Saturday, December 18, 2010





Hi Folks,

It's time for another giveaway of a box of books. Some of them are new and some are gently used. All you have to do is to have signed up on this post or the previous three posts in December. There will be only one entry so you don't need to sign up for each post - just one of them.

Christmas is around the corner and I hope that each and every one of my followers have a great time during the season. Christmas can also be a sad and lonely time for different reasons - the loss of a loved one, depression, going through a divorce, being lonely. Please remember that this too shall pass and the New Year can bring better things your way. I know because I have spent more than one sad Christmas season.

Anyway, just be a follower or sign up as a new follower and leave a post with your email and you will be entered into the drawing. I'm on my way to 200 followers and hope to make it some time in 2011. Thank you for all of your support over the past couple of years.

Your friend,
Deborah (Debbie)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


And the winner is: Wendy!!! Thanks Wendy for entering the contest and I will be getting in touch with you very soon. I also want to thank Waterbrook Press for offering a copy of "The Pirate Queen" for this giveaway. I hope you enjoyed this review and be sure and look for the review and giveaway of Young Adult Books " Shoot the Wounded" and "Heal the Wounded" by Canadian Lynn Dove. You don't want to miss this one. Be on the lookout for the launch of "Heal the Wounded" on January 25th.

was not able to copy a picture of the book cover or a picture of Patricia. If you go to the Waterbook Press site you can find both of them.

Back cover: The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. she lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon - and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant-life.

Saphora's departure is interrupted by her husband Benders early arrival home, and his words change her life forever: I'm dying. Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. The relocate, at his insistence, to their coastal home in Oriental - the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora's escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

About Patricia Hickman: Patricia Hickman, author of the acclaimed novel Painted Dresses, is an award-winner, speaker, and humorist who has won two Silver Angel Awards for Excellance in Media as well as a Romantic Times Reader's Choice Gold Award for her novel Katrina's Wings. Patricia holds a master's degree in creative writing from Queens University and enjoys biking, hiking, and mapping out the Southern towns where her novels are set.

My Take: Four Stars: I wasn't sure what "The Pirate Queen" would be like. I wondered what the title meant. Now that I've read the book I know what it means. I'm not going to tell you though, so you can read the book and find out for yourself.

Saphora Warren is the main character. She has been married more than thirty years to a Doctor who has a personality bigger than life. He has also been a philanderer most of the marriage. Saphora has lost who she is and is just about to leave Bender when he comes home and tells her he has a life threatening illness.

What should she do? Leave or stay. She chooses to stay and take care of him during his last months of life. This might seem far-fetched, but I've heard of several women who have even taken care of their ex-husbands during their terminal illness. It is real life and could happen to anyone.

The story is about her journey taking care of him during his last days. It also probes the in and outs of their family dynamics and how this effects them.
It is a story of a family in crisis and then a time of healing.

I enjoyed reading "The Pirate Queen", but I found it hard to stick with sometimes. The pace was slower than I would have liked for it to be.With that said I am glad that I chose this book to review and believe anyone who reads it will not be sorry.

To enter the giveaway please follow the instructions:
1. Be a follower or sign up as a new follower
2. Leave an email address so I can contact the winner
3. Visit Waterbrook Press and check out their books and authors.

Contest will end on December 30th.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview and Giveaway with Cathy Bryant!

Thanks to all of you who entered. You will be automatically entered to win the Box of Books I will be drawing for at the end of December. Cathy thank you for being my guest and keep up the good work! Thank goodness for self-publishing!


Cathy thank you so much for being a guest on my blog. Cathy has offered to give away a copy of her book "A Path Less Traveled" in book form or ebook form. Here we go:

About Cathy: Greetings from East Texas! I live in a century-old farmhouse (complete with a front porch and white picket fence) with one amazing husband, a phobia-ridden cat, and a garden full of flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies. (I'll leave out the giant mosquitoes!)

I'm the proud mother of two wonderful sons, and (as of the summer of 2007) the daughter of my prayers. In 2009, I experienced the joy of all joys and became a Nana to the most beautiful grandson the world has ever known. A teacher by profession, I'm currently teaching private voice and piano and pursuing my lifelong dream of being a writer.

My first novel, Texas Roads (Book 1 in the Miller's Creek novels) was chosen as a finalist in the ACFW 2009 Genesis contest in the Contemporary Romance division. The second book in the Miller's Creek novels, A Path Less Traveled, was released in November 2010.

I've also written several devotions for online sites, books, and magazines. In my spare time (ha!) I enjoy walking, bike riding, gardening, watching movies or reality TV, and of course, reading.

Back Cover:Trish James is tired of being rescued. When a spooked horse claims her husband's life, she’s determined to blaze a path for herself and her traumatized son without outside help. But will that mean leaving the place etched on her heart?

Andy Tyler has had to struggle for everything, and starting a new law practice in Miller's Creek, Texas is no different. Though prepared for business challenges, he's not prepared for falling in love--especially with yet another woman who will probably abandon him for her career.

