Christmas Read, anyone? Part 6

Welcome back to the Christmas Reads Series. First, let’s announce Part 5’s winner: Let’s hear it for Kim Vogel Sawyer. Congratulations, Kim. Dorothy will be in touch with you.

A side note before I introduce today’s author: I so appreciate my cover designer, Mitch Mealey. These artists don’t get enough credit for the work they do ‘behind the scene’. Thanks for pointing that out, Maggie, it’s so true. This week, I want to recognize ALL cover designers, more specifically, Nicola Martinez for the work on the following covers. I very often pick up a novel because of its beautiful design. Amazing job, Nicola.

I’m delighted to feature wonderful author, JoAnn Durgin. She has THREE Christmas novellas to give away in the Starlight Christmas Series published by Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing. But first a little about her:

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)

JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels (and counting) in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as a standalone novel, Catching Serenity. Her novellas include the three mentioned above, and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives with her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or  www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.

Her Christmas novellas include:

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (2012)

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Jacob Marston, Starlight, Iowa’s hometown hero made a long-ago promise to the Lord: he won’t kiss a woman until he knows she’s “the one.” Now at age twenty-eight, the rugged firefighter questions if it’ll ever happen. When he meets his best friend’s sister, Jake believes he’s found the woman of his dreams. But what will she think when she discovers his vow?

Starlight, Star Bright (2013)

StarlightStarbright_w11612_680

Dante Moretti, Texas-born goalie of an Italian World Cup champion team, expects Starlight, Iowa will be only a blip on the radar of his life. Grabbing a quick meal at Barney’s Diner during the holidays, Dante meets two women who capture his heart in very different ways. Then his rental car won’t start and leaves him stranded. Does the Lord have a plan for bringing him—and keeping him—in Starlight?

Sleigh Ride Together with You (2014)

Sleigh Ride Together with You Cover (Largest)

As the popular television co-host of Wake Up, Des Moines! Nicole Reardon has achieved her dream. So why has the network sent “image maker” Alex Kingsfield to the station? The irritatingly handsome man is also the first man she’s been attracted to since Jake Marston dumped her three years ago in Starlight, Iowa. When an unexpected assignment sends Nicole and Alex to Starlight, can she rise above the past and make this interview the defining moment of her career?

Aren’t these covers amazing? All three books are available in eBook format on Amazon.com and other online book retailers. You can also order them in paperbacks by contacting JoAnn Durgin at jdurgin9587@att.net or via her website at www.joanndurgin.com.

So now, here’s your chance to win a copy of one of JoAnn’s Christmas novellas (ebook format). We’ll draw three names at random and reveal the winners on Monday. Can you tell me what present you always wanted as a child but never received?

Looking forward to hearing from you. Until then, blessings!

Renee-Ann <><

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Christmas Read, anyone? Part 5

Welcome back, everyone. First, I need to announce our latest winner: Congratulations go to Robert Nacke. Wow, lucky you! That’s the second time in my Christmas Reads series. Good for you, Robert. Tina will be in touch with you.

Now, we’re on to our 5th giveaway. Read on as we will have another question for you to answer in your comment for a chance to win another beautiful Christmas Read.

Today, I feature an amazing author, Dorothy Clark, and her Christmas Read, A Season of the Heart

A Season of the Heart

First, let me tell you about her book:

A Season of the Heart:

A Christmas Match. Rugged logger Daniel Braynard meets none of Ellen Hall’s husband requirements. Groomed for a prestigious marriage, she already has a choice between two wealthy suitors. She plans to make her decision by Christmas while visiting her hometown. But when tasked with creating the town’s decorations, she and Daniel are forced to work together. And her former childhood rescuer has matured into a man she can no longer ignore.

Daniel hardly recognizes the ambitious socialite Ellen has become. Somewhere beneath her airs is the spirited, warmhearted friend he has never forgotten. As Christmas nears, will the chill between them thaw to reveal the gift of a sweet love that was meant to be?

Award-winning author Dorothy Clark lives in rural New York. She enjoys traveling with her husband throughout the United States doing research and gaining inspiration for future books. Dorothy believes in God, love, family and happy endings, which explains why she feels so at home writing stories for Love Inspired Books. Dorothy enjoys hearing from her readers and may be contacted at: dorothyjclark@hotmail.com

A Season of the Heart will be available in both paperback and ebook. But you don’t have to wait. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.

