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Welcome, Readers! I have another fantastic author for you to meet – Author Becca Hart. I came across her in this wide world of the internet through a connection on my blog. And, finding out she writes clean Romantic Suspense, I was happy to host her on the blog. She is here talking about her work, her process, and even has offered a giveaway! So, keep reading and check out the featured novel!

Hello, Becca! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for being here. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Against All Odds is a Christian romantic suspense novel about the growing love of Elizabeth Seymour and Dr. Gilbert Callahan in the face of a dangerous game of revenge from the sister of the man Elizabeth shot in self-defense two years ago.

What was the inspiration for Against All Odds?

One of the biggest inspirations for it was Lori Wick’s Sophie’s Heart. Though that novel isn’t a romantic suspense, I was intrigued by the growing romantic tension between the main characters in their unique situation. Pride and Prejudice helped inspire it as well, though Elizabeth and Gilbert get along better than Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Oooohhhh…. Pride and Prejudice… one of my favorites!

Tell us…did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Before the age of 15, at one point in my life, I wanted to be a baseball player! Hey, there were once whole teams of women playing the sport during the Second World War. After that, I wanted to be a medical doctor, given my love of science and helping people. However, despite my extroverted nature, I realized I’m an artist at heart, and I love writing too much to do anything else.

Interesting…you don’t hear of many girls dreaming of being a baseball player! Right on!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 15, we had a free day in gym class, and as was my wont to do in those days, I started wandering around and daydreaming, pictures and stories swirling around my head. I’d already been writing for a couple of years by then, with friends and on my own, but it was just something fun to do. That day in the high school gym, I came to the rather sudden realization that it was no longer just “something fun”—I wanted to keep doing and do it for the rest of my life. The writing bug had officially bitten me!

And, as I’m sure you’ve come to realize…there are things about the whole writing thing that we love and things that we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

This may sound odd, but I believe it’s writing the second draft I most dread. By then, I’m trying to get the story tied down and I often find quite a bit rewriting that needs to be done. My brain’s going a mile a minute, trying to figure out if this thing or that will really work and how. If it won’t, I wrack my brain, pull out my hair, and endure many sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do instead (this is one of the places having a writer’s group can really help).

That’s a good point. More eyes on the manuscript…more creative minds…

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

The biggest one is to persevere. Keep plugging away at it, keep practicing. Get into a writer’s group and allow them to critique your writing. Stay open to good, constructive advice, but remember that it’s your work and you can do whatever you want to.

I set a mood when I write with music and the like. I am always curious if other authors do… What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

It depends on what I’m writing, and I don’t typically do so. I usually only listen to music when I write if I’m trying to get unstuck from writer’s block or just trying to make the images and words swirling around in my head coalesce into something. When I do listen to music while writing, it’s not stuff I can dance to (too distracting). Sometimes, it’s somewhat depressing and maudlin and other times it’s just slow and instrumental.

Just for curiosity’s sake for my readers… How long does it take you to write a book?

That’s a little hard to say. Against All Odds took between five and ten years, whereas the novel I just finished only took less than a year once I buckled down and started writing.

This, too, I know is so different from writer to writer. Sometimes, it takes a while, sometimes the story seems to “pour” out of you and onto the page.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I often break my own promise to myself here—that is, not to work on more than one thing at a time. Truthfully, while my current romantic suspense novel is on the front burner, I’m technically working on four projects at once, counting that! This newer romantic suspense novel features an invisible stalker, much like the one I just finished and sent to the editor.

I tend to do that, too. Work on more than one thing at a time…it can be stressful! Thanks for chatting with us and sharing a little about your process and your work. And, without further ado, we will dive right into Against All Odds…

Against All Odds

Two years after a violent break-in left Elizabeth Seymour widowed and with blood on her hands, she’s finally starting over in the little town of Avalon, Ohio, with her daughter, Haley. She has the house of her dreams, a good church, and friends she can rely on. Everything seems to be falling into place—until she receives a threatening note from Veronica Sadowsky, the sister of the man Elizabeth shot, the same woman who tried to ruin her life once before. This time, though, Veronica won’t stop until she gets revenge.

When Elizabeth’s home goes up in flames, she turns to family friend, Doctor Gilbert Callahan, a widowed father of three. He invites her and Haley to stay with his family. As Veronica draws Elizabeth into a game of increasing stakes, she and Gilbert only grow closer, learning to trust and rely on one another. But Elizabeth’s presence in Gilbert’s home endangers his family and creates tension with his oldest son. Preserving peace in the house is hard enough, but when Veronica comes after Haley, Elizabeth will risk everything—including her life—to get her child back.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elizabeth grabbed the mail, calling a quick hello to Mr. Helmheckle next door.

A plain white envelope rested on top of a store ad. Her brow furrowed. What was this? She tossed the bills and ads on the end table and tore the strange envelope open. Who would send her a single folded piece of notebook paper?

There were two typed sentences: ‘You thought you could hide? No, I’m watching you.

Her feet rooted to the carpet.

God, no. She stumbled back onto the arm of the chair. She stared at the words till they blurred. Not here. Why here? It was supposed to be over. Avalon was a safe haven. Her eyes slid closed. Lord God, why’s this happening again? How had Adam Sadowsky’s sister, Veronica, found her again? Granted, Columbus was only an hour’s drive, but still. She hadn’t wanted to go too far away from Dad and Darlene, not to mention her sister, Jenna.

Her throat felt like it was clogged with peanut butter. She tried swallowing. It can’t be…

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More About the Author

A wife and mother of two, I felt the calling to be a writer at the tender age of fifteen. I wrote a few things before that for school and got one of my stories published in The Cauldron, my high school newspaper. Later on in life, I got another short story, “The Drive,” published in the Diverse Voices Quarterly. I went onto to earn my Associate of Arts degree in English from Pikes Peak Community College in 2013. All that time, I’ve worked as hard as I can to learn my craft but learned even more during the editing process of my novel. Against All Odds isn’t the first novel I’ve ever attempted writing, just the first I’ve gotten published. Born and raised in a small town in northeast Ohio, I make my home in southern Colorado in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with my husband, rambunctious kids, and a crazy cat.

Connect with Becca and her work

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter – @BeccaHart16


Author Becca Hart is offering 3 (three) free digital copies of Against All Odds one each to the first 3 (three) people to comment on the post and ask a question not among the interview questions. So, get those fingers ready! You can find the button to comment usually at the top of the post. Best of luck!!

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Toni Shiloh

Hey, all! I have another author for you all to meet today! This is an author I met through Pure Romance Reads, a group of clean Romance writers that help created a place where readers can find clean romance and talk about clean romance on the Facebook page: Pure Romance Reads. I am just as excited as anyone to hear more about her work and dive deeper into her process. As a writer, I feel I can (and should) never stop learning. So, here’s Toni…

Thanks for being on the blog today, Toni. Many of my readers wonder about writers and how we chose this career path…or, for many of us, how it chose us.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

Love this question! It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had different ideas of what that would look like from being a cop, lawyer, interior designer, librarian, and bookstore owner (although that still sounds awesome).

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

The first time would probably be when I took a creative writing class while getting my bachelor’s degree. I had thoughts about it beforehand, but taking that class made it feel like an obtainable possibility.

Alas…you, too, were bitten by the bug! No regrets though, right? Except that there is inevitably something about the writing/publication process that every writer doesn’t care for so much. What part do you dread?

Editing! I love writing the first draft and sometimes even rereading it to polish it. But I dread editing and editing and editing. By the time I’m done editing, I don’t want to read the book any more, lol.

I agree. You get tired of those characters making the same bad choices. Or worse, you get to be like “who wrote this”!?!

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Read other authors. Figure out what it is about the book that hooked you and then do it in your unique way. Figure out what you didn’t like and avoid that.

I see that. I agree that we pick up a lot intuitively from reading other authors. On that note…what are you currently reading?

While riding a stationary bike in the morning I read Vilette by Charlotte Bronte. For a book club I’m reading Tammy L. Gray’s Until I Knew Myself.

I always have to “set the mood” for my writing…especially when I’m feeling a little blocked. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I love listening to music while I write. I usually try to create a playlist that speaks to what the characters are going through. Usually a mix between contemporary Christian, country, pop, and Indie.

I ask this for sheer curiosity sake from a reader’s perspective. Just one of those “I wonder…” things. How long does it take you to write a book?

It took me three months to write the first draft of Finally Accepted. I would say that’s pretty standard for most of my books unless their a novella or short novel. If that’s the case I probably only need a month or two for the first draft.

Thanks again for being on the blog, Toni, and for sharing with us about your process and letting us “peek behind the curtain” for a moment. Readers, I’ll turn you over to the details about Toni’s Finally Accepted as well as the giveaway below. Happy Reading!

Finally Accepted


There’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Grandma, why is my skin different than yours?” Chloe stared at her arms. They weren’t white like the color in the crayon box, but they weren’t dark brown like her grandma’s.

“Because God made us in all different colors. It’s a way for us to remember our uniqueness and how special we are to Him.”

It sounded good, but… “I want to be the same color as you.”


She frowned. Her grandma always asked a lot of questions. “So I can be Black.” She wasn’t sure why people called her grandmother black. She didn’t look like the color but maybe they never heard of dark brown. The kids in her class said she wasn’t Black even though her grandma was. It really didn’t make any sense to her.

“Well, baby, I’m Black and your mama is Black…”

“So I’m Black?” It came out more a question than a statement as her mind tried to wrap around her grandma’s words. Chloe sat up straight. She didn’t know what her dad looked like and right now that didn’t matter.

My mom is Black. Grandma is Black. “I’m Black,” she whispered.

“And loved by God, no matter how light or dark your skin is. Remember that, baby, okay?”

“I will.”

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More About the Author

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian contemporary romance author. Once she understood the powerful saving grace, thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at

Connect with Toni and Her Books

Blogs I’m part of: ; ;


Toni is offering, to one winner, an ebook copy of Finally Accepted. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Rachel Magee

Hello, readers, I know it’s been a little bit since you’ve heard from me. There’s be a LOT happening in my personal life and it has been hectic. How timely author Rachel Magee’s post is! She’s with us today talking about how to add reading into our back-to-school routines. And, as much as I haven’t been able to fit my normal routine in, reading has not been something I’ve been enjoying lately either. But she has excellent advice. AND she is offering a giveaway! AND telling us about her book Happily Ever Afters! So, this post today, my friends, is full of fun things for you. So, I’ll stop rambling and let you get to it…

Four Ways to Add Reading to Your Back-to-School Routine

by Rachel Magee

Four Ways to Add Reading to Your Back-to-School Routine

It’s back to school season. That time of year when every store is teeming with freshly sharpened pencils and brand-spanking-new backpacks. The air is electrified with the excitement of new beginnings. And whether you’re headed back yourself, sending your little darlings out the door each morning, or simply having to adjust your daily commute to deal with the school zone traffic, this is a great time to rethink daily routine, making healthy choices a priority. But is reading one of those priorities?