Will Andy and Trish be able to see past their limited human understanding to take a path less traveled?

My Take: Great book! Very realistic. I could really relate to many of the things the main character was going through. I think you might could as well. I think I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. It was very easy to read - very smooth. I give both books a five star rating.


1. Have you always wanted to write. Cathy how did you come up with this series and how long did it take you to finish your first book - including editing.
I've been writing since I was a child. I loved stories, whether written by me or someone else. The series really flowed from my experiences of growing up and living in small towns across Texas. From concept to finished book on Texas Roads, the book took me about three years.

2. I really enjoyed "A Path Less Traveled" the second in a series. How did you come up with the plot?
The plot kind of evolved from the spiritual lesson I wanted in the book (trusting God no matter what). I also wanted to keep the flavor of Miller's Creek, but with new characters. I needed two characters that were introduced in book one, Texas Roads, so it only made sense to choose Trish James and Andy Tyler.

3. What do you have planned next?
I'm currently working on the third book in the series, entitled The Way of Grace. It tells the story of a young woman who struggles with perfectionism, to the point that she becomes spiritually proud and legalistic.

4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

My advice is to 1) study the craft of writing fiction; 2)seek God's will for you and your writing; and 3) read voraciously.

3. Cathy has chosen to self publish her books. I for one am glad she did. Does it matter to you whether a book is self-published or not?
4. Giveaway ends December 20th, 2010.




Thank all of you who entered the contest for Shawna's book. You will automatically be entered o win the Box of Books I will be drawing for at the end of December. Thank you Shawna for being my guest and keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to reading your next book!

I am excited to host Shawna this month for an interview and giveaway. I hope that you enjoy it, too. Shawna has been kind enough to offer a PDF file of her book "No Other" or "In All Things"and a freshwater pearl bracelet. Without further ado here we go:


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ABOUT SHAWNA: I'm a lot of things: a Christian, wife, mother, friend, author, artist, rock hound, science geek and animal lover. The first four take priority. The rest tend to jostle for my attention. Since I'm always a dreamer, author usually wins.

Indeed, my first two books are the result of a dream -- an actual dream. It nagged me for six months as I mentally tried to fill in all of the gaps. I finally had to write it down. Since then, God has continued to bless with me inspiration at times of His choosing.

Technically, I'm an Inspirational Romance writer. But I like to think that romance includes more than the relationship between two people. It can also be about the era or place, or even a single moment in time, when an elusive whisper reaches inward and ever so gently taps the soul, saying, "This. Remember this."

It's my desire that my stories create such a moment.

Some of my methods for filling my creative reservoir are reading about the histories of small towns, pouring over old photos in antique shops and people's homes (if I'm at yours, I'll ask to see your picture albums) and asking prying questions about your best family stories. Oh! And if you ever see a lady on the side of the road, taking pictures of old, dilapidated houses and buildings, it's probably me.


MY TAKE: This is the second book in a series. The first book was "No Other" that I have reviewed in the past. The first one is set during WWII and is about the internment of Germans. The second book is more about the life of a married couple who have left their little town for Hollywood so the wife can make it as a movie star. Though I liked both of the books very much, I must say that I liked the first one better. I would rate the first one a five star and then rate "In All Things" four stars. Not that the writing wasn't very good, but there was a lot of "angst" as Shawna put it and it was hard to read. I will say the ending is worth reading to the end!


1. Have you always wanted to write. Shawna how did you come up with this series and how long did it take you to finish your first book - including editing.

In All Things and No Other are linked very closely. In fact, the original version of both books was one story. That story was inspired by a dream, and before that dream I had never intended to be a writer.

The dream was really profound, like scenes from a movie. I found myself thinking about it constantly for the next six month, trying to fill in the details between scenes. It eventually became so complicated that I had to start writing it. At first it was to satisfy my own curiosity, but over time I grew to love the characters, love their story, and love writing.

This story actually took about eight years to mature into its finished form. When I started it my kids were very small, so it took me about two years to complete, and it was dreadfully long and horribly written. I made several attempts to revise it, but I hadn't taken the time to really learn what I was doing, so I pretty much just revised it from one terrible book into another terrible book.

When I did decide to get serious about writing, I spent some time just learning before I really dug in to make the book the story I knew it could be. I realized immediately that it wasn't one book, but two. I wrote No Other first, and it took about six months. A lot of the editing came as I wrote, and more edits through the publisher after it was under contract.

Desert Breeze went ahead and contracted In All Things even though it wasn't revised and rewritten into its own book. Writing In All Things was quite an experience. I worked on it for nine months before it was due, but the final story didn't really form until the last four. The previous five months I kept starting new drafts, and I'd get 2/3rds of the way through and feel like the whole thing was slipping away from me. Part of the problem had been that I was trying to hold onto some elements and a character from the original that no longer had a place in the new book. Once I let that go, everything fell in place. I wrote the last thirty thousand words in the three weeks before the due date. I had a friend and my hubby read as I wrote to help catch typos and poor phrasing, but it was edited by the publisher after I turned it in.