So far we’ve talked about the things we love most about Christmas: food, traditions, songs and more. What about decorations? What is the most important ornament, or any kind of knickknacks you look forward to setting out at this time of year? It doesn’t have to be a tree ornament, it can be anything you set on the mantel, under the tree, or anywhere else. I’ll start by sharing mine: (hard to think of only one. I have so many…)

The manger, my Christmas village, and all the ornaments on our tree hold a special meaning. But I think my most treasured decoration is the only figurine (Joseph) left from the manger scene my family had when I was a kid. I have no idea what happened to the rest of this set, but I’d give just about anything to get an identical set. There’s also the Christmas wreath my sister made for me. She and I live so far away, I feel closer to her when I hang it on the front door.

We look forward to reading your comments. Until then, blessings!

Renee-Ann <><

Smile at Yourself ! God’s watching You!

Have you ever smiled at yourself? What about a really, big grin? 

I have. I sat here the other morning, talking to God. I couldn’t thank Him enough for all He’s done in my life. Not only recently, but in the past weeks, months, and even years. It leaves me breathless to think about it! Totally overwhelmed. And while I talked, I smiled. Big time! 

Two weeks ago, I attended the ACFW conference where I met many incredible authors;

Ane Mulligan, Myself, Pam Meyers

Ane Mulligan, Myself, Pam Meyers

 

reconnected with writers I’d met at Write to Publishand at Mt Hermon; had a chance to go to the top of The Arch from which one can see the St Louis Cardinals baseball field;

View of St Louis and the Cardinals Baseball field

View of St Louis and the Cardinals Baseball field from the top of The Arch

and a breathtaking-view of the city of St Louis on one side, and Illinois on the other; rode in a horse-drawn carriage; learned a great deal in the class and workshops I took, and formed new bonds of friendships that will last a lifetime. That’s enough to make me smile. Yes even when I’m alone with God. 

The Arch in St Louis, MO

The Arch in St Louis, MO

I’m forever in awe of His provisions, and the many blessings He continually bestows upon me. I recently purchased the song Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. The lyrics give me goose bumps. Especially the chorus. Listen to it. Watch the video and see if has the same effect on you. The part that gets me the most is when Big Daddy says:

“And God I run into your arms, unashamed because of mercy.”  

Wow! What a comforting words. Unashamed because of God’s mercy. Isn’t He amazing?

Now I want to make YOU smile. I promised to reveal my costume this week. As I mentioned in my last post, I write suspense and had no idea what to wear for the Genre Dinner until I did a Google search and found this idea. For me it was perfect.

 

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I forget the name of the sticky-note lady, but will mention it as soon as I find out!

 

Yes! A typewriter is just the tool I need to write my suspense stories. Since there was already a ‘Sherlock’ sort of costume (sorry I didn’t take a picture), I’m glad I chose something different. When I spotted this writer covered with sticky-notes, I knew as writers we ‘belonged together.’

Have you smiled at yourself today? Have you thanked God for what He’s done for you? Go ahead! Try it. But be careful. A smile is contagious! Others might smile back at you.

Have a blessed week. I know I will. How? God’s smiling down on me, and I’m smiling back at Him.

I leave you with a few more pictures.

Blessings always! Renee-Ann <><

IMG_0695 IMG_0769 WIN_20140925_123337 WIN_20140925_132641 WIN_20140925_133320 WIN_20140926_225040 WIN_20140927_142130 WIN_20140927_233934

 

What Mama Didn’t Tell Me…

(Or Things I’ve learned As An Indie Author – Part One).

I dedicate this post to my Mother, whom I miss dearly. And Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to all moms out there.

As a reporter, my mother had a major influence on my life, even when I didn’t realize it. However, growing up in the 70’s, there were things she never could have predicted or taught me, especially about today’s technology. So when I published my first novel, Stella’s Plea (2012) as an eBook, there were many thing I didn’t know. And there’s still a lot for me to learn.

Last week, I receive an email from a dear writer-friend I’d met at the Write to Publish Christian Writers Conference in 2012. Rebecca wanted to feature me on her blog. I never turn down these opportunities. And when people help me, I like to pay it forward. I prepared to write about what I’ve learned since I published my novel. But there’s so much to tell, I split the post in two. This is part 1. Wednesday, May 14, make sure you read Rebecca’s blog for part two, to find out the other amazing things I’ve learned.

