Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Launch, Cover Reveal, and Giveaway!

I'm excited to announce the launch of Lena Goldfinch's short story, Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe. I'm looking forward to reading it (review pending)!

About the Short Story

What's a wife to do when her Christmas plans fall apart?

Join Becky and Isaac from The Unexpected Bride in a romantic short story complete with sleigh bells, mistletoe, and sweet holiday surprises.

It's Christmas Eve, and smoke isn't just rising from the chimney—it's pouring from the stove due to yet another batch of burnt biscuits. Becky wants everything to be perfect for her family, but a ruined meal spells disaster for all her high hopes. Will the night end in despair...or with a happy Christmas dream?

Reconnect with your favorite characters from Book 1 of "The Brides" series and learn more about Jem (the hero of Book 2) in Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe. Includes an excerpt from Book 2, The Bartered Bride.

Short Story 1.5 in The Brides Series 

Sweet Historical Western Romance / A Mail-Order Bride Short Story

Now available in Kindle format for only $.99!

Coming Soon—About Book 2, The Bartered Bride

What’s a confirmed widower to do when he finds a bride in need of rescue?

James (“Jem”) Wheeler just wants to get back to the ranch in Colorado and make a fresh start after the loss of his wife. But when his train stops at a town in the middle of nowhere, his 2-year-old daughter runs off—straight to a mute young woman and a puppy. Before he has a chance to reclaim little Mae, he overhears an itinerant preacher preparing to sell off the woman to the highest bidder. It’s an injustice he can’t ignore, no matter the fact that he’d never planned on remarrying.

From a young age, all Annie has wanted is to belong. Abandoned and cast aside by those who should have loved her, and with no voice to protest against the wrongdoings she’s witnessed, her hope is but a faint flicker. When Jem steps into her life, she simply tries to get him to save the puppy—never expecting him to save her too.

Could a bartered bride and a grieving widower ever make a happy home together?

Book Two in The Brides Series

Sweet Historical Western Romance

Coming 2015

Author Bio

LENA GOLDFINCH writes romance and fantasy for adults and teens. She’s a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing historicals or something light and contemporary. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. Visit Lena at www.LenaGoldfinch.blogspot.com.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Deck the halls and bring on the books! One winner will receive mistletoe earrings from the LuvlyMint Etsy shop, as well as a signed paperback copy of The Unexpected Bride, Book 1 in “The Brides” series. This prize is only available to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Three runners-up (can be international) will receive one e-copy each of Sleigh Bells and Mistletoe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Author Interview: Amber Stokes

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Amber Stokes, author of (among other books) the newly-released How a Star Falls. (Bonus: There's more info about the book and the author and even a giveaway at the end!)

What first inspired How a Star Falls?

It was a little impression of an idea—my “star story” that would explore a community of stars personified and follow one star’s journey to earth. But you could say the inspiration behind How a Star Falls as it actually turned out to be (a new-adult contemporary romance novella) came from a combination of my life experiences after college (living at home for two years and moving out for the first time this past summer) and a love for my home county (and dancing). I think it ended up being a way for me to express my feelings from the life transtion and to spend some time remembering things I love about where I grew up.

What are your ‘author quirks’?

Well, I ended up returning to my journal when I first started writing this novella. (I used to write more story scenes by hand when I was in high school, but I’ve become a computer fiend of late.) I didn’t write out the whole story with my pen, as it eventually became faster to straight-out type, but it helped to get the story flowing by avoiding the Internet a bit more and taking advantage of the lunch hour at work.

But none of that really lists any real quirks, does it? I’d say one of my author quirks is incorporating music into my writing process. Singing and/or dancing to certain songs helps me to more deeply feel my characters’ emotions and get into their frames of mind—and it especially helps when I actually include dancing scenes like the ones in How a Star Falls. :)

What do you most want your readers to know?

I want them to know they’re not alone in their frustrations and longings. I want them to be reminded of hope and happiness, even in the midst of those difficult feelings.