Reading has tons of benefits for every age group. Studies have proven spending more time reading or being read to can increase vocabulary, is directly linked to doing well in school, lessens stress and makes you more productive at work. Plus, it’s enjoyable. Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book? But in our busy lives, finding time to carve out for reading can be tricky. So here are four easy ways to add more book time to your daily schedule.

  1. Read to your kids before bedtime, even the big ones.

Many parents do this when their kids are little, but do you continue when they get into elementary school, junior high or even high school? Making this part of your daily routine, even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes before lights-out can be a great thing for both of you. Besides all the benefits of reading before bed (helps you sleep, reduces anxiety, sharpens mental focus) it can also give you a chance to connect with your child. Have your kid choose books he/she likes or pick titles they have to read for school. It’s a great way to learn what your child like as well as spark discussion. You might even try throwing in a favorite book from when you were their age. Your kids, especially the big ones, might find you have more in common than they thought.

  1. Read out loud to your spouse.

I know several couples who have celebrated decades together who have always made this part of their daily routine. Sharing a book with your significant other can create intimacy and keep you connected. At first, choose a book you will both enjoy and take turns reading out loud. As you get more in the rhythm of this routine, take turns picking titles from genres each of you enjoy. This will deepen your understanding and appreciation of each other as well as expose you to books you might not have chosen on you own.

  1. Listen to audio books on your commute.

We all spend time in the car, and with audio books so widely available, this is an easy way to incorporate more reading time into your day. Even a ten minute commute is enough time to listen to several pages, if not a whole chapter of a book. Do you carpool? Perfect! You now have your very own book club. Driving kids to soccer practice and piano lessons? This is a great time to read a book together as a family. For some added discussion, stop the book from time to time and ask thought-provoking questions. You might learn something new about the people you drive with every day.

  1. Make waiting time reading time.

Whether we want to or not, we spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for an appointment, waiting in carline, waiting to see the doctor or while you get your oil changed. And let’s be honest, most of us waste that time staring at social media. Why not make this time your reading time? Keep an ebook on your phone just for these occasions. Not only will it make the wait go faster, you’ll be doing something good for yourself at the same time.

So what do you think? Are you ready to make reading part of your daily back-to-school schedule? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let us know when you’re reading this fall and who you’re reading with

Thanks for that wonderful post, Rachel. Now, if I can nab you for a couple of questions, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your novel.

Happily Ever Afters came to me when I was on vacation with a group of my girlfriends. It is a love story, but at its core it’s a story about friendship, resilience, and learning to love after loss.

I also have a new book coming out next month based on one of the characters in Happily Ever Afters. This new book is a lot of fun and I’m really excited about it, but I’m not releasing any details until next week. If you want a sneak peek now, you have to head to my website:

I love those kinds of sequels–ones that are not necessarily a cliff-hanger, but give us more of the story in that “world”.  What are you currently reading?

The titles on the stack of books next to my bed may change, but the composition pretty much stays the same. There is a devotional, a non fiction book about some topic I want to learn about (right now it’s writing) and, of course, a novel with a happy ending.

Rachel, thank you so much for being on the blog today, sharing your thoughts and giving us some practical ways to enjoy reading even as our schedules get a bit more hectic. And now, readers, we’ll turn more toward Rachel’s book, Happily Ever Afters and get a closer look.

Happily Ever Afters

Lainey Stratton does not fall in love with strangers she meets on vacation. It simply doesn’t make sense. So when Lainey meets Carter Thompson on the first day of her Caribbean vacation, she knows it could never amount to anything more than a crush. At the end of the vacation she will return to Dallas, and he will return to DC, and that will be the end of it. Well, unless he wants to join her at a friend’s destination wedding, which would be considered vacation too, right?

But when an unexpected tragedy sends Lainey’s world spiraling out of control, she realizes her vacation crush might be the only one who can help her pick up the pieces of her shattered life. That is, as long as she can get out of the way of her own happiness. And as long as Carter’s past doesn’t catch up with him before she gets a chance.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I found myself face-to-face with a long, slender fish that had to be close to three feet long. His shiny stainless steel scales looked tough, and his eyes seemed to fix on me as he glided through the water with confidence. I inched back, but he continued straight for me. His lips curled up, and he flashed a smile revealing two ominous rows of razor sharp teeth. I’ve seen pictures of the majestic barracuda before and admired their sleek beauty, but seeing one up close and personal made me want to pee my pants.

I scrambled to the side, out of his direct path, hoping he would continue on to wherever it was he seemed so intent on going. But the fish altered his trajectory, his menacing smile widening as he came right at me. The realization that I was his intended destination shivered through me.

Let the record show that in the battle of Lainey versus the fish, the fish won. I conceded. I screamed, a muffled sound that shot out my snorkel, and turned for the boat’s platform. Grabbing the ladder, I pulled myself out of the water and struggled to tuck my finned feet up to the highest rung. The fish sauntered under me, pausing to cast one last menacing glance my direction.

“Holy fish!” I breathed out, spitting the snorkel from my mouth. A chuckle came from above me.

“They might be scarier than sharks.” Carter sat casually on the end of the platform with his feet dangling in the water, his fins and mask propped next to him.

“I wasn’t expecting him.” I climbed all the way out of the ocean and onto the boat. Scanning the water to find Kara and Reece, I located them midway over the reef, seemingly unaware of my absence. I slunk down next to Carter and pulled my knees into my chest. Until my shiny friend was long gone, I wasn’t willing to dip anything into the water. I slid my mask off and wiped the salt water from my face.

“What are you doing up here and not out there?” I asked.

“Watching a hardcore chick take on an unusually large barracuda.”

“Yeah, thanks for the help.”

“I never doubted your ability to take him.” A playful half smile lit his face.

“I did. Did you see those teeth?” I shivered thinking about it. “He was not my favorite fish of the day.”

“You going back out?”

I peered over the side and searched the water below. “Still trying to make up my mind. You?”

“Same. I’m enjoying the solitude of the moment.” Carter stared serenely out at the sparkling water before us.

“Is that a hint for me to dive in?”

“No,” he said, his blue eyes meeting mine. “Stay.”

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More About the Author

Rachel wrote her first novel when she was twelve and entered it into a contest for young author/illustrators. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t impressed with her stick figures. So she dropped the dream of becoming a world famous illustrator and stuck to spinning stories. When she’s not busy working on her latest book, she loves to travel with her family and friends. By far, her favorite destination is the beach, which tends to work its way into most of her stories. Between vacations, you can find her at home in The Woodlands, TX with her wonderful husband, their two adventurous kids and a couple of spirited pets, all of whom share Rachel’s love of the ocean. Well, except the cat and dog. They’re both afraid of water. Find out more about what Rachel has been up to at

Connect with Rachel and Her works



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Rachel is offering a $10 amazon gift card for one winner!! The winner will be chosen from among the comments on this blog post. We will close the contest September 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm. You can find the comment button most often at the top of the blog post. You can react to the post in your own words or answer this question:

How do you find time to read in the busyness of the school year?

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Sara Jane Jacobs

Welcome, everyone! I have another author to introduce to you today. I met Author Sara Jane Jacobs through Clean Reads, our common publishing company. But Sara and I are also connected through Pure Romance Reads, a small collection of authors who write clean romance. You can find more information about this group on our website: or on our Facebook page:

But I would love you to meet Sara and get a feel for her process and her work. So, without further ado, here’s Sara:

Hello, Sara! Thanks for being on the blog. First, can you tell us a little about your novel.

Here’s the blurb:

“I’m deploying.”

The words slam into me with an unseen force that robs me of my next breath. Tyler has been my best friend for the last ten years, and we never keep secrets from each other. Well, except that one. The big one. The one where I’m in love with him. And now that he’s deploying as a Navy SEAL, only one thought consumes me: What if I never get the chance to tell him?

But I think Tyler keeps a similar secret of his own. Sometimes I’m sure I see it in his eyes. And then it’s gone.

With his impending deployment, we’re both warring in an inner struggle that threatens our undoing. Throw in my controlling, matching-making aunt and our secret love might never get the chance it deserves.

Or will it?

What a great blurb! I’m drawn in already!

Did you always want to be a writer?


What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be an actress, although I was very shy! But that didn’t keep me from auditioning for plays whenever I had the opportunity.

So fun! I did, too! But, while I enjoyed being on the stage, my parents encouraged my love of science and medicine.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was working at an insurance company just out of high school. There was a guy who worked in the mail room who was a script writer (his goal was to write for a soap opera). I had this idea that maybe I could create a character for one of my favorite TV shows, so I started to experiment. After I left that job and got married, I decided to try writing a script for a movie. I sent it off to a few places but didn’t pursue it any further. A few years later, a friend suggested I turn my story into a book.

It’s very interesting what paths lead people into writing. But one thing that I find we all have in common is a love of reading and stories. And that never seems to die.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading If Not for You by Debbie Macomber. It’s my first Debbie Macomber book. I am loving it!

I have heard so many good things about her. That makes one more. I need to add this to my TBR pile.

Now, I am always curious about other writers’ processes and writing environments. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I usually don’t listen to music, especially if I’m able to open the windows and listen to the birds. But occasionally I will turn on classical. I can’t listen to music with words when I’m writing. But during short breaks I might listen to a song for inspiration. It will usually be something my current character enjoys or something that inspires me about the story.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Early in the morning is my favorite time to write. That way I have a better chance of reaching my word count goal (which can take anywhere from three to four hours). I usually write on my desktop but my favorite place to write is outside.

I am trying to nail down a good balance of marketing and writing and mothering and housekeeping. Though I’ve been doing this for a few years now, things are constantly changing and I am still looking for a good balance.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m currently working on the third and final book in the series (although there will be at least one spin-off!)

Thanks so much again, Sara, for being on the blog. I have enjoyed talking with you. Now, I’ll turn this over to my readers so they can learn more about Season of Hope.

Season of Hope

Video Trailer

Enjoy an Excerpt

To set this up, Tyler and Phoebe (Amanda’s controlling aunt who doesn’t like Tyler) have just had a huge argument during dinner bringing the evening to an abrupt end . . .

A heavy cloud of silence hung in the room. Amanda looked as if the roof had just caved in. Her eyes met Tyler’s, finding a hint of remorse there before he lowered his gaze and disappeared down the hall.

Ten minutes had passed before he slipped into the kitchen, trying in his own way to make amends. Amanda was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t notice him behind her, until he grabbed a dish towel and reached for the pan she had just washed. He stood next to her, and she could feel him glance her way.

“AJ, dinner was fabulous.”

She turned a blank face to him, then went back to washing dishes. “It was certainly an evening to remember,” she said without emotion.

“Listen,” he continued, “I am sorry. I know she’s your aunt, but—AJ, she is putting her ambitions ahead of your well-being! I couldn’t just stand by and let that happen!”

“Tyler, I know you meant well.” Her voice remained low and controlled, but her anger came through loud and clear. “But you and Phoebe are both forgetting that I can think for myself. I want your advice because I trust you. And I’ve let Phoebe have as much control as she has because I trust her. I realize that she has been taking every offer that we can possibly fit onto my calendar, but right now I need that. I need to stay busy.”

“Why, AJ? Why do you feel like you need to stay busy?” he pressed.