2. I really enjoyed "In All Things" the second in a series, but it was a little different from "No Other". How did you come up with the plot? By the way, I loved the ending.

Well, I always knew that Jakob and Meri's story wasn't complete in No Other. No Other is about their romance, but their underlying struggles are still there. I think by the end of No Other they were more aware of them, but dealing with them doesn't come so easily. Knowing that one needs to rely on God isn't as easy as actually doing it. And their path was complicated by past events. I wanted to explore how those things might have played out in later years, not just between Jakob and Meri, but with other members of both families.

In All Things is ten years later. It's actually more of a character journey than a romance. I also wanted to write about a mature marriage. So many stories end with the guy and girl getting together and life being happily-ever-after, but marriage takes work. Sometimes couples really struggle. I wanted to write about that, too. The main idea of the story, though, was to complete the journey from No Other, with all things coming together in healing.

3. What is next in the series, and do you have anything planned after this series?

I'm currently working on a spin off about Roger. I'd like to write about his journey from the snotty, kiss-up, wannabe son-in-law to the district attorney. I have a feeling he's going to be going after Meri's dad for his involvement with the mob. I'm even planning on bringing in that character I had to cut from the original. I also plan to include Esther, Jakob's sister, in this story. No romantic involvement; she's way too young for Roger, but there'll be a link between her, Ralph, Ralph's sister and Roger. I haven't signed a contract for this yet because I'd like to be further along before I commit to a deadline.

4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

You always hear the phrase 'write what you know' but I think it's equally important, if not more-so, that an author writes who they are. Yes, we have to learn the craft, pay attention to trends and whatnot. Those things are important. Just be sure that in doing so you don't lose yourself. God gave us this calling because of who we are, and the best stories come from a sincere heart.

We start off with this dream to write because of this passion deep inside, and of course we want to get published, but I hope beginning writers will ask themselves which is more important; to write what you love, or to write to get published. There's a difference. I'm not saying that they are exclusive of each other because obviously they aren't. It's just that it's a tough journey and the reason for writing can be easily obscured.

Do you have anything you want to donate for a giveaway?

I'd love to give away a pdf copy of either In All Things or No Other and a freshwater pearl bracelet.





4. The Giveaway ends December 20th, 2010,


Sunday, November 28, 2010



Sunday, November 21, 2010





Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review And Give Away for Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz

Another great interview and give away for the month of November. I want you to welcome Alice K. Arenz as a guest on my blog. Alice has written several cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma and The Case of the Mystified M.D.

Today we are going to be talking about Alice's latest book Mirrored Image, a romantic suspense. First let me tell you a little bit about Alice:

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2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz author of October 2010 suspense Mirrored Image has been writing since she was a child. Her earliest publication was in a small, family-owned newspaper where her articles, essays, and poems were frequently included. In the mid-90s, her writing earned her a stent with a well known New York literary agency, and although it failed to produce the hoped for results, her determination to become published eventually led her to Sheaf House Publishing.

Arenz also writes cozy mysteries under A. K. Arenz. The Case of the Bouncing Grandma,was a finalist in the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest. the second in the Bouncing Grandma Series, The Case of the Mystified M. D., won the 2010 ACFW Carol Award for mystery. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two Himalayan cats.

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Back Cover of Mirrored Image: Their faces were the same. Will their fates be as well. The uncanny resemblance between eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase and a murder victim gives Detective Jeff MacMichael's the haunting suspicion that there is a link between the two women. As he is increasingly drawn to Cassie, a rash of attacks leads him to conclude she was the murderer's real mark -- and to wonder if he can keep her alive.

My take: For those of you who have read my blog in the past you know that my favorite genre is mysteries. Out of the genre of mysteries cozies would be my favorite. Next and certainly not least would be romantic suspense. Just by reading the back cover of Mirrored Image you get a sense of tension and suspense. I think Alice did a wonderful job jumping from writing cozy mysteries to writing a fast-paced suspense. Anyone who decides to read Mirrored Image will not be disappointed.

Alice thank you so much for be a guest on Butterfly Journey.

1. I know you have written Christian Cozies in the past. What made you decide to try Suspense this time. Actually, I’d always written mystery/suspense. It was the cozies that were the “new” thing for me---and the one that got my foot in the door of Sheaf House.

2. How did you come up with your plot and your characters for "Mirrored Image"?

I don’t really have an answer for that other than God. I don’t consciously look for a plot or characters---I’m totally a seat-of-the-pants author. Um . . . that might be better explained as a listener/obeyer (is that a word?) writer. I’ve always felt that God – through the Holy Spirit – reveals bits and pieces of plot and character. After they rumble around in my head for a while, they start demanding to be let out. That’s when the writing starts – and the surprises.

I know that doesn’t answer your question, but it’s the way it happens for me.

3. What is your next novel about (and title)? An American Gothic

You told me there is a butterfly theme in your upcoming novel, can you tell us a little about this or will we just have to wait and see? I believe that butterflies are a very unique and wonderful creature. Beyond that, I wouldn’t want to spoil the story.