About the Book

Sweet NA Contemporary Romance Novella

How does a star fall?
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he'll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it's far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won't stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she's crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can't just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

Author Bio

Amber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. Learn more about Amber’s books at www.SeasonsofaStory.blogspot.com.

Social Media Links

Goodreads: Amber Stokes
Google +:  +AmberStokes


"Perfect for when you want a whimsical, heartwarming read, How a Star Falls is more than an inspirational romance...it's a wink and a smile."

- Joanne Bischof, award winning author of This Quiet Sky

"Amber Stokes has perfectly expressed the challenges of twenty-something life in her sweet contemporary new adult novella, How a Star Falls. Brielle and Derrick's journey reminds us all of the search to find ourselves in the midst of young adulthood. Their story is charming and wistful with emotions we can all relate to experiencing at some point in our lives. It is a tale about letting go in order to find yourself once again while never losing the importance of who you are...and who you can be."

- Cerella Sechrist, author of Gentle Persuasion and The Paris Connection

"Though not typically a reader of contemporary fiction, I found How a Star Falls to be a wonderfully told story of both sweet romance and coming to terms with the fact that even though life doesn't always turn out exactly as we dreamed it would, even our undesirable circumstances can lead to a bright future."
- Jaye L. Knight, author of Ilyon Chronicles

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Share in the excitement of Amber’s new release with a special starry giveaway! You can enter to win one of three prize packs using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to U.S. residents only.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The King’s Scrolls Cover Reveal

Today I'm delighted to be a part of the cover reveal of the soon-to-be released book, The King's Scrolls (Ilyon Chronicles - Book Two). Look for it in early 2015!

About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her websiteblogFacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.


To celebrate her revealing of the cover, Jaye is giving away one of her handcrafted quill pen necklaces and a $5 Amazon gift card! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.


The other younger crete took a swig of his coffee and set his eyes past her. Kyrin peeked over her shoulder at Kaden who, of course, was staring at the dragon. The female creature stared back in mutual interest.

“Go ahead,” the crete said suddenly. “You can touch her. She loves attention, and she’ll only attack if I tell her to.” A sly glint sparkled in his spring-green eyes.

Besides Jace, Kyrin had never seen anyone with such bright and colorful eyes as these cretes.

Kaden looked at him, his brows rising. “You can do that?”

The crete nodded. “Dragons are highly intelligent. You can teach them almost any command. Storm here is young, but she learns fast.”

Kyrin smiled at the delight in her brother’s eyes as he stepped closer to the dragon and ran his hand over her bluish-gray neck scales. A grin split his face.

“She’s so smooth. Kyrin, come and feel it.”

Kyrin stepped to his side and laid her hand on the dragon. The scales were indeed very smooth, reminding her of the polished marble stair-railings in Auréa Palace, but they weren’t cold. Warmth radiated through them. The dragon, still watching them, let out a little rumble, almost like a giant cat’s purr.

“I told you she liked attention,” the crete said, grinning.

Kyrin chuckled and glanced at Jace to see if he wanted to touch the dragon, but he made no move to come closer. This certainly had more to do with the crete than the dragon. He was very fond of any type of animal. She faced the crete again.

“So they can breathe fire?”

“For short bursts, but that’s usually all it takes to deter any threat.”

“That’s incredible,” Kaden breathed.

While he continued admiring Storm, Kyrin observed the dragon’s rider. He appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties—about ten years younger than Captain Darq—though his exact age was impossible to guess. Cretes were said to mature faster than humans, so he could be anywhere from seventeen to twenty-five. He too wore a sleeveless jerkin. Brown tattoos, a little darker than his skin, marked both shoulders. Darq and the other cretes had them as well, but Kyrin hadn’t taken a good look at them until now. This man’s were a complicated pattern of spirals and dots, but the shape of a fox stood out in the center of his right shoulder.

Though she tried to be discreet, he must have caught her studying him and suddenly extended his hand to her. “I’m Talas, by the way. Talas Folkan of the Fox Clan.”

To see the other blogs participating and to visit the author's blog, click here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

My New Favorite Site

One of them, anyway.