She avoided his gaze, sensing there would be a probing look in his eyes. Her focus stayed on the task of dishwashing as she answered his question. “Because I miss home and the life we left behind. And what might have been if you and I had both stayed on Nathan’s Mountain.”

An inner cringe ran through her over her last comment. The last thing she wanted was for Tyler to know of her feelings for him. Right now it was clear to her that the timing was all wrong for them. The country was at war, and it was just a matter of time before he was deployed. A year ago she was still living in her bubble on Nathan’s Mountain, not knowing what it would mean for Tyler to become a Navy SEAL. Now she understood all too well.

“If you miss home, why don’t you just go back?”

She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What? The BUD/S graduate wants me to quit? Give up and go home?”

“I want you to be happy.” There was a fierceness in his tone. He took a moment to gain control of his emotions. His voice was calm as he repeated the words. “I want you to be happy.”

Amanda could feel months of pent up frustration rising to the surface as she rinsed the last pan and yanked the stopper from the sink. “Happy, Tyler? Where is the happy in all of this?” she asked, drying her hands and tossing the dish towel on the counter. “Where is the happy in knowing the danger you will be in once you’re deployed? Home can’t fix this, Tyler. Nothing can fix this.” Amanda tried not to burst into tears as she hurried from the kitchen.

A Special Treat – another Video Trailer (for The Visitor)

More About the Author

Sara Jane Jacobs lives life Corem Deo along the Emerald Coast of Florida. She’s a mom to two, a nonni to three and a cat wrangler to four. A morning enthusiast, she loves the outdoors and open windows, even in the middle of summer.

She dabbled in writing for thirty years before deciding to send her work to a publisher in 2016. Her first book, Season of Hope was published in March of 2017. Book two, Season of Deception, followed in August of the same year. The two stories were originally written as one manuscript (Season of Deception) but she was forced to divide them in order to align with submission guidelines and that’s how Season of Hope was born!

Connect with Sara and her books





A copy of Season of Hope. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below.

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GUEST POST & SPOTLIGHT: Author Emerald Barnes

Hello, readers! I have a treat for you today. Instead of me blogging, I have an author for you to revisit. Author Emerald Barnes is back on my blog today with a fabulous guest post for us. And we will spotlight her book series, The Knight’s Academy. I can’t wait for you to dive in, so I’ll quit babbling and let you have at it!

Guest Post

by Emerald Barnes

Myka, my main character, struggles with her identity throughout The Marked. She’s adopted, and when she found out that she was, she completely lost who she was. She never felt like she belonged anywhere, so that’s why she chose to leave her family and what was familiar behind and move to a new place. There, she thought she could discover who she really was. It was a way of starting over for her. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that wasn’t easy for her, until the end, until she knew her back story and what lay ahead for her.

We’ve all felt a lot like her. I personally have. For years, I struggled with who I was, what I was supposed to do with my life, and what my purpose on this planet was. Why had God given me the gift of writing if no one bought my books? Why had God given me a passion to teach teens about Him and His love for them if I wasn’t being used as a youth leader?

Like Myka, I was searching for my identity and my purpose. And I searched for years. Until I quit searching. I didn’t give up, but I said, “Okay, God. You know what has been prophesied over me. You know what gifts You have given me. Whatever You want me to do. Whatever You need me to do, just let me know.” And I let it go. I stopped searching and waited.

Waiting isn’t easy, but it paid off. God gave me a youth leader position almost two years ago, and He’s even using my non-Christian books in ways that I couldn’t have expected.

When you feel like you don’t have an identity, just let life happen. Wait on God to show you what you need to do, and God won’t tell you everything at once. You’d get so overwhelmed! (I think Andrew Wommack is the one who said that.) He’s going to reveal it to you as you go along. Life is about living one day at a time. Whether you’re facing a horde of vampires or if you’re just facing a torrent of thoughts that like to bring you down, you’re going to be okay. You’re identity doesn’t come from you. It comes from God. It comes from knowing who you are in God.

That’s why I like to focus on that in my books. If you’ve read Entertaining Angels, you’ll know that in my series, that’s what I focus on. I focus on teaching young women that their identities don’t come from the mirror or the scars on their wrists. Your identity comes when you truly learn who you are to God and who you are in God.

You’re loved. You’ve always been loved. You’re created in the image of God, and He is the One who saw fit that the world needed you. Don’t let the world bring you down. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you’re worthless and don’t belong. You’re where you are for a reason. There’s even a reason for your waiting period. Just give it to God.

The Knight’s Academy Series

The Marked

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

The Hunted


Myka Williams has been forced out of Knight’s Academy and is on the run, constantly moving to keep the vampires off her trail until Preston’s venom is no longer coursing through her veins. But she isn’t alone.

Brent Jacobson is her protector, training her and teaching her how to be the werewolf she’s destined to be. He’s annoying, stubborn—and hot. But there’s something he isn’t telling her.

Myka has to come face-to-face with the truth of who she really is. Will she find safety, or will she always be hunted?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Olivia and her family brought in storage containers, decorations, and more, while Myka sat uncomfortably. When they finished unpacking, Myka wanted to give them some privacy, so she grabbed her messenger bag filled with her sketchbook, markers, pencils, and other art supplies and slipped out of the room. She wandered through the hallways, looking for a quiet place.

She passed a couple of girls chatting, mumbled hello, and when they didn’t respond, she continued to the stairs. She hurried out into the foyer where a few girls sat around talking to one another or were on their cell phones. A hushed silence fell over them as they stared at her. Myka tucked a curl behind her ear, ducked her head, and walked outside.

Now that Myka was without Barry and Jilly, the campus seemed far more formidable. For as long as she could remember, she wanted to get away from home and the questions of who she was and why her parents had given her away. She stared at the campus and knew she wouldn’t find any answers here either. What had she been thinking?

The campus was abuzz with students, teachers, and parents. Myka continued her search for a quiet place to sit and think, much like she used to do when she was at home and needed a moment to clear her mind. She maneuvered around students and parents carrying suitcases, bathroom caddies, and bedding in search of a sanctuary.

She walked between the cafeteria and academic building, ending up on a plush lawn dotted with Bradford pear trees that would be beautiful come fall when their leaves changed to vibrant oranges and reds or in the spring when they blossomed white. Stone benches and tables offered places to sit, study, or relax. The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, covered in pines and oaks, rose in the distance. The concrete wall surrounding the school marked the end of the lawn, and behind the wall was a thickly wooded area.

Myka took a seat on the grass and began to draw. She stared at her surroundings, taking them all in, when she noticed something strange above the trees. It was almost like a tower, but she couldn’t be too sure. Maybe it was a silo. She knew it wasn’t a tree because it glistened in the sunlight. The tower wasn’t too far from the campus, but far enough she couldn’t tell if belonged to Knight’s Academy or not.

Taking a deep breath, she removed her sketchpad and pencils from her bag. As she drew, she saw nothing but the scene ahead of her: all of the colors, how the wind made the leaves shimmer, and the way the sun outlined the mountains. She was only vaguely aware of the sounds around her. The wind tossed her hair about, but she moved it aside mechanically.

It was afternoon when Myka finished the drawing and looked at her phone to see if she’d missed a call or text. She set both aside and rolled her neck and shoulders, stretching her tense muscles. She stood, then continued to stretch. Finally, Myka looked at her drawing, wishing it would’ve been in color. It could use some more work, but at least she had the basic image.

She packed her bag and walked back toward the dorm, hoping Olivia was alone now. A shadow moved along the wall, surprising her. She turned to see Milo, who she hadn’t seen since April. He moved his dirty blond hair out of his eyes and stared back at her. He put his finger to his lips, jumped, and pulled himself up on top of the wall with his well-defined arms. With one last glance toward her, he disappeared from her sight.

Part of her wanted to follow him, to see what was on the other side, but she stopped herself. She didn’t want to get in trouble her first day of being at Knight’s Academy, but something inside of her told her to follow him. With one long, fleeting look at the woods behind the wall, Myka walked back toward her dorm room.

Buy Links

The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1 –

The Hunted: Knight’s Academy Book 2 –

Book three is coming soon!

More About the Author

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald and her books






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guest post, spotlight


Welcome to my blog! I have a fabulous author for you to meet! Jenn Faulk is not only an author of clean chick lit, she is quite prolific! I know Jenn through a group we are a part of called Pure Romance Reads. It is a collection of authors who all write clean romance. You can check us out online at: and on Facebook at:

We are hosting a “Christmas in July” party next Thursday evening (July 26th), starting at 5PM EDT. You will be able to meet the authors, there will be giveaways…it will be great!!

But you are here to meet Jenn. And I am so eager for you to do so. You will no doubt find her every bit as interesting as I have…

Welcome, Jenn! And thanks for being on my blog! You have quite the list of works to your name! Please, tell us a little about one of your novels.

My first novel, Resolutions, is about three friends who decide to celebrate the new year by creating a list of resolutions that will ultimately change their lives. Emily, Melissa, and Sara are lifelong Christian friends who are quickly approaching thirty, and as they juggle careers, extended families, and their different church responsibilities while also completing those resolutions, life (as it always does!) ends up throwing a few surprises their way. Resolutions is a story about friendship and faith, about growing in Christ and trusting Him more. And, of course, there’s a love story as well!

Sounds just delightful! The kind of read you could just sit and really get into. What was your inspiration for Resolutions?

I LOVE chick lit, and I love great Gospel-centered fiction that draws readers in, entertains them, and calls them to deeper faith. As a reader, I wanted more Christian chick lit books and was disappointed that it was such a small subgenre. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I started brainstorming the ideas behind Resolutions back when my children were tiny, writing out some notes in between feedings, diaper changes, and the general chaos that comes with having babies. Once my youngest started kindergarten, I sat down, read what little I had been able to scrap together over the years, and committed to finally finishing it. That part – actually writing it – took three months. The lead up, though, was a spectacular five years, lol!

That is no joke! My story is similar. A lot of lead up, but once my kids were a little more independent, I found I could work a lot faster. So, the writing and dreaming is fun, but what part of the process do you dread?

Those last few tedious weeks of pounding out the end of the first draft! I’ve written forty-five books, and it never changes. I always tell my husband, “I hate this book, and I want to punch these characters in the face” when I get to this point in the process. Ha! I usually set it aside when I’m done, give myself some breathing room, and come back to it with fresher eyes, realizing that I don’t hate it after all and that no one will be getting punched in the face. Whew!

I am so the same 🙂 I’m like, “you’re not going to make this same mistake again are you!?” And my husband’s all, “Didn’t you write it that way?” “No. The story wrote that way.”

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading D.A. Carson’s The God Who Is There, which is phenomenal. It’s one of those books that exposits Scripture with an eye towards the totality of the Bible, showing how God is consistent in His character from the Old Testament to the New Testament, intentionally leading up to the incarnation of Christ and the fulfillment of His ultimate glory that’s still to come. These are things that we know as Christians already, of course, but I find myself praising God over and over again when theologians who are so much smarter than I am ever going to be keep going back to the Scripture and pointing out the miracle of grace and redemption so that we can know Jesus in a deeper, richer way. Always learning!

