DEADLINES FOR WRITERS: Why have them, How to set them, & How to keep them

Most all writers know about deadlines. Or at least we could benefit from learning about them. For those more seasoned writers out there already know the reason for deadlines. But those newbie writers out there, may need some thoughts from someone who is a few more steps down the road.

Why have them?

Bottom line, deadlines help writers produce work. As much as the creative process is unique, it can take a…unique amount of time. And for some…okay, for most writers, that can mean an unending amount of time. That is not because we are lazy. Well, some of may need some bum glue from time to time. But mostly it is because we are so intent on our art being perfect, and that goal is so difficult to attain, we would never be truly satisfied with a manuscript. We would always find things to tweak. A deadline pushes us to come to peace with a final draft and turn it in. Even if you are indie publishing, self-imposed deadlines are a good thing. Have them, use them, mark them down, and keep them.

“I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.” ~ Oscar Wilde

How to set them?

As with any goal, you have to be realistic. And you have to know yourself. Know how fast you write and how many hours you will have to write (realistically). Then you will need to figure how long it takes to self-edit and how many hours you will have to devote to that. I would give yourself a conservative estimate. Then mark that deadline down and make a covenant with yourself. Make small, measurable goals along the way. Daily, weekly, monthly…depends on you. Set up a reward system for reaching your goals and staying on target.

Susan May Warren has a wonderful book that will help you in this planning process and gives you an idea of how to calculate your hours to deadline: My Book Therapy Dream Keeper & Planner 2018. It is available on Amazon and that link is HERE.

How to keep them?

So, you have set your deadline realistically. And you have made small, measurable steps along the way to meet your goal, even rewarding yourself along the way. These are key things to keeping your goal – the consistent work day to day. Keeping on task, using that bum glue, staying committed. If you said to yourself, I can do 4 hours a week, then do 4 hours a week, even if you have to say “no” to something else. And there will be times you might have to. Because the truth is, we all have the same 24 hours a day (minus the 6-8 we spend sleeping, leaving us with actually only 16-18 hours a day). You choose how you spend them and what you accomplish in that time you have.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~ Jim Rohn

Will you be true to yourself and keep your goals?


Hello, readers! I am pleased to introduce you to another clean Historical Romance author – Tammy Kirby. Her latest release is set during the Victorian Era. Again, these are time periods I am eager to read more about. So, I am all too happy to have Tammy on the blog to introduce me and you all to her works!

Thanks for being on the blog today, Tammy. First, can you tell us a little about your novel.

In 19th century England, sexual slavery is rampant in London. An impoverished gentlewoman is mistaken for a doxy by an inebriated duke who believes he has purchased her for the night.

Miss Beth Darnley has always served God, but when her world is shattered, she wonders why. The battle to forgive is a long journey and she struggles with it every time she is in His Grace’s presence. Amidst her own private war of forgiveness and obedience to God, lives are changed and hope becomes a house of haven

Greyson Brennen, Duke of Briarcastle, is cynical were women are concerned. After ruining her, he offers Miss Elizabeth Darnley a position as his new mistress. He tells himself he is doing her a favor. Pity she won’t yield. It becomes a matter of pride to get her to submit. Funny how things have a way of coming back around.

Wow. Just wow. Care to share the more historically significant events behind your story?

Sex trafficking was a real problem in the Victorian era. Sadly, it is still a problem today. Not just in London but in many countries. Even in the USA I have promised to donate part of the proceeds from His Grace Forgiven to help rescue as many of these women and children as possible.

That’s amazing. What a great cause!

What was the inspiration for HIS GRACE FORGIVEN?

God dropped the seed for His Grace Forgiven in my heart with these words, ‘Can you forgive the unforgivable?’ I pondered the question for a while, then realized, yes, I already had. Maybe that’s why He gave the job to me.

I love that He has a purpose for each of us. He doesn’t waste a hurt. And He will bring good from tragedy.

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

As a child, I always wanted to be a wife and mother. But I think because I learned to love reading at a young age it just grew into a desire to write my own stories

I, too, started off with a love of the written word. It grew into what it is today 🙂

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

In my early twenties, I wrote my first novel and hid it in a chest. I was so embarrassed when my husband found it. That was during my bodice ripper days. LOL. I am so glad I didn’t publish that one. When I was 29, I took a creative writing class while in college pursuing a degree in Registered Nursing. That’s where I realized I really did have a talent for writing. I also realized I had a lot to learn, hence the years it’s taken to get my first novel out there.

We are so alike, you and I . I refer to my earlier self as a “closet writer” because I kept all my work to myself. Until my husband discovered it. Though those early works, later polished, became “The Lady Bornekova” and “The General’s Wife”.

As much as we enjoy writing, we both know it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. There are things we don’t love so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Historical research and writing a synopsis. I want to be in the middle of the story! The other stuff, that’s just work.

I agree–it is work!

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

Search out God’s will and follow His leading. Don’t get caught up in believing you have to go by a certain outline. I took several nuggets I found from different writers and built my own. Use what works for you.