It's exciting to find a new resource for covers and book layouts, and Creative Market is exactly that. They have fonts, photos, graphics, templates, illustrations, fonts, web themes, and Photoshop add-ons (brushes, actions, layer styles, &c.).

The prices are reasonable, and the use license is generous - the purchase of one license gives you (but only you, of course) access to the item for as many commercial or personal projects as you'd like.

Here are some products I've been eyeing...

By the way, I should tell you I enjoyed the site so much that I signed up as a partner - all links included here and in future posts are affiliate.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blog Train: Margaret Weston

Today, I'm delighted to participate in the Indie Christian Authors blog train!

What's a blog train? Blogs are cars, and the train is what links us together. The author of the first blog posts about the next, and that continues until the final author posts about the first.

It's a great way to get to know indie authors you may not have heard of (or get to know them better).

What is Indie Christian Authors (ICA)? ICA is a Facebook group for Christian authors. It's one of my favorite groups, and I'm grateful to be one of the admins. Although our main focus is indie (independent / self-published) authors, we also welcome those who have gone (or are going) the traditional route, and those (like me) who fall somewhere in between and use a nontraditional publisher. Our goal is to be a place of support and advice for authors in every stage. You are very welcome to join us!

I have the honor of hosting nonfiction author Margaret Weston.

Tell us about the first book you published. Brief Description, target audience, etc…

This was ‘How do I know I know God?’ I wrote it because I wanted my friends to know Jesus! I have been asked questions by people who don’t believe in God or the Bible, and often felt I didn’t answer them very well. So one day I thought I would write down as many of the questions I could remember that people had asked me, and those I had asked others, about God, the Bible and Christianity. Then I attempted to answer from my own experience and understanding. My idea was that if anyone then asked me anything, I could simply hand over my sheet of ‘questions and answers’!

However, once I had done this I had so much material that I decided to put it in the form of a book. I thought this would be easier to read. Now I could point people to the book when they asked questions in the future! I hoped that maybe a few of my friends would buy it, and that would be the end of the matter.

However, to my absolute amazement, when I used the KDP free promotion tool a couple of months after publishing the book, about 600 people from many different parts of the world downloaded it! I couldn’t believe it. And as I had included an email contact address, people were writing to me with comments and more questions.

So, I then seriously considered having it published. I wrote to a few traditional publishers and two were interested. However, both wanted me to make significant changes, which I was not prepared to do. I then discovered that I could publish via the ‘indie’ route and this has proved to be the perfect solution. I am in control of what I write and what I do, and all the money I make goes to Tearfund – a wonderful Christian charity releasing people from material and spiritual poverty all over the world – www.tearfund.org

What or who inspires you to write? Is there a “real person” you pattern either your protagonist or antagonist after?

Well I suppose it is my friends who inspire me to write because I want to tell them about Jesus! All my books are in a question and answer format because that’s how it all started. The books use real questions from real persons – although obviously no names are given. 

Where do you want to be in your writing career five years from now?

I have no idea! I didn’t plan where I am today and I have no plan for the next five years. All I want to do is to try and do what God wants me to do – whatever that is. After I wrote the first book the others were a continuation of the same conversation. People contacted me with other questions which led to the next two books – ‘How do I know what God wants me to do?’ and then ‘How do I know God answers prayer?’ I don’t have another book in this series planned at the moment, but this may change!

What social media do you use? Which is your favorite and/or most productive? Why?

I put links on facebook and my own website but I don’t try and get followers. I don’t want people to follow me, I want them to follow Jesus!

I have a huge admiration for authors like John Bunyan, Andrew Murray and A W Tozer and have learned so much from reading many of their books. Some people have said my books have a flavour of Socrates, but I’m not too sure about that!

What book project/s are you working on right now? 

At the moment I am concentrating on my Bible Studies – the BSBP series – Bible Studies for Busy People. I have been writing these for my Ladies Group for many years and then I discovered other churches were using them. There seems to be a demand for these short and basic Bible Studies. They suit people who don’t have much time to sit and study the Bible, and yet who want to know more about it. I published three Bible Studies and once again was amazed that they began to sell in many places in the world. I have published eight of these now and plan to continue. This could take me the rest of my life if I cover the entire Bible!!

