Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer is for Traveling to Exotic Locations




By Elizabeth Goddard



I hope it’s okay for me to share with you here how much I love my job. Of course, I’m a wife and a mother first, but I have an honest to goodness work-from-home job writing novels! Despite what you might think after reading the title of this blog post, I'm not a travel agent. But I am involved in the travel industry, in a manner of speaking. Ahem. . . I earn a living writing books. Of course earning a living is relative to each person. I’m not making enough money to own three houses, one in Hawaii, or even two houses but you never know when things will change!



It’s taken me years to get to this point and I’m so grateful that I persisted. I give the credit and the glory to God for opening those doors, for planting those seeds and watering them, putting that dream inside of me.


So in my work as a writer, I get to dream about the next place I’d like to go and set my story there. It might be a place where I’ve traveled or lived or plan to take a research vacation. But once I’m back in my writing chair, I can spend endless hours every day with my head in that exotic location on an adventure and, at least some of the time, running for my life—living vicariously through my characters, that is.



I mean, is that a cool job or what? And what’s even cooler about it is that you, the reader, can also enjoy this exotic location and experience the adventure of a lifetime and the adrenaline rush, the action that comes with running for your life or some unseen danger or assailant—from the safety of your own home.


That’s the service I provide as a writer of escape fiction!


So if you’re traveling this summer, take a book with you to read along the way. Or if you lounging on the beach, make sure you have your adventure romantic suspense novel handy—and that would be a two-for-one. (You’re in an exotic place reading about another exotic place.) If you're not going anywhere at all for a vacation, then you need an adventure romantic suspense to take you places.


The point is, enjoy your summer. Travel to some place exotic. Have an adventure whether from the pages of a book or in real life!



Blessings!

Beth



P.S. May I make a suggestion? Buried and Backfire of my Mountain Cove series are 2016 finalists in the DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE! Add to that, this week it was announced that Submerged (Mountain Cove) is a CAROL AWARD FINALIST! I LOVED writing these books set in stunning southeast Alaska–the perfect setting for adventure, suspense and romance! How would you like to travel to Mountain Cove, Alaska?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Reading

by Patricia Bradley

When summer hit here in Mississippi, it hit! Temps in the high 90s and sometimes a heat index of 119! But what an excellent excuse to stay inside and read. 

I have so many books on my TBR right now as I finish up the second book in my Memphis Cold Case series. But one night when I couldn't sleep, I picked up H. L. Wegley's Voice in the Wilderness. 


Big mistake! Instead of reading for a half hour to unwind, I.Couldn't.Put.It.Down! It's a political thriller, with romance, about two people who must decide if they are willing to sacrifice their lives to save the United States. 

Imagine if a group of people in power wanted to completely take over our country, and they used the military and NSA to do it, and two people stood between them and victory. That's why I couldn't put it down. I had to see how it turned out for Brock and KC.

It has murder and intrigue, romance, spies...here's the blurb from the back of the book:

As catastrophes drive the US into martial law, all eyes are on America, waiting to see what emerges. KC Banning, network specialist, discovers President Hannan’s tyrannical plans and is branded a terrorist, sending her fleeing the Beltway to find her childhood soulmate and protector, Brock Daniels. Brock, a writer and man of faith, gives CPR to a dying nation through his blog, which is read by military members still loyal to the Constitution. But starting a grassroots insurgency while reconciling KC’s and Brock’s broken relationship proves difficult. When Hannan sends Special Forces to kill Brock and KC, starting a war in the Central Oregon desert, reconciliation, like staying alive, might be impossible.

H. L Wegley has the credentials to write a book like this--he's served as an Air Force Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He knows his stuff!

If you're looking for a fast-paced read with a sweet romance intertwined in it, Voice in the Wilderness is a great choice. It can be found at Amazon.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

FRIENDSHIP SNIPPET #6

Tamara Leigh here, back with Friendship Snippet #6. In my last snippet, I addressed Christian friendship. This time—non-Christian friendship.

Though God doesn’t want us to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bless and be blessed by friends who don’t share our faith. I have a friend I love and admire tremendously. For years, she was in the innermost circle—an “iron” friend. But as my faith grew, her lack of faith caused me to move her to the “good friend” circle since any attempt to talk about my faith resulted in borderline aggressive posits that if there is a God, how could I be so arrogant to believe my God is the true God?