4. As an aspiring/struggling writer would you please give some advice to all of us with a goal of being published someday?

I always say that the best advice is to be sure this is really something you not only want to do, but that you truly feel that God is leading you to write. If the answer to both of these is “yes,” then go for it. Learn all you can, read everything in the genre(s) you want to write, attend conferences and meet authors and others waiting to be discovered, and pray. Above all, pray. It’s not an easy road. Even after you get published, there may be bumps and bruises along the way. But if this is where God is calling you to be, and you feel it deep inside, then never, ever give up. And you know what? I continue to remind myself of this every single day.

Now to enter the giveaway:

1. You must be a follower or sign up as a new follower. Also, this giveaway is limited to those living in the US. Please leave an email address.

2. Have you read sub-genres in mysteries such as cozies, romantic suspense, suspense, thriller, etc.

3. Visit Alice's website and check it out.

4. The contest will end on 11/28/2010.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Giveaway from Vicki McDonough

I am so excited to have as a guest on my blog for November, Vicki McDonough, author of Anonymous Bride and Second Chance Brides as well as many other books. I have read both of these books and throughly enjoyed them. There were many times I laughed out loud at the antics taking place. I think you will, too.

Vicki has graciously donated one of her books A Bride by Christmas as a giveaway. With Christmas just around the corner this will be a great read. Lets get started with the interview:

1. Can you tell me how you decided on this series? I was trying to come up with an idea for a new book and started asking "what if" questions. The one that stuck in my mind was: What if a mail-order bride arrives in town to marry a man who never ordered a bride? Then I wondered how I could take that situation and make it worse, so I ask myself: What if three mail-order brides showed up in town expecting to marry the same man, only he hadn't ordered a bride. I wondered how something like that could happen and if it did, what would the man do about it? The wheels of my mind kept turning--and I brainstormed ideas with my critique partners--and that's how The Anonymous Bride was born.

What about the characters and plot? I knew that there would need to be some "sidekick" characters in this book--the ones who actually ordered the brides and decided they would be my hero's cousins, two men who grew up with him in the same small Texas town. I wanted a hurting hero who'd been jilted big time and was now skittish toward women. And then I set up the poor guy with more brides than he could use. It was a lot of fun. :)

2. Is there going to be another book in the series after "Second Chance Brides"? Yes, Finally A Bride is the third and final book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. It tells the story of Jack, the tomboy girl whose story thread runs through the first two books. She is now grown up but that doesn't keep her from making impulsive choices that backfire and get her into all kinds of weird circumstances. Enter the man who has the guts and where-with-all to tame her. Readers will also see the return of a past character or two from previous books. Finally A Bride releases in April.

Are you working on anything else? Yes, I'm currently writing the second book in a historical series set in South Carolina. The first book, Mutiny of the Heart, releases in December. It's the story of a woman who travels from Canada to deliver a young boy(after the boy's mother has died) to his father--a wealthy Charleston ship builder--but the man never knew of the boy and claims it's impossible for the child to be his.

Also, here's some exciting new news--I'll be writing a prairie romance series for Guideposts called Whispers on the Prairie. This will be for a new line of books, and the first book, Light of a Silent Dawn, will release next fall.

3. I love the humor in your books. What made you decide to use humor? Humor comes natural to me. My dad was a big joker and loved to tease and pull pranks on people. He loved to laugh, and I'm glad that I inherited part of his funny bone. I think it's taken me a while to catch my stride in writing and learning to use humor. It's a hard thing to write, because humor is very selective. What one person sees as funny might just offend someone else. But I love to read funny things in books and try to give my readers something to laugh at in each story I write.

4. As an aspiring author I always like to ask guest authors what advice they have for us still plugging along on our manuscripts. Take the time you need to develop your craft and don't be in a rush to get published. I'm using parts of the third book I ever wrote in a story I'm now working on. It's roughly the same concept--a story about a man who has been raised to believe that family is the most important thing next to God. It's so important to him that he would deny himself the love of his life because he fell for the woman his brother is engaged to. When I first wrote this book, I thought it was fabulous I just knew an editor was going to scoop it up the minute it came across his/her desk. Well, not so. It got rejected and never found a home. Six years later, I realize this plot is perfect for the story I'm now wanting to write. So, I thought I'd polish it up a bit and viola! I have an easy book. Not so. My stomach is turning as I re-read it. The romance is so gushy, the dialogue so immature, the descriptions so over-the-top. It was a real eye-opener. I've grown so much as a writer since I wrote this that my own story was nauseating. If I judged this book in a contest, it would have gotten a mediocre score. The plot was good, but the writing definitely needed work. Looking back, I can see how God protected me in not letting this book get published back then, but at the time, I was heart broken. It's interesting how our perspective can change over time. What I though was the next great novel--wasn't. Only writing and more writing and studying the craft can make you a better writer. You only got one shot to pitch your book to an editor, so don't get in a hurry and take the time you need to develop your craft.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest today!