Love it! It is true that we glean from other writers. On that note, what are you currently reading?

A time-travel by Bess McBride Moonlight Wishes in Time

And your process…do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Early mornings, though that sometimes morphs into 8 or 10 hours at my computer. I like writing in my office, but love to sit on my porch overlooking the river near our camp and immerse myself in my character’s lives.

Can you tell us something about your His Grace Forgiven that is NOT in the blurb.

His Grace Forgiven is book one of the Haven House series inspired by God to show that no matter how deep in the cesspool of life one has fallen that there is hope in His all-consuming, undeserving, precious love and forgiveness.

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

I have a short story coming out the summer of 2018 called ‘Saving the McKinnon’. I also have book 2 and 3 of Haven House : Joy To The Earl and Vengeance Is Mine, Saith Milord, plotted out and hope to have them published this year.

Thank you again, Tammy, for being on the blog and sharing about your process! And I appreciate you giving my readers a look into your book. So, without further ado, I will get out of the way and let you have at it, readers!

His Grace Forgiven


An impoverished gentlewoman mistaken for a doxy. A jaded duke with an aversion to marriage.
Can two broken souls find forgiveness and love among the shattered remnants of their pasts?

19th century England: Sexual slavery is abundant in the seedier areas of London. One woman vies to change this. Amidst her own private war of forgiveness and obedience to God, lives are changed and hope becomes a house of haven.

Mistaken for a doxy—ruined by an inebriated duke—sold by her only family. Miss Beth Darnley desires to forget the horror one fateful night made of her life. She’s always served God, but when her world is shattered, she wonders why her loving Father would allow such dreadfulness to befall her. The battle to forgive is a long journey and she struggles with it every time she is in His Grace’s presence.

Greyson Brennen, Duke of Briarcastle, is used to having things his way. Painful experience has made him cynical were women are concerned. They have their place and he’s always been a generous benefactor. Miss Elizabeth Darnley will fit perfectly in the position of his new mistress. He is doing her a favor. Her own house with a bevy of servants—clothing and jewels a queen would envy. It will be a far cry from the destitution she is used to. Pity she won’t yield.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Mrs. Kerry took one look at her and Greyson and sent servants scurrying for hot water and bandages.

“Merciful Lord! Have you finally shot him? I told him he was being much too hard.” Mrs. Kerry tsked as she wrung her hands. “Your Grace, are you hurt?”

Before she answered the frantic housekeeper, Beth directed Timms to take the duke to his quarters and instructed Izzy to send Will for Dr. Peyton.

“I am fine, Mrs. Kerry. And to answer your question, no, I did not shoot him, though I can’t say the idea doesn’t hold some merit.

Buy Link


More About the Author

Tammy Kirby holds an associate degree in Registered Nursing, a cosmetology license, and the title of author. When she’s not helping heal the sick, or dabbling in color, you can find her at her computer, giving life to the characters clamoring inside her head to be set free.

She developed a love for reading at a young age. Beauty and the Beast is her favorite fairytale, and I Love Lucy her favorite tv show from childhood. That being said, you’ll always find one of her characters having some of the same characteristics in Tammy’s works.

She uses her writing to show God’s love and forgiveness through characters from hundreds of years in the past, who face the same problems people face today. Taking broken heroes and heroines and showing them this truth is her mission.

Tammy lives with her husband, Roger in Northeast Louisiana, where she spends her free time doting on grandchildren, reading, crocheting, sewing and, of course, writing about how the Lord can take any sin, no matter how bad and turn it into a blessing to glorify Him. Her desire is for her writing to speak to her readers in a way that draws them closer to the One who loves them above all.

Connect with Tammy and her works


Amazon Author Page:

INTERVIEW & SPOTLIGHT: Author Wendy May Andrews

Welcome, readers! I have another wonderful author for you to meet today. Clean Reads author Wendy May Andrews writes Historical Romance focused in the Regency era. And her newest release is no exception. As a great fan of clean Historical Romance myself, I am always excited to find a new author in that genre to check out. I love Jane Austen as much as the next girl, but can’t say as I’ve read a lot of Regency outside of Austen’s legendary books until the last few months. And I am finding that there are some real gems. So, I am pleased to have an author that writes in this period on the blog today.

Welcome to the blog, Wendy. First, can you tell us a little about your novel.

A Dangerous Debut is, in some ways, a Cinderella retelling. Daisy is in a tight spot, financially, but is a well-bred young woman. She has just lost her position as governess and needs a new job. The viscount offers to hire her to pretend to be his fiancé so that he can convince his parents that he has turned his life around and they’ll loosen their purse-strings. He really has turned his life around but his parents don’t have much confidence in him. He doesn’t want to raise expectations with any of the ladies of his acquaintance so this seems to be a reasonable solution (to him, at least). Daisy resists the idea but is tempted by the opportunity to see how the ton lives. Mayhem ensues 🙂

I love a good Cinderella story. And I am enjoying this Regency period more and more.

Care to share the more historically significant events behind your story?

Unlike some of my other stories, this one isn’t centered around any particular historical event. It is set during “the Season” in 1807.