Self-publishing has been quite a journey. Last week I signed up for two major (and free) challenges. One is a fifteen-day writing challenge where we receive a daily prompt, and must write between 50 – 300 words about it. As its name suggests, some of the prompts are challenging, but it keeps the brain constantly active and thinking. The second challenge is a 30-day “course” on book marketing, something that can be hard and quite demanding for those who don’t know what they’re doing (like ME when I started). Perhaps that’s why many go through a traditional publisher who will do most of the leg work for them. I wish I’d had this course two years ago because I totally lacked marketing savvy so the road was twice as difficult for me. But I made it. Why am I telling you about these two challenges?

Because I met many writers in the process who took an interest in my writing. Why is this so important? One of the MOST most valuable lesson I’ve learned on my writing journey is the importance of connecting with other writers.

PamelaSusanConnie         Doris and Domeniek Penny and Pamela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write to Publish, at Wheaton College, IL was my first major writers conference. Pictured above, top row, Pamela (L), Connie (C) and Susan (R), next row, Penny and Pam (L) and Doris and Domeniek (R) are some of the many fantastic writers I made strong connections with at this conference. I have many more pictures of that conference on my Facebook page. Most of us have kept in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and/or via email ever since. This year, I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Felton California, and again met wonderful and amazing writers and teachers. It’s an experience one simply cannot forget! While a famous author once told me writing is of necessity a solitary profession, I can’t help but ask myself: Does it have to be? I may write the book on my own, but I’ve had a lot of people ‘walk’ with me on my journey. These people have taken on several roles, a people with many hats, you might say. They became:

  • Encouragers while I worked on my novel,
  • Prayer warriors when I hit a few bumps in the road (writing and/or otherwise),
  • Supporters when I neared publication,
  • Promotional agents who spread the word around and helped me sell my novel.

Two years later, I’m still in touch with most of them and it’s my turn to encourage, pray, support, and share their new books on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Word of mouth goes a long way, and friendship is a two-way street. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain at a writers’ conference. I believe it’s where you acquire the most valuable tools as a writer. But don’t just take my word for it, go ahead, attend one of them. Your writing journey will never be the same. WIN_20140413_214037 Now I remind you – again – to circle your calendar and visit Rebecca’s blog on Wednesday May 14, for part two of the things I’ve learned as an indie author. Until then, blessings. Renee-Ann <><

Prayers for Writers? Of course! We need them too.

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:17-18

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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This is going to be a short post (less than 400 words). I sincerely hope when you’re done reading it, you’ll read THIS ONE as well.

Recently, I blogged about Janet Sketchley’s post, “What’s in the heart,” which inspired me to write on a similar subject. It happened again this past week, and I must share.

I belong to several Facebook and Twitter writing groups, and have read a lot of prayer requests in the threads of comments. Some want prayers for ill-health, some for their writing journeys, while others ask us to pray for their loved ones. None of these are no less important than others. No matter the request, we, as Christians, are called to lift each other up in prayer. The best part is in what Jesus tells us in Matthew 18: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Saturday, I really enjoyed Bobbi Junior’s post and hope you’ll join her – as I do in her movement. Writers, like everybody else, have needs too. As you read their books, we ask you to keep them in prayers.

I like to think of myself as a prayer warrior. When I find myself doing nothing (which isn’t very often), I talk to God. Working in a call centre where it’s not very busy, I like to follow God’s command as told by the Apostle Paul, and I pray continually. I pray for whoever He lays on my heart, I thank him for the things He’s done in my life, and that of others. I like to pray first thing in the morning (my day just isn’t the same when I don’t), last thing at night as I lay my head down, and anywhere in between when He nudges me. I love talking to Him every chance I get.

Some think prayer are only required when we’re in desperate need. I do ask for His provisions in those times, but also praise and thank Him in the good times.

So as you read the words of the authors you enjoy so much, will you please take a moment and pray for them today? Let’s all join Bobbi’s movement and pray for writers.

Blessings, everyone.

Renee-Ann <><

photo credit: amorph via photopin cc
photo credit: Curt Fleenor Photography via photopin cc

 

Share The Book Part IX with Guest Vanessa Miller Nov 8

Hello everybody and welcome back to Share the Book.