I’m also reading through the last three books in Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series. This is an embarrassing confession, but I’m going to go ahead and give it – I read all of the Christy books (her high school and college years and those newlywed years) in, like, three weeks a few years ago, when I was in my late thirties and clearly past the age of the intended audience. I couldn’t stop, though! My husband was all, “What are you reading?” and I’d tell him, all irritated that he’d interrupted me, “I have to find out if Christy ends up with TODD!” like they were real people. (Real in my heart.) Anyway, I didn’t even know that there were books about the baby years (!!!) until last week, so I’m bingeing again! My oldest daughter has just started the first Christy book, and she was peeking over my shoulder trying to find out if (you guessed it) Christy ends up with Todd. Sigh. Apparently I’m like an overgrown twelve year old, but whatever.

I totally get it! I am going through Priscilla Shirer’s study “Discerning the Voice of God”. Talk about deep! But I might need to add this D.A. Carson book to my pile…

I always ask this next question. Mostly because music has become part of my writing atmosphere…instrumental music mostly. But, what kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

It really depends on the book and what part that I’m writing. If it’s a scene of spiritual clarity for a character, then I have praise and worship going, usually something by the Gettys. The rest of the time, I’m really partial to seventies music (don’t judge!), especially the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, and, yes, even the BeeGees. While writing my last book, Picture Perfect, I was on a Coldplay kick for a while, and after listening to Trouble and Yellow a few too many times, my hero was just about the most depressing guy ever. Hymn for the Weekend and Paradise got us out of that slump, though, thankfully!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

After I drop my kids off at school and get my run in, I sit down at the kitchen table and spend the rest of the morning writing. I try to prioritize and keep from writing and being buried in my work when my kids and my husband are at home, so I protect those few hours of solitude as much as I can. (And I run my miles faster with the reward of writing dangling in front of me, lol!)

So admirable. I’m one of those people that are like…”if I’m running, you should be too…’cause something’s chasing me!” 😉

How long does it take you to write a book?

During the school year, it takes me a couple of months per book. During the summer…. well, I’m lucky to get one out all summer. When my kids were little, I thought that they would require less of my time the older that they got, but as it turns out, they just require my time differently now that they’re in junior high. This summer in particular has been slow on the book front because I’ve had to be intentional about being all in with them, something that looks different than it did when they were younger. I’m taking my oldest daughter on a girls’ trip next weekend, and I’d had plans to get some writing done at night while we’re away, only to find out that she’s making plans to squeeze every last second of togetherness out of each day. (And the old lady in me is screeching that I need sleep, lol!) My readers are going to start thinking that I’ve given up writing, but it’s all good. The books will start coming more quickly once school is back in session!

I understand that the majority of writers take the summer off. At least that’s what I’ve been told is industry standard. I’m still feeling my way out though. Me? I’m putting a book out this week. It’s been difficult to push through this summer though…with trips and conferences, and my kids being home. It’s tough.

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Can I tell you about my first book instead? The fun tidbit about that is that part of the story is in Okinawa, Japan where Emily’s brother, Matt, is stationed with the Marine Corps. When I first came up with the idea of Resolutions, we were living in Okinawa! The church that Matt goes to is the church that my husband was pastoring, and I loved incorporating details (and some characters!) from our time there into the book. I also have a few books – Different Stars, Ready or Not, A New Tune, Something Better, From Here on Out and my favorite book of them all, Happily Ever After – that are set in Namibia, a country in the southwest corner of Africa where I served for two years as a missionary right after college. The characters in Happily Ever After actually live where I lived, doing the same type of ministry that I did while I was there. It was so much fun to write!

That is fascinating! My first book was inspired by my time in the Czech Republic where I spent time four consecutive summers doing mission work. I fell in love with the people, the culture, and the history there!

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

My current project is tentatively titled Worth It, and it’s a friends-to-more story. Nate and Athena meet initially because her sister marries his cousin, but they stay in touch because their acquaintance with one another is mutually beneficial to their careers as up and coming PhD students with their eyes on a future in university administration and academia. The real story picks up four years down the road from that first meeting, and it’s clear that though they’re total opposites, they’ve somehow managed to become the best of friends, so much a part of one another’s lives that there isn’t much that’s left unsaid between them, until… well, you’ll see. 😊

I’ll be honest, while I like Chick Lit, it’s not my first choice of genre, but I am definitely going to get one of your books and check them out! It has been so much fun getting to know you and a bit about your inspiration and process. Thank you for coming on the blog!

Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog, Sara! I’d love to let your readers know that one of my books, Happily Ever After, is always free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. The rest of my books, starting with Resolutions, are over at Amazon and are free to read through Kindle Unlimited. You can find a complete list of all forty-five of my books, along with descriptions and links, at

Happy reading!

Hey! That’s usually my line 😉 Well, readers, there is a fabulous excerpt waiting below for you and a giveaway rafflecopter as well. Don’t miss any of it:


Three friends, ten resolutions, and a year full of big life changes.

For Emily Fisher and her friends, New Year’s Eve has never been about more than eating cake and watching the minutes until midnight disappear. This year, though, Emily, Sara, and Melissa decide that as they approach the age of thirty, they’re going to make some bold resolutions together and see them through in the year ahead, never guessing how dramatically life will change for them in the process.

As the daughter of a megachurch pastor and the assistant to a sensational and exhausting wedding coordinator, Emily already has her hands full. Using the resolutions as a challenge to make life about more than being a mindless drone at work, she ventures out of her comfort zone – trying new hobbies, picking up new exercise habits, traveling abroad, helping out in new ways at church, DATING – and discovers in the process that there’s more to life than weddings and work. When her family experiences unexpected hardships, Emily is forced to re-evaluate all of her priorities, and the lessons she learns lead her to stronger faith, a new dream for her career, and a romance greater than any that she could have imagined for herself.


This is from Resolutions. If it’s too long, feel free to cut, cut, cut (lol!) or ask me to hunt up a better excerpt. 😊

It was ten minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve night, and my mouth was full of wedding cake.

Not my wedding cake, obviously, since I was in my favorite pair of pj pants, a comfy old sweatshirt from high school, and a fabulously tacky pair of leopard print slippers. This cake was our New Year cake, from a vendor who catered most of the weddings I worked and who always had a “sample” available for me once a year. “Because I just love you like that, Emily,” he would wink at me as he passed the box across the counter and refused my money. His wife would pat me on the arm and tell me, “You tell all of your brides how wonderful this is!”

And it always was. Tonight’s specialty was my favorite – white chocolate with strawberry cream filling, covered with cascading chocolate-dipped strawberries, some of which were decorated to look like little men in tuxedos.

“Exquisite,” Sara had said when I lifted it out of the box.

“Kinda creepy,” Melissa had noted, pointing to a tuxedo strawberry that looked more headless than his brothers.

“Just wait,” I told her. “This will be better than last year’s. As if that’s even possible.”

The three of us were having a party – a party just for us. We had been having these every New Year’s Eve since we were ten. Our friendship had started long before then, back when we were the only three babies in attendance at Grace Community Church twenty-eight years ago when my father began his pastorate there. The church had been very small then, but we were blissfully unaware in our crèche department, chewing on the same plastic toys, being diapered by the same volunteers, and babbling incoherent ramblings to one another each and every Sunday morning. As the church grew, we transitioned from the crèche to the preschool, from the preschool to the elementary age wing, from the elementary age wing to the Junior High youth, and from the Junior High youth to the High School group. Along the way there were other friends who came in and out of our lives, but for the most part, it remained the three of us, running to class to meet up and tell one another some silly story during our younger days, coolly meeting up after the service when we were angst-ridden teens who were mortified by our parents, and now, post-college and nearing our thirtieth birthdays, finding time in our busy schedules and lives to continue our friendship.

This New Year’s Eve tradition had served us well, even during college. We were fortunate that even though we chose three different universities in different parts of the state, we were all home for the same holidays and could still do our annual countdown of the year.

“This,” Sara said, pointing her fork at the layers of strawberry goo wedged so delicately in the cake, “is what I’m getting for my wedding. Think he’ll cut me a deal?”

Sara had been planning a wedding for quite a while. Years, in fact. She had met Jon during her last year of college, and although he seemed as committed and focused as she was back then, the six years since had gone on with no move towards marriage. Sara had started working as a kindergarten teacher in Fort Worth after graduation, and Jon had started work on his MBA. Two years later, he took a position with an investment firm in San Antonio, although he had offers nearer to home. If you know your Texas geography, you know that Fort Worth and San Antonio aren’t exactly in the same neighborhood, and since Jon, two years into the relationship was still no closer to a ring and a date, we all thought it was the beginning of the end. Sara didn’t, though. She loved him beyond any valid reason we could see and continued to plan her life with him even though he made no move towards any kind of commitment.

That was Sara, though. Kind and sweet, optimistic and hopeful, perhaps to a fault at times.

Melissa eyed me questioningly for a moment. I gave a slight shake of my head, imperceptible to Sara, or so I thought.

“No, Melissa,” she said in a sing-song voice. “He hasn’t proposed yet. But there’s always Valentine’s Day, you know.”

“Ugh, Valentine’s Day,” Melissa groaned. “Hate it, hate it, hate it…” She speared a bite of cake and popped it in her mouth. “This is good,” she told me. “And you know I’d tell you if it wasn’t.”

I knew that she would. Melissa’s best trait was her brutal honesty… although at times, it was also her worst trait. I had, on more than one occasion during high school, seen some poor unfortunate and unsuspecting guy shyly ask her out, only to have her look at him dubiously and say, “Me? But you’re way too dumb for me.” When I would express some amazement about this after the wounded boys would retreat, she’d say, “What?! It’s true!” And it was. Melissa was smarter than all of them. She would eventually show some remorse for her harsh treatment of the male gender, saying that perhaps some kindness and tact would have been more honoring to the Lord. But she never apologized for being smart. After racing through a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree with high marks, she was now the only female engineer on staff at a secure government location that we couldn’t know too much about, even as her closest and oldest friends. “It has to do with missiles,” she told us once, very simply, and never spoke another word about it. (I remember Sara’s response to this had been to treat her with increased care and gentleness, as she was quite sure Melissa had become a domestic terrorist of some sort.) Melissa’s life was her job, and she spent even most of her free time working towards higher achievements there.

As for me, I was also working my dream job, a position that I ironically referred to as “Dream Destroyer.” That wasn’t the official nomenclature on the door of my office, though, as the truth would have likely scared any and all clients away. The friendlier title assigned to me was Assistant to the Bridal Events Coordinator.

I had applied fresh from college with little hope of getting the position, stepping into the regal downtown hotel for my interview and feeling as though I had shrunk three feet by being in the very presence of such elegance. Surely, I thought to myself, only THE most talented and experienced coordinator could get a job here! I hadn’t counted on being the last of twelve girls hired that year alone, thanks to the gruesome nature of the job. Unbeknownst to me that day, they were fully booked for the season, were in desperate need of some naïve help, and were ready to take just about anyone. My boss, THE Bridal Events Coordinator, greeted me that day in a full pink suit, fresh corsage on her lapel, spike heels on her feet, and hands full of bling. Big, huge, gigantic bling. Her hair was exquisite, her makeup flawless, and her smile so warm and tender.

