Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gina Welborn Book Recommendations by Cheryl Wyatt

Good morning everyone! Today, I'd love to share about two new releases from a wonderful gal I work with at the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. We have a ton of fun-it hardly seems like work. :-) She is a great person and writer. Her caring, dry-wit-funny, loyal, dependable, hardworking personality and faith come through her writing and are evident in her characters. You won't want to miss these stories, available now, wherever books are sold.




The first book is a four-story anthology titled Austen in Austin: Volume 1 (WhiteFire Publishing - January 15, 2016) print and ebook
Gina's story is titled If I Loved You Less (ebook only)

 A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor. Read Austen in Austin: Volume 1! #JaneAusten #romance http://bit.ly/1K9xroz











 



Next up, Gina has a story included in a multi-author anthology from Barbour.  Nine authors demonstrate the power of faith within the vows of marriage. Read Lassoed by Marriage!




Learn more about Gina and her books here:
 WEBSITE     www.ginawelborn.com
 TEAM BLOG     www.inkwellinspirations.com

Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by! 

Cheryl Wyatt 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hunt for Treasure with Me!


by Elizabeth Goddard


Yes, we’re nearing the end of January and likely you’ve already made those resolutions if you’re the type to make them. Then there are those who believe that God gives them a scripture or a word for the year.



I didn’t make any resolutions because I already have too much to do. You see, I’m going through a tremendous struggle now. Something I never could have imagined even with a mind that is always thinking about the worst-case scenarios—for my books, that is. But sometimes life hits you hard, blindsiding you. That has certainly happened for my family and me.



The second half of last year and continuing on into this new year, I have been thinking about the one thing I would choose, if I could choose anything, change anything.



I would love the ability to have joy in the midst of any circumstance. No matter what life threw at me, I would have that deep abiding joy and peace that can’t be explained.



I recently read an article that claimed the generations of the eighties and nineties were consumed with building wealth— working toward achieving the American dream. But the millennials are more interested in finding balance in life that will bring a deeper sense of what’s important. Health, family and relationships, a spiritual life. And peace.



Joy.




This is good news. It means more people are searching for life’s deeper meaning, and hopefully they will find the Answer. The Truth.



Finding that answer is like digging for a treasure and once you find it, you must hold it close and never let it go. Maybe you’ve figured out by now that my word for the year is joy. But what IS joy exactly and where do I find it? How do I keep it? There are many verses in the Bible that talk about joy—what it is, where to find it, how to keep it.



So this year, I’m going on a treasure hunt to learn everything I can about joy. Perhaps I’ll post when I’ve unearthed something worth sharing.

If you think you could use more joy in your life, you can go on the treasure hunt with me and we can share here together. Think of it as an adventure! 



In the meantime, I’ll start us off with a prayer. Lord, open the eyes of our hearts and minds. Your word says if we call to you, that you will answer and tell us great and unsearchable things that we didn’t know. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Many blessings!
Beth
----
Join the next Mountain Cove adventure! TAILSPIN releases in April. Pre-order you copy today! 


DIVING INTO DANGER 
Nothing can stop Sylvie Masters from scuba diving to find her mother's downed plane—except possibly the hit man determined to keep the truth from surfacing. When brave bush pilot Will Pierson comes to her rescue, she knows she can still reach her goal, but she needs his help. Will wants answers about the crash, too, especially since his mother was the missing plane's pilot. He'll be the hero Sylvie needs, but can he ever trust her? Sylvie is shrouded in secrets that keep leading her back to Mountain Cove. Secrets someone will kill for. Will may protect her, yet no one can persuade her to end her search…not even a killer. 
Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.














Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bring on the reviews!!!

Hi all, MaryLu here!

If you're reading this post, then you are probably an avid reader. Me too!  I love books!  I love story in any form, book, movie, TV, or just someone telling me a story. In fact, most days I have a complete story world happening in my head. Just ask my husband. For me, there's nothing better than flipping open a book or my IPAD and entering another world.  But how many of us, myself included, take the time to post a review online for a book we really loved?