A while ago, I stumbled upon a book by an author I’d never heard about. But the cover said Read me. Gotta love it when they do that! So I did. In a nutshell, it was a phenomenal book with a great story line, and the descriptions of places and characters were so amazing, I felt like I was there. The author’s name? Vanessa Miller. The book?  A Promise of Forever Love. 

People who know me know that when I like a book by any author, I’ll read more of his/her books. The next one I read was Long Time Coming. This one had me in tears from the beginning right through to the end. Some of these were happy tears, and some of them were sad ones. Sorry, no spoilers from me. You’ll have to take my word and read the books.

A couple of weeks ago, I contacted Vanessa and asked her to be my guest. I’m absolutely delighted to say she accepted. And here’s what she had to say to her readers.

Vanessa Photo Color-high res

1. Can you tell your readers a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio but now live in North Carolina. I have one daughter and two grandchildren. And I write full-time.

2. When did you start writing, and what prompted you?
I been writing since I was a kid and always knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life. My first novel came out in 2003 (Former Rain) and I have been writing ever since.

3. What’s been the best part of your writing journey?
Developing an audience and being able to connect with that audience in order to hear how they have been blessed or received a better understanding of God through reading a book that I wrote.

4. The worst?
The worst time in the journey was how long it took to grow my audience to the place it’s at today. I worked long hours for many years, even through the years when it seemed as if no one was reading the books I wrote. But God is faithful and if He has provided purpose for your life, He will also provide the provision.

5. What genre do you write, and why?
I write Christian fiction — the why is easy, because I’m a Christian and I most identify with the characters I write about. I also believe that Christian fiction serves a purpose in the kingdom and if we get in line with that purpose the people who write in this genre can help bring about deliverance to God’s people.

6. Are you working on a book now? If so, can you give us a glimpse of it?
I’m always working on another book. I have a few that I’m working on for my publishers, but I’m still working my way through the Praise Him Anyhow Series. Book 5 in that series just released (Escape to Love). The next one, will be a Christmas read, titled Praise for Christmas.

7. What’s the best advice you can give your readers who also like to write?
The best advice I can give to a writer is to never give up. I tell people that I would write even if no one was paying me to do it, because it’s in my blood. So, don’t look at the amount you’re earning in the beginning to determine if this is a worthwhile career. And then read as many books in the genre that you want to write as you possibly can. Study those books and take them apart. Figure out what made that particular book successful or unsuccessful and then begin to write your stories.

escape_to_love_ebook

What follows is something Vanessa shared with me and I believe it’s well worth sharing with her readers.

Prayer, praise, reading the bible, going to church and loving one another as Christ loved the church are all important things for a believer. But if you have lost your ability to truly praise God then you probably don’t feel like doing any of the other things that are important to the believer either.

This is the reason I began the Praise Him Anyhow Series, I truly believe that if we learn to praise God through whatever situation we are faced with, God will begin to turn those situations around. How do I know… because I’ve been there.

I used to think of myself as a super-Christian. In 1994, God saved me and instantly changed me. Everything in my life became new and I felt invisible… I could do anything. I would pray for things and then see them materialize. But then the worse year of my life, 2010 rolled in and my mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer and then died from the disease on December 30, 2010. It’s a hard thing to lose someone who was both your mother and your friend.

I withdrew, became depressed and refused to praise God, because my heart had been broken and I just didn’t see anything praise worthy in that. And just like that, for the first time in my Christian walk I no longer felt as if I had a connection with my Lord and savior.

I would go to church and instead of lifting my hands in praise to God as I had always done, I would sit in my seat and cry my eyes out. When I realized what I had allowed to happen by way of not praising God, I set about changing my circumstances. Yes, my mother was gone from me forever, but there were still things in my life that were praise worthy and I was determined to find them.

And that’s what the Praise Him Anyhow series does for the believer who has lost his or her joy… these books help Christians find their praise again. I have never been more proud of any series I have written because I know that the message in these novellas brought me back to where I needed to be in God and they are doing the same thing for thousands of others who dare to give the Praise Him Anyhow Series a chance.