She had me fooled.

“Dear Miss Fisher,” she said, holding out a hand to me delicately. “I’m Evelyn Primrose.”

I must confess, I didn’t know whether to shake her hand, kiss her 3-carat emerald cut engagement ring, or curtsy. I managed to firmly shake her hand in my own, then on her invitation, followed her to her office, a feminine space dominated by floral furniture and her own amazing bridal portraits. Evelyn had been stunning even then as a debutante set to wed the mysterious Mr. Primrose, whom I had never met. (And whom I suspected was actually a Mr. Butts or Mr. Snarflehock, names that Evelyn would have traded in during office hours for the impossibly feminine and genteel Primrose.) On that fateful day that I interviewed, stars in my eyes, she laid the job out for me with a genuine smile – assist brides in planning their dream weddings, walk alongside the wedding couple as they made decisions for the reception, act as the middle man between vendors and brides, and (she said this with a flourish) exude elegance that befits such a fine venue.

It was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. I would have told Evelyn anything she wanted to hear. Do I know every kind of flower type ever seen under the sun? Absolutely, Mrs. Primrose. Can I sew up twenty layers of silk and tulle in ten minutes? Most certainly, Mrs. Primrose. Was I willing to be a team player in this bridal machine we were running? Without a doubt, Mrs. Primrose!

And so I began, quickly discovering that it was Evelyn’s job to dream big with the brides, to suggest the vendors, to show them how extravagant their big day could be, and to fill their heads with impossible fantasies…. before sending them to the face of hard-cash reality, yours truly. I had only wanted to have the fun of planning a wedding without the work of a marriage. What I got was akin to couples’ therapy as I broke the news to dazed brides and grooms that while, yes, those peonies that grow naturally in Bali (and nowhere else in known civilization) were exquisite, they did nevertheless cost a fortune. And while, yes, the dance floor we could offer looked like something your Uncle Bubba could set up for you with no problem at all, we would require that our people do it and that it would cost you $300 for set up, $300 for tear down, and, my sincerest apologies, $300 for repair work later at the very least. (Even if you didn’t do anything to it!) Oh, and our most efficient meal (Evelyn frowned on my more honest word “cheap”) would still cost $50 a head, even though it likely only cost us $2 a plate to make. I was the number cruncher, the business end of the deal, and many times, the great consoler of all manner of hysterical brides.

My dream job was a big nightmare most days. It paid the bills, though, and paid them well enough that I had paid off all of my student loans in record time. With that monkey off my back, I was saving up for a real home… if my little clunker car would just live a little bit longer. I anticipated being the Dream Destroyer for many, many more years, as it was a good job with the opportunity for advancement, for one day being THE Bridal Events Coordinator. And hiring some other poor schmuck to do my job.

It didn’t take me long at my job to realize that no one expected me to last very long. All of the other assistants had quit within a month of taking the position, but six years later, I was still there. Evelyn liked my tenacity, and God bless her, I liked Evelyn for just having the guts to be Evelyn. It couldn’t have been easy to send the wolves to me every day, but she did it without reservation, noting that even the unpleasant parts of wedding planning were crucial to a truly successful event. When things got really rough for me, she was a shrewd businesswoman who could come to my defense when it looked like I was going to literally be in the middle of a knockdown drag-out between brides and grooms. “Savages!” she told me once, after a particularly belligerent bride had attempted negotiating with me by screaming in my face. “As if they could ever have their hootenanny of a wedding here!” If for no other reason, I loved her for being able to wear a Chanel suit and Jimmy Choos while saying the word “hootenanny.”

The memory made me smile as the seconds ticked by to midnight.

Happily Ever After

Cammie Evans was a girl with a plan from the moment God called her to be a foreign missionary. After several years spent all over the world, though, she finds herself with a new assignment that leaves her questioning all that she once thought to be true about life, love, and calling.

David Connor was always the weird kid in the youth group, never destined to live up to his father’s expectations. After several years of working to find his own significance in Christ and his calling as a foreign missionary, he finds himself asking hard questions about who he is and what God wants from him.

As their lives change and the past becomes part of the present, can Cammie and David help one another find their own happily ever after?

Buy Links

Amazon (Resolutions)

Amazon (Happily Ever After) – FREE!!

More About the Author

Jenn Faulk is a native Texan who enjoys reading and writing chick lit. She’s a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and a marathon enthusiast who loves talking about Jesus and what a difference He’s made in her life. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and a MA in Missiology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Connect with Jenn and her books

For a complete list of all of Jenn’s books, visit her website:

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Jenn is offering an ecopy of her first book, Resolutions, featured on today’s blog to one (1) winner. Please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.

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guest post, spotlight, writing

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Author Kadee Carder

Welcome, everyone. We have a returning author, Kadee Carder. She is one of my favorite authors to have on. She is just one of the most encouraging people in general, and as a fellow author, she is always there with a word to lift up others and spur them on in their journeys. Just incredible.

Kadee is here with her new release, Kingdom Come. And she has agreed to give us a long excerpt as a guest post. So, let’s get right to it:

~ The Greatest Person You Know~

(an excerpt from the book KINGDOM COME)

Humans have many kinds of powers. What amazes me is that we forget we own them. Imagine if Superman forgot he could bend steel? Superheroes of the comics base their lives around their powers. They sharpen them. They thrive utilizing their powers.

You and I have power, too. The power to use a word for good, to share conversation with a friend, to lift up the human beside us with a smile, with words, with art, with kindness, that rectifies the cruelty of the world one soul at a time.

Jade Teta says humans have five powers, ownership being one. My ability to recognize my abilities shows power in itself. My cat doesn’t do that. She does not sit in the window pondering if she will need to do the dishes later or if she needs to do laundry. I, however, can recognize and analyze if I’ve done my best for the day. How beautiful is that fact?

Recognizing the possession of certain abilities offers an arsenal of strength. Recognizing the amazing person I was created as — senses riddled with textures, scents, pops of color, clicks of light, and a slurry of sounds — and that I can do far more than I imagine, put me on a higher playing field if I simply acknowledge my own presence. This one goes for you too. Seeing people, actually seeing them in their hurt, their pain, their trial, their joy, their bliss, shows just how powerful ownership can be. Have you ever been with someone who seemed to See You and enjoyed your presence? We humans need light and life. We create it even unintentionally. Ownership, the intentional recognition of the beautiful power held within, will guide a human toward life or it can crush the spirit like a weight sinking in the sea. What five abilities do you recognize within yourself? When given the option to empower yourself or limit yourself, which do you choose first?

“There is one grand lie — that we are limited. The only limits we have are the limits we believe” (Krista Johnson). In the face of danger, the human body releases adrenaline. It’s a natural way to protect. Lions have claws and fierce prowess, wasps sting heavy and hard, and humans — well humans can lift over twice their weight, survive under crushed buildings or tunnels for weeks at a time, swim farther, run faster, carry torn limbs, walk through fire, and dance in the hurricane. See, the natural human condition protects life. The instinct protects.

Have you ever considered that Superman only knew he could be strong, and so he was? For some reason we let in scarcity and timidity. We begin allowing the scrapes and bruises to win. We feel the cold winter nibbling at our fingertips and we withdraw from the ice.

Instead, learn to create fire.

The human brain takes its time to develop, becoming a fully-functioning body part around the late twenties, on average, age twenty-five. Have you ever taught a child to time travel? The fully-developed brain (typically one about thirty years old or more) uses the logical, rational portions to make decisions. Before the age of twenty-five, an average human brain does not fully utilize its total functional capacity because the area has not developed. Asking a child to make a rational decision compares to asking a child to time travel. He simply cannot. He can’t even comprehend the statement. But imagine if that child, from an early age, was daily surrounded by science, technological studies, encouraged to read about physics and astronomy, and was told he had the ability to travel through time? By his thirties, imagine this person and all he would know. Now, imagine a baby in a small room, surrounded by dim lighting and who had no access to books, education, or positive reinforcement to study and learn? By his thirties, who will this child be?

Now, every person has a unique fingerprint, but which child will believe he has the ability, and could possibly even travel through time? I’m betting on the first. So we are with our ownership of power. If you’ve been told that you’re broken, if you’ve been told you’re useless, if you’ve been told you’re lacking, then that will be your default. But my friend, you were built with intention. You are intrepid. You are creative. You are an intellectual. You are stronger and more powerful than you know. The thoughts you tell yourself, the input you process, that leads to the life you prove.

Do the heroes build their stories upon fear or upon saving life? I vote for life. I vote for leveling up, for choosing power, because it’s what surges bliss throughout our cores.

Own your abilities. Own those marvelous aspects of you which contribute to the lives of those around you. You’ve got a courageous story to create, my hero. Exercise who you want to be when the darkness drifts in. Train yourself to react to fear by facing it instead of running away. Train yourself to use your strengths when weakness would shout lies. Reiterate your own beautiful ethos when those thoughts sprinkle down. Who do you want to be when the lights go out? Who will you be if you believe you can walk humbly with grace and strength? Practice that. Act that. Be that. The time to go save your world approaches.

Wow. What a way to start the blog. Just wow. I LOVE this, Kadee! I am eager to hear more about this book!

Opt in for an adventure to discover purpose, tenacity, and to build your empire. Are you stuck? Questioning your purpose? Are you tired, broken, and hurting in the stale crumbs of the daily grind?

Even the most ordinary of humans can do impossible things. The elements of storytelling are tools to help us understand our purpose and to build a life greater. Here we discover the three protocols every hero satisfies in order to fulfill the mission. You’re the hero in your own story. Transforming into the hero may be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Within these pages, discover the ultimate objective in understanding and experiencing the combined unity of these three tools in your hero story. Get ready to travel the vast horizon of the hero plot line and forge new paths toward your legacy.

What was the inspiration for Kingdom Come?

In my research and life experiences while writing my soon-to-be-released novel EARTHSHINE, I found myself in this dark, aching place of brokenness and hurt, of lost dreams and tainted hopes. While I wrote the story of a girl who had to get back up, I found my own self in the shadows. Could I be the girl who got back up? In my Sunday school class, our leader mentioned that all people had three tools they carried which God uses for good. I had never heard this premise before and immediately looked into what he meant. Within the next few months my life changed, from a place of devastation, to intention. My attitude changed, my purpose shifted, and I found true focus on what I knew my life needed to be, as I unearthed and sharpened my three tools. I didn’t need the ache of loss; I craved adventure and purpose. Here I’ve collected my thoughts, study, and research which offer readers applicable, faith-based tools for braving the earthly plot line and forging empires. From this guidebook KINGDOM COME, we begin rewriting the stories of our lives to fulfill our mission and create the life less ordinary.