Vickie McDonough

Thank you Vicki for being our guest. Now here are a few housekeeping things you need to do to enter for the book:

1. Be a follower or sign up as a follower. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.

2. What time period do you like to read about the most?

3. Do you enjoy humor in the books you read?

4. Now, go on over to Vicki's website and check out all of the fantastic books she has written and learn a little more about Vicki.

The giveaway will end on November 20th.
Thank you to all of my followers. I appreciate your support more than you know!



- Show quoted text -

Friday, October 29, 2010

Queen of the Castle Devotional

I found this post over at Colletta's Kitchen Sink. I think it is a wonderful idea and I plan to follow along with the devotion beginning in January. I ordered the book from Amazon for .89. You can't beat that price. I will have it listed on My Amazon Bookstore on the right side of my blog. All you have to do is click on the book and it will take you to the site. Here is Colletta's post.

I wish I would have known when she started so I could follow along but she did inspire me to get the book and blog about my week-by-week study of it on my own.

The book contains "52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, dometically challenged or just plain tired homemaker."

Does this sound like you? Would you like to do this study with me?

Here's the book description from Amazon:

Being a keeper of the home demands that women possess a wide range of skills, from knowing what to do with a pound of ground round to being able to corral a rampant toddler and manage the carpooling schedule. Says author Lynn Walker, "By the time most of us realize we're a few towels short of a load in our homemaking skills, we're up to our thighs in dirty little soccer uniforms and don't have time to read a different book for each part of the job." Now the training, skills and tips every woman needs are all here in one delightful-to-read volume. From mothering to marriage, gardening to grilling, family vacations to flea markets, time management to Thanksgiving meals, chores and chocolate breaks, spiritual reminders and stress relievers, Walker presents "I've been there, sister" advice, recipes, ideas and funny stories for every woman who, like her, is NOT Homemaker of the Year. Five minutes a day, 52 weeks a year is all a woman needs to get the most of this inspiring, helpful read.
A few chapter titles are "Housework, Done Correctly Can Kill You" and "Trippity Doo-Dah: The Family Vacation".

I've paged through the book and it looks great! It contains quotes, specific prayer ideas, and key Bible verses. There are even "Chocolate Breaks"!

I'm really excited about this book and am going to find it hard to wait until January to start but I want to stick with the flow of the book and it starts with January.

What do you think? Are you in? Do you want to be the Queen of Your Castle? I know I do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where is your office?

As I sat on my couch I wondered where other writers had their office. I don't have an offical office, but I do have a regular desk in a corner of my bedroom. When I write at my desk it makes my shoulders hurt after a short time at the computer. The desk is just too high. I've found it is much more comfortable to sit on the couch with my computer on my lap. My brother bought me a portable lap top desk the other day and I really like it too. I can sit on the couch and use it, but it is still more comfortable with it in my lap.

Do you have a favorite writing place. I would love to hear your story.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Part Four in Big 4 Genres: Christian Suspense/Mystery

This is the last section of the Big Four Genres in Christian fiction by Ron Benrey from "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Cristian Fiction." It is also my favorite genre. I hope you've enjoyed reading about these four genres.

Christian Suspense/Mystery

Christians suspense and Christian mystery novels both focus on crime, but in different ways. Sometimes novels keep the reader guessing, wondering if the lead character, usually the heroine, will survive the onslaught of evil deeds directed against her. Mystery novels pose a puzzle, challenging the reader to figure out "who done it?" as the detective -- the heroine or hero -- works to identify the perpetrator. Both kinds of novel ratchet up the tension with each passing chapter.

Suspense and mystery novels typically have highly "internal" voices -- readers experience the heroines fear, uncertainty, in a race against time, and participate in the detectives thought processes as she solves the crime.

Both suspense and mystery of popular genres in their own right, and both have important subgenres:

* romantic suspense

* romantic mystery

* cozy mystery

The romantic suspense and romantic mystery sub genres don't need much explanation. they are novels that have fully developed romances as part of their plots. Cozies are "kinder, gentler" mysteries were clever plot twists are more important than graphic, in-your-face violence, where action takes place in an unusual setting that's fun to read about, where cats, dogs, and other pets are significant characters, and which may involve an elaborate MacGuffin, a bout a detail rich topic such as Bell ringing, fishing, painting, sailing, were museum management.

There seems to be a growing interest in the cozy mysteries, with some Christian publishers actually starting new cozy lines. However, Christian cozies face an interesting challenge: they must compete with mainline cozy mysteries, which are typically gentle radiance that meet most of the rules and conventions of Christian fiction. They don't carry explicit Christian messages, but they can be read without offense by most Christian readers.

As all writers of suspense and mystery novels know, it's often easier to put your characters in hot water than to get them out. Christian novelist are sometimes tempted to resolve plotting difficulties via improbable miracles, astonishing answered prayers, or other last-minute acts of God. This approach is often nothing more than a Christian variation on the ancient Greek dramatic technique of introducing a well-known god into the story at the end to untangle difficult plot problems. a pulley system lowered the gods statue to the stage and into the action. The term deus ex machina -- god from the machine-- is now used to label all artificial or improbable plot devices that miraculously resolve problems and bring a story to a close.