This series has romance, suspense, angels and most of all each novella deals with praise in unique ways. So if you need to get your praise back or just enjoy reading Christian fiction or books with romance  in them, the Praise Him Anyhow Series is for you. Each book will be available in ebook, print and audio book formats.

Here are the titles that are currently available: Tears Fall at Night, Joy Comes in the Morning, A Forever Kind of Love, Ramsey’s Praise and Escape to Love. There is also a Praise Him Anyhow Journal that compliments the series, for those of us who need step by step instructions and journal time in order to get the praise back into our lives.

If you have further questions or would like to reach out to me, I can be reached at: www.vanessamiller.com or you can join me on other social media outlets:

Join my Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/77899021863/

Join me on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/vanessamiller01

https://www.amazon.com/author/vanessamiller

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for being a guest on my blog. Your story touched me as much as your books did. I do look forward to reading more of your wonderful novels. I’m certain your readers will too.

Until next week, bless and be blessed. Renee-Ann <><

Share the Book Part VII, with Guest Paula Rose Michelson, author of Casa de Naomi

Happy Friday everyone. Have I got a treat for you today. Over the past few months, I joined several writing groups and met many authors on Facebook, Twitter and other social medias. Actually, I featured many in this blog over the past several weeks. Today is no exception. It was in one of those groups that I met Paula Rose Michelson, a wonderful Christian author. I liked how, despite the fact that I’d never met her, nor had I yet heard of her, and without even knowing what kind of books she wrote, I knew she was a Christian. So I checked out her book Casa de Naomi, and sent her a message. And as most Christians do, we clicked right away. 🙂 So for those of you out there who love a good Christian novel, you’ll want to check out this book. Here’s what Paula had to say when I asked her to tell her readers about the writer behind Casa de Naomi. Paula Rose Michelson 1. Can you tell your readers a little about yourself?

I am the wife of Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Ministry Field Missionary, Ron Michelson. The mother for two married daughters, grandmother of seven, I am a dyslexic artist who Messiah (Christ) called to write for Him.

2. How did you get into writing?

I started writing for Messiah while Coordinating Missionary Church Visitation Calendars while on staff with Chosen People Ministries. I wrote five of the six Naomi Books before God called me to write full-time for Him.

3. What genres do you write? And why? Casa de Naomi Book One - Jacket SM I write both fiction and nonfiction now. Had you asked me before Naomi began telling me her story, I would have said that I write nonfiction, because as a teenager I wrote a weekly ‘Teen Scene’ column for the San Diego Register, and poetry because I love the cadence of various poetic work. Now as the author of Books 1&2 of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, and with a new fiction, The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Beginning Anew, which continues Naomi and Chaz’s story, and a nonfiction, How Did We Become Angry, which is the first book of seven in my LAMB Ministries 7X7 Biblical Recovery for Women Suffering from Trauma and Abuse due to release in 2014, I can tell you that all Messiah has taught and shown me has been a blessing that I share in my work.

4. How did you come up with the idea for Casa de Naomi?

I met with a friend who was a small Messianic publisher. She had collected several of my writings, and wanted to publish my work. We discussed a book I wanted to write. She loved the idea and promised to publish my work. During the ensuing months, I did the research for the book. I got delightfully bogged down while reading primary source material about what the Jews who were baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition had gone through so I could write Naomi’s character sketch that the publisher asked for my dailies to see what I was doing. After reading them, she let me know that I had begun writing a different and much better book! This is how The Naomi Books began.

5. Are you working on a novel now? And can you tell us anything about it? Naomi Cover 1-e I am editing “The Naomi Chronicles, Book One, Beginning Anew,” due to release in February of 2014. Here’s what readers will see when they open the book:

On Choosing to Begin

Joshua 24:15 “…then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.   The process of choosing, which many call beginning, can be difficult, challenging, and affirming. Beginning is a foundational step in become an individual, and it occurs within a loving family as children become teens and their parents encourage them to begin their exploration of appropriate possibilities, see which ones they will chose, and try to assist them along the way. Although all grow from childhood to adult for some this process does not occur. Whether that is due to the environment, generationally taught fear, or the individual’s own fear is not important. What is important is that God holds each of us accountable for our choices.

We are the sum total of all we have chosen to think, do and say.