I can so connect with what you are saying. I am completely drawn in…

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I adore 90’s punk rock, Imagine Dragons, and random indie bands. During my writing and research for KINGDOM COME and EARTHSHINE, I listened to several songs which inspired me to write these stories. Here are a couple links to YouTube videos if you’re interested in listening along while you read:

“More Than Life” by Whitley –

“All The Poor and Powerless” by All Sons and Daughters –

“Believer” by Imagine Dragons –

“You’re Gonna Be Okay” by Brian and Jenn Johnson –

“Hard Love” by NeedToBreathe –

“The Adventure” by Angels and Airwaves –

“In the Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha –

Thank you so much, Kadee, for being on the blog and sharing these words. I know I will be processing them for days to come…maybe even weeks! But I will hand the blog back over so my readers can delve into Kingdom Come!

Kingdom Come

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More About the Author

Fierce yet sparkly, I rally seekers to thrive in their stories. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. I teach English on the university level when I’m not dancing around the living room with my family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or binging superhero shows.

INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational KINGDOM COME roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of my latest adventure, and follow along on

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I’m giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at Titled IGNITE, the 60-page book offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!


Follow Tucker Thompson to the brave wilds of the Australian Outback in search of his long-lost home (which he doesn’t remember) and to rescue the remnants of an undercover op gone wrong (which has been attacked). HERE BE DRAGONS is a young adult science fiction adventure for the thrill seeker and action taker.

“Those voices that tell you to stop, those are wrong. Those voices lie. They steal your victory. Out there be dragons, but in here—” Burkman tapped my chest, “—here lodges your sword and shield.”

Can Tucker lead his small crew in a daring rescue mission? Or will the ghosts of his past and the tech of tomorrow rip him to shreds? Find out now with your free copy of HERE BE DRAGONS!

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GIVEAWAY & GUEST POST: Author Leanne W. Smith

Up and Down Goes the Heart

by Leanne W. Smith

In April I flew to Chicago for a conference. April is a busy month for educators, and this conference took place during the highest peak of my work season. I was tired when I left, and tired when I came home.

Down goes the heart.

Still…perhaps due to the difference in routine tasks—an opportunity to step off the normal hamster wheel of my world—I returned refreshed, with a heart fuller of thought than normal.

And up again.

I flew Southwest on a Wednesday. The day before, a woman got on a routine flight like mine and didn’t live to reach her destination. I may never sit peaceably in a window seat again.


After Ubering to the hotel, I realized Hamilton was playing down the street. So on Thursday between academic sessions I bought a prized remaining ticket.

It is heralded as a great musical for a reason. The writer in me was moved and thrilled by the story, the lighting, the music, the acting.

I walked away wanting to be a braver writer; believing once again in the power of words and stories well told.

And up.

Friday, on the flight home, I finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Another kind of story—heart-breaking and beautiful.

And down.

While I grieved the atrocities of her first-hand account of war and its wide swath of horror, I marveled at the faith and obedience of her family…the ways they loved, and the shafts of light God sent them.

And up again.

I returned to my own house more appreciative of the comfort and sanctity of home, to find my gloriously uneventful life as I had left it—to French-press coffee on Saturday morning in my easy chair, Stan reading the Wall Street Journal beside me, its front page filled with another story of abuse.


A familiar walk through the neighborhood. The azaleas in bloom and my hostas peaking through the soil. Worship on Sunday with people I love.


Then learning of another shooting in a public place.

Some weeks the heart volleys up and down more than others. In seeking to end this week on an upswing, here’s a short snippet from The Hiding Place, in case your heart benefits from the power of words and story as much as mine does.

Once—I must have been ten or eleven—I asked Father about a poem we had read at school the winter before. One line had described “a young man whose face was not shadowed by sexsin.” I had been far too shy to ask the teacher what it meant, and Mama had blushed scarlet when I consulted her. In those days just after the turn of the century, sex was never discussed, even at home.

So the line had stuck in my head. “Sex,” I was pretty sure, meant whether you were a girl or boy, and “sin” made Tante Jans very angry, but what the two together meant I could not imagine.

And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, “Father, what is sexsin?”

He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.

“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.

I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions—for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.

From The Hiding Place: The triumphant True Story of Corrie ten Boom 

Interview Questions

Leanne, thank you so much for those words. I love that reminder in the excerpt from The Hiding Place. But let’s get back to you and your works. What does your research process look like?

When I was working on my first novel, Leaving Independence, my youngest daughter and I traveled to Missouri. The largest overland trails research library is in Independence. We walked through an old cemetery, and a kind gentleman with a booming voice drove us around town in a prairie schooner with his mules. This time, my oldest daughter and I went to Colorado. We rode The Georgetown Loop through the Rockies, visited museums and a mining town, and I could see Hoke charging up over a hillside.

Wow! What a great way to get into the setting! Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes, for as long as I can remember. Two summers in college I worked for my county’s election commission. When new folks moved to town and registered to vote in those days, they often came by the office. I sat at the front counter and filled out the forms. One day when I asked a man, “Profession?” he said, “Writer.” My pen paused mid-air. It was by far the coolest answer anyone had ever given. I think that’s the moment it dawned on me there were real people who wrote for a living; it wasn’t simply the stuff of my dreams.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Finishing my first book was like having a first child. I thought, “There will never be a creative high to top this.” But finishing Contradiction was even more thrilling! The day I wrote the final scene I felt like David must have felt when he danced with abandon in the streets. I stayed in my living room, but my joy was no less thick.

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

Yes! Five: three historicals, a contemporary, and an adaptation. I really need to focus.

Thank you again, Leanne, for being on the blog and for sharing a bit more about your process and your work. Now, I’ll turn it over to my readers so they can jump into your newest release!

A Contradiction to His Pride

*This novel is set to debut June 12, 2018*

From the moment James met Corrine as they traveled the Oregon Trail, in Smith’s best-selling debut novel Leaving Independence, he couldn’t resist trying to win the sharp-mouthed beauty’s affections.

Now, as the core group of pioneers in Colonel Dotson’s wagon train begins to settle in Baker City, Oregon and build homesteads, James is restless to make his fortune so he can stake his own claim and win Corrine’s hand with honor.

But when James takes Corrine on an outing designed to impress her, things go tragically wrong. James foils a bank robbery and unwittingly sets a series of events into motion that shatter Corrine’s heart and now threaten her life, along with his and her older brother Charlie’s.

Soon there are several folks heading back down the trail—James, Charlie, Corrine, Harry and Tam Sims, the Baker City Sheriff, a newspaperman, a notorious criminal family, and Hoke Mathews—all set to collide in a final showdown in a Colorado mining town as outlaw Duke Walden seeks to make James pay for his heroic actions.

Enjoy an Excerpt


A cold wind rustled the leaves of the evergreens west of Baker City, building like the crescendo of a symphony. When the wind unfurled and swept into town, it lifted the top layer of a twenty-inch snow that had fallen the day before, sending icy sprays swirling over several residents who rushed to stand in the drifts and on the boardwalk following the gunshots.

James Parker wanted to give Corrine Baldwyn a day to remember him by, not a day to curse his name.

Now, as she thrashed while he tried to hold her, the blood from her hands raking stains over the sleeves of his coat, James squeezed his eyes shut against the wind, the ice, the snow and the slaughter, and wondered if she could ever forgive him.

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More About the Author

Leanne W. Smith is the author of Leaving Independence, On a Dark & Snowy Night (short story), and A Contradiction to His Pride.

In the 90s she wrote a family humor column for two Middle Tennessee weeklies called “My Two Cents.” These days she writes historical fiction novels and serves on the faculty of Lipscomb University’s College of Business.​​

Leanne and her husband, Stan, have two daughters and a son-in-law who make the world a more beautiful place through their art, design, photography, songwriting and mandolin-playing. Visit Smith’s website at

Connect with Leanne and Her Books


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For a chance to win a free paperback copy of Leanne W. Smith’s newest book, A Contradiction to His Pride, enter below. (Only valid for continental United States.) Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter:

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GIVEAWAY & INTERVIEW: Author Cindy Ervin Huff

Hello, readers! I hope you are all well and enjoying the summer weather…even if it is a little hot and a bit stormy at times. Seems like the right time to curl up with a good book to me. At the beach, in the mountains, on the back porch, at the pool…wherever! ESPECIALLY if it’s raining. Nothing better than a cozy house with a blanket, a coffee (insert “tea” if you’d prefer), and a good book.

My guest today is here to introduce us to her newest release which promises to be such a book. Romance, internal struggles, connection, overcoming…sounds like a good read to me! But I’m getting ahead of myself…and her. Let me let her share…

Welcome, Cindy! And thanks for joining us today. First, can you tell us a little about New Duet?

Aurora, Illinois

The idea for this novel came to me while I was part of a church’s worship team. A what if moment. What if the worship leader dropped dead. I have the greatest respect for that worship leader, so the idea was nothing personal. Several years earlier a missionary had dropped dead during an elders’ meeting due to an aneurysm. That idea germinated into the story line of an abused widow starting over in a new town. (Why not make it my town Aurora, Illinois) and meeting a wounded warrior who was adjusting to life minus a leg and aided by his service dog. Each need to start over and come to understand themselves and grow in faith.

I’m in a military town and come from a military family (my grandfather was a career military man) and there is hardly a family in the area who is not touched by the army in some way. The concept of your novel definitely speaks to me. What was the inspiration for New Duet?

The emotional issues Isabella and Dan struggle with are the same as some of my friends and family. My oldest son works hard to keep his PTSD under control. It is not as violent as the media portrays it. But depression and panic attacks are often a part. The issues of domestic violence are common, sadly, even in the church.

Wow. So you write from a place of deep knowledge. The media definitely doesn’t do the best job portraying many mental illnesses. I am still in recovery from postpartum depression (experienced after each of my three children). It’s not exactly what the media portrays either. What they show is usually postpartum psychosis. Not quite the same.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I did. But I also wanted to be an actress. I think writing novels is a great way to create characters too.

So true. Brandilyn Collins writes books about developing characters utilizing what she learned pursuing theater. It’s an interesting concept. One I wouldn’t have thought of.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When my 8th grade teacher entered my short story in a writing contest. I didn’t win or even place, but the die was cast.

I imagine so! It only takes a taste, doesn’t it? But, as you know, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine…there are things we don’t like as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?


Truth. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Keep writing every day. It doesn’t have to be good writing just consistent. Keep a notebook in your purse and others around your house so you can jot down ideas. And read, read, read in the genre you want to write in and craft books. Attend conferences and network, network, network. What I learned there was priceless. And the critique groups I’m in has grown my writing by leaps and bounds.

Well said. I noticed that you founded a Word Weavers group. I have recently discovered that these exist. I hope to become part of a nearby group soon or start my own! I am currently in a critique group, but I like what Word Weavers has to offer.

What are you currently reading?

A novella collection The Cowboys of Summer. I just finished Backcountry Brides Romance Collection, these help me focus on correcting stuff in my own novella that has a deadline this August.

I LOVE those Barbour novella collections! They are great for a great quick read or getting yourself in a setting (i.e. I was writing in a ranch setting and grabbed the “Cowboy Bride Collection” – not for research, but to put me in that mood.)

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I prefer quiet or instrumental only, otherwise I tend to sing along.

I’m the same way 🙂 Instrumental only. Or it’s a one-woman Sara show.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Early morning. I take my laptop to wherever the quietest place is at the time. I’ve had to write all different times when on deadline.