How did this friend’s attitude affect my faith? It made me question it to the point the edges crumbled and the middle began to sag—until I moved her to the “good friend” circle. Today, when she faces tough times, I quietly pray for her and, where possible, offer advice on how to deal with her hurdles. And sometimes I put a toe over the line to see if anything has changed. “Like it or not,” I’ll say, “I’ll pray for you.” This is usually met with silence, a change of topic, or a derogatory comment. However, there was a bit of progress a while back when, in response to my offer of prayer, she said, “I guess it couldn’t hurt.” I long for this friend to be in that innermost circle, but until we meet over Christ, neither of us can be our best for the other.


And there you have it. Next Friendship Snippet—Unhealthy Friendships.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Games We Played

by Patricia Bradley

I'm working on my second book in the Memphis Cold Case series and my heroine, Kelsey, discovered a croquet set in a shed from her childhood home. So of course, the hero--Brad--challenges her to a game. 

I don't know about you, but it's been umpteen years since I played a game of croquet. But YouTube to the rescue!

And before long Brad and Kelsey were engaging in a hotly contested game of croquet. 

So what happened to croquet? And some of the other games we played? 

Like Hopscotch. 
 


And Jump Rope?
Or Kick the can, for that matter. 
I asked a couple of kids at church about Kick the Can. They looked at me like I'd lost my mind and asked, "Why would you kick a can?"
I started to explain that it was a game I played outside when I was their age, but I gave up when they rolled their eyes. Then, it dawned on me. Kids don't play outside unless it's organized sports. And that got me to thinking about other games, sayings, and not only games but things that we used, like a dial phone. Here's a list:
  • Sandlot baseball  - a ragtag group of neighborhood kids choose sides and find a vacant lot and play baseball.
  • Cowboys and Indians (I was always an Indian) And in the same vein, sheriffs and bank robbers. I bet I ran a thousand miles every summer, riding my stick horse...or just pretending my legs were horses. Whoever was the robber went in the house and got one of their daddy's handkerchiefs to fold in a triangle and tie around their face.
  • Rolling down the window. Kid's nowadays have automatic windows rather than the crank ones I grew up with.
  • Double Dutch..
  • Riding in a car without a seatbelt. I remember stretching out in the floorboard or on the backseat  or standing in the middle on the hump in the floorboard. I even remember standing up in the back of a pickup as it breezed down the road. Maybe somethings are better now...or at least safer.
  • Watching the radio. Just like it was a television, only there was no picture.
  • Leaving the house after breakfast and coming home at noon just long enough to wolf down a sandwich and then go back outside until my mom yelled it was time for supper. And then going back outside to play kick-the-can or tag or hide-n-seek or catch lightening bugs.
  • Dialing a phone...or being on a party line. I can remember on Sunday afternoon listening in while some of the old ladies talked. I bet they were all of thirty years old. So how about you?
 Can you add to the list of things kids don't do anymore? Or we don't do, for that matter?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Recommendations, Oh, My!



Book recommendation time!

Elizabeth Goddard here.

Wow, I've read so many great books lately, which ones do I recommend? I'd love to recommend them all.

I'm on a romantic suspense kick right now, which makes perfect sense, since that's what I write. But I read widely- -historical, fantasy, and yeah, even science fiction at times. One of my favorite series of all time is a science fiction series by Kathy Tyers--Firebird Trilogy. In fact, telling you about it right now makes me want to read it again, so I'll just go ahead and recommend that to you. See, it's science fiction for the Christian market.

Firebird, the first book was published with Bantam Books in 1987, then rereleased with Bethany House. The books in the series are good, clean reads with a strong spiritual, allegorical thread. Firebird, Fusion Fire, and Crown of Fire. Then later in 2011 and 2012 she finished the series with Wind and Shadow (which I had the amazing privilege of endorsing!)  and Daystar.  If you're not a science fiction reader, per se, let me reassure you that this romance series is one of the absolute best. I absolutely LOVED the romance, and of those readers to whom I've recommended this series, quite a few of them have reread the series, just as I have. It's that good.