I've been a published author for over ten years now, and I can honestly say that reviews matter!  Regardless of what "they" say, potential buyers look at book reviews. Some may just look at the overall rating, others may take time to browse through the written reviews, while some read every review on a book. Regardless, most people will decide to buy a book based on reviews

Retail reviews, such as those found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retail sites, are the most important reviews in today’s environment. —Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

43% will wait to purchase a book if they see “low” star ratings, 38% will still try a low-starred book if they like the cover and blurb, 9% rely heavily on the stars in a review, and 11% say starred reviews are not important at all. —Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

This is a double-edged sword for most authors because, let's face it, reviews can be so subjective! What's to stop a reviewer who has a personal vendetta against an author from trashing that author just to be mean? Also, heard of Amazon Trolls? They are people who go around posting bad reviews on books they've never even read. I've had a few of those myself. I've also had reviewers who get offended at the Christian message in my books leave horrible reviews. These reviews don't just slam my book, but have attacked me personally.

Yet....despite all of that, good reviews sell books.  Yet so few readers take the time to leave them. Current estimates say that only 1 in 1000 readers will leave a review. What gives?  I've talked to many readers and most of them give one of the following reasons:

  • They don't have time  (It actually only takes 5 minutes to write a review)
  • They don't feel qualified to write anything  (No English comp degree required. Just tell the truth)
  • They didn't like the book (Okay, I get this one!)
  • They don't know how (Ask for help. Ask the author to help! I'm sure they will)

Reasons for a reader to take the time to write a review


  • More reviews on a book make it more visible on sites and enable more people to find the book
  • Were you blessed by the book? Why not bless the author in return?
  • The more good reviews the author has, the more they will sell and the more they will be able to write more books. This is the key. If you want to read more books by a particular author, do them a favor and write a good review! Writing is a business and we have to make enough money to keep writing! 
Find me at Website  Facebook 

What are your thoughts?


.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What I'm reading: A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger

A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger

Camy here! This is one of the more entertaining Regency romances I’ve read from Barbara Metzger (although I haven’t read all her books yet by any means). Ms. Metzger’s novels are always funny and a little wacky, but this one was hilarious to me. I like books with dogs in them, so if you’re a dog lover, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

SPOILED AND UNGOVERNED, FITZ WAS NOT A SUITABLE COMPANION FOR A LADY OF FASHION....

And certainly no proper chaperon. Fitz begged to disagree--after all, a dog was a true Incomparable as far as friendship, loyalty, and protection--and soon lovely Miss Sonia was plucked by her rusticated roots and packed off, dog and all, to London. Perhaps there she would find a husband to tame her free-spirited ways--and keep her out of trouble.

Sonia, however, always had a soft spot for the underdog, and Darius Conover was such a fellow. Scorned by society for a scandalous deed, Conover was not redeemed even by his heroics in battle. Until he met Sonia and Fitz, two passionate souls undaunted by even the most odious circumstances--and decidedly determined to undo the shackles binding his heart.

Camy here: Doesn’t that sound like an adorable story premise? Anyway, if you pick this one up, let me know how you enjoy it! If you buy the Kindle version, you can also buy the audiobook version at the same time for only $1.99.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Finding things to love in ourselves

Hi Everyone, Danica Favorite here, and I wanted to share something that's been on my heart for a while. I recently read an article that said yesterday was the day most people give up on their New Year's resolutions. Wow! It's hard to imagine that when people make all these resolutions, they give up on day 17 of 365 (or 366, as this year has!). And yet, I kind of think it's okay.

So many people's resolutions are about changing things about themselves, and even though I think we all have room to grow, I also wonder, how many of us have learned to love ourselves as we are? A few years ago, I was praying about my weight loss journey, and how, no matter what I did, those 20 pounds the doctor insists I need to lose weren't coming off. As I was praying, I felt God asking me if I could love the body He gave me. I started working on loving myself, loving my body, and being grateful for what I have. A funny thing happened in that process. I lost weight. I didn't become model-thin, or have one of those bodies that people envy, but my clothes started fitting better, and I started to feel better.