God must play an important role in every Christian novel, but readers of suspense and mystery novels expect the hero and heroines to get out of hot water mostly by their own devices. A bit of Gods help is fine--but God should not do their work for them.

Suspense and mystery novels all for a reasonable chance of success to the first-time novelist. Most Christian publishers have a few in their catalog, and some publishers produce several each year. length depends on publisher and sub genre, and can range from 55,000 words to about 95,000 words.

Among the most popular secular mystery novels are "police procedurals" -- stories that depict the gritty realities of police work-- and hard boiled private eye novels-- stories about knight-like private detectives who walked the main streets alone.a few Christian novels in these categories are published each year, but they appeal mostly to male readers. a first-time novelist won't find it easy to break in. Still, it can be done -- if you have highly polished writing skills.

Christian thrillers are often treated as sub genres of suspense, and like suspense novels, they keep the hero and heroine and continuous peril. The difference is that the stakes in a thriller are usually much higher. The protagonist is driven to do more than save himself -- or herself -- the storyline may involve a threat to the country, to our way of life, to Christianity, or even to the whole world.

Legal thrillers are thrillers set in courtrooms, or involving strong legal themes. They probably should be called legal suspense novels, because many revolve around the legal challenges faced by one character. Similarly, medical thrillers build suspense in a hospital or laboratory setting. Christian intrigue is a fairly small category that is often grouped with suspense. This is the time of the spy novel -- and similar fights of fancy --set in international locations and filled with secret agents and derring-do.

Because there are several successful Christian thriller writers, and because the market is limited, I don't recommend first-time novelist tackle the sub genre -- unless you are confident that you have especially good writing skills and can tell an extra compelling story.

Once again, I hope you've enjoyed reading about the different genres and what makes them the genre they are. I ask for forgiveness if any of the words come out misspelled or crazy sounding as I sometimes use my Dragon Naturally Speaking and it doesn't always understand my Southern accent. LOL


Monday, October 18, 2010

Part Three in Big 4 Genres: Christian Romance

This is part three in the "Big Four Genres" written in Ron Benrey's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction". Stayed turned for part four - my genre "Christian Suspense and Mystery".

Christian Romance

Half of the mass-market paperback novels sold each year are romances and -- secular and Christian. romances are so popular, in fact, that most Christian publishers produce some -- and a few make romance novels the heart of their offerings.

All romance novels are about love, but some might not be considered traditional love stories. The vital distinction is that many of stories have sad endings -- think Romeo and Juliet or the movie Casablanca -- while romance novels and happily and optimistically, with a live hero and heroine, in a fully realized romance. If the pair aren't married by the end of the novel, the reader feels confident that they're on their way to the altar.

Christian romance may well be the easiest genre for a first-time novelist to enter,because romance publishers have a voracious appetite for manuscripts. Some will still consider unagented manuscripts. Also, so-called "category romances" are only 45,000 to 60,000 words long, depending on the publisher. Many romance novelist report that they are easier to write than the longer novels demanded by other popular genres. Category romances are published in a variety of sub genres, or categories -- such as romance, romantic suspense, romantic intrigue, and historical romance. Publishers of category romance produce a few brooks in each category each month. The books are often numbered for easy identification and are available for a short period of time -- typically until next month's romances push them off the shelf. The two leading Christian category romance publishers are Steeple Hill(an imprint of Harlequin) and Barbour Books.

No other Christian genre has more sub genres and romance. The list includes historical romance, Gothic romance, romantic suspense, romantic mysteries, prairie romance, Western romance, fantasy romance, humorous romance, mature romance, and ethic romance -to name a few possibilities. Full-length romances range from 75,000 to 95,000 words.

There are conventions and the romance genre that are important for you to recognize:

* Because most readers are women, stories are usually towed from the heroine's point of view (or at least begin and end from her point of view).

*The hero and heroine meet in the first chapter-- this is the romance novel equivalent of beginning the story in media res, in the middle of things.

*The shifting relationship between hero and heroine is the heart of the story(the reason why readers read romance novels); readers don't appreciate back story or extraneous detail that gets in the way.

*The lead characters are often stereotypes-- the beautiful female with a mind of her own, the handsome alpha male used to getting his own way.

* The story takes place over a compressed time period -- a few days or weeks, which means that the heroine and heroes relationship must develop more quickly than a real relationship.

Most Christian romances follow a well-known story plan: girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy again -- where some sort of misunderstanding, personality conflict, or external force drives them apart after their relationship has begun. This storyline is so familiar that it may strike you as a cliché. In fact, it can serve as the frame for an unlimited number of different stories, because there are so many possible variations for each one of the elements

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winner for "And the Beat Goes On" by Tracy Krauss





Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tune Up

I will be out of commission for a couple of days. I'm taking my computer in for a tune-up. Looking forward to getting back a more efficient computer.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christian Historical Fiction

Part II in The Big Four Genres:

Christian Historical Fiction

Historical fiction, one of the most popular Christian fiction genres, tells stories set in the past. The dividing line used by many publishers as 1950; anything later is considered contemporary fiction.

