Monday, October 29, 2018

ON MY KINDLE - The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

Lady Elizabeth Stirling's life seems idyllic to those on the outside, but her dictatorial father makes it miserable. With growing unrest in the colonies, their loyalty to England's king puts them in danger.

Noble Rynallt is one of the fiery Independence Men. When Elizabeth's fiancé and his cousin presses him into escorting her to a ball, he agrees. Perhaps he could glean some information about the Tories and their plans.

Neither expect their lives to take a drastic turn. When Elizabeth's father and his Tory friends flee, she finds herself alone with nowhere to turn. Her fiancé has abandoned her because her dowry was no longer available. The only one who cares what happens to her is the kindhearted Independence Man.

I've read several of Laura Frantz's books set in the early days of Kentucky and enjoyed them. The Colonial/Revolutionary War setting provided a pleasant change.

Apart from the love story, the enormity of what our forefathers endeavored with God's help came through in living color. The odds of beating the most powerful nation on earth seemed insurmountable. The author created characters and did a masterful job of inserting them into the historical events.

I'm giving this book five stars. If you love American History, you'll find this covers a much-neglected area in fiction.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a positive review. As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever considered writing a historical novel in this time period? Please share.

Readers:  Would you like to see more Christian Fiction set during this time period? Why/why not?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Manuscript Cleaning/How Long?/Archaeology/Devo/Recipe


1. After the dizzying joy of writing, "The End," to a manuscript comes the dreaded task of editing and revising it. Zoe M. McCarthy gives tips for cleaning up your manuscript prior to sending it to a paid editor (which is highly recommended).

2.  Have you ever wondered how long it should take to write a book? Merilyn Simonds tackles this question on Jane Friedman's blog.

3. Breaking Christian News reports on archaeological evidence confirming the location of Biblical Sodom. It's where the Bible says it was.

4. I chuckled over Rhonda Rhea's devotional on The Write Conversation. She talks about God's Spiritual Routine.

5.  OK, so how can I skip into November without a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe? The answer is, "I can't." Averie Cooks has a yummy version, which she calls, "Accidentally Vegan." For me, it's great because there's no butter and I can use a non-dairy milk. I've printed this one out and hope to make it soon.

Writers:  How long does it take you to write a book (or article)? Please share.

Readers:  What did you take away from Rhonda Rhea's devotional?

Photo Credit:  Justine FG

Monday, October 22, 2018

On My Kindle - Chasing the Music by Mark Alan Leslie

Chasing the Music by [Leslie, Mark Alan]

Dr. Katherine "Kat"  Cardova, a world-renowned archaeologist, vows to continue the work of a colleague almost killed by a terrorist group. She's desperate to get to the dig where he made a startling discovery, but doesn't have the necessary transportation.

Max Braxton arrives in Israel, hoping to write a book and decide what he wants to do in the future. When Kat approaches him, he agrees to get her to the site. He's intrigued by this stunning redhead and her thirst for adventure.

Neither could imagine the dangers facing them as a terror network targets anyone trying to find the ancient artifact critical to the building of the Third Temple. With the expertise they both possess, their contacts in the Israeli government and military, and God's hand on their search, they weather the most frightening weeks of their lives.

I had to chuckle that I picked up a novel with an archaeological theme. I'd  forgotten what this book was about since I bought it quite a while ago.

The pace of this story was blistering from the get-go. The strong spiritual thread, the budding romance, and the mystery hit all my favorite elements. I'll be looking for more of Mr. Mark Alan  Leslie's books.

I'm giving Chasing the Music five stars.

Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a review (favorable or otherwise). As always, the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers: When writing suspense, do you jump right into the action or let it build?

Readers:  When reading suspense, do you like non-stop action or do you want a breather in between?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Writing Tips/Character Interviews/Faith Problem/Devo/Fall Activities

Autumn in New York 3

1.  Laurie Schnebly Campbell guest posts at Writers in The Storm on the subject of plot,  character and genre. This is a must-read for both aspiring and more experienced novelists.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about Writing Character Interviews for Promotions. This can be a valuable tool in your marketing plan.

3. Christian Headlines reports that a Jacksonville, FL City Councilman said after a mass shooting that America has a "faith problem."

This reminds me of Pastor/Author/Teacher Jonathan Cahn's assertion that America is on borrowed time. We don't need a revival. We need another great awakening. I'm glad more people are talking about the root problem in our country.

4.  Sarah van Diest posts at The Write Conversation on, "Created for Truth." One of the areas I've been dealing with head on is fear and worry. They are both tools of the enemy of our souls. We've been given the ability to overcome both of them.

5.  Colin, at Hip2Save, shares some fun activities for the family during the Fall season. The best part? Most of them are FREE!

Writers:  Have you ever done a character interview? Did it help you promote your book? Please share.

Readers:  What fun activities have you done with your family this Fall?

Photo Credit:  Piotr Bizlor

Monday, October 15, 2018

On My Kindle - Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams by [Camden, Elizabeth]

Anna O'Brien loves her job as a map librarian at the Library of Congress. In the course of her work, she comes upon a mystery. Her attempts to get answers brings the wrath of the Navy Department down on her, and she's ordered to cease and desist her investigation.

Luke Callahan rises to prominence as a Congressman from Maine, but his career takes a severe hit when a scandal surrounds him. He enlists Anna's help with some research and soon can't get her out of his mind.

Dating a Congressman got one of Anna's co-workers fired, and she's terrified of the risks. With each passing day, her feelings for the fiery Luke Callahan grow stronger. His willingness to help her get answers only strengthens them. Will the two of them succeed in their quest or will they both go down in flames?