When I stopped complaining about everything that was wrong with my body, the changes I'd been hoping for came about all by themselves! 


I've read in several different places that our subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie, and it doesn't understand negatives. So when you keep telling yourself, "I am so fat," or "I won't overeat this time," your subconscious mind directs your body to make it true. You get fatter, because that's what you've been telling yourself. You overeat because your subconscious mind doesn't hear the won't. I'm fascinated by the mind because so many of the battles we face are mental. Yet so many of those mental battles come from a spiritual issue.

Can you love the body God gave you, even if it's not the body you want? Can you find a way to be grateful for the flaws within you that you desperately want you to change? 


Lately I've been depressed by some minor health issues that have forced some lifestyle changes that I don't like. As I was yet again mentally grumbling about it, I remembered the lesson I learned with my weight loss. How can I still love myself, love my body, and be grateful for what I have, even in the midst of a lot of things I don't want? I spend so much time focused on what I don't want, that my brain is going into overdrive making those bad things continue to happen, and all the while, God is asking me, "Can you just be satisfied with what you have?"

So today I am thanking God. I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for the intelligence He put into my body. I am grateful for all the things my body CAN do. I am grateful for all the ways I feel good. Most importantly, I am grateful for the way God uses these setbacks as an invitation for more intimacy with Him.

Are there things in me that need to change? Absolutely! But instead of making resolutions I'm not going to keep or focusing on all the bad things in me, I'm choosing to love myself- the good, the bad, the ugly, and even those extra pounds- and spend time thanking God for all the wonderful things He has created in me.

About Danica:


A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.
You can connect with Danica at the following places:
Website: http://www.danicafavorite.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danicafavorite
Instagram: https://instagram.com/danicafavorite/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanicaFavoriteAuthor

Where do you need to love yourself, instead of beating yourself up?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

COVER EVOLUTION

I love sharing my cover evolutions on my website and blog and thought it would be fun to share with CRRC readers. So here we go...


My cover designer has done it again--putting faces to my stories, this time the second book in The Feud series, BARON OF EMBERLY, releasing December, 2015.

PART I: A Fun Tale Of Finding Baron Magnus Verdun ~ After digging through stock photo sites in search of the perfect model to represent my hero, I  happened upon Jason Aaron Baca. And now you may be wondering how I know his name. Fun tale. After the cover of BARON OF EMBERLY was finalized, and well before its cover reveal, I received an email from Jason. He had seen another of my Cover Evolution posts and wanted to know the name of my cover designer. Happily, I revealed the amazing talent behind my covers--more happily, I surprised him with a sneak peek of him in the role of Magnus Verdun. So here is pre-Magnus, kilt and all.


PART II: Putting A Face On Lady Thomasin de Arell ~ Thomasin presented something of a challenge. She's no great beauty like Lady Elianor or Lady Quintin, but finally the young lady in my head found her match in this model. And, yes, the original Magnus and Thomasin have a Scottish thing going on, but if anyone can fix that, it's my cover designer.

SCO0665 Hot damn 2

PART III: Positioning Magnus and Thomasin ~ All righty, then. Here's the first mock up, using the same format as the first book in the series, BARON OF GODSMERE, and a similar background (this time, the swirling banner is blue to represent the House of Verdun). Yep, these two models make a nice couple. Er, but as my oldest son noted, let's not have Magnus checking out Thomasin's backside.

BOEMockup3

PART IV: Getting Down To Details ~ It definitely works better having Magnus face this direction. So, now the sword. Let's turn it down. Next, put some space between Magnus and Thomasin to see more of the sword and banner dividing them. A pity we have to toss out the kilt, but Magnus is far more comfortable in 14th-century armor, and how about making the drape over his shoulder silver-gray? I like Thomasin's gown, but the color clashes with the banner's royal blue. What do you think about...red. Definitely red (you'll see why, readers). And how about banner blue for her plaid cloak. Hair wise, Thomasin's is dark blond.