Now as to my recent reads, I'm seriously loving the first book in Susan May Warren's Montana Fire series, Where's There's Smoke. This is a whole new series and closely linked to her Montana Fire series releasing in the fall. If you love romance, action and adventure, then this is a series for you. Since that's what I write too, no wonder I'm loving these stories!

From the Back Cover:

She’s a smokejumper afraid of fire…

Kate Burns is a legendary smoke jumper, known for her courage and willingness to risk everything to get the job done. Only she has a secret, one she won’t admit to anyone.

He can’t forget the love they once shared…

Supervisor Jed Ransom commands the Jude County Smoke Jumpers with a reputation as a calm, level-headed leader. Kate is the only one who’s ever gotten under his skin. 

They must face the flames together…

A raging wildfire in the mountains of Montana brings Kate and Jed together to train up a new team of jumpers. Suddenly, they must face the past they’ve been running from and the secrets that keep them apart. When an arsonist goes after their team, Kate and Jed must face their deepest fears—and learn to rely on each other as they fight a blaze that could destroy them all.

In this first book of the Montana Fire: Summer of Fire trilogy, Kate and Jed are about to discover that where there’s smoke, there just might be a chance to start again.

Now, onto my next recommendation. 

Another great series you don't want to miss is Susan Sleeman's Agents Under Fire series. Now this girl can write FBI. She knows her law enforcement procedures better than anyone I know, and exactly how to increase the tension in a romantic suspense.

Here's the blurb from the first book.

A nightmare come true . . .


Years ago, a fifteen-year-old girl was abducted by a monster. Although she managed to escape, her tormenter was never caught. So the girl was given a new home, a new name . . . and the determination to save other foster kids from suffering similar horrors.

FBI Agent Becca Lange is in the middle of a credit card fraud investigation when she's faced with her worst nightmare: a serial killer, van Gogh--given the name because he removed his victims' ears--has resurfaced. Back in the nineties, van Gogh tortured, then killed several young foster girls. Becca was almost one of them.

Over the years, Becca's been keeping her own investigation going. So when the police come to her for help, she's more than ready to do what it takes to put van Gogh behind bars--even if it means working with Connor Warren, the easy-going cop whose attentions she's been avoiding. Connor is too charming, too good-looking, too . . . tempting. He makes Becca want things she can never have. And might never have . . .

Because van Gogh isn't finished with Becca yet. He's been searching for her all these years. And now that he's found her, he's got a plan to keep her . . . forever.

The third book, Web of Secrets, just released this May so you have some catching up to do if you haven't read these!

I hope these recommendations will keep you busy. So many books, so little time. . . .
 

Blessings,
Elizabeth Goddard.
 

Encouragement by Cheryl Wyatt

Hello everyone! Sorry this is late going up today. I just got home from traveling and my internet connection was glitchy. Today I wanted to not only encourage you, but talk about encouragement in general. I've had a few people tell me that I'm gifted in encouragement, or that something I've said profoundly encouraged them during a difficult season. That meant so much to me, it humbled me and it also surprised me. After all, I'm very shy and it takes enormous courage and effort for me to even speak up and say anything around others. I'm a little better one on one, but I always feel self-conscious when I speak. Then I usually end up talking too much simply because I'm nervous.

Can anyone relate? Or do you feel comfortable conversing with others? 

One reason I'm thankful that God may have gifted me with encouragement is because I'm a writer. I can write far better than I can speak, and so my writing, even fiction, gives me an outlet to encourage others. Who doesn't want or need to be encouraged? I certainly do. Especially when the words seem to come straight from the heart of God and touch on things I'm going through in my life that the person wouldn't necessarily know without God giving them insight. This makes me feel like God is hugging me through the words of others.

We all have gifts from God. Do you know yours? If so, what are they? How well do your gifts complement each other? For example, compassion and encouragement go well together, as do wisdom and encouragement and mercy and encouragement.

Life is hard sometimes and circumstances, hurts or disappointments can bring us down. Our hearts desperately need to hear something positive, something uplifting, something encouraging.