Margaret's Latest Book 

“If you have questions about prayer, or if you feel that sometimes God does not answer your prayers, then this book is for you!”

Margaret is on Facebook

Her website: www.howdoiknowbooks.com

Next up: Margaret Weston will share about Elinor Ferrars on her blog, How Do I Know Books!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Giveaway: Two Days Left!

Two days left to enter the Book Lovers' Giveaways!

Many entries can be done with a simple Twitter, Facebook, blog, or Pinterest post. I finished this entire post (worth 12 entries!) in just a little over an hour.

Even better? One person could win all three giveaways - a combined total of 30% off, $30 in gift cards, and all five of my ebooks (plus a sneak peek at my WIP, since I don't have a sixth book to give)!

The more you do, the better chance you have of winning, but even just one entry could get you a prize (that's the beauty of raffles).


3. Write to an author whose books you enjoy: I wrote to Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, author of Conquering your Goliaths (among others), to let her know how much I enjoyed her audiobook.

4. Write a book review: I reviewed Reasons My Kid Is Crying by Greg Pembroke.

5. Check out an indie author whose books you haven't read yet: I got an ebook version of David Bergsland's newest, Designing ePUBs With InDesign.

6. Organize your bookshelf.
My newly-organized (little) shelf of books:


1. Create a new cover for a book you love. I picked Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

2. Paint a scene from a book. Anne's unpleasant hair-dying experience from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. "She said it would be a beautiful, raven black!"

(I'm not an artist, so I "cheated" with Photoshop and stock photos. Feel free to do the same!)

Original artwork by Morgan LaRue

3. Rewrite a famous book scene: Lucy discovering Narnia in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Lucy stepped into the cold, wishing she had thought to bring her coat. But how would I have known? I certainly didn't expect it to be winter here when I was just playing in the warm sun! The door she'd gone through was the same one she had come out of an hour before, wasn't it?
Her curiosity grew as her eyes focused upon a man with furry legs. I would give my left shoe to have a snowsuit like his! Maybe he'd accept it, too, since he didn't seem to have any shoes of his own.
Are those...hooves?
4. Draw a character who interests you: Foehn from Toxic by Vicki V. Lucas.
(Again, I "cheated.")

(Yes, it's thilly.)

5. Create a "movie" poster based on a book: When It Rains by C.M. Stewart isn't yet released, but I've had a chance to get to know her characters and her writing style, and I know it will be wonderful!

6. Write a newspaper article about a book you loved or hated. Treat it like a news release.
Debut author makes a big splash! Monster by Mirriam Neal arrived in online stores everywhere on June 30th, 2013. Already a fan favorite with at least one award to its name, this is sure to be a classic. Get your copy today! Just $3.99 on the Kindle.
8. Are there any author signings happening in your area? On September 7th, there is a book signing for Nathan Johnson's book, Legendary Locals of Pine City. I hadn't heard of this book or author before, but I'm intrigued!

9. Act out a scene from your favorite book - on your own or with friends. I acted out a scene from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night when I was in England. Yes, this was years ago. It still counts! (The same goes for you, of course.)

(That's me on the far right, playing Viola.)

I have just two entries left! (Go on a book tour and create a fort with your books.) I can't promise they'll be done before the giveaways end, but they will be done soon!

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Easy #4, plus Medium #1 and 2


4. My modern-day version of Edith Adelon from The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott. (If you haven't read that book, I highly recommend it! It's very sweet.)