Almost any historical time is fair game, but certain eras seem to intrigue readers-and editors -- in the United States: Civil War, post -- Civil War, Ragtime era(1895 to 1900), the Great Depression, and World War II. In Great Britain: Tudor( 1495 -- 1603) and Elizabethan (1558-1603), Regency
( 1811 -- 1820), Victorian( 1837 -- 1901), and 18th century Scotland.

Some historical novels include actual historical events in making famous people of the day cameo roles in the story. Others tell a story divorced from actual history; the historical times and places serve as stage sets that enable purely fictional characters to interact with each other. In either case, readers take a trip through time and enjoy the opportunity to experience a vivid sense of life in a different era. Depending on the publisher the length of Christian historical's ranges from 75,000 to more than 100,000 words.

Many first-time authors who set out to write Christian historical novels discover a more challenging task than they expected. Getting the details of history right demands extensive research to learn what historical figures wore, what they ate, how they dressed, how they talked, how they lived, how they thought, and how they prayed -- there's no end in sight to the myriad of information a successful historical may demand.

Planning an historical novel can also be a thorny task. You must find a compelling way to "retell" historical events that are significant, but may lack the dramatic tension of a good storyline. You must create subplots that fit into the chronology of events that history gives you. You must present real people of the day accurately and realistically. And you must invent fictional characters who are credible participants in a significant historical event.

I hope you enjoyed reading part two of the big four genres. Once again I must give credit to Ron Benrey and his book "The Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction." Stay tuned for part three:
Christian Romance.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I've been reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction" by Ron Benrey. We I read some of the information I think that would be great for my blog. So giving all the credit to Ron Benrey I'm going to take a genre each day and write what he has to say about each one.


Christian contemporary fiction is, like "general fiction," a broad category that encompasses novels that don't fit specific genres. I want to emphasize at the start that contemporary fiction is not a catchall category for jumbled genre books. Rather, it is the grouping for "uncategorized" novels that do not follow the conventions of well defined genres such as romance, mystery, suspense, or historical.

Christian contemporaries are usually full -- length novels, typically between 85,000 and 110,000 words. In fact, few 110,000 were Christian novels are published these days; the practical maximum work count is closer to 100,000 words. Publishers seem to prefer smaller books, perhaps because the cost less to produce. Many Christian contemporaries are reviewed by mainstream publications, and some become crossover gobbles with significant sales to secular readers.

"Christian women's fiction" is often considered part of contemporary fiction. You'll sometimes see "contemporary/women's fiction" as the name of the category. These are contemporary novels that deal with issues of special interest to women, including such angst filled topics as poverty, spousal abuse, child abuse, family breakdown, and abortion. They often contain love stories, but present romantic elements more introspectively and possibly less optimistically that a romance novel.

Sprawling categories like contemporary fiction will often have "subgenres" -- smaller groupings carved out of the main genre. For example, "Christian chick lit" is a recently developed contemporary sub genre that tells humorous stories of twenty something and possibly 30 something unmarried women. Because the plots typically revolve around their heroines efforts to get married, some observers view chick lit as a sub genre of the romance category. Others don't, first because a chick lit story doesn't necessarily lead to a "fully realized" romance and wedding, and second because chick lit often invites readers to laugh at other issues shared by single women, including their careers and their family relationships.

Chick lit started as a secular sub genre that often includes fairly loose -- living heroines who think materialistic, drink a lot, and engage in recreational sex. these elements are not included in Christian chick lit.

Another contemporary fiction subgenre -- one that waxes and wanes in popularity -- is the so-called "Christian character novel." The hallmark of a character novel is that the characters are more important than the plot. The actual story will be simple; so simple that some readers might say, "nothing happens as the story unfolds." In fact, one or more of the characters is changing -- usually in response to a combination of external and internal forces.

The next post will be on Christian Historical Fiction and it is very interesting. I learned a lot from this next section. Stay tuned!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interview and Giveaway for "And the Beat Goes On" by Tracy Krauss

I'm excited to host Tracy L. Krauss on my blog this month. She has been gracious enough to take the time to answer some questions for me. Please take the time to get to know Tracy better. Her website is


Outside of writing, I am a high school teacher of English, Art and Drama. I am very enthusiastic about the creative process, and love to paint, draw, printmake, quilt, direct and produce plays, and of course write, write, write! I have four grown children and have lived in many places in northern Canada, including the polar bear capital of the world. (No kidding). I currently live with my husband in beautiful Tumber Ridge, BC. I am also a woman of faith, which is often a theme that runs through my work. My husband and I pastored a church in the Yukon under the PAOC for ten years.



Canadian born archaeologist Mark Graham unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig site in the mountains of Zimbabwe. Fossilized remains of a pterodactyl are found carefully buried alongside those of gigantic human bones. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as Nephilim, a pre-flood people alleged to have descended from both gods and men.