One of those questions that everyone is curious about is: How long does it take you to write a book?

Let’s see. I wrote my Historical romance, Secrets and Charades in five months, but did rewrites for years. I wrote the first draft of New Duet in two months and spent another year (not daily) in rewrites. My historical novella took four weeks to write. I’ll need another few weeks to edit before submitting. That’s 20,000 words compared to 80,000.

Great! Well, Cindy, thanks again for being on my blog. For sharing about your novel and your process. Do not fear, dear readers, we will certainly dive more deeply into New Duet below. AND Cindy has a GIVEAWAY offer below as well. So, without further ado, I’ll let you check it all out:

New Duet

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning.

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Isabella Melinda Marklin scurried ahead of her husband Ron. She reached the driver’s side door of the red Dodge Durango first. Ron closed the gap between. His breath brushing across the top of her head. “I’m driving.”

She faced him feeling for the handle and pulling the door open.

Anger flashed in his dark brown eyes. Melinda stood her ground.

“You have one of your migraines. “I’ll drive.” She climbed in before he could grab her arm.

“Fine.” Ron moved to the passenger’s side, slammed the door, and leaned back on the gray leather head rest. “It’s so bright.” His forearm covered his face.

“Here’s your sunglasses.” Melinda took them from the visor before gazing into the rearview mirror. The gravel driveway flowed beneath the tires. Her chest tightened with the gears shift into drive.

Ron adjusted the sunglasses. “Can you drive a little faster?”

“No.” A tremble escaped her lips. White knuckles gripped the steering wheel. Fear wrestled her confident tone. “We’ve got time.”

“You’d better be right.” Ron massaged his temples with his index fingers. “If we’re late it’s all on you.”


Everything always seemed on her lately. Always her fault, always her problem. Blame had been the morning focus.

“What’d you do with my socks?”

“Why haven’t you folded the laundry?”

“Did you break the iron? I wouldn’t hand off this shirt to the homeless”

“You forgot to charge my phone again.”

His harsh words produced her own headache which found solace in a bottle of pain reliever.

The silent treatment a welcome change. Sweet worship music streamed into the car comforting her soul relaxing her thoughts. Peace flowed from the melody. She turned the wheel and panic assailed her. Her wrist was bare. I left my witnessing bracelet on the bathroom sink. The colorful beads used to share the gospel. Oh, how she hated it. He gets so mad when I forget it. Please, please don’t notice. Another reminder of her failure in the ministry.

“Turn off the radio. The music’s killing my head.”

“Maybe we should return home and you can rest.”

Ron raised his head, lifted his sunglasses, and glared. “And give you another excuse. Six Sundays, Melinda, six times sitting in the pews and not helping with worship. Well, my migraine will not be your seventh excuse.”

Melinda’s knuckles ached on the steering wheel. Tight lips held back tears. Arriving at church in the middle of an argument would make things worse later. God forbid anyone would see them arguing. That would be my fault too. She hated being in ministry, on the worship team and under a magnifying glass in this congregation. If I don’t get away soon, I’ll go insane. God forgive me.

Ron made no mention of the headache once they arrived at the church. His spotless dress shirt and neat pressed Dockers (no thanks to her imperfect ironing ability) added to his confident air. His look had changed over the past few years from casual jeans and collar-length hair to short moussed hair and black dress shoes.

Ron wanted her to get a make-over. The CDs sales had switched her husband’s focus. When they first married, Ron asked her to grow her hair out. “Sweetheart, the Scripture says long hair is a woman’s glory.” Now a file folder of acceptable hairstyles created by the church secretary lay in the bottom of her underwear drawer.

Maybe I should bleach my hair and spike it, wear my bra outside my blouse if he is so interested in a professional image. The bitter taste of her thoughts convicted her. Father, I seek your peace again. Please be with Ron when he shares his new song and don’t let my attitude hamper what you’re going to do here today.

“Blessing.” Ron hugged each member of the worship team in turn. “How’s the new baby, Mark.” Ron’s smile never giving time for a response before he continued.

“Angelina, nice dress.”

He seemed to have pushed through the headache, making Melinda wonder if it was all an act to keep her in line.

“Melinda, sweetheart, go tell Graham to watch for my cues.”

Mister sweetie pie is back. I swear… Every Sunday Ron used the same syrupy tone to issue the same instructions.

“Graham, you know.” Melinda tried on a sincere smile.

The sound tech took a sip of his coffee and grinned. “Yeah, yeah.”

Melinda headed back to the front of the auditorium muttering. “The mics worked. Why doesn’t he tell Graham himself? Another irritating thing to add to my I-Hate-My-Life List.” Her face warmed as people filled the pews. Fake smile in place. Wave at a few friends. Don’t dare stop during the warm up to chat.

Once the worship team prayed together she gained composure. Ron was presenting his newest song, “I Am Your Bond Servant”. The worship team had worked hard to get it right. Graham was recording it to add to Ron’s growing collection of songs for his latest CD. Next month would be his first live concert.

She’d told Ron she was done. He’d laughed. “Sugar, you know you love it as much as I do.” Then he’d squeezed her arm. The bruise covered by her sleeve.

Today would be her last performance. His last critique of her performance, her last time to pretend she cared.

Melinda took her place left of Trevor, the bass player with Angelina and Griffin the other backup singers. She preferred not being center stage. The service started with announcements and prayer. God’s presence filled the stage when worship began. “I Am Your Bond Servant” was the last song in the set before the pastor’s sermon. Ron, for once had given equal parts to all three singers as well as special orchestration for all the instruments. Her husband, in great form. He seemed connected with the Lord in a way Melinda hadn’t seen in years. The crescendo before the last line seemed to lift everyone’s hearts to God.

Ron finished the song, lifted his hand in praise and crumbled to the floor, knocking music stands and microphones in all directions. The clatter echoed through the sound system reverberating off the walls.


Melinda stood dazed, hands shook at her side, and legs rooted in place.

Trevor started CPR. Andrew, the guitarist, called 911.

Ron’s vacant eyes stared heavenward.

Clamminess covered her skin.

The congregation erupted in screams, weeping, and concerts of prayer all over the sanctuary.

Her heart reached out to Ron, but her body betrayed her.

The paramedics entered the sanctuary in a slow-motion run. Before they reached the stage, blackness enveloped her.

The coolness of the stage floor greeted dulled senses. Muffled words. Gentle arms held her.

“Melinda.” Maureen, her mother-in-law, hovered. “He’s dead, dear. What are we going to do?”

Her blunt announcement rambled through Melinda’s numb brain. He’s dead. Who’s dead? Ron’s dead.

“Oh God! Oh God!” Her shrieks joined the congregation’s. Guilt shrouded her. Relief mixed with guilt ate at her, and the packed suitcase in the trunk of her car.

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More About the Author

Cindy Ervin Huff received the Editor’s Choice Award for her debut novel Secrets and Charades, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Secrets & Charades placed third in the Maxwell Awards.

Over the past forty years her by-line has appeared in numerous publications. Her latest release a Contemporary Romance New Duet is set in Aurora, Illinois. Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboys novella collection is slated for release in August 2019.

Cindy is the founding member of the Aurora Illinois chapter of Word Weavers and a member of ACFW. Her blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies, especially those starting later in life.

Visit Cindy on her Facebook or follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff.

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Hello, all! Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. It’s been all craziness here as I get ready to head off to North Carolina for the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference! I am so excited. It will be my first time at this particular conference and I am beyond thrilled to be in beautiful Asheville.

Today, I have a great author to introduce–B.W. Morris. He is another Clean Reads author and his novels have definitely intrigued me. I will admit that I got caught up in the excerpt. My next stop, I think, will be Amazon 🙂

Thank you for being on the blog, B.W.! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Six Pack: Gyration is the second book in The Six Pack Series. The first book came out last year and the second book follows up on the events of the first. Set in the distant future, it follows the tale of six teenagers who consume a drink that gives them strange powers and leads to them learning about a movement against the government of Novusordo. They must determine how their powers can help change the world – but they must learn to work together as a team. In the second book, their decision to save their professor, Roger Woods, leads to significant consequences that impact everyone – including themselves.

Hmmm…I like the idea. I must admit. I peeked ahead at the excerpt. I am very intrigued! What was the inspiration for The Six Pack Series?

The first inspiration came from watching the animated TV series Young Justice and thinking about my own ideas for a team-up of teenaged superheroes. It wasn’t until I read The Hunger Games, though, that I got an idea for the story’s setting – what if these superpowered teenagers had to take down a controlling government? And because my original idea was that these teens would gain their powers after consuming a drink, that led to the idea that the government used a drink to keep the population from questioning its agenda. Everything fell into place by then.

You’re not making me want to read it any less 🙂

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I’ll admit when I was much younger, I thought I wanted to be a fireman. However, it was when I got into the fourth grade that I realized I had the gift for writing, even if I didn’t think about as a future career. By the time I got to junior high school, I read the student newspaper and thought how great it would be to write for it. That was the first time that writing really crossed my mind.

Strange how we don’t see what’s right in front of us sometimes…I just did a career day talk for third graders and realized that it was about that age that I started writing little stories. Even though my heart was set on being a doctor until much, much later.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Once I had my mind set on journalism, I knew that writing was something I wanted to do. But it wasn’t until I got older that fiction writing crossed my mind. I had done some creative writing in my spare time, but once I got ideas in my head for novels, I gave more serious consideration to writing one. I threw together a draft in the summer of 2015, visited the Kansas Writers Association for the first time and it grew from there.

That writing but does eventually make its mark on us, doesn’t it?

But as much as we all love it, I know there are things we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

The editing process! It can take a lot of time to go through a draft, several times over, to make sure you get everything to the best it can possibly be. It’s worth it, though, once you see the final product come together.

I hear that! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Do a lot of reading. That’s the number one thing for everyone to keep in mind. Spend your time reading novels, pay attention to how characters are developed, how tension is built, how pacing is done. You can also get ideas for how these things work by watching movies, but reading books is of the utmost importance. And it helps to practice writing – spend your time jotting down whatever comes to mind. Even if it’s just notes to yourself, every bit of writing helps.

What are you currently reading?

I’m going through several young adult, science fiction and thrillers to get ideas about what other authors are doing. I’m reading Five Nights at Freddy’s right now – it’s good so far, though I’m still only a few chapters into the book. I like to read a book before I go to bed and try to read one chapter per night – though sometimes I’ll run across a book that’s so good, I keep going through chapters and can’t put it down. (That’s what it was like reading The Hunger Games for the first time!)

I know! I couldn’t put it down either!

Let’s talk about setting your writing mood… What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I can’t listen to music when writing. I sing along with the lyrics too much!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Evenings work the best for me, though I may try to squeeze in some writing on Saturday mornings if I’m not busy with something else. As for where I write, I’m usually sitting in front of the coffee table in my living room – yeah, that may seem odd, but I find it works better because it’s somewhat different from work, when I’m always sitting in a big chair in front of a desk.

How long does it take you to write a book?

