novel, An Apple For Christmas. Congratulations go to Robert Nacke. Thank you so much for taking part in this giveaway. Darlene will be in touch with you soon.

I can’t believe this is already part 4. But don’t go away. There are several more to come and we draw one random winner for each book we feature. That’s two winners a week. And today is no exception. It is my pleasure to feature Tina Pinson, and her Christmas novel, Christmas in Shades of Grey.


Tina Parson


Award winning author Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of 30+ years, Danny. They have three sons, and seven grandchildren. She writes poetry, loves to doodle, sing, and enjoys gardening. She prays her stories will transport you to worlds beyond, touching your spirit, and giving you a closer insight to yourself and God. Her books are available at online retailers. You can learn more about Tina on her blog, and her website. And you can follow her on Twitter.


Tina's book


Here’s a little about her book:

It’s Christmastime. David Pareman lies in his hospital bed, dying. The staff visits him, as does a drug induced cowboy and yellow-eyed monster. But not his children. He fears he’ll die alone without a chance to share his heart.

When Arion, a stranger with vast knowledge of David’s life and a shroud of mystery over his own, comes to visit, David thinks Arion is from the newspaper. He learns otherwise. Soon David is tripping through his past in search of the answer to a soul-searing question. “What in your life merits God answering your prayer?”

Through his past and those of his children he hopes to reach, David finds little to balance the scales against him. He believes he’s no good, with nothing of merit that would make God want to help in him. Then he remembers the truth of Christmas and the love the Father sent to earth.

Sounds like an awesome read to me. And I know you’ll want to read it too. Here’s your chance to get a copy.

We’ve talked about what we love most about Christmas, we’ve shared our favourite Christmas songs, and the important “things” on our wish list. Now let’s talk about traditions?

In all your years, what was your MOST UNUSUAL Christmas tradition. As a child or grown up, it doesn’t matter. Leave a comment below for a chance to win Christmas in Shades of Grey. Best of luck. I’ll announce the winner Monday. Until then, have a blessed weekend, everybody.

Renee-Ann <><


Ashlyn’s Radio

I recently read a blog which talked about the importance for writers to read genres they don’t write about. Shortly afterward, I had a brief conversation with Me and Myself. You know the kind?

“There are so many genres out there,” I said to Myself. “I wouldn’t know where to start. Besides, I am sometimes quite picky about what I read. Suspense is – always has been – at the top of my list and that’s never going to change. That’s what I read and write. Romance, humour, and true stories are next on the list. but now, Paranormal? Vampires? Sci-Fi? Forget it, I never read them.”

“Why not?” Myself asked.

“I don’t know. I’m just not into that kind of stuff. It’s not my thing, I guess,” I replied.

“Oh?” Me Chimed in.  “But if you don’t read these genres, how in the world would you know that you’re not into that kind of stuff?” Me chimed in, eyebrows raised, and fingers drumming on the arm of the chair.

“Touché!” I said, defeated.

As an aspiring Christian suspense author, I belong to a writers’ group/forum where several of them are published. This gives me a lot of genres to choose from. So, I decided to try something new. Coincidentally, the week the above conversation took place, I read about a YA paranormal, co-written by one of the writers in the group.

Ashlyn’s Radio by Wilson Doherty (Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty). Here’s a blurb about it.

When her mother is institutionalized after a mental breakdown, Ashlyn Caverhill is forced to abandon Toronto, and the only life she’s ever known, to go live in Maine with the only relative she has: her grandmother.  At first, she finds it Prescott Junction… boring, except for the ghost train that goes through at night to claim lost souls; a rumour Ashlyn dismisses quickly. While Ashlyn refuses to believe in a train that comes to claim lost souls, several unexplained deaths near the tracks seem to suggest otherwise. When the antique radio in her grandmother’s basement comes to life and she’s told that the radio is a Caverhill curse, Ashlyn is forced to face reality and needs her two new friends’ help to ensure that her soul remains unclaimed.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book but I liked what I read. Once I started, it was hard to put down. Though I know the difference between fact and fiction, it still had me intrigued until the end, because there were several questions for which I wanted answers… answers that came in due time and not a moment before. I don’t want to give anything away, but will say that it had me shed a few tears – happy ones and sad ones – and the ending had me choked up.

So what else can I say about this book? Ashlyn’s Radio is light, yet ghostly, happy and sad, interesting, and delightful. For my first paranormal, I’d say I wasn’t disappointed.