I love learning about other writers’ inspirations. It is true that it can strike anywhere! What was the inspiration for A Dangerous Debut?

I am never at a loss for ideas. Because I write historical, I’m always wondering “how would this be for my characters.” In this particular case, I was watching the movie Barefoot (which was hilarious and quite well done) and thought, this could totally be a Regency. Of course, once I sat down and started writing it changed considerably, but that was where the kernel of the idea came from.

Movies always take me off on a tangent 🙂

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

I always loved to read, and had a favorite aunt who used to say I would be a writer one day. She even went so far as to make up pen names for me. But, to be honest, I never really thought I would be able to do it!

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

When my husband challenged me to write that first book. I got bit by the bug and haven’t looked back 🙂

I know we all love writing or else we wouldn’t do it. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are things we don’t love so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing! And marketing, of course. If I could only write first drafts I would be beside myself with glee. But you have to put the work in for other people to benefit from it.

So true. Marketing is such a necessary thing, but it doesn’t come easily to most writers I think.

This next question is purely to satisfy my curiosity. It varies so much from writer to writer–how long does it take you to write a book?

This really varies depending on what else is going on in life. I’ve done National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) and have “won” in that I managed to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. But two or three months is much more comfortable for me for getting the first draft written. Then there’s the editing but that can overlap with writing the next one…

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

Yes! I’m very excited about my next projects too. I’ve started writing two series. One is set in my usual Regency era. The other is a trilogy set in 1850s mid-West America. It’s a different time and location for me so a lot of research required. But I love it! Hopefully book one will be out in the next few months.

Late 1800’s is becoming my sweet spot. I look forward to that series!

Again, thank you so much for joining me and for sharing with us about your process and your newest release. So, readers, without further ado, I’ll let you read on and check out A Dangerous Debut.

A Dangerous Debut

Daisy meets Lord Seaton quite by accident while standing outside a closed employment office. The handsome viscount proposes they might be able to help each other out. He offers to hire her to accompany him to visit his parents while posing as a potential love interest.

Being a proper lady, if only a “Miss”, Daisy objects to such an inappropriate proposition. Once the viscount is able to convince her that he will observe all proprieties, she reluctantly agrees while secretly looking forward to experiencing the aristocratic life, if even just for a week.

When a shady character from her past shows up looking for her, Jasper’s protective instincts kick in. But will it interfere with his own reasons for the ruse? Jasper’s feelings for Daisy get even more muddled when she is abducted.

Their masquerade could lead to true love if her past doesn’t destroy them first.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt: First meet (Opening scene):

“What am I going to do now?” Daisy kept her wail silent as she struggled not to panic.

The door was locked, and there was no sign of movement inside. The early morning sounds of carriages, carts, and people going about their business behind her on the busy street could not penetrate the dark sense of dread she was struggling to control. Daisy was staring morosely at the locked shop door when a voice behind her shoulder nearly made her jump out of her skin. She was surprised she hadn’t noticed his approach reflected in the gleaming glass of Miss Holstein’s shop window, since she had been staring at it so intensely.

“Is aught amiss, ma’am?” the cultured voice slurred, stirring Daisy’s amusement, despite the terrifying dilemma she faced.

When she turned to answer, her usually glib tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. The wellborn man’s handsome face stole her breath. His golden brown hair was dishevelled, as though he had been running his hands through the waves repeatedly throughout the long night. His light gray eyes were fringed with long dark lashes. If he were not so ruggedly handsome, they would have looked feminine. But his strong physique declared him an outdoorsman of some note, and no one would ever confuse him with a woman. She realized her confused blinking probably made her look like a simpleton, but she could barely marshal her thoughts into order, they were so scattered.

Seeing the concern forming in his eyes despite the air of ennui about him that declared he rarely cared about anything, Daisy pulled herself together enough to remember his question.

“Thank you, my lord, I shall be perfectly fine.” Daisy realized her tone sounded repressive and prim, but she couldn’t help herself.

“You do not seem perfectly fine.” The handsome gentleman’s observation sounded vague. The emphasis on “seem” implying that even though he was bosky, it was apparent even to him that all was not right with Daisy.

Daisy was now beginning to find his presence irritating and could easily see past his remarkable good looks. With her tongue no longer stuck to the roof of her mouth, she was able to make use of it. “I truly am not in need of any help from you, my lord,” she began, not bothering to mask her disdain. “You may carry on with your own business without concerning yourself about mine.”

Daisy’s sunny disposition usually prevented her from being snide, but she felt her nose wrinkling as she observed the young man before her. His clothes declared he was a member of the Corinthian set, verging toward being a dandy. It was obvious he was a wealthy nobleman, perhaps even an aristocrat. That thought made her lip curl just a little with feelings of scorn. The air of authority with which he held himself, despite the fact he had drunk too much the night before, declared his position loudly without his uttering a word.

Her resentment began to rise despite her knowledge that it was irrational. She really ought not to be so judgemental. Under normal circumstances, she tried to be an open minded individual, but truly, aristocratic “gentlemen” are all the same, she thought with an audible sniff, just as her father had always told her.