Created with http://www.dolldivine.com/mega-winter-fashion.php


1. I requested Monster by Mirriam Neal at my local library.

2. Favorite book characters...and why:

  • Mr. Tilney (Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen)
    • He reads novels, is witty, and is altogether charming. What's not to like?
  • Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery)
    • She's so unpredictably quirky and fun! The scrapes she gets into are humorous but filled with real emotion. Plus, she loves books.
  • Foehn (Toxic by Vicki V. Lucas)
    • Such a sweet, flawed-but-trying character. I just love him!
  • Freckles (Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter)
    • He's hard working and honest, and I can't think of two better traits. Could be considered too perfect, but it's never bothered me. (I've read Freckles multiple times.)
  • Klaus (A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket)
    • What reader doesn't relate to an avid book lover like Klaus? I also love the relationship he has with his siblings and the way they combine their strengths to work together.
  • Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)
    • I love how spunky she is! She's also very realistic and her growth as a character is clear.
  • Edith Adelon (The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott)
    • She's almost too perfect, but her sweet nature and kindness to everyone around her - especially considering her circumstances - won me over.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Post: Ways to Identify and Deal with Bullying

Ways to Identify and Deal with Bullying

“Hey Shorty, did you shrink over the summer?” Kids can be really mean. When my (Becky) youngest son returned to middle school in September for the start of seventh grade, it seemed everyone grew…except him.       

Bullying behavior is beyond normal conflict; it is contempt and cruelty. It is more than teasing. It is repetitive and unwanted.

The idea is to dehumanize and ostracize the targeted individual. Surprisingly, bullying can begin as early as age five, the age when most youngsters begin kindergarten.

The bully’s goal is usually to exert control or build him or herself up by putting another down. When acting without impunity, the aggression intensifies.

Bullying must not be ignored.

There are typically four types of bullying: social, sexual, physical, and cyber. Verbal, the most common characteristic of social bullying, includes name-calling, teasing, spreading rumors, and gossiping. Also actions such as intentionally leaving people out and breaking up friendships are considered social bullying. Girls are especially masterful in this realm. 

Boys have the corner of the market on physical bullying but girls surprisingly have an isle in the store, as well. This type of bullying usually begins in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and thankfully declines in high school.

The fourth category, cyber bullying, is the most insidious. Younger and younger kids are being exposed to this form of ridicule. Cyber-attacks are especially cruel because the perpetrator is often anonymous and its effects are far reaching. The Internet, mobile phones, and other digital technologies become powerful weapons in a cyber-meanie’s hands. This form can be a catalyst for the other three kinds of bullying.

Here are six signs your child may exhibit if he or she is a victim of bullying:
            • Child is alone a lot.
            • Child refuses to attend school, school events.
            • Child complains of excessive aches and pains: head, stomach, etc.
            • Child withdraws from friends, family, and even siblings.
            • Child exhibits uncharacteristic outbursts.
            • Child’s grades drop and interests change.

Conversation can be an indicator something is amiss.
Some kids may test the waters by saying, “Brooke wasn’t very nice to me today,” or “Tommy has to always be first.” Often kids give some information that cloaks clues of potential bullying. Many will downplay an event. Almost 60% of kids never tell their parents about their pain because it’s humiliating for a child to admit being a victim of his or her peers to a parent.

If you observe warnings or feel concerned due to a child’s comment, start a conversation by using general topics with questions like: 
            • Are there bullies in your school?
            • Who do the bullies usually pick on?
            • Have you ever seen it happen? What did you do?
            • How do those kids who bully others treat you?

Listen, be aware, and empathize. Let your child know you are on his team and will never desert him. When talking about the circumstances, keep your own emotions in check (This is really difficult). Reinforce that being bullied is not his fault. Tell your child you’re glad he trusted you with this sensitive information. Share a time you were picked on to remove the loneliness factor and to normalize child’s situation and feelings. Avoid minimalizing the situation.

This is a big deal.

When attempting to solve this heart-breaking problem, respectfully ask if he wants your help. Younger kids typically need more adult intervention. Older kids may prefer to handle the issue themselves. If you have your tween’s permission, call the school to learn the bullying procedures, find out the professional with whom to speak, and seek assistance in determining the next and proper course of action.

For the boys and girls who choose to deal with this tough situation on their own, empower them with a plan to “get their power back.”
• Practice exit lines to take the bully’s control away, “I’m not interested in being teased today.” Then walk away.
• Refrain from further abuse that could be motivated by the victim’s tears or emotional outburst. These responses are just fodder for the bully’s hostility.
• Plan an escape route. 
• Respond with humor. This disarms the bully. 
• Consider the source. Bullies have usually been bullied themselves.
• Encourage or assist child to be his own advocate to go to an authority figure. 
• Pray for the bully. (Not easy to do.)

