Monday, September 17, 2018

On My Nightstand - A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White

A Lady Unrivaled (Ladies of the Manor Book #3) by [White, Roseanna M.]

It's important to note this is the final book of the Ladies of the Manor trilogy. The Lost Heiress and The Reluctant Duchess will enrich your reading experience with A Lady Unrivaled.

The author kept the momentum going with A Lady Unrivaled. Lady Ella Myerston was by far my favorite heroine with her sweet disposition and optimistic viewpoint. Although she often trusted to a fault, she eventually gained wisdom in dealing with others.

Lord James Cayton was something of a cad, leaving two broken hearts behind him. He's changed his ways, but past friends and his own sense of guilt aren't making the transition easy. The best thing he can do is stay away from romance and keep from hurting another innocent woman.

The story is a keen reminder of how our past can affect the way we respond to current events. The strong spiritual thread in these books pointed the way to true transformation from the inside out.

The mystery of the Fire Eyes is a key component in this trilogy. The tensions and complications cause the characters to dig deep and reveals both their strengths and weaknesses. Overall, A Lady Unrivaled was my favorite of the trilogy.

Five stars for A Lady Unrivaled and the overall trilogy. I've started her latest series because I enjoyed these so much. Yes, I'm currently on a Roseanna M. White marathon. :) Her intriguing storylines always manage to hook me.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers and Readers:  Does a strong Christian take-away influence your choice of fiction? Please share.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Batching/Writing Through Hard Times/China/Devo/Shopping

Tear Drop

1.  Cathy Baker posts at The Write Conversation about a time-management system called, "Batching," and how it inspires creativity.
                                                                                                                 
2.  Kimberley Woodhouse posts at Seriously Write about how to write through life's hard times.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports that the church in China is living another chapter of the Book of Acts in spite of increasing pressure.

4.  Wendy Pope, at Crosscards, shares how her life became complete when she not only received Jesus but fully included Him into her happily-ever-after.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From The Heart, shares her shopping adventures while on vacation. What kinds of items do you buy when on holiday?

Writers:  How do you maintain your writing productivity during life's hard times?

Readers:  What are some of your favorite things to do while on vacation?

Photo Credit:  Torli Roberts



Monday, September 10, 2018

On My Nightstand - The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna White


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Lady Rowena Kinnaird wants to escape the clutches of her abusive father and equally abusive suitor. She's thinking about running away, but she knows they will come after her.

Brice, the Duke of Nottingham, and a devout Christian, visits his family's estate in Scotland. So far, he's dodged the efforts of society's mamas to snag him for their daughters. When circumstances throw him and Lady Rowena together, he's less than happy.

This is the second book in the Ladies of the Manor Series by Roseanna White. I strongly suggest you read, "The Lost Heiress," first. You can skip it, but you'll be missing a rather lovely chunk of this trilogy.

The author did a magnificent job with the historical details and the Edwardian time period. Like many historical romances, the story gives a picture of the social norms. It made me glad I live in this day and age.

That said, I enjoyed this riveting story of a woman trapped by awful circumstances and how she eventually comes to terms with them. Add in a delicious mystery, and you've got a real winner. I'm giving it five stars.

I'm reading the third book, "A Lady Unrivaled," right now. I'll be reviewing this book as well in an upcoming post.

P.S. Isn't this a gorgeous cover? It's my favorite of the series.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment from either the author or the publisher for a favorable review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. 

Writers:  This trilogy has a common thread running through it. Have you considered writing a series that keeps the reader wanting to find out what happened? Please share.

Readers:  Do you prefer stand-alone novels or series? A number of people said they were sorry to see my Moses Trilogy end as they'd become attached to the characters. What has been your experience with series books?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Too Old?/Platform Building/Girls/Devo/Autumn Activities

Autumn Colors

1. Someone said, "I'm too old to write." Kristi Holl debunks this myth in her blog post.

2. Zoe M. McCarthy asks, "Is all this writers platform building going to pay off?"

3.  Christian Headlines reports that Teen Vogue tells Girls, "Abortion Can Be Funny."

4. What do Sandal-Ready Feet and Walking in Faith have in common? Check out this devotional by Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation.