Casa de Naomi, Book One

A Woman from an Unknown People

An Illegal Emigrant

Bound by Secrets

Trapped by Choices

An Arranged Marriage

A Forbidden Love

Casa de Naomi, Book Two

A Never Intended Journey

Believing What She Feared

Becoming

Returning to…

Marriage & at Long Last, Love

6. When asked “Where do you get your inspiration,” what do you say?

I love writing about people making choices and what happens to them thus showing that choices can trap and define, or set us free. As Messiah’s scribe, it is my joy to show those who believe a Jewish Christ, and those who do not yet believe the one who redeemed them.

Thank you so much Paula for being here, and talking to your readers. It’s been an honour having you here.  Paula has agreed to do a book a giveaway. So I do each week, I’ll ask you to leave a comment and on Wednesday October 30, we’ll select a random winner. And don’t forget to connect with Paula on Facebook. She has a beautiful and inspiring page you won’t want to miss. https://www.facebook.com/paula.michelson

Until next time, blessings to all.  Renee-Ann <><

Share The Book, Part V: With Guest Author Eva Marie Everson

Welcome back, everyone. This week, I’m delighted to have as a guest, Eva Marie Everson, author of the Cedar Key series. I met Eva Marie when I attended Write to Publish Writers’ Conference in Wheaton, Illinois. I read one of her earlier books, This Fine Life, which I reviewed in this blog. And of course, I was hooked and knew I’d have to get whatever she wrote. And I did.

It’s always nice to learn about the authors we read, to get to know them a little more. So now, I’ll let her tell you–and me–about herself.

<><

 

va at BRMCWC

 

 

I came to Cedar Key because of the 2004 hurricane season, which hit Florida like … well, a hurricane. Four of them. Most of the places I went to “getaway” along the east coast had been destroyed or badly damaged. When I lamented to my hairdresser about it, she mentioned that another of her clients raved about Cedar Key, Florida, which is located on the west coast of Florida.

I called a writer-friend, award-winning author Janice Elsheimer, and asked if she would like to go with me to “check it out.” She said she would. And so we set out …

Along the way we stopped at antique shops and thrift stores and little cafes for coffee. But when we turned down the long stretch that calls itself Highway 24, we realized we were leaving all “civilization” behind. And happily.

The road is bordered on both sides by foliage. Miles and miles of it. Then, marshland that stretches to the open water of the Gulf of Mexico and on to the horizon where the sun either rises or sets. Because of its location, Cedar Key boasts the morning sun easing itself out of the water and, at night, that same sun exploding in color as it sets on the other side of the island. Early birds often gather at the docks to watch it ascent, but it seems that nearly the whole island–locals and visitors–gather on the west side to watch it set.

So, I fell in love with Cedar Key. On our third trip, I opened a magazine for a little afternoon reading and came across an ad for Liz Claiborne Spring Whites that showed five women dressed in white and sitting in a beach house. A complete story line flash across my mind, seriously, just like that. I held up the magazine and said to Janice, “Do you see the story here?” And then I shared it with her. These were the Claybourne (yep, I sorta stole that!) sisters … all but one. They live in Orlando, vacation in Cedar Key in a home owned by their father that rises along the marshes.

I took the story to my editor at Baker Publishing Group (Revell imprint) and three books later, we have not only the Cedar Key, but the multiple-award winning Cedar Key Series–Chasing Sunsets; Waiting for Sunrise (which finaled for a Christy); and Slow Moon Rising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting_for_Sunrise

 

 

 

SLOW_MOON_RISING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing the novels was, for me, almost cathartic. I’ve been writing professionally since 1997 when I started writing for a children’s ministry. At the same time I started penning my first novel (the third book I had published), which took most of 1997 into 1998. In 1999, with a little nonfiction book idea, I ventured into what was then called “CBA” (Christian Booksellers Association Convention), where I met with Susan Schlabaugh of Barbour Publishing. We hit if off immediately and, 9 days later, she called and offered me a book contract.

In 1997 I also went to the very first meeting of what would become Word Weavers International, Inc., of which I am now the president. WWI, which started with only five wannabe writers meeting around a dining room table, is now 35 face-to-face chapters, about 3 Online Chapters (and constantly growing), in both the United States and Canada. In about 1999, as our little group of 5 which had become 25 floundered, I formed “Word Weavers,” served as their president for six years, then in leadership as it became more than just an Orlando-based group, then continuing in leadership when it was acquired by Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild, then took the presidency again when Jerry turned the organization back over to us.