Buy Link


More About the Author

Wendy May Andrews has been in love with the written word since she learned to read at the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but it took her some time before she was willing to share her stories with anyone other than her mother.

Wendy can be found with her nose in a book in a cozy corner of downtown Toronto. She is happily married to her own real-life hero, who is also her best friend and favourite travel companion. Being a firm believer that every life experience contributes to the writing process, Wendy is off planning her next trip.

She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, on twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Connect with Wendy and her books


Social media:


Twitter: @WendyMayAndrews

Instagram: WendyMayAndrews


Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you are all well and enjoying the warmer weather. And I hope you aren’t perpetually sick as my family seems to be. But I digress…

I have an author to introduce to you today. She is a Clean Reads YA author with a very intriguing inspiration for her novel and a GIVEAWAY!!! So, let me go ahead and introduce M.R. Anglin. And I won’t dawdle about getting into the interview so you can get introduced to her book 🙂

Welcome to my blog, M.R. Anglin! Thanks for being here. First, can you tell us about the inspiration for Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon?

Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon was inspired by my niece and nephew, my sisters, and a Bible verse, believe it or not. “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still and the moon stopped till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar” (Joshua 10:12-13 NIV). I always loved that verse since I read it as a child, and it stuck with me all these years until it came out in this novel.

Did I tell you it was an intriguing inspiration. I love that! So, this inspiration goes way back. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be a pediatrician until my first year of college. But I couldn’t stand the thought of possibly dealing with a cadaver.

I can get on board with that. I was Pre-Med too. It was all the red-tape/bureaucracy that was the nail in the coffin of my medical career. Back to writing though…there are certainly things about that process we don’t enjoy as much as others. What part of the writing process do you dread?

The part when I let others read my work. Will they love it? Will they hate it? Am I really a good writer? All those doubts plague me at that point.

So true. This next question is a purely “Sara is curious” question…I know that it just varies from writer to writer. How long does it take you to write a book?

From start to finish—about 3 months. But it always helps if I let it sit for a while after I’m finished and read it again later.

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

I’m currently working on the re-release of the first book in my self-published anthro series, Silver Foxes. I’m also working on the sequel to this book tentatively called Light of Alandri. After that, I want to go back to writing another YA series I have in the works. That one, I’ll have to keep under wraps for a while—at least until I finish the thing.

You’re like me…a lot of “irons in the fire”. Never working on just one thing at a time 😉

Thanks again for being on my blog today. I look forward to you, readers, catching the excerpt and getting a taste for the book. Read on! And don’t forget to catch details about the giveaway below!

Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon

For years the Moon Palace in the Valley of Aijalon and the Sun Tower in the Plains of Jashar has stood as testaments to the power of the sun and the graciousness of the moon. Helio and Lumina, Guardians of the sun and moon, kept watch over them and the Prince and the Princess who ruled them. But the Prince and Princess are missing, and the sun is exhibiting strange behavior.

Now Joshua and his younger sister, Deborah, must untangle a web of lies and deceit to uncover the secret of who they really are and save their world from an imminent disaster brewing in the heavens. And they must hurry. Between the earthquakes, the sun and moon standing still in the sky, and the planet Jants hovering closer than it’s ever been, the planet could be torn apart before they have a chance to do something about it.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Mr. Delango.” Mrs. Blaine’s voice sliced through the air, jarring Joshua out of his thoughts.

He jumped to his feet. “Yes, ma’am.” All around him snickers erupted as each of his classmates stared at him. Joshua stifled a groan. Judging by their reaction, he had missed something important.

“Perhaps you would like to elaborate on our topic?” Mrs. Blaine motioned to the blackboard.

Joshua winced. He had been staring out of the window and had no idea what she had been talking about.

His best friend, Neil, shrugged. With his skin the complexion of milk and Joshua’s the complexion of chocolate, Neil always said together they were two halves of the best drink ever to have been invented.

But now he shook his head at Joshua. “I tried to warn you,” he mouthed.

Joshua cleared his throat. “You are doing such a fantastic job at explaining this, Mrs. Blaine, I can’t elaborate.” He punctuated the remark with a smile meant to charm her.

“I think you can.” Mrs. Blaine pointed to the board. “Why don’t you come up and fill out this diagram?”

Joshua bit back a comment and made his way to the front of the classroom. The walls were white, and though Mrs. Blaine had set a plastic, potted tree in the corner, there were no posters or papers on the walls . . . just a blackboard where Mrs. Blaine wrote her lessons . . . not at all like the other teachers’ classes with their motivational posters and charts plastered all over the walls.

“No distractions for wayward thinking children,” Mrs. Blaine had said the first time someone remarked on the lack of decoration.

Joshua took the chalk from her and approached the blackboard. Empty spaces in the diagram she had written mocked him, but the words, “Planet/Celestial Body” and “Guardian” were written in separate columns at the top. At least Joshua knew what she was talking about now—the solar system and its Guardians.