5.  Autumn is around the corner. TeacherVision lists some resources for seasonal activities. If you or someone you know homeschool or you just want some fun things for your kids or the grandkids, check out this site.

Writers:  When did you begin platform building and what types do you focus on?

Readers:  What are your favorite autumn activities and why?\

Photo Credit:  Brian Lary

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day!


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Labor Day is a two-fold celebration: 

1.  The end of summer.

2.  A day off from work.

It was made a Federal holiday in 1894, but was celebrated as early as 1882 in New York City. Canada also recognizes Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

Unlike other holidays, its only purpose is to honor the average working Joe and Jane for their contributions to the nation. I found this link at Office Holidays.com that gives the history in more detail.

So, to my many hard-working friends, whether you're a writer or in some other occupation, rest from your labors and have a Happy Labor Day.

Writers and Readers: How do you celebrate Labor Day? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Odan Jasper



Friday, August 31, 2018

Deep POV/Novel Pacing/Recall/Devo/

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1.  Lisa Hall-Wilson, at Beyond the Basics, talks about how to get inside your characters' heads and make readers care. There are some interesting quotes from Ted Dekker.

2.  Yup, this is Lisa Hall-Wilson week here at Christian Writer/Reader Connection. In this post, she talks about the Pace of Your Novel. This is one I'll have to read multiple times to fully absorb.

3.  Breaking Christian News announced a recall of Lane Cedar Chests. 14 Children have suffocated to death after being trapped in them. If you have one in your home, whether an heirloom or newer, please read this post for information and instructions.

4.  Adelee Russell, at Rewritten talks about, "How Far Will You Go?" When God is moving you to take a step of faith, will you do it?

5.  As a reader, I sometimes come across a word or phrase that startles me. "Did they even use that terminology in this time period?" I had a question this week about the phrase, "piece of work." It was used in a derogatory sense. I looked it up online and found a website, Word Detective.com, that answered my question.

Writers and Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week and why?

Photo Credit:  Cecilia Picco

Monday, August 27, 2018

Interview and Giveaway! Jeanette Levellie and The Heart of Humor



Usually, I focus on fiction, but today, Jeanette Levellie is visiting Christian Writer/Reader Connection with her book, "The Heart of Humor."

Check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.

1.  Susan: You have several books to your credit. When and how did the desire to write take root in your heart?

As a child I loved to make books by writing stories and "binding" them with a cardboard cover. When I was in my twenties, I had several poems and a couple of articles published, then set aside that desire to focus on homeschooling my kids. When they were teenagers, I began writing for publication again.

At a Christian writers conference in 2009 I realized I wanted to make a career of writing. When I told the Lord that, He replied, "You can't do this by yourself." That was five books ago, and He's been faithful to bring a boatload of friends - including you - to help me navigate this wild ride!

Susan: Thanks, Jen. I don't know what I'd do without my writer buddies.

2.  Susan:  What was the most exciting part of your writing journey?

When I got my first book contract in 2011 for Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top. Although I've published three books since then and finished another, that first baby sent me over the moon with joy.

Susan: I fully understand. The Moses Conspiracy had the same effect on me.

3.  Susan:  What was the most challenging part of the journey so far?

Keeping my eyes on Jesus and His call on my life to show His grace and be a servant, rather than focusing on the publishing, marketing, and platform building side of writing.

Susan: There are many distractions to keep us from writing for our Audience of One.

4.  Susan:  If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?

Relax more, stress less, laugh and pray more. In spite of the fact that I write inspirational humor, I often take myself too seriously. God's not worried about the world; He's got a sure and happy plan for those who belong to Him. I need to rest in His love more.

Susan: I'm right there with you, Jen.

5.  Susan:  Last, but not least, do you have any advice for non-fiction writers?

But of course! A redhead is always ready with advice, whether she's familiar with the topic or not!

  • Ask God to help you every step of the way with divine wisdom. He's been around awhile and knows everything. He will show you the perfect path for your book and your career if you take time to listen.
  • If you don't already have a few prayer partners that you meet with regularly, get some now. As these trusted friends for advice and prayer covering, and also pray for their  needs. 
  • Read similar books in the genre you write to see what works and what doesn't.
  • Don't take yourself and all the little details that go along with your book-cover art, title, back cover blurb, etc.-too seriously. Don't ask me how I know this. That's a whole new interview!
Susan:  As always, you hit the target with your advice. It's so easy to stress out in this profession.