Elizabeth Camden did a great job with her historical research, as well as her character arcs. Both Luke and Anna managed to gain my sympathy and alternately my annoyance as they traveled down the road to romance. An author who can elicit that type of emotional response has done their job well.

I'm giving this book four stars only because the pacing got bogged down in spots. Still, it was an enjoyable read. If you like historical romance, I think you'll find it entertaining.

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

Writers: Have you tried your hand at historical romance? Please share.

Readers: What kind of careers would you like to see represented in fiction?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Writer Voice/Discouragement/Possible Cure/Inspiring Post/Recipe

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1.  For all you newbie writers and for those still confused about writer voice, Lisa Hall-Wilson clarifies its meaning.

2.  Janet Sketchley posts at the Seriously Write blog about discouragement and thoughts of quitting her writing.

3. Cancer is a horrible scourge, so any news pointing to a possible cure produces great hope. Breaking Christian News reports on development of a drug for acute myeloid leukemia.

My husband died from the acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a different form of the disease. Please pass this information along to anyone who is suffering or has a loved one battling leukemia.

4. Dena Netherton volunteers at a crisis pregnancy center. In this post, she gives a glimpse of her activities. She may never know the full impact of her work, but she knows God is weaving the threads into a bigger tapestry.

5. I don't know about you, but I love pasta salads. Unfortunately, most of them require mayonnaise or creamy dressings, which I can't eat. Averie Cooks came up with a Skinny Italian Pasta Salad recipe that I just printed out. If you try it, please let me know if it's as tasty as it looks.

Writers:  Have you ever been confused about "writer voice?" What is your definition?

Readers:  Which topics in the Friday posts speak to you? I'd be interested in your feedback. :)

Photo Credit:  Bartek Ambrozik

Monday, October 8, 2018

On My Nightstand - Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel


Mr. Hoesel is a new-to-me author, and I was quite taken with his storytelling. The book promised a lot of action, but started off slowly. Once it got started, though, it was hang-onto-your-hat time. It reminded me of that slow ascent on a roller coaster before the huge drop, twists, and turns.

Elisha's Bones is a Jack Hawthorne mystery. The archaeologist is hired to find the bones of the prophet, Elisha, due to their ability to raise people from the dead. Jack never figured his life would be in danger on such an assignment. He and his former girlfriend, Esperanza, embark on a multi-continent search.

One thing is crystal clear: There's no going back to his normal life as a college professor until the mystery is solved and those trying to kill him are brought to justice.

I'm giving this book 5 Stars for its action and suspense. An Amazon search is in order for his other books (to add to my already long TBR list!).

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for a favorable review. All opinions expressed, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers and Readers: How long do you stay with a book that doesn't seem to be going anywhere in the first couple of chapters?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Writing How-To/Reader Take-Away/Avoiding Compromise/Devo/Recipe


1. I don't often find quality blog posts for the non-fiction writer, but this one caught my attention. If you're interested in writing How-To books, Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, at Jane Friedman's blog, gives 5 Steps to Writing Better How-To.

2. When I was writing non-fiction, a key principle involved giving the reader a take-away. Katy Kauffman posts at The Write Conversation and gives tips on how of  accomplish this.

3. Pamela Christian wrote a blog post called, "Reformation Without Compromise." We've all seen the slugfests on Facebook and other social media. Pamela points to the Word and shows us the alternative way to express our viewpoints. This was well worth the read.

4. Emme Gannon, at The Write Conversation, talks about, "The Radiance of the Humble Writer." While directed toward writers, the principles can apply to anyone.

5.  It's fall, and everything is about pumpkin: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and even (gasp!)) pumpkin cereal. Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to the deluge of pumpkin recipes. In fact, I found an easy one for pumpkin bread that I'm going to try. Check out the details on Food Network.

Writers:  Take-aways are important in non-fiction. What was your favorite tip from items 1 and 2?

Readers:  What's your favorite pumpkin recipe? If you have a link, feel free to include it in your comment.

Photo Credit:  Jacqueline Schacht

Monday, October 1, 2018

On My Nightstand - A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England Book #1) by [White, Roseanna M.]

Rosemary Gresham, orphaned as a child and a "street rat," joined with 11 other homeless kids and found a way to survive. When a mysterious stranger offers her a huge amount of money to discover proof an individual was a traitor to Great Britain, she jumps at the opportunity.

Peter Holstein, a man who befriended King George, is looked upon with suspicion due to an impending war and his German heritage. He must find documents attesting to his British citizenship and loyalty to the crown. When Rosemary shows up at his door and applies for the job of librarian, he senses she is God's answer to his prayers.

He's also a renowned novelist, writing under a pen name. How will these two people, working against each other, ultimately discover common ground and a future in a world torn apart by war?

I have to say that Ms. White comes up with some amazing storylines. She highlights the  horrible conditions orphans suffered through in England during the Edwardian period. Although her character is a master thief, she has a heart that wants to provide for her younger charges.

Peter, as a strong Christian, provides the spiritual thread and answers many of Rosemary's questions. While he is supposed to be only several years older than her, I had to keep reminding myself that he wasn't an old man. Perhaps his wisdom contributed to that impression.

As a writer myself, I'm fascinated when a character is an author. His methods for crafting a story resonated with me. I chuckled at how he took observances from real life and incorporated them into his manuscript.

Roseanna M. White has produced another winner. This is the first book of her Shadows Over England  Series. I can't wait to read the other books.

5 Stars all the way!

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. I purchased this book, and all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Do you observe the various characteristics of people and use that knowledge to craft your characters? Please share.

Readers:  Do you like stories that question the status quo and make you think? Please share your thoughts.