“Fill it out.” Mrs. Blaine smirked. “Unless you aren’t smart enough to goof off in class and still retain the information.”

Again his classmates snickered.

Joshua took a deep breath and studied the diagram. Then he raised his chalk and wrote:

Planet/Celestial Body












Geon’s moon












Once finished, he faced Mrs. Blaine. “Is that correct?” He held out the chalk to her.

No one snickered now . . . well, except Neil. His face had surged red with the effort of stifling his laughter. To date, no one had bested Mrs. Blaine at her game to humiliate students who weren’t paying attention. In fact, Mrs. Blaine herself stared at the diagram Joshua had written with her mouth set.

Her eyes narrowed. “Go sit down.”

Joshua shot a smile at her as he went.

“See me after class,” Mrs. Blaine said.

Joshua winced. One smart gesture too far.

“The rest of you, commit this chart to memory.” Mrs. Blaine tapped the blackboard. “It will be on the test next week.”

“Dude, are you crazy?” Neil leaned over to him as Joshua sat. Joshua had to bite back a smile. His friend acted like he had been the one called in after class. “She’s going to hate you now.”

Joshua shrugged. “I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

“Like what?” Neil whispered, copying the diagram.

“Like . . .” Joshua stared full into the sun. “I think the sun is off by two minutes.”

Neil paused in his writing. “What?”

“The sun.” Joshua glanced at Mrs. Blaine to make sure she wasn’t watching. “It should be a little to the right. It’s in the wrong place.”

“Have you been moon-bathing or something? You’re as batty as a night-person.”

Joshua scowled at his friend. “Don’t say that.”

But Neil went on, ignoring Joshua’s annoyance, or . . . more likely . . . not noticing it at all. “The sun can’t be in the wrong place. It’s impossible.”

“Maybe.” Joshua could overlook his friend’s oversight. After all, he didn’t know how offensive the saying was. “But I’ve done the calculations over and over—”

“Done the calculations?” Neil snickered. “What do you know about calculations like those? There are smart people in the capital whose job it is to watch the sun. Don’t you think they would have said something if the sun was in the wrong place?”

“I guess . . .” Joshua faced the front of the class where Mrs. Blaine continued her lesson. He wrote the diagram down, more to get his mind off of the nagging feeling in the back of his mind than because he needed to remember it. Neil was right; Joshua had to be wrong. After all, Helio, the Guardian of the sun, was the epitome of precision. The sun would never drift out of position on his watch.

Still . . . a feeling, like a stone sitting in his stomach, told Joshua something was amiss. He had seen the sun doing strange things before. The other day he thought he saw it flickering, and the day before he was certain its rays were less intense than they should have been.

Joshua swallowed the knot rising in his throat and resisted the urge to fiddle with the gold necklace he wore hidden under his shirt. If something was wrong with the sun, he had more than filling out diagrams and studying for tests to worry about.

They all did.

Buy Link


More About the Author

M.R. Anglin has always had a fascination with space—particularly the moon and stars. She also has three amazing nephews, two adorable “near-nephews,” and one brilliant niece, so it’s no wonder she eventually wrote a story that combines these loves into one. You can often find her gazing up at the Florida sky at night or hunching over her notebook/computer by day.

She is the author of the Middle Grade novel, Lucas, Guardian of Truth (LampPost 2012), the self-published Silver Foxes series, and her newest YA novel Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon (CleanReads 2018). She has also been included in the Coyotl Award winning anthology, Gods with Fur (FurPlanet 2016), Dogs of War Vol. 2 (FurPlanet 2017), and Extinct? (Wolfsinger 2017).

Connect with M.R. Anglin and Her Books


Twitter: @authoranglin







M.R. Anglin is offering a pdf copy of her book Prince of the Sun, Princess of the Moon, to one (1) winner. Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Entries will be collected by criteria listed on the Rafflecopter. Contest runs until Thursday, March 8th, 2018 at 11:59 pm. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hello, readers! I am so sorry that I have been out again. I have been under the weather once more. I hope I am well on the way to NOT BEING SICK for a while. It has been a bit much…

But I have a treat for you today–another Clean Reads author, award-winning author Ica Iova, and her release Divine Intervention. I have enjoyed getting insight into her process and her work through this interview and I hope you will too. And do NOT forget about the excerpt waiting below 🙂 But, for now, let’s sit down with Ica so you can glean from what I learned…

Welcome to the blog, Ica. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Divine Intervention is a Christian romance with a touch of paranormal suspense. LUKE MARSHAL is a brilliant doctor and whole-hearted atheist who clings to the last dredges of a life shattered by grief when he meets EMMA COOPER, a gorgeous novelist, proud mother of 13-year-old SKYLER, and a real believer that no man – besides God – deserves her trust.

They meet by chance, and though the attraction is unmistakable, given their pasts and different beliefs, they’ll need some serious divine intervention to make it work.

Paranormal Christian Romance…you have me intrigued! What was the inspiration for Divine Intervention?