GIVEAWAY TIME! Jen has generously offered to give away one print copy of The Heart of Humor  to one commenter. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents. You must provide your email address in your comment, so we can contact you. The deadline for entering is Friday, August 31st. Jen will draw a name from the entries, and the winner will be announced on Monday, September 3.



You can connect with Jen at the following social media links:

"One little kind word makes a huge impact. Will you be the sunlight in someone's darkness today?" 




Monday, July 23, 2018

Living on the Edge


Grand Canyon, Arizona


That's what I call week-to-week blogging. With no posts scheduled for the upcoming week, I'm racing to put together something that will interest my readers.

Yes, I'm stressed.

With posts due every Monday and Friday, Sunday at 9:42 PM reminds me of cramming for a major test. It's time for a blog break. I'll be back Monday, August 27th.

Have a wonderful summer!

Writers and Readers:  What fun things do you have planned for the summer?

Photo Credit:  Gregory Runyan

Friday, July 20, 2018

Short Podcasts/Details/Locker Room/Devo/Paris


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1. Dr. MaryAnn Diorio has several short podcasts for writers. I thought you might enjoy them.

2.  Details, details. Cindy Ervin-Huff shares how important accurate details are in your novels.

3. Wow! I was horrified when I read the WND story about two Planet Fitness locations allowing men in the women's locker room. Their policy wasn't mentioned in the contracts, and the woman who complained had her membership revoked. Before signing up with them, make sure to ask about their policy.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, asks, Baggage or Luggage-Which Am I Carrying?

5.  Linda, at A La Carte shares some fun tablescapes with a Paris theme. Most of the items were bought at thrift stores. Check out her blog here.

Writers:  Have you ever ventured into the area of podcasting? Please share your experience.

Readers:  I thought Linda's Paris themed table was a nice change of pace. What kind of table settings have you tried to surprise your friends and family?

Photo Credit:  Eva Serna


Monday, July 16, 2018

On My Kindle - The Innkeepers Daughter by Michelle Griep

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Johanna, her mother, and younger brother struggle to keep the Blue Hedge Inn and stay out of the workhouse. The burden falls mostly on Johanna, and she derives little enjoyment from life. Romance is the last thing on her mind when a handsome stranger rents a room in their ramshackle establishment.

Alexander Moore, aka Morton, is a Bow Street runner (an early form of policeman in London). He's on a dangerous mission to discover the identity of a traitor. Each day is an effort to survive and achieve his goals. His strong faith is all that keeps him together. He's shocked when the pretty innkeeper's daughter melts his heart.

Michelle Griep is a new-to-me author. Her Regency romance provided many hours of reading pleasure. The descriptions and character arcs were vivid and intriguing. Many of the scenes still play in my head weeks after completing the book.

I'm giving this book 5 stars.

Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher paid me anything for a favorable review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  When working on a novel or detailed article, how much time do you put into research? Please share your method.

Readers:  Do you enjoy a lot of historical/technical details in the books you read? Please elaborate.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Weasel Words/Romantic Hero/Archaeology/Devotion/Plain People


Amish


1.  One lesson drilled into writers involves banishing "weasel words" from their work in progress. Zoe M. McCarthy addresses the use of one of these words, "just." Is it always bad?

2.  Donna L.H. Smith gives tips on getting inside the romantic hero's head. If you're writing a romance, you'll want to read this post.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on an archaeologist in Israel who uses the Bible as a guide for digging.

4.  Dena Netherton talks about how love needs memories. I hope you enjoy this beautiful devotion.

5.  Readers: If you're a fan of Amish/Mennonite/Quaker novels, check out this article o Pennsylvania Colonial Plain People. Christy Distler does an excellent job summarizing their beliefs and practices during pre-revolutionary times.

Writers:  What "weasel words" have a way of appearing in your writing? Please share.

Readers:  What effect does reading historical fiction have on your interest in various cultures?

Photo  Credit:  Mike Munchel


Monday, July 9, 2018

Pen Name or Real Name?