In 2013 Word Weavers acquired Florida Christian Writers Conference and I became the director along with Mark Hancock (who will be very happy if I mention his brilliance here … LOL). Mark also serves as WWI, Inc. Vice President.

My writing life has blessed me. I have always written. Always wanted to be a writer. For various reasons I went into another field after high school. Married. Had kids. But the writing was always there. It was something I always did.

I’ve learned, more than any other lesson, that God’s timing is beyond perfect. Had I done things “my way,” I would have gone to college and studied creative writing or something like it. I would have moved to NYC and become an editor … or something like it. But God said, “Just wait. Just wait and you can do not something like it. You can do it.

And so I have.

 

Slow Moon Rising over Cedar Key

Slow Moon Rising over Cedar Key

 

Thank you so much Eva Marie for sharing your story. It’s been a blessing having you here today and I trust many will also be blessed by your story.

Until next week, be blessed.

Renee-Ann  <><

Share The Book part IV with special guest, Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Happy Friday ! This week’s post will take an interesting twist. I have a very special guest, international bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, whose bestseller, How I Made over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks, has made a huge difference in how I promote my book. She’s written several novels, but I really want to focus on that one.

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Belonging to several writing groups, whether locally or online, I’ve learned a lot, but I must admit I lacked market savvy. Sarah Butland, a writer-friend, knew I had published a novel and highly recommended that I read Cheryl’s book. She’d read it and talked about it. I’d already downloaded several marketing books and honestly couldn’t help but wonder what was different about this one. But when Sarah said “Read it, and make sure you take notes,” I decided to give it a shot.

From the moment I started reading, I was hooked. Not only did Cheryl have a lot of great ideas I hadn’t thought of, there were a lot of them that I simply didn’t know about. This book is worth more than its cost, and definitely worth the read. I’ve asked Cheryl a few questions wanting to know more about her and what led her to write this book.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m an international bestselling author with 12 eBooks and 9 trade paperbacks published, and I’m represented by Erica Spellman-Silverman from Trident Media Group. I was born in Vancouver, BC, but grew up all over, including Bermuda, as my father was in the military. I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, with my husband and our Pomeranian, Chai (named for my favorite Starbucks drink). When people ask me what I do, I like to reply, “I kill people off for a living.” Sometimes I’ll add, “I’m a suspense author.” Sometimes I won’t say anything else. I’m mischievous that way. 😉

How did you get into writing and why?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, even as a child. There was such mystery and power in creating story plots and breathing life into characters, and I was an avid reader with a vivid imagination. When I was about 14, I became a paid journalist, earning $5/week for a regular column in a small town newspaper. At 16, I wrote my first novel, and though it was stolen from my high school locker, I never forgot the sense of accomplishment I had felt after completing that book. I write because I am most fulfilled when writing. There are always millions of intriguing stories and compelling characters in my mind. I have to write. Besides, they want out, and it’s the only way to shut off their incessant chatter.

What genres do you prefer writing and why?

I write anything with suspense, whether this is a mystery, thriller, paranormal, romantic, horror or supernatural novel. I love exploring the unknown and mysterious. I strive to leave my readers always wondering, searching for clues, holding their breath, looking over their shoulders—I want them to FEEL something. Suspense covers so many genres that it leaves me open to exploring in ways that other authors may not be able to if they’ve boxed themselves into a tight niche.

Who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King and Dean Koontz are tie for my #1 author idol. As well, I enjoy Sandra Brown, JD Robb, Heather Graham, Tami Hoag, John Saul, John Grisham, Andrew Gross and so many more.

How or where do you get inspiration to write?

Inspiration comes to me in my fears, for the most part. Most of my novels explore a fear that is close to me, like the fear of losing a parent (WHALE SONG), the fear of my child being abducted (CHILDREN OF THE FOG) or the fear of being trapped in a vehicle underwater (SUBMERGED). Often inspiration comes from something I hear about (THE RIVER) or an area of interest (DIVINE series). Sometimes it comes from my dreams and nightmares (SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET & OTHER CREEPY STORIES). Chatting with friends, watching a movie or TV, and sometimes the words of a song have been known to inspire me. Inspiration is everywhere—if we’re open to it.