A local news story about a man who showed up at an accident scene and helped the victims. In spite eyewitnesses, no one knew who he was. Even more puzzling, he appeared in none of the hundreds of photos taken at the scene. This is the story behind the story. Of course, once Luke and Emma came to life, they had other plans and guided the tale on a romantic path.

As writing goes, there are parts we all enjoy (of course, that’s why we do it!) and things we writers don’t care for so much… What part of the writing process do you dread?

I’d have to say editing. Although my first draft is as clean as can be, the countless rounds of self-editing, before the manuscript lands on my editor’s desk, drive me insane.

That is by far the most popular answer to that question. And one I can definitely concur with. I am more a writer than an editor 🙂

As much as we learn from craft books, I believe we learn from other authors through their work. What are you currently reading?

A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena.

This is purely a “just curious” question as I know this varies from writer to writer… How long does it take you to write a book?

It depends on how long the story is, and how much research I have to do. Most of my readers say that my stories sound so genuine. I’d like to think that is the result of researching every aspect of it.

As a Clean Historical Romance writer, I can definitely relate. There is tons of research needed.

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

Resilience is book two from the Resiliency series. It’s a Women’s Fiction, inspired by articles and interviews I did for surrounding divorce and all the craziness that follows. Resilience has hit top 100 paid in Kindle Store three times.

Congrats! That is so exciting! Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

Yes. This one deviates a little from the romantic paranormal stories that have made me an award-winning author, but I believe the story needs to be told. I started it 20 years ago, and I don’t have a definite title yet. It will be either Collision or Finding Freedom. (I know, poles apart, but both titles fit my story equally well.) This WIP is as close as I’ll probably ever get to an autobiography. Though fiction, it’s, in fact, an honest assessment of an immigrant’s journey—from communist dominance to a dreamland with unfamiliar grounds. What it takes to start again, and what she can never leave behind once every aspect of her life is turned upside down.

Wow! I am eager to hear more about that story! Thanks for being on the blog today and sharing about your releases.

Y’all know me, I can tend to ramble, but I won’t. As you can guess, there is a wonderful excerpt waiting below, so I’ll get out of the way and let you get to it 🙂

Divine Intervention

Enjoy an Excerpt

Luke and Emma meet for the first time, after Emma’s daughter, Skyler, lands in the ER for the second time in a week.

Something must have shown in his eyes because the woman’s expression changed. Alarm bells went off in Luke’s head, making it hard to breathe. What would he do if she touched him? What would she do if he touched her? He felt beads of sweat forming at the center of his back.

Man, pull yourself together, he scolded.

“Emma Cooper, Skyler’s mother,” she introduced herself, extending a freshly manicured hand.

Luke swallowed hard. Somehow, he had known who she was from the moment he saw her eyes in the lobby. Just as Isabella, Emma looked like Skyler’s older twin, but about two inches taller. A feeling took tours around his brain. He had met this woman before. Where? She had the same last name as her mother. Did that mean she wasn’t married? Divorced?

Not widowed. She would’ve kept her married name. The questions came as a shock. Why would he care?

Stop it, you idiot.

Luke snapped out of his daze and, stretching out his hand, he mechanically accepted the one she held out. “Hi, how are you, ma’am?” he said, then quickly went back to examining Skyler’s head.

Before I begin feeling…feeling…


He had nothing to compare it with, but it didn’t matter. This woman was a complete stranger. What kind of a crazy man claimed to have feelings for a woman he just met?

Apparently my kind.

Her green eyes fired lightning bolts in the back of his neck. He could feel it but continued to focus on checking Skyler’s head, asking questions along the way. When he finished, he propped his hip on the small desk in the room and turned his attention toward Emma. She had observed quietly, but concern shadowed her eyes.

“I think it’s only a mild concussion but just to be safe, I will order a CT scan.”

The concern in Emma’s eyes mutated into pure terror in a millisecond. “You think there’s more to it?”

“No. No.” His hand landed involuntarily on hers. The feel of her velvety skin sparked a jolt of electricity which traveled from the tip of his fingers, through his heart, then his groin, finally fading away when it reached his toes. Good grief! What’s wrong with you? he snapped in silence. “This is just a precaution I take with all my patients.”

In spite of his silent, internal battles, his words seemed to calm Emma, but he could tell her fear persisted. He didn’t know why, but he had a ridiculous urge to pull her into his arms and through long, passionate kisses, take all that terror away. A part of his body he’d been neglecting—forgot he had—twitched.


He began to count his inappropriate actions mentally. One. He’d grabbed Emma’s hand to assure her everything would be okey-dokey, but he’d kept it way longer than necessary. Such action asked for a lawsuit. Two…two. He’d felt something he’d never thought he could feel again. That was a plus for him. She’d made him feel again. Crap, this was not exactly an award-winning moment. Her daughter was his patient. INAPPROPRIATE! And another reason for a lawsuit.

He knew he should get out of there before he got himself in too deep to handle, but his feet seemed glued to the ground. What was wrong with him? Who was this woman holding him under her spell?