What are your gifts in this area? Everyone is capable of speaking kind words to another. What gift or gifts do you have, or what gifts have people said you have, that pair well with encouragement? 

Has there been a time when words from a friend or family member helped you significantly in some way? Who in your life has been your greatest source of encouragement? What did they say to lift your spirits or help you soar? 

I hope you'll share a little of yourself today. Bless you all for being a part of our blog. That in and of itself is encouraging to us. Your presence is a blessing and we appreciate your time and friendship!

Warmly,

Cheryl Wyatt


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Good news! Readers are now the gate-keepers to good books!



The writing industry is changing. And in my opinion, for the better! I am the author of more than 17 historical romances. I started my career back in 2005 when I received my first contract with a traditional publisher for a Christian Pirate trilogy, and it’s been a wild ride ever since--a fun ride!  But, much like a roller coaster, it was a ride I felt I really had no control over. There were highs. There were lows. There were scares and disappointments. And lots of books to write with tight deadlines!  What many readers don't understand is that it is publishers and the industry in general that dictate the content of those books.Yup. A writer will submit multiple proposals for novels, but it is the publisher who decides which story line they like, if any. More often than not, they reject each one and send the writer back to the drawing board. Or sometimes, they even tell the writer what type of story they want.. .i.e. time period, general plot, etc.  Rarely does a publisher accept the story the writer really wants to write!

The reason? Publishers are businesses and businesses must make a profit and hence, they must make hard decisions about what type of books they think will make them that profit. I don’t always agree with their decisions, nor with the decisions of most publishers and agents in the industry, but I do understand their trepidation to try something new.  Especially in this tough economy. The problem with this fear is that publishers tend to play it safe and only publish books by authors who are selling well or books in genres that are selling well. They rarely step outside the box and publish something new and interesting, which leaves the reading consumer with so few choices. Most readers don’t understand that when they go to the book store and browse the shelves, they are only seeing a tiny percentage of all the great books that are out there. (I’m talking about books that are both published and not published).  Even if a book gets published, it isn’t guaranteed a spot in a book store because stores only purchase best-sellers from best-selling authors. Take it from someone who knows this firsthand. Then of course, the great books that never got published don’t stand a chance.

With no insult intended, I liken agents, publishers, and book stores to three trolls guarding the bridge that leads to a successful career as an author.  They are doing their job by only allowing certain authors to pass and keeping the rest back. But in the process, they are also holding back from the reader a host of fantastic books.   It took years for me to finally realize this. I was new to the business, na├»ve, and extremely thankful to have a contract. So, when my publisher told me I couldn’t write about this or that, and they wanted stories set in this time period, but not in that time period, I complied because I so desperately wanted to have my writing published. But somewhere along the way after 14 books, I got burned out. I lost my love of writing, my spirit of creativity, and sometimes even my desire to continue.
I thought I had some really cool and unique ideas, but no one seemed interested.  Some of them my agent wouldn’t even send to publishers. The rest, my publisher rejected. They wanted prairie and Amish stories, they told me, not pirates or mermaids or Vikings or time travel!

Then the E-book craze began. The world of the Kindle and Nook and Ipad, and all of a sudden these online companies made a way for authors to upload and sell their own work! And I found myself getting excited. Finally I could write what I wanted to write, what I was passionate about, what inspired me.  Finally I could read books that interested me, in time periods that interested me. This was such great news for both Readers and Authors!  Now, readers have a much wider variety of books to choose from online stores. 

The only problem?  Readers must become much wiser consumers. Since agents and publishers quickly discarded poorly written books from even entering the publishing arena, without them, many amateur writers are throwing junk out on the market. So the reader must become the troll for their own specific tastes and requirements.

The good news?  There are tons of great writers putting their masterpieces out there in a multitude of genres, time periods, voices, and interest.  This is also good news for an author like me because now I can write the story I want to write. I have just written and published my fourth independent novel, Charity's Cross, a clean adventurous pirate story filled with love and romance. I hope you’ll check it out. (Over 150 5 Star Reviews!)

Buy from Amazon

In the meantime, it’s a new world for both writers and readers. An adventurous world, and in my opinion, a far better one!  Thoughts?


.