It’s possible the circumstances are too difficult to manage. Your child may need to switch classrooms or schools. This feels unfair. The bully should be the one removed but usually this is not what happens.

At home totally remove, limit, or physically move technology to a common area until things cool off. Avoid having your son or daughter alone in his or her bedroom, obsessing over Facebook comments or Twitter tweets. Isolation combined with peer ridicule has scary potential. Continue to pay close attention to your child’s emotional, mental, and physical state. Keep in mind counseling may be necessary.

Help your child through this difficult time by encouraging a new hobby or extra-curricular activity. Support your child in seeking and fostering fresh relationships. Make home a safe-haven.
Most importantly, pray with and for your child.

Share with your child that even the saints in the Bible were bullied. Joseph was bullied by his brothers and David by Saul. But both victims rose up to be strong leaders. Remind your child God is the One who says that he is: precious, valuable, and created for a purpose. Encourage your child to rely on the Holy Spirit for the courage to persevere and tackle the hard stuff in life (even in dealing with a bully).

If you find your child is a victim of bullying, we are sorry for the pain you and your young one are experiencing. We hope the identifiers and strategies provided prove to be helpful. And know, with confidence, God is with you and your child.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Lori Wildenberg & Becky Danielson

Lori & Becky are licensed parent and family educators and cofounders of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. Their book, Raising Little Kids with Big Love has just been released and their second book in the series, Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love is soon to be released. If this post was a blessing to you, you can find more great faith-based and easily applicable tips and information in their books which can be found on Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com.

Their newest book:

My #3

A book I own but haven't read yet: All the Wrong Questions, book 1 by Lemony Snicket.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My #2

Just two weeks left to enter the Rivershore drawing!http://www.rivershorebooks.com/book-lovers-day-drawing.html
My #2: I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It's so good!#rivershorebooks

Monday, August 11, 2014

My #1...

Because I would rarely ask others to do something I'm unwilling to do myself, I will be participating in the list of 20 things to do on Book Lovers' Day (or...any day). I hope you'll join me!
Today I'm reading "If One Falls" by Elaine Baldwin and drinking - what else? - coffee. What about you?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

20 Ways to Celebrate Book Lovers' Day (Bonus: A Giveaway!)

Today (August 9th) is Book Lovers' Day!

To celebrate, Rivershore Books is holding three drawings! Entries close on August 31st.

The following 20 ways to spend Book Lovers' Day have been divided by difficulty. The higher the difficulty, the bigger the prize!

Easy To Do
  1. Curl up with a book and your favorite drink.
  2. Reread your favorite classic. (My choice: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.)
  3. Find a book you own but haven't read yet.
  4. Using www.dolldivine.com or something similar, create a "doll" of your favorite character - or ten!

Medium Difficulty
  1. Visit the library. Put in a request for a book they haven't heard of. (See suggestions in #5 if you're not sure what to recommend.)
  2. Make a list of your favorite book characters and what you like about them.
  3. Write to an author whose books you enjoy. Most author's emails can be found by a simple web search, and fan mail is always appreciated.
  4. Write a book review. They are valuable to both readers and authors!
  5. Check out an indie author whose books you haven't read yet. (Not sure who to read? Mirriam Neal, Vicki V. Lucas, LA Ramsey, Elizabeth Ender, and any of our Rivershore authors are great!)
  6. Organize your bookshelf (or, if you're like me, bookshelves).