You write suspense/thriller-type novel. Why did you write this book? (How I Made $42K)

Over the 10 years that I have been a published novelist, many writers and published authors have assisted me, shared their journey or their advice, helped me with marketing and more. My non-fiction marketing book, HOW I MADE OVER $42,000 IN 1 MONTH SELLING MY KINDLE eBOOKS, is my way to pay it forward.

I’ve been criticized for selling my techniques and strategies, but unless you knew me or really understood my journey, you won’t know my true intentions, which are to help other authors whenever I can. I can’t do the work for you, but I can certainly share what has worked for me and what has worked for many others who are using my strategies. As authors, we aren’t in competition with each other; the only competition you have is YOU. So it takes nothing away from me to share my tips, just as it took nothing away from the many authors who helped me early on.

Maybe one day, you’ll pay it forward and help a writer. In the meantime, I hope you’ll not only read my marketing book, but put the steps into action—because that is the true test of my strategies. If you’re willing to do the work, the rewards are endless.

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your story with your readers. Writing is a constant learning process and I too have had immeasurable help from fellow-authors, and your book has helped me even further. I also feel very strongly about helping others. So now it’s time for me to pay it forward by telling others about it.

Whether you’re a new author about to publish your first novel…. or if even you’ve recently published one and would like to see it do better, read this book. If you put into practice all of Cheryl’s strategies, you’re sure to see results.

Writing is hard, publishing is harder, but I believe promoting is the hardest part of being an author. This book has made my job easier.  Go for it, Download this book. You’ll be glad you did. Until next week, blessings, and happy reading…. oh… and happy marketing.

Share The Book Part III – With Guest Rose Chandler

It’s Friday and time for me to share with you about another author and her book. I’m delighted to have Rose Chandler Johnson on my blog this week. She’s the author of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. I met Rose at the Write To Publish conference, in Chicago last year. 

Rose Chandler Johnson’s devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments was released in July 2013.  Her devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers.  Rose is from a small Georgia town and has lived in Martinez, GA for the last twenty-eight years.  She has been a French and English teacher for the last twenty years.  Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

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About her book:  

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 In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. Whether purchased as a personal resource or given as a heartfelt gift, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

1.            Is there a story behind your book God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea?

I was reading some of my old journals recently and I came across an entry from 1979.  It was a prayer in which I told the Lord I wanted to write a book that was relevant and encouraging and that would “point others to the heart of God”. I believe that the Lord gave me that desire and that God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a realization of that desire, even though I wasn’t thinking of that consciously when I wrote it.

2.            Why did you write a devotional? 

When I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life, in 1977, I started reading a devotional every morning.  It was just what I needed to help me focus and structure my time. I’ve incorporated devotional reading in my quiet times with God for decades. I think most people could benefit from that format.  So, I think that comes back to my desire to be relevant and encouraging.

3.            What is the significance of “sweet iced tea”?

I love sweet iced tea. I feel like I can’t do without it.  I literary drink a pitcher a day.  Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea.  Even more so, I can’t do without the Lord who is with me through every moment of my day.  The presence of God in my life restores my soul.  And those moments where He shows Himself as the most refreshing.  The “sweet iced tea” says it’s personal.

4.            What started you on your writing journey?

I always wanted to be a writer.  I received my first undergraduate degree in 1977 with a BA in English.  In the late 70s and 80s I wrote a little, but motherhood, work, life in general got in the way of that dream.  I only began writing again in 2008.

5.            Why do you write now?

I am a journal keeper.  Writing is a passion. Devotion writing is a way to communicate to others what I know about God, as a living reality. It’s more or less an overflow of what I experience as a Christian. I want to share that.  I also like to write fiction, and I’m working on a novel, but that doesn’t seem as vital to me as my devotional writing.

6.            Who do you want to reach with your book?  Which audience?

This devotional is uniquely appropriate for working mothers, but it’s also for anyone who wants to put their Christianity into practice in their everyday moments and go deeper into God’s word.  As Tiffany Colter said, this devotional is simple enough for the newest believer, yet deep enough to make a life-long Christian feel challenged to go higher.

Thanks Rose for this wonderful glimpse into your journey with God and your writing.

You can connect with Rose by visiting her Blog, or catch her on TwitterFacebookPinterestGoodreads.

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is available for sale on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble