Creating your Settings…real or fictitious?


How do you choose the setting to start your stories? Do you pick an urban or rural location? A restaurant, a park bench in an isolated area? Or perhaps a cabin on the lake?

Do you use real cities and provinces/states, or do you know from the start you’re going to make them up as you go? Do you create an oasis for your readers to get lost into, to the point they so desperately want to visit the place, and actually Google it, only to find out it doesn’t really exist (you’ve done that too, haven’t you)?

You’ve dreamed of places you’ve never been to, so you try to describe them to your readers — and yourself— as best as you can, weaving them into your novel.

A couple of days ago, I noticed something in an author’s signature that piqued my curiosity. It said Word Traveler above her name. I found this interesting and emailed her to ask what she meant by that, thinking perhaps she was a freelance travel writer. She told me:

Word Traveler refers to my love of words, both reading and writing them. They take me places I’ve never been. ~ Cindy Huff

Oh wow… I absolutely love it. I never thought of it this way but it is so true.

Isn’t that what we do when we write? We create places we’ve never been to. We want  our readers to get lost in them. It is an escape from the every day world. Some writers use real places, such as certain cities they’re familiar with, the names of streets where they’ve lived, and even a well-known restaurant or landmark that bring warm memories to mind.

People and events are not the only thing that leave an impression so strong we want to write about them. For me, places do too. I used fictitious cities and locations in my first novel. In Emma’s Prayer, however, I mentioned my favourite restaurant. It is located in a small town called Shediac (I refer to it as well), about 30 minutes outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. Known as the Lobster Capital of the World, you’ll find a massive 90-tonne sculpture near the edge of town. Gabriele’s Inn, just down the road, is a famous spot for seafood lovers who come to the area. I still remember the first time I set foot in that restaurant. Cozy, warm, friendly atmosphere. I asked permission to mention it in my novels.

2015-07-03 13.12.40-1

Many places I’ve been to have left their mark on my heart, and I love to tell the world about them even though I write fiction. The ranch I refer to in my WIP bears a fictitious name, but when I developed that scene, I saw myself at Broadleaf Guest Ranch, where my husband and I went horseback riding earlier this year. The lake in my last novel brought me back to my childhood, where my parents owned a cottage for many years. I miss that place.

Warm memories are great to create settings. How do you create yours?


Genre Dinner?

Yup. A Genre Dinner. It sounds like so much fun. Picture this: a room full of people dressed up in the genre they’ve written. Perhaps even as one of the characters in their novel. Too cool.

Close your eyes and imagine what it looks like. There are so many genres represented, how many can you pick in this crowd? The pictures below show what I see. I made up the others.

At the back, a Sci-Fi writer, dressed up as the commander of a spaceship, is surrounded by a robot, an alien, and some other space invaders I can’t identify.

To the left, historical writer Pamela Meyers, is wearing a lovely hat and a very nice jacket. She’s in deep conversation with a western writer, wearing a red cowboy hat… (sorry, cowgirl!), and a sheriff’s star pinned to her vest.

pamela meyers

To the right of the room, an Amish/Romance writer is wearing a white bonnet; her long dress covered with a white apron. She’s staring deep into the eyes of a young man, who’s wearing a black hat, and stripped suspenders over his checkered flannel shirt. He’s very handsome.

At the table behind them, Deborah Raney, and Ken, are dressed as Indy & Anna Jones. Love it! So original.

deborah indy and anna

There’s even a children’s writer wearing a polka dot dress. She has bright yellow braids tied with big pink bows. She has large red circles on her cheeks, and freckles on her nose. She’s adorable. I bet kids love her stories. This is so much fun.

And there’s Karen Barnett and Michelle Ule dressed in 1920s garb to celebrate the release of Mistaken in 2013.

Karen Barnett and Michelle Ule

Those who write contemporary fiction, like Ane Mulligan (l) for example, seen here with her critique partner Michelle Griep (r), may dress in beautiful evening gowns, which could very well be what their characters wear!

ane and michelle

There are many options for each genre. I can’t named them all, or this post would be too long. I try to stay within 500 words. But I need to mention one more. That’s where you come in.

What in the world does a suspense writer dress as? What does a he/she even look like?

I write suspense, and try as I may, I couldn’t come up with anything. I went to Google and searched for the perfect costume. I think I found one. But before I reveal it, let’s have some fun.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think Suspense? Colombo? Spyglass? What do you see as the perfect costume for a story that involves a deaf child, a kidnapper, and a young mother devastated by the disappearance of her 3-year-old daughter?

Share your answers for a chance to win a paperback copy of Falling in Love With You, an anthology of over 40 beautiful true love stories. If you have a picture of the costume you’re thinking of, feel free to share the link.



I will select a random winner on Monday, Sept 22nd, and I will reveal my costume the first week of October.

Until then, have fun, good luck, and blessings!

Renee-Ann <><

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.


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: or you can join me on other social media outlets:

Join my Facebook Reader Group:

Join me on Twitter:

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


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.

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.






















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 VIII with Guest Glenn Soucy Nov 1

Welcome back and Happy November 1, everyone. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve had a hectic week. I’m not a big Halloween fan but I always enjoy the contests (best costumes and best baked goods) we have at work. Needless to say, it’s been busy around here. And I know the same goes for many of you. Writing! Working! Finding time for family and friends! Getting ready for winter, and the snow… oh oh, did I say that? I love snow, though a lot of people hate it. But on days like today, where it’s almost cold enough to snow, that’s when I want to snuggle up near the fireplace with a good book. Speaking of which, I have a great series to tell you about.

This week, I have the pleasure of having Glenn Soucy as my guest. Glenn is the author of the Blood Tithe series,  When I read the synopsis of the first book,it really intrigued me. It tells of Jeremy, a five years old who accidentally falls through an old WWII tunnel half-flooded with water and chemicals.  Jeremy is rescued, but because of the chemicals, his DNA is forever altered. Need I say I wanted to know what happened to Jeremy?

I read the opening line of that book, “Oh Lord, what I have become? Fear of God’s wrath caused me to tremble.” Ouch! That intrigued me even more so I kept on reading. And of course, I wanted to know about the author behind this book, so I contacted Glenn. Here’s what he had to say.
glenn soucy
Can you tell your readers a little about yourself.
I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for over twenty-six years. I have three kids, two boys and one girl.  Plus I’m  a proud grandpa.  I served in the Air Force during the first Gulf War.  I love writing fast action books that are rich with imagination.
How did you get into writing, and why did you pursue it?
I remember in the third grade writing stories and the teacher would read them to the class.  I started writing pretty seriously at age 20 and have been pursuing it ever since.  It’s just something I love to do and get the biggest joy when I hear from an excited reader.  To me it’s a real gift from the Lord to be able to write.
Who are your favourite authors and do model any of them?
I don’t have any fav’s, but lots that I enjoy.  That would go for any author that can take me away to a world and have me feel like I live there.  I model my writing off anyone that can do that.
What genres do you write? Have you tried other genres?
Blood Tithe is a fantasy, Scifi with a little paranormal twist.  The Soul Collector is more horror and paranormal.  But I have just finished writing another book and it’s a love story.  So maybe I branched out. My wife was shocked to hear that I wrote a book in what I call, “The Ordinary World.” 🙂
blood tithe
blood tithe2
blood tithe3
blood tithe4
Thanks so much, Glenn.  Personally, I’m looking forward to reading them all.  I do want to know what happens to Jeremy, who, according to the synopsis of the other three books in the series, we read about his “journey”. And it is my hope that, anyone who’s into fantasy, Scifi, and paranormal, will want to read this series.
Blessings, everyone and until next time, stay warm.
Renee-Ann <><

Share The Books: Part II, with Guest Deanne Durrett

It’s Friday and I’m back with a second post of Share the Books. My guest is Deanne Durrett, author of Rogue Trust and Wren’s Nest. What an amazing story she has to share with you. If you’d like to win a FREE download of Wren’s Nest, just leave a comment to enter the draw. And please, remember that if you enjoy the book, the best way to thank an author is a customer review/comment on Amazon, Goodreads, your Facebook Timeline, and Twitter. Without further ado, I’ll let Deanne take over.

Thank you Renee-Ann for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.

First, I want to say that I believe every author who writes under the Christian banner should offer their testimony to their readers. So, here’s mine, the short version: I decided to follow Jesus when I was seven years old. This means I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that I’m committed to following his commandments: Love God and love one another.

You asked how I began my writing career – I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was a writer. My husband and I bought a partnership in a small weekly newspaper. One of the partners turned out to be a little shady and the loss of our investment ended our newspaper venture. Except, I received a gold nugget when I heard the editor say, “What this paper needs is some new and fresh writing.” I thought I can do that. (I’m prone to think that way. Don’t know if it’s a blessing or not.) So, I went home and wrote my first column, ‘Tween Us Gals. The editor liked it and my weekly column appeared in that newspaper two years… until I sold my first story to Highlights for Children. After that, I sold many stories and articles and my first Christian novel was published by Abingdon Press in 1985.

And then, God sent a Divine Appointment my way.

Our son’s marriage disintegrated and he came home with a fourth-month-old baby. My writing time almost vanished and I went into full time mothering mode nurturing our son through a broken heart and helping him with his responsibilities as a single dad. During this time, I had new experiences and learned a lot about life!

Over these many years, I’ve studied to show myself a workman, approved under God, that need not be ashamed – Believing that God gave me talents He expects me to use, I took creative writing classes, attended writer conferences, and practiced, practiced, practiced to hone my skills.  I’ve walked through the doors that opened for me and learned from my editors while adding titles to my list of published works – Twenty-two nonfiction books.

About three years ago, the time seemed right to return to my first love, Christian fiction. I joined ACFW and attended conferences to learn more. The door opened to publishing eBooks for Kindle, and I walked through. My books are about people in the right place, at the right time, willing to do God’s will. I thought the first book would have two story lines: how God provided the money for the His plan (Rogue Trust) and the beginning of His plan (Wren’s Nest). As it turned out this made one book too big, so it’s two books. Rogue Trust is romance with a twist of suspense, Wren’s Nest is suspense with a touch of romance, but they both involve a community of characters who are willing to be God’s boots on the ground. Anything can happen on an Ordinary Day in Myrtle Hill.

The idea came from a very small seed that sprouted, and grew, and kept growing. When one of my dearest friends told she would one day be heir to a fortune. Wow! I was happy for her. But then, I realized sudden wealth would bring changes to her life and our relationship. Would she still be my friend with an economic chasm between us? From there the “what ifs” took over. Characters emerged in my head and they dictated the chapters of Rogue Trust.

The idea for Wren’s Nest emerged from Rogue Trust. The characters in Rogue Trust are called to minister/help young women in trouble. Loren (Wren) is the first to arrive seeking help. She’s on the run after her unscrupulous lawyer uncle changes his files to implicate her as the surrogate after the real surrogate disappears. A very shady, and connected, grandfather wants the child he believes to be his grandchild and his hired thugs are on Loren’s trail. How will retired cop Joe Chandler and his buddies protect this young mother and her newborn?

Chronologically, Wren’s Nest follows Rogue Trust, but my next book. Lucy’s Mansion picks up where Rogue Trust ends with Becca waiting for J.T’s first kiss.

Deanne Durrett

Deanne’s blog – Ordinary Days

Click here to download your copy of Wren’s Nest Wrens-Nest-kdp-cover-new-t-187x300

and Rogue Trust 51Pc2yEiY3L._AA200_

The Meaning of Genres, with guest Sarah Butland, author of Arm Farm

My blog is taking a different twist again this week. I’m pleased to welcome Sarah Butland. She wrote a very interesting article which I hope everyone will enjoy and learn from.  So without further ado… take it away, Sarah.

The Meaning of Genres

Like shelving footwear according to colour, it’s often difficult to sell a book if it’s not on the right shelf or in the correct category in an online market.

So many books get lost or missed because they are on a shelf you may ignore. A story about dragons and wizards may not be your first choice but the same tale can appeal to lovers of romance or mystery if they focus on the plot. It’s important to give each book a chance even if the chance is glancing at the front or reading the back cover but how do we do that if we don’t click on that genre?

Authors are bridging gaps between fantasy, mystery, romance and reality similar to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series reading a whole lot differently for children and adults. As well, who thought religion could be taught with a fantasy land and a talking lion while still being something a lot of picture book readers easily grasped?

We all have our preference and that’s ok and stores have to be organized somehow and by genre certainly may be the easiest way. I know I wouldn’t want to scroll through books looking for a mystery and finding cookbooks along the way and yet, depending on the season and the ingredients, it may encourage an extra sale.

Online tags or keywords are great triggers but how would a brick and mortar store do that? Customer service and knowledgeable staff would be key but with stores expanding their market to “stuff” it seems a daunting and maybe impossible task for the big guys. That’s why I support local as much as I can. My little used bookstore owners know what I like and know where to find it. They know customers by name and book by interest and yes, they put mysteries, romance and the like together but they are well read and focus on books and customers to provide excellent service that spans the genres.

Word of mouth, reviews and recommendations from you certainly help, too. So please, next time you read a book and love it tell people. Don’t shy away because your friend typically likes fantasy you love a mystery, if it’s a good book they’ll likely enjoy it and you’ll expand their worlds!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

author of Sending You Sammy sending you sammy

Brain Tales brain tales
and Arm Farm arm farm

Please visit me at to support myself and many other authors.  This month as everyone heads back to school, the leaves start changing colour and the air brings a chill I am bringing you lots of reading material in hopes you’ll find something you love to read. While I am putting forth a huge effort to bring awareness to my own books I understand that everyone wants something different to read. Please show a huge welcome to all my guests by commenting and checking out their books.

Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She was moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William, and a cat named Russ who all make her house a home.

After  many stories, attempts at novels and thousands of ideas later, Butland created Banana Boy and the Adventures of Sammy was born Sending You Sammy, her first published children’s book. Then came Brain Tales – Volume One, a collection of short stories and finally Arm Farm, her current literary pride and joy.

My Own Book Giveaway – Stella’s Plea

In November 2012, I self-published my first novel, Stella’s Plea, on Amazon and Smashwords. It is a Christian suspense, and a work of fiction.