Expert Book Lover
  1. Create a new cover for a book you love. (Don't have Photoshop? Gimp is free and works very well.)
  2. Paint a scene from a book.
  3. Rewrite a famous book scene.
  4. Draw a character who interests you.
  5. Create a "movie" poster based on a book.
  6. Write a newspaper article about a book you loved or hated. Treat it like a news release. ("Extra; extra! Read all about it! Reader enjoyed new novel by an up-and-coming author!")
  7. Go on a book tour. There are iconic scenes in almost any book: recreate those in your area. Double the fun: Film it! Send your video to me (Jansina@rivershorebooks.com) and I may post it on the Rivershore blog in the future.
  8. Are there any author signings happening in your area? Find one to go to - whether you've heard of the author or not. It could be how you discover your next favorite read!
  9. Act out a scene from your favorite book - on your own or with friends.
  10. Create a fort with your books. (Suggestion: Use a sheet as a roof to avoid books falling on you.)

Important But Boring Info

To enter: On Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (your choice!), post a photo, video, or description of what you did with #rivershorebooks or www.rivershorebooks.com somewhere within the post.*

Copy the URL of your post, and enter it in the corresponding Rafflecopter giveaway!

Winners will be announced on September 1st! Some entries may be included on the Rivershore blog throughout the month. Please email me (Jansina@rivershorebooks.com) if you don't want yours shared.

*Not applicable for book reviews.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Why I Write

Thanks to Virginia Ripple for inviting me to this three-question blog tour!

What am I working on?

Tomatoes Don’t Judge is my current work in progress. It’s a novel about a girl who meets a boy and falls in love...with his family. She comes from a family that neglects her, so being involved in daily things (i.e., planting tomatoes) is huge.

The prequel-of-sorts to Tomatoes is called Potatoes Still Bruise. It’s the main character’s journal from her early years. Just like a small bruise can affect the entire potato, Kara's scars have an effect on the way she views the world.

Not the actual cover; these were made by a friend using an actress who fits the main character - Britt Robertson. Aren't they cute?

While this book is first chronologically, I think it makes more sense to read Tomatoes before it, so it's on the back burner for now. 

Why do I write what I do?

I can’t remember a time I didn’t love words. When I was younger, I would tell stories verbally—usually things that had happened to friends (or, more often, fictional characters from books, movies, or Adventures in Odyssey). It was a natural progression to writing after that.

When I was a preteen I discovered the "Inspirational Romance" genre, and for a while, I was hooked. After reading several of these books, though, the stories seemed to mesh together. They didn't feel unique or believable to me anymore. I saw a void, and I wanted to fill it: (hopefully) realistic romance for Christian young adults.

I sometimes bring in tougher subjects like abuse because they're important to talk about.

My short stories are thilly and intended to induce laughter - because that's important, too.

One of my thilly stories.

What is my writing process?

To be honest, I don't have one. Where I write changes all the time. My regular spot is in the living room, with my laptop and some coffee. When I start to get stuck or distracted, I’ll move to my room, head outside, go to a coffee shop, or switch to a notebook. I also have a typewriter I’ll sometimes use.

One thing that doesn't work for me is scheduling when I write. I do make a point to write something creative every day. It doesn’t matter if it happens at 7 a.m. or midnight. Sometimes it’s thousands of words, and sometimes it’s under a hundred. Any writing is a success.

My first drafts tend to go quickly (I'm usually done within a month - thanks, NaNoWriMo!). I give myself a few months away from the story, then take between six months to a year to edit. Yes, I'm slow. I also consume lots of coffee.

Who is up next on the tour?

You are!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: Toxic by Vicki V. Lucas

Normally, I only share my book reviews on my publishing blog. I'm making an exception in this case, though, because I wanted to let you know about this special book. In the interest of full disclosure, the author is an online friend. I like to think that doesn't paint my opinion of her writing, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.

I was given an ebook copy of Toxic for this review. As I neared the end, I asked the author if I could buy signed copies of both this book and its sequel. I have a small collection of signed books and knew this was a set I wanted to add to it.

One of the main things that drew me into the story was the way Lucas introduces the characters. Foehn is a special favorite of mine - I love how the author gave a personality to something normally not seen as sentient.

The main characters are both flawed and virtuous, brave and deceptive, naïve and wise. There is the perfect balance of "good" and "bad" traits, which makes the characters easy to relate to and realistic. (Realistic is my goal as a writer, so that's the highest compliment I know how to give.)