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More About the Author

Ica Iova is a former Examiner at and an Award-Winning Author of several books. She writes what she enjoys reading. In her novels, she brings to life powerful relationships, flawed but gripping characters, and of course, happy endings, which remind readers that life is too precious to waste on insignificant things. She is currently a member of Federation of BC Writers, as well as three critique groups.

When she is not writing, editing, or marketing, she’s a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, with a substantial sense of humor. She loves spending time with her family and pets, shopping for shoes, or just lazing around with a good book.

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SPOTLIGHT: Author Tia Souders “Better Than This”

Hey, all! Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while…I have been sick, my family has been sick…and there has been a pile of catching up to do. But thanks for hanging in there! I have a great spotlight for you today. Author Tia Souder’s new release “Better Than This”! I won’t spend time vamping today, I’ll let you get right to the details 🙂

Better Than This

What can keep a dream alive?

Before the car accident that changed everything, Samantha Becker was a happy and loved little girl. Ten years later, Sam, now 18, lives under a dark cloud—largely ignored by an alcoholic mother who never recovered from her loss and ruled by an overbearing father who blames Samantha for the family tragedy. And yet, the troubled teenager has a dream that keeps her going, and an extraordinary musical talent that could take her all the way to Julliard…and far beyond.

Following her heart, however, means defying her father, who has his own plans for his daughter’s future.  Then, in the wake of another devastating personal catastrophe, her dream is irreparably shattered, and in her pain and anger, Samantha acts out recklessly. But her salvation could come from a most unlikely trio: a handsome college student, a hopeful little boy…and an older neighbor woman whose caring and secrets will change Sam’s world forever.

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What others are saying…

A powerfully moving addition to the ranks of superior YA fiction, Better Than This by Tia Souders joins Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, the novels of John Green, and other prime examples of contemporary teen literature.  Souders tells the heartbreaking, yet ultimately transcendent story of 18-year-old Samantha, whose remarkable musical abilities could be her escape from a family devastated by tragedy and steeped in guilt, sadness, and recrimination. But when a terrible accident seems to destroy her dreams for the future, Sam discovers a new path forward and new hope when she becomes involved with a remarkable young boy and his grandmother, a caring older neighbor who guards a secret that will change the troubled teenager’s life forever.

Enjoy an Excerpt

My mother crashed into the kitchen, knocking over the wine glasses nestled on the hutch. Mumbling something incomprehensible, along with accusations that someone rearranged the furniture, she stumbled and fell. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the raised knife poised again above the apple.

My father said I shifted my hand on the island, distracted by my mother. A totally plausible explanation—if it were true.

My eyes widened as I stared down at the halved fruit, now drenched in my blood. The pain came in startling, pulsing waves until my entire hand felt as though it was engulfed in flames.

My heart threatened to crash through my chest, as I struggled to comprehend what happened. I vaguely recalled screaming in the background. Where it came from, I’m still unsure. Possibly me, or my mother. I barely noticed my father’s panicked voice as it rang in my ears, nor did I feel it when he squeezed the dish towel over my hand.

I don’t recall moving. I don’t remember speaking or moaning in pain. All I remembered is the sight of the blood-stained cloth shifting, noting the missing finger, and thinking This is my fretting hand.

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More About the Author

Tia Souders is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting On Hope and the upcoming award-winning young adult novel Better Than This (formerly titled Freedom Road). When she isn’t writing, she’s likely renovating their century home. She’s a wine-loving, coffeeholic, with a sweet tooth and resides on a farm in rural Ohio with her husband and children.

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SPOTLIGHT: Author Keely Brooke Keith’s “All Things Beautiful”

Welcome one and all! Happy Valentines Day! I am excited to share with you an upcoming release from one of the more intriguing authors I know. Keely Brooke Keith is a fabulously creative author I know from the local ACFW chapter I am a part of. And the premise of her Uncharted Series is truly fascinating. I have just been so terribly eager to jump into this series. To say it is unique would be putting it mildly. But I’ll let you read on and find out for yourself.

All Things Beautiful

Release Date: April 17, 2018

It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. By lantern light she slips into her story world and dreams the adventures she’ll never experience. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts won’t make it easy for her to prove her writing is worthy of his ink.

If Henry Roberts did nothing else for the rest of his life but print and bind books, he would die a satisfied man. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress.

Get swept away to the hidden frontier settlement where love requires sacrifice, faith-filled adventures await, and sweet romance makes people glad to be alive. Read All Things Beautiful today and embark on an unforgettable journey of the heart in this inspirational story.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Henry studied her for a moment, struck by the oddity of seeing Hannah Vestal somewhere other than church. The years of seclusion since her mother’s death made her a mystery to him. She must be a slave to her siblings’ upbringing. Though demure in appearance, something about her high cheekbones and dark lashes veiled innate nobility, shirking the impression of servitude.

The eldest of the Vestal children had grown into an attractive woman. Still, Henry would always see her as the mournful teen weeping over her mother’s fresh grave years ago. He had left Mrs. Vestal’s funeral and gone home to weep that day too, grieving the loss as everyone in the settlement had. The only way he’d overcome it was by sketching Mrs. Vestal’s portrait, not the way she had looked in those final months of life, but the way she looked when the group lived in Virginia. She’d been strong, majestic almost, with the same high cheekbones as the woman standing before him now.