I remember thinking how hard writing could be, and editing was harder still. However, for me, the hardest part of the process, was promoting and pushing that book to sell. Now that’s a job and a half. And to be honest, it tends to be discouraging when the book doesn’t move. So much so that some want to throw the towel in. Oh, been there…. The temptation was strong… all that hard for what…

But I didn’t give in. I even talked about this in one of my posts. It is hard work but though it may take a while, and for some of us, it takes longer than others, in the end it pays off. We just have to keep at it. The most important thing is to learn from the work we produce and go from there.

Once my novel was formatted, I uploaded it and filled the required information on the website. Then I sat there with my 15-month-old grandson on my lap… and we stared at my screen… and waited. I was petrified to click the Publish button. There were a lot of “what ifs” going through my mind, and if it weren’t for my grandson pressing the space bar, which actually clicked the Publish button, I have no idea how much longer I would have sat there, stared at the screen, and asked a whole lot more “what ifs”.

I’ve learned lessons from this first novel and hope to make the next one better, and the next one after that. Currently, I’m working on my second novel, a court drama about a teenager who gives up her child for adoption but changes her mind before the adoption process is finalized. This book is harder to write because I know very little about the judicial system, and much less about the adoption process. I had to enlist the help of the department of social development that handles adoptions in our area to answer many questions. I know many think one should write about things they know. I see logic in this statement, but Benjamin Disraeli once said “The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. There’s a lot of truth in that and I’m sure I won’t forget any time soon all I’ve learned in my research for this book.

With this new novel, the hardest hurdle I’ve encountered was to find a lawyer to help me with the court battle itself. I’m still having a hard time getting answers to some of my questions but who knows how many nice lawyers will be reading this post and offering to help me (just kidding!!!!).

Honestly, I love the idea I have for this book. Plus in my stories, I like to dispel myths about the deaf community for readers who aren’t familiar with these people (and surprisingly, there are still many who aren’t).

Last week, Jennifer Beckstrand (the author of the book Kate’s Song, which I so highly recommend) offered to do a giveaway after I reviewed her book. It not only generated more-than-usual  traffic to my blog, and a few more subscription, it was also awesome–and well deserved–publicity for her novel. A Win-Win situation.

This week, I’m giving away copies of Stella’s Plea. (yes I said copies, plural). 🙂


I’ll do things a little different with this draw. First, I’m selecting not ONE but TWO winners. Comments #17 and #27 will win a copy of my novel. Please keep in mind that this book is not in paper format. If you don’t have an eReader and would like to read this and other novels right on your laptop, click on the following link to download the Kindle for PC version. So go ahead and post your comments. I’ll draw for the book on Friday, July 12.

Blessings and Good Luck.


Kate’s Song by Jennifer Beckstrand: Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up

Kate's Song


I can’t believe how time flies and I haven’t been here for months! Wow… been so busy with family, a visit from my sister who lives about 5000 miles away, Spring, gardening, work, and of course scrapbooking my grandson’s pictures (he’s my one and only), I’ve had little time for anything else. But I did read an absolutely awesome novel I want to share with you.

When I sat down to read this book, I was in the mood for a good Amish story. I always liked reading of their ‘simple way of life’, the kind most of us can’t begin to imagine, especially in today’s day and age of technology. After going through my eReader—where I have several—I chose this one. I’m so glad I did because I’d give it 10 stars if I could. No Amish story moved me the way this one did.

Kate’s Song, by Jennifer Beckstrand, is a constant page-turner-can’t-put-it-down kind of book. Superbly written, with great twists from beginning to end, and is sure to delight everyone. Personally, I can’t say enough about it. The author paints an amazing picture of the Amish community, and brings the readers into the story, so much so that one can’t help but love the characters, feeling their every joy and pain.

The first of a three-part stand-alone series, Kate’s Song tells the story of a young Amish woman who chooses a path different than the one most expected her to take. She has a deep passion for music and decides to leave home for Milwaukee to take voice training. She later returns home, battered and bruised, and haunted with a secret.

Now home, she struggles with her choices: giving up her dream to sing and be baptised… or her family… She rekindles old friendships, with people she’s left behind. One of them is a young man she’s known forever and a day. She grew up with Nathaniel King, a former school friend who’s now giving her more than enough attention.

When a friend from Milwaukee needs her help, Kate runs to her side, but things really don’t go the way she thought they would. Will she pursue her dream and sing, or will she stay home, be baptized live the life she’s expected to? Can she find her place in this world, and understand God’s will for her life?

Very well written, Jennifer Beckstrand had me in tears, some joyful ones, and some very sad ones.

I could say so much more but I don’t want to give away any spoiler. But what I can say is this: Buy the book. You’ll be so glad, you’ll want to read the other two: Rebecca’s Rose and Miriam’s Quilt.