My first drafts take about two to three months to complete. Then I let it sit for a couple of months, before I pull it out, edit and rewrite. And then it’s on to beta readers, meaning the full process from first draft to a draft that’s ready to submit may take a year or more.

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

I put several Easter eggs in it – for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, those are lines or details in the book that refer to other works. I found ways to work in lines that were lifted from Young Justice and the Arrowverse, without them seeming out of place. Something that’s fun for readers to pick up on if they notice them!

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I am completing my own tribute to the Arrowverse called the Arrowverse “Other World” Project on my author blog (which is in the process of transferring to a new website). My third book in The Six Pack Series is undergoing beta reads and I hope to polish it up by the end of the summer. In the meantime, I’m planning to work a draft for another book in the coming months – just need to finalize an outline and then I can get started.

Again, thank you so much for being on the blog, giving us some insight into your books and your process. Now, readers, let’s dig in and check out these books!

BOOK 1 – Six Pack: Emergence

Just weeks before Tyler Ward is to graduate from secondary school, he learns the truth about Novusordo and how a drink controls the population. After sharing this information with his five friends, they visit a professor’s house, take another drink and gain strange powers. It leads to them learning more about how the government controls people and the discovery of a movement against the government. Calling themselves the Six Pack, Tyler and his friends must learn how their powers can change society. But they first must learn to trust this movement… and even each other.

Six Pack: Gyration

Months after the Six Pack has fled City 37N104W, Tyler Ward wonders how much longer the Underground Network can afford to wait to make its next move against the Novusordo government. The disappearance of five more students from Monroe Secondary School pushes his desire to take action. And when he learns that Professor Roger Woods may be in trouble, he is convinced he and the Six Pack must take matters into their own hands, even if it means defying the Network. But actions have consequences, and the decisions Tyler and his friends make will impact everyone they encounter — including themselves.

Available May 22 on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Tyler pressed a hand to his chin as he listened to Diane. The more he heard, the more agitated he became.

“So every marriage only happens because the government says so?”

Diane leaned back in her chair. “Couples get together at their places of work, but the government must approve a marriage, yes.”

“What if somebody fell in love with a person who worked a different job than them?”

Diane shook her head. “The government won’t allow that.”

Tyler flexed his fingers. “That isn’t right.”

“Yes, but that’s one of many reasons why the Network wants to change society.”

“So what are we waiting for? After all, the longer we wait, the worse things will get. Not to mention that my parents could be in danger if the government found out what I’m doing for the Network.”

“Your parents are fine. As far as we know, the government isn’t going after them.”

“As far as you know.” Tyler narrowed his gaze. “How can you be sure?”

Diane held up her hand. “I understand you want to help the Network. That’s why we are letting you know more things over time. But we do need to be patient.”

“That’s all I ever hear.” Tyler took a deep breath, trying not to raise his voice. “But the more I hear, the more I ask myself how much longer we can wait.”

“Tyler, you have to understand that Professor Woods chose you for a reason.”

“Yes, he believed I was the right person because I was the top student in my class. Makes me wonder what would have happened had I never met him.”

“That’s why you need to know that you were intentionally placed at Monroe.”

Tyler did a double take. “What?”

Diane leaned forward and folded her arms across the desk. “A teacher at your elementary school, who was part of the Network, recommended you be placed at Monroe. The government allows the top students to be assigned to schools, and that teacher had hoped you would meet Professor Woods.”

Tyler looked away for a second. That revelation convinced him, more than ever, that he couldn’t keep hiding. If he was meant to bring change, he needed to bring it about. His gaze shifted back to Diane. “If I was meant to meet the professor, to be part of a movement for change, shouldn’t I be out there doing it?”

Diane shook her head. “It’s not that simple. First of all, the professor expected your ability to reason would be enhanced, not something else. Second, ever since what we’ve learned has been happening in City 37N104W, we’ve had to reassess.”

“How long can we afford to do that?” Tyler gestured with his hands. “What happens if we’re forgotten? Allen Ford keeps wondering why we haven’t been around.”

Diane took a deep breath. “We have reason to believe the Novusordo government is trying to lure you there.”

“We had reason to believe Governor Grayson was trying to lure us, but Mr. Harrison agreed we should go.” Tyler flipped his hands. “What’s different this time?”

She shifted in her chair. “What’s different is that the government increased security there. Tighter restrictions at Monroe: on everyone who lives there and works there. We’re trying to determine the best way to handle things.”

Tyler shook his head. He wanted to believe Diane. But though her voice remained steady, her eyes moved just enough to suggest something bothered her. How he wanted to read her mind, but he respected her too much to do that. “So what else aren’t you telling me?”

She didn’t answer.

“What is it?” Tyler asked.

She shifted position again. “All right, it’s only fair you know. The professor and I are a couple.”

“You two are dating?”

“Yes, that’s how I became involved with the Network.”

Tyler frowned. “I thought the government determined who could get together.”

“Not those in elite positions, such as the professor and myself.”

“Okay. So why wouldn’t you want to do something to help him?”

Diane held up her hand. “He and I came to an understanding about things.”

He shook his head again. “You and he may have done that, but I haven’t. How can you stay here while he’s down there at Monroe, in who knows what situation—that is, if you already know and don’t want to tell me.”

She took another deep breath, as if she didn’t want to raise her voice. “And as we have told you—I have told you—several times before that it’s too risky for the professor to leave. As much as I care for him, I’m not going to put him in danger.”

“But he’s in danger right now, isn’t he?” Tyler gestured with his hands. “Five students disappear, so does Mr. Walls, and the professor could be next if we don’t take action.”

“And you could be in trouble if you go down there,” Diane said. “The professor does not want anything to happen to you.”

“And I don’t want anything to happen to the professor. Do you?”

Diane cupped her hands and pressed them against her chin. She didn’t seem to know what to say. Tyler had a stray thought, that he wasn’t being fair to her or the Network. But all he could think about was doing something to help Roger.

“I mean, how has the Network handled things for the past, what is it, seventy-five years or so?” Tyler stood up. “I’m sorry, but if there’s going to be change—real change—then we need to take action.” He spun away from her.

She leaned forward. “Tyler, wait…”

But he opened the door and marched out. He strode down the hallway, eyes straight ahead. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so harsh with Diane. But it hurt him, knowing that she cared for Roger, but didn’t feel compelled to help him. How could she leave him behind like that?

He approached the lounge and almost ran into Jennifer Blake. Great, she was the last person he wanted to be around.

“Hey, slow down,” she said.

“What do you care?” He brushed past her, but felt a tug on his arm.

“Mind, I need you to listen to me.”

She pulled him away from the door and toward the opposite wall. When she released her grasp, he stumbled and stared hard at her. What was her problem, anyway?

“They told me you could be a great leader,” she said. “I want to believe that, but the way you’re acting makes that difficult.”

“What is it with you?” He threw up his hands. “All I hear from you is criticism.”

“I’m trying to keep you from becoming what I once was.”

He blinked. “What are you talking about?”

She leaned against the wall. “When I was twenty-one years old, my mother died. Publicly, they said she had food poisoning. But I learned that the government arranged for poison to be slipped into her meal because she was too critical of the government.”

She pushed back her hair. “I remember how angry I felt. I wanted to get at the government so badly. Make them pay for it. I wanted to hurt them, hurt the president, the way they hurt me. But then I met James Harrison. He calmed me down, made me realize that if I did anything rash, I could make things worse. And he told me about the Network.”

She crossed her legs. “My mother kept a diary on her tablet. The last entry she wrote was that patience can be a difficult thing to learn, but when you learn it, you find it will serve you well. She also wrote that, while she hoped for Novusordo to change in her lifetime, if she could inspire others to push for that change, she’d know she’d done well.”

Tyler wanted to say something, but she held up her hand. “What stood out the most was she believed that change could happen if you gave it time. Be persuasive, difficult as it may be. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t lose much. Because in the past, when people tried to change things, they became aggressive, resorted to violent measures, used tactics that did more harm than good. Those tactics are what led to the rise of Novusordo. So if change is going to come, it has to come the right way. Through persuasion, not violence.”

Tyler’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t doubt she told the truth. But the tone of her voice sounded like a scold. That he didn’t appreciate. It made him harder to accept that she might be right about being patient. “Why didn’t you tell us this when we all first met?” he asked.

“I wasn’t sure about the six of you.” She relaxed her posture. “I heard about the things you did, and wondered if having such power was a good thing, especially somebody your age. I wanted to see firsthand what you were all about.”

“So you don’t trust us?”

She shook her head. “No, it’s that I wasn’t sure if the things you could do were the best way to bring that change. I’m not convinced yet, but the patience your friends are showing, at least from what I’ve observed, give me reason to believe. But it’s not only about that. It’s about understanding what you are up against and what happened before, about not repeating those mistakes.”

She locked eyes with him. “And believe me, Mind, there is a lot you need to understand.”

Tyler’s gaze hardened. He wanted to sympathize with her. But here was somebody like Arnold Walls, who thought that teens couldn’t handle this situation. That they were too young, too inexperienced, too reckless. Arnold rubbed him the wrong way, just like Jennifer.

But it didn’t matter. Arnold was in trouble, too. He may not like him, but he’d never turn his back on him if he might be in trouble, if the government came after him. Jennifer was no different. The government had no right to target anybody for death, whether he liked the person or not.

He thought about responding, but she raised her finger and spoke. “I don’t want you to dwell on how much you want to change things. Believe me, the more I dwelled on it, the worse I felt. Now, I haven’t given up on changing things, but I understand it comes with time and with patience, not violence. You need to understand that.”

She lowered her hand. He sighed but couldn’t deny she had a point. After all, he never wanted to hurt anybody when he used his powers. Still, he couldn’t help it. Something bothered him, that there was more to things than she let on. And he had to be sure of that. Though he may have promised he wouldn’t pry into the minds of those he respected, this was different. Even after everything she told him, she hadn’t earned his respect.

“All right, fine.” He extended her hand, acting like he wanted to make amends. “I’m sorry.”

She sized him up. He tried not to give away what he was thinking. After a moment, she took his hand.

That’s when Tyler focused on her. He kept it for a few seconds and heard enough to confirm his suspicions.

Professor Woods is in trouble.

She released his hand. “You should go join your friends.”

“I will.”

She turned and walked down the hallway. He entered the lounge. He knew what needed to be done, what he had to tell his friends. The Six Pack had to return to City 37N104W.

More About the Author

B.W. Morris is a longtime writer for small-town newspapers who put his inner comic book geek to work through writing novels. Born in Texas but grew up in Colorado, he has lived in New Mexico, Oklahoma and currently resides in Kingman, Kan. Greg Weisman, Suzanne Collins, Stan Lee, George Orwell, and Conor Friedersdorf all influenced his writing. Morris is a fan of the Young Justice animated series, the Arrowverse shows on the CW Network, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars films, and more graphic novels than he can keep track. You can learn more about his love for science fiction at his blog,, and his new website to be launched in June at

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B.W. Morris is offering, to one (1) winner, an e-book copy of his first novel in the series, Six Pack: Emergence. The winner will be selected from among entries in the Rafflecopter below (follow instructions on the Rafflecopter to enter).

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