BOEMock4

PART V: Perfecting The Details ~ Downward-facing sword is good, as is the distance between hero and heroine. Love the armor--yummy alternative to the kilt--and the silver-gray drape is perfect. Red looks lovely on Thomasin, and I like the blue cloak, but is that too much blue? Let's try it in the color of Magnus's drape. Great shade of blond for Thomasin, and look at that windswept style! Oh, mustn't forget her eyes are intense blue. Note: Emberley corrected to Emberly with two e's.

BOEBlue

PART VI: Blue/Silver-Gray/Gold Cloak ~ The silver-gray cloak works, but I'm thinking a color that will lighten up the cover overall. A gold similar to the background so we're not introducing another color? Nice blue eyes.

proof3 copy

PART VII: Ta Da! ~ The finalized BARON OF EMBERLY!

emberly_ebook

PART VIII: And Then There Were Two ~ BARON OF GODSMERE, meet BARON OF EMBERLY. Can't wait for both of you to meet BARON OF BLACKWOOD.

godsmere_ebook           emberly_ebook

If you'd like to view cover evolutions for BARON OF GODSMERE and other Tamara Leigh novels, visit: www.tamaraleigh.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Being Instead of Doing...

By Patricia Bradley

“But Martha was distracted…And Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part…” Luke 10:40—42
Most mornings I hit the floor running with a million things on my to-do list. I have a deadline, blogs to write, emails to check, messages to tweet, Facebook to check, appointments to keep, people to take care of and of course, I have to find time to get in the pottery studio…people who know me say I’m the busiest person they know.

Sometimes I remind myself of a juggler trying to keep all the balls in the air.

I’m not saying all the things I do aren’t worthy activities. They are, just as Martha’s activities were, but I’m convinced the greatest enemies of God’s best for my life are the good things I’m involved in.

Just like Martha, I get so busy I lose sight of what’s most important. I mean, with Martha, JESUS was in the house, and what is she doing? 

Cleaning, cooking, fretting. You say, well someone had to cook the meal. Really? You think Jesus couldn't take a couple of fish and pieces of bread and everyone have a wonderful meal.

I want to be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. I want to camp out in His presence and feel His love, doing that best thing He has planned for me—writing the story He’s given me. I want to be into being instead of always doing. And the only way to do that is to STOP:

Sit quietly in His presence…
Take time to listen to Him…
Open my ears instead of my mouth…
Pray for His guidance and seek His best for my life…

…AGAIN.

You see, I’ve been here before. Burned out and frazzled because I took on one more thing…

“Can you…?”
“Sure, no problem.”


And each good thing I agreed to do chips away at my quiet time as well as my writing time. I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that He’s given me a task to complete, and I can’t finish it if I don’t choose that best part.

How about you? Have you been here? Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

One thing before I go... Harlequin is test marketing the line I write for--Heartwarming, and putting them in Walmart Stores. If readers buy them they will be available all the time. 

Heartwarming titles are clean, sweet romances, so pick up one of this month's offerings! And they are 35% off!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Family Friendly Movies with Morals!

Hi  Everyone!  I used to LOVE going to the movies. I loved the entire experience, the dark theater, surround sound, huge screen, and in particular the buttered popcorn!  But in the past 5 years or so, I rarely find a movie I want to see. I used to check the new movies coming out each Friday, but I rarely bother any more. Believe me, I'm no prude, but some of the trash Hollywood is putting out? If it isn't about demons and horror, it's about sex and violence.  Anyway, over the holidays my husband and I streamed 3 Movies I thought I'd recommend to you. They may not be your thing, but if you're looking for wholesome movies the entire family can watch and enjoy and also movies that have a redeeming message, then here you go.