But skepticism and sabotage delay Mark and his fellow archaeologist as the dig site is compromised, putting their discovery -- as well as his very life -- in grave danger. Deceived and framed by trusted friends and colleagues, Mark struggles to safeguard his findings and protect his reputation in order to her on earth the mystery behind the Nephilim.


Tracy thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us.

1. Tracy would you tell us a little about your writing background? is this your first book or have you had other books before this published? Was your writing journey a long one?

I am a High School English teacher, so I guess that means I have 'head knowledge' when it comes to writing and pretty much know the conventions backwards and sideways. Following the rules doesn't always make for good writing, however, does it? (I tell my students that the difference between a B and an A is 'Sparkle' - style always trumps mechanics, but you have to know the rules before you can break them...) Enough with the English lesson already!
I have always been a lover of good books and I have been writing for pleasure for more than 25 years. Writing 'obsessively' is probably more accurate. Most of my author friends report the same compulsive need to write. AND THE BEAT GOES ON is my first published work, but I'm pleased to report I have several others in the works. My next release, MY MOTHER THE MAN EATER, is coming out before Christmas. The prequel to AND THE BEAT GOES ON, which is called PLAY IT AGAIN, is still in production

2.(a) "And the Beat Goes On" is different from any other Christian fiction I've read. Could you tell me what genre this book fits under. Also, what made you decide to write this particular book and on this particular subject? What were the challenges and rewards during your writing journey?

This book is classed as 'Romantic Suspense' although I'm not sure if that genre really fits perfectly. Sometimes I say "Archeological Thriller' and sometimes I prefer the emerging genre 'Edgy Christian'. As for my motivation, I was very early in my Christian walk struck by the seeming incongruity between the generally accepted theory of evolution and the 'Old Earth' timeline and what the Bible said about creation. Especially problematic for me was the subject of dinosaurs. Thus my interest led to research which then led to the idea for this novel. I also must admit that I love fantasy and sci-fi, so although I don't write in that genre myself, I wanted to include some tiny reference to the 'fantastic' - the Nephilim. The jury is definitely still out among Christians on that one, but I've been fascinated with the possibilites and thought I'd throw in my own twist. I don't pretend to be an expert on any of these topics, but hopefully I raise enough questions in my book that people will want to delve in themselves.
My biggest challenge when writing is always finding enough time to write. I also work full time, have raised four kids, been a Pastor's wife, volunteer at my church, and run an after school Theatre group for teens. My days (and nights) are pretty full.

(b) Would you tell us what edgy Christian fiction means and do you consider 'And the Beat Goes On" edgy Christian fiction?

There is no one definition for 'Edgy Christian Fiction', but it is a phrase that is getting tossed about a lot these days. To me it is fiction that includes a Christian element (either straight up 'gospel' references, or at least a redemptive message ...) but also pushes the envelope in terms of what most traditional Christian reading material has included up until this point. Examples might be 'risque' content, (realistic use of language, violence, sexuality etc.) protagonists that aren't perfect - even if they are Christians, or dealing with other hot topics within the church (infidelity, divorce, abuse etc.) When I say this, I don't mean to imply that 'Edgy' means grotesque or overly graphic. Good writing includes only what is necessary to get the story across, not gratuitous sex, swearing etc. just so one can get labeled 'Edgy'. Having said that, I have read some pretty heavy 'Edgy' Christian fiction. AND THE BEAT GOES ON is not overly graphic, in my opinion, but there is some mild 'cussing' and some reference to pre-marital sex.

3. What is your next project?

MY MOTHER THE MAN EATER is another Romantic Suspense about a forty something 'cougar' who is juggling five men simultaneously while also dealing with an ex con husband who is back for revenge. Things get complicated when her male prospects start falling for her grown daughters instead. It is fantastically fun (in my opinion) with lots of intrigue, humor, and edge of your seat suspense. Of course, it is also a redemptive story about facng one's past and letting God take control.

4. As an aspiring writer I always like to ask my visiting authors what advice they have to give those of us who are still plugging a way on our manuscript.

Tenacity. To me that is the one thing that you need as an author. You just have to keep plugging away at your craft and revise, revise, revise. Just when you think the manuscript is perfect, it probably still needs more work. Also, learning to get beyond the hurt feelings of criticism and rejection and actually learning from these experiences is essential. Sometimes we get so close to our own work that we can't really see the flaws objectively. Agents, editors and reviewers usually know what they're talking about. Finally, one needs tenacity in terms of sending out queries. Some rejection is based on a numbers game rather than the quality of your writing. So persevere.


Here are a couple things you need to know to sign-up for the giveaway.

1. You need to be a follower or sign up as a new follower. Be sure and leave your e-mail address so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

2. Tell me if you've heard the term "edgy Christian fiction". If so what are your thoughts about this. Have you read anything that would be considered "edgy Christian fiction"?
Here is a website to learn more:

3. Giveaway will end Sunday, October 17th.

Happy Reading!