Remembering the pain, his heart stirred with an overwhelming desire to help Hannah in any way he could. He waved his good hand at the rolls of paper beside a cut table at the back of the shop. “I have plenty of paper and happen to need candles.”

She didn’t immediately respond. Had she not heard him or not understood his reply? He rounded the press and stopped at the worktable. “On cloudy days, it’s almost too dark in here to work.”

A slow smile graced her rosy lips. “Excellent, or rather, not that your workshop is dim, but I mean it is excellent that you should need candles.” Her cheeks flushed, matching her pink lips. “For me, anyway, because I have two dozen here to trade for paper.”

He reached into the basket and drew out a pair of tapers, which were still attached at the wick. “That’s a lot of candles to trade for paper. I’ll take four. Save the rest to trade at the market.”

Her smile vanished. She took a half step closer and whispered. “I need quite a lot of paper.”

The secretive manner of her voice over something as trivial as trading candles for paper almost made him laugh. He held it back not wanting to mock such a delicate creature. Leaning down to whisper too, he asked. “How much paper?”

“Two hundred sheets.”

“You’re right. That is quite a lot.” He stood straight and grinned at her. “Why are we whispering?”

The light shining through the doorway highlighted the golden flecks in her brown eyes. She leveled her glowing gaze on him, bucking all notion of fragility. “I prefer to keep my business affairs private. If you aren’t accustomed to trading discretely, I can trade with your father. He never questions me.”

He laced his voice with sarcasm. “Pardon my insensitivity. The secrecy you employ over a trade for paper piqued my curiosity.”

The punch of his humor seemed as lost on her as it was on any woman. She bowed her regal neck a degree as if deigning to accept his apology. “No harm done.”

Perhaps she was being sarcastic too. If he knew her more, he’d be able to read her intentions or at least be able to provoke her and then read her reaction. Considering her simple life, it seemed more likely she was taking him at his word. A twinge of guilt tightened his chest.

What was it about women that always put him on guard? He gave her unimposing stature a quick study. She was too small to be threatening, so his defensiveness must be unwarranted. He cleared the cynicism from his throat. “I take great care in stocking and cutting my paper and like to be assured it will go to good use.” He returned the taper candles to her basket and rested both palms on the worktable. “Why do you need so much paper?”

Her gaze darted around the print shop. “I’d rather… I’d rather not say.”

The noblewoman was gone and the homebody was back. Had he flustered her by being male or did she need the paper for a truly private endeavor? Either way, there was something amusing about pressing her further. “Did your sisters lose their school slates?”

“Are you papering your walls?”
She squared her shoulders and hiked the basket up to her chest. “Will you trade with me or not?”
“You don’t have enough candles to trade for two hundred sheets of paper.”
She plunked her basket on the press table, her assertiveness ignited. “How much paper will you give me for all of these?”
The force in her voice fueled his urge to vex her for the pleasure of watching her stir.

However, knowing the woman before him encased a mournful girl who needed something he had to offer, he decided against jesting and drew several candles out of the basket.

The smooth candles were solid with tightly woven wicks, and he needed them. He removed all but four of the candles, unable to take everything she had. “I will accept these for twenty sheets of paper.”

“But I need two hundred sheets.”

She didn’t need that much paper. Something was amiss. He pointed at the tall rolls of paper filling a wide bin beside the cut table in the back corner of the room. “Each of those rolls contains only twelve sheets of paper.” When her eyes widened, he asked, “Are you certain you require two hundred sheets?”

“Oh, no.” A burst of laughter broke her regality. She pressed her hand to her middle. “I’m sorry. No wonder you looked confused. I need two hundred pages—as in sheets of writing paper.” She drew a rectangle in the air. “About this size.”

Delighted by her laughter, his eyes refused to look away as he pulled a paper roll from the bin and opened it on the cut table. Little lines curved around her mouth when she laughed, almost like dimples but more stately.

The smile lines faded along with her laughter, and he wanted to see them again. The yearning pressed him to say something humorous, anything to make her laugh again, but his mind went as blank as the paper he was unrolling. He stood open-jawed as if every ounce of his intelligence had been doused by her song-like laughter. His half-hand lost what little strength it had, and he fumbled with the paper roll. For a moment time seemed to freeze. Her gaze darted to his scars, and pity changed her expression. He would rather receive disgust than pity. Wanting neither from her, he fought to appear composed. “Yes, well, I will trade you the candles for writing paper… two hundred pages. About six inches by nine then?”

She nodded. “Sounds right. I’ve never measured. Your father always cut the pages for me.”

“We get eight pages of six by nine per sheet.” He tried to focus on the paper, though her gaze had yet to leave his hand. “So you only need twenty-five sheets, not two hundred.”

She pointed at the door. “Should I come back for it tomorrow?”
“No, unless you’re in a rush. It will only take me a few minutes.”

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More About Keely

Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers, including The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

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