There is less of a balance when it comes to the evil characters - I can't think of many redeeming qualities in them. This works well within the story, though. There is a firm distinction between good and evil; no gray areas. I appreciated this aspect.

That isn't to say that it's always clear who the evil characters are. In some cases, things are revealed to the reader around the same time they're revealed to the characters. More than once I found myself questioning the true motives behind the character's actions and wondering if my first assumptions were incorrect. This was brilliantly done.

The good vs. evil also comes through in the author's use of magic within the story. I'm one of those readers who sometimes objects to magic in a story, but Lucas portrayed it well and made it very clear who the magic was coming from.

The narrative jumps in and out of several different characters' perspectives, which could be confusing if it wasn't handled as well as it is. Between the picture before each switch in narrator (a different picture for each character) and the unique "voice" of each character, it was always clear whose perspective was being shown. Seeing the situations through different eyes added a deeper understanding to the story.

The book is long - over 400 pages - but it never felt like too much. The plot kept me interested till the end, and beyond. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Rancid, and I'm sure will read this book again.

I was given a copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Tour: A Year in Prayer with Jesus

Welcome to the sixth stop on Author Marilynn Dawson's virtual book tour for her soon-to-be-released book, “A Year in Prayer With Jesus”.  Today we are interviewing Marilynn about her new book.

What have you written to date?
So far, I've written one series, "Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey", a grad gift, "Mom's Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate", an e-book, "Practical Thoughts on Becoming an Author", and my latest book, "Dressed for Eternity", which was released back in February.

What are you working on now?
My next book in the works is called "A Year in Prayer With Jesus" where the readers joins me in praying The Lord's Prayer as a prayer outline for 365 days.

How does that work?
Well, I've broken the Lord's Prayer down into 7 points in an outline, and have taken each point as a principle of prayer when coming before God the Father in relationship as His child.  As a result, every single point for the entire year has it's own Scripture verse, adding up to 2,555 verses in total, and each point also has it's own prayer prompt, with room for the reader to add their own.

Is each month dated?  As in - Monday, January 15th?
No.  Each day in the guide is numbered, but not dated so that a person can begin the prayer guide at any point in the year and not be bogged down by the realization that they jumped in late.  There is no such thing as late with this guide.  Your 365 days begin whenever you wish them to.  So a reader could begin on September 1st and go for 365 days while someone else could begin in October and go for the full 365 days.

My dream is to get 365 people to pick up the book and have each of them start on a different day.  So one person would start Day One on say September 1st, while the 365th person would start Day One August 30th of the following year.  Doing it this way would mean that various prayer points covering various people groups, missions organizations, nations, etc. would then be covered every single day for an entire year!  The thought gets me a bit excited actually!

Where can people find you online?
I'm all over the place online.  I'm sure I haven't hit everywhere I could be, but this is my current list:

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/songdovebooks/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10989028-marilynn-dawson
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/search/books?Keywords=Marilynn%20Dawson
Freado: http://www.freado.com/users/34318/marilynn-dawson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/songdoveMD
Chapters: http://community.indigo.ca/profile/Marilynn-Dawson/557354.html
Barnes & Noble: http://my.barnesandnoble.com/songdove-profile/?showVisitorView=1
Librarything: https://www.librarything.com/profile/songdove
Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/songdove
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Marilynn.Dawson.Author?ref=hl
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/songdovemd
Google+: https://www.google.com/+MarilynnDawsonAuthor
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/MarilynnDawson
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marilynndawsonauthor
Authorsdb: http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/3068-marilynn-dawson
Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/referral/songdove
Deeper Shopping: http://www.deepershopping.com/marilynn-l-dawson/homepage.html

Click this link here to get your twelfth single day prayer guide outline:

Be sure to stop by Marilynn's blog (http://songdove.fa-ct.com/wordpress-mu/songdovemusing) on July 17th for your next single day prayer guide free download.  Be sure to sign up for her monthly newsletter for yet another free gift!  Don't you just love FREE?

In addition to these free downloads, Marilynn is giving away a complete one-month sample of her next book via the rafflecopter app below.