The First one is Beyond the Mask.  This was made by a Christian Production Company. I'll be the first to admit that most Christian films are poorly acted and a bit cheesy. This one was a step above the rest.  It could be because it reminded me so much of the novels I write: Swashbuckling handsome heroes, tall ships, sword fights, history, adventure, romance!   It had all of these and more. Was it cheesy? Yes. in some parts.  But it was total fun. Even the critic, my husband, liked it.




The next movie is The Martian.  This film may not be for little children due to a couple of cuss words and a naked behind. However, it was excellent, well acted, interesting story, and great characters. Even if you're not a Sci-Fi buff, you will love this film. Matt Damon plays a young astronaut who is accidentally left stranded on Mars for over a year. It's a great study in perseverance and ingenuity and clinging to hope when all is lost.






The final movie is another Christian film called The War Room. I watched this movie with some hesitation due to not completely enjoying the other films made by this production company. But let me tell you, I was glad I did. It was remarkably well-acted with a great story line that centers around a troubled marriage. It's a film for everyone, married or not, because it presents a Biblical solution to life's problems, not just marriage problems--solutions that I know work from my own experience.  God's solutions are often the opposite of the world's, and though not easy to do, they always work sooner or later.  Well worth the 2 hours and great for kids too.

Happy Movie Watching!!

.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where She Belongs

By Patricia Bradley

Happy New Year, everyone! 



Where She Belongs is going to be one of my favorite books of 2016! It has romance, intrigue, complications, and a little mystery.

Here's the back cover blurb:

Shelby Kincaid is ready to move forward after the death of her husband left her devastated. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's homestead, Misty Willow, so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she has her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted Shelby's family homestead in the first place. His grandfather left it to him as punishment for not following his wishes, and he's let it fall into ruin. AJ's more than happy to unload it to this spitfire of a woman. But even after angry exchanges over the state of the house, he can't get her off his mind.

With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and family history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home--and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

Have you ever wanted to go back to a place in your memory that was home? Our memories tend to make everything bigger and better, and when Shelby returns to the place of her dreams, there is much work to be done before it becomes "home." All the while two men are vying for her attention. 

As she settles into Misty Willow and restores the old homestead, a mystery unfolds about how her family lost the farm. And AJ grapples with something from his past that may keep him from declaring his love for Shelby. 

If you love stories with romance and intrigue and two men competing for the love of one woman, this upbeat contemporary romance will leave you wanting more, and the good news is...Johnnie Alexander has more stories set in Misty Willow! 

Have you ever tried to "go home"-- return to a place in from your childhood? How did it work out for you?




Monday, January 4, 2016

FRIENDSHIP SNIPPET #1

After mulling the topic for this post and returning time and again to my earlier post at Clean Reads Romance Café, I decided to stay with friendship, something with which my cautious, introverted self struggles.

Following the publication of my first inspirational romance, Stealing Adda, I was asked to speak at a women’s retreat. Though my talents do not lie in that direction—NOT being modest—I was determined to stretch myself and accepted. But God knows well my struggles and decided to stretch me further. Instead of tackling the topic of forgiveness as planned, I was asked to speak on…friendship.

So allow me to share a snippet of what I shared with that amazing group of ladies:

Webster’s: a friend is “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: a friend “is a person with whom I may be sincere”
Tennessee Williams: “Friends are God’s way of apologizing to us for our families."
Aristotle: friendship is “a single soul dwelling in two bodies”

One of those definitions is somewhat clinical, one is snort-able, and two are sigh-able. Regardless, one’s connection to friendship is innate and essential. According to a Harvard Medical School study, not having close friends or confidants is as detrimental to a woman’s health as smoking or carrying extra weight. Of course, just as friendships can provide mountaintop experiences, they can also leave us in painful valleys. But in spite of the hurts our friendships can cause, we need them because friendship in its purest form is LOVE. And that’s what we all want.

Next time—a snippet on Biblical Friendships. See you then.