Last Saturday, Sweetie Mom and I jumped in the car and headed for one of our favorite places: Pennsylvania Amish country. Since mobility issues limit what she can do, we have a set routine. We always stop at the Bird-in-Hand Farmer's Market first.

While she rested on a bench, I checked out the souvenir shops. I found this cute keychain in purple (my favorite color) embroidered with my name. Sold! Sometimes the simplest things make me smile.

Looking at my new item, I started thinking about how something personalized attracts people. Growing up, there were so many girls in my class named Susan that it didn't seem all that special or unique. Nicknames seem inevitable and mine was Susie as a kid. Later, I adopted the moniker, Sue, and eventually returned to my original Susan.

As a writer, I decided to use my full name, Susan J. Reinhardt. After having a number of non-fiction pieces published, I discovered there was another writer with the same name in the general market. At first, people got us mixed up. The last several years it hasn't been much of a problem.

I wonder if I should have used a pen name. However, the foundation for my platform was already under my real name. All in all, I'm glad I didn't try to make any changes. After all, I'm rather attached to it. Like my keychain, it makes me smile to see it on a book cover.

Writers:  Did you research author names when you started writing? Did you ever consider using a pen name?

Readers:  Have you ever confused two authors because of a same or similar name? Please share your experience.

Photo Credit: Susan J. Reinhardt 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Indie Tips/POV/Persecuted Christians/Devo/Recipe

Paper people


1.  Erica Liodice posted at Writer Unboxed about avoiding publisher's remorse. With so many people choosing the Indie route, it's easy to get tripped up. The writer gives some excellent tips on what to NOT do when preparing your book for readers.

2. Lisa Hall-Wilson gives 5 Ways Deep Point of View Delivers a Punch in Action Scenes. This is for the more advanced writer. If you're unfamiliar with Deep POV, it would be good to study the basics first.

3.  Faith, Family America reports on Vice-President Pence's plan to aid persecuted Christians in Iraq.

4. Audrey Frank shares a devotional on, "Why  Writers Need Each Other." While directed at writers, it will speak to the heart of every believer.

5.  Be still my heart! Flourless, peanut butter, chocolate chip muffins are only 100 calories each.

Writers:  Are any of using the Indie route to publication? If so, what tip at Writer Unboxed helped you the most?


Readers:  What are your favorite go-to recipes? Please share.


Photo Credit:  Davide Guglielmo

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Independence Day!


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July 4th has been celebrated since 1776. After the War of 1812, the observance became more widespread. I found some fun facts on History.com. Did you know:

1.  Three  U.S. presidents died on July 4th?

2.  NY City has the biggest fireworks display in the nation?

3.  It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson?

Check out the website for more information. You might find some interesting conversation starters or even make up a 4th of July game for your family BBQ.

Most of all, I'm thankful I was born in the Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. Happy Birthday, America!

Writers and Readers:  How do you celebrate the 4th of July?



Photo Credit:  tz


Friday, June 29, 2018

Saying Less/Motivation/Archaeology/Devo/Flowers

Archaeology 2


1.  Jane Friedman posted at Publishers Weekly on, "How to Network Better by Saying Less." With conference season in full swing, her timely advice can help us all when we meet editors and agents.

2.  Glenn Haggerty posts at Seriously Write about motivation. Having been on the proverbial hamster wheel the first six months of 2018, I needed the reminders he provided - like filing the to-do list for the day.

3. It makes my heart glad when I read about archaeological discoveries that validate the Bible. Not long ago, U.S. Christians unearthed the seals of King Hezekiah and the prophet, Isaiah. Check out this report by Breaking Christian News.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson's devotion, "Let's Talk About Romance," touches at the core of our longings - to be loved and to love. No matter what our marital status, we can experience the love of God.

5.  I love flowers, but these knees don't like kneeling to plant them. I've been searching for perennials, so I can put them in and see them come up every year. I have astilbes with a pretty, feathery bloom. Better Homes and Gardens recently posted an article on the 15 Most Underused Perennials. Maybe you'll get some ideas as well.

Writers:  Are you attending a conference this year? How do you prepare for your editor/agent appointments?

Readers:  Do you have perennials in your garden? Which ones do you have?

Photo Credit:  Vicky Johnson