Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

Let's have some fun, shall we? Join our blog hop and read about some pretty awesome authors and what they have in store for you in the future!

What is the working title of your book?
As evidenced by the picture, my title is, The Haunting of Maddie Branson.

The Haunting of Maddie Branson by Amanda Stephan

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

During the fall, a friend and I were sharing creepy stories about things that had happened to us, and she wondered if it was possible for Christians to have to deal with supernatural/unexplainable circumstances. That really made me wonder if other Christians wonder the same thing.

What genre does your book fall under? 

My book started out as a short story then morphed into a novella, and is pretty quickly becoming a full-length novel as the characters and scenes are playing out. The genre would be Christian paranormal/thriller with a twist of mystery. :)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For the main male character, I'd pick Tom Hiddleston or Matthew Goode. For the female lead, Amy Adams. For the not so wonderful aunt Cora, Glenn Close and for the other male character, it would probably be Ryan Gosling.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Ooh, one sentence! Here it is:
Maddie Branson knew there was something different about her house. It had reached out and touched her in the deep...dark recesses of the night!
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This one, I'm planning on self-publishing as it's a small story, but I am in the market for an agent/publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? laugh...
Actually, I'm not even finished with the first draft. These characters keep telling me their stories and their pasts. It's actually quite interesting.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman and a little like Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire, except fiction. :)
Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I mentioned earlier that a good friend and I were chatting about Christians dealing with paranormal circumstances. She wondered if Christians deal with things of that nature, or was she a little different. According to the Bible, we wrestle against principalities and unseen powers, so I honestly believe that we can and some do.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Some of the incidents in this story are actual happenings. Some were things I had to deal with, and other issues were dealt with by other Christian friends of mine.
Stop by these other authors' sites and leave a comment ~ trust me. You'd make their day!

Toni Nelson - Author of a fantastic memoir about her life that discusses looking at all people as children of God, "A Beggar's Purse" -

Melissa Alani - Author of a darling children's book, "God's Biggest Treasures" -

Elaine Littau - Author of Christian historical fiction who has several books that are inspiring and point people toward the grace of God.

Mukkove Johnson - Author of some fantastic children's devotionals, "Easter is All About Jesus" and "Christmas is All About Jesus"

Paul R. Hewlett and his newly released book Lionel's Christmas Adventure! 

Virginia Finnie and her newly released book Hey Warrior Kids! Grab Your Slingshot!

Lisa Tortorello who is working on, Mark the Missing Moose!
Darlene Shortridge who is working on a new story!

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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen ~ Book Review

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

About The Tutor's Daughter

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast-a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions-where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems-and secrets-of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart? 

My Thoughts:
Julie Klassen is a wonderful writer that takes her readers on a gentle, love-inspiring journey.
The Tutor's Daughter is a delightful read, filled with tempestuous storms amidst wonderful Cornwall history and setting. Meet self-sufficient tutor's daughter, Emma Smallwood. Lonely after the death of her mother, she must rely upon herself to get things done as her father is near drowning in his melancholic state of mourning.
Called to tutor the twin sons of Sir Giles Weston, Emma and her father move to Cornwall, leaving her beloved home behind. Emma is cautiously happy, but realizes things aren't going to be easy. Especially when she must face Henry Weston, her father's previous student who lived to torment her. Could reconnecting with his brother, her old friend, Phillip Weston, help her through the uncomfortableness of being in a home where their reception is less than welcome? And is it possible to forgive when wrongs almost take her life during her journey to finding God's never-ending love for one of His children?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the characters will be a part of my thoughts for months to come. Another winner from my favorite author. This one deserves a place on my favorite books shelf. Highly recommend to those who love clean Christian fiction with a strong message of forgivenness.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Secretly Smitten ~ Book Review

Secretly Smitten

Four different authors. Each with their own writing style, each with their own quirks, and each with their own audience ~ the result?

A fun, flirty read.
I really enjoyed this book. As an author, I'm always looking for ways to become better at my craft. Reading books is one way for me to learn. If you have a favorite author, have you ever wondered why they're your favorite? What is it about them that makes you want to read their book?

Voice. I felt like not only was I learning about the characters themselves, but gaining a glimpse into my favorite author's heads. Coble, Billerbeck, Hunter, and Hunt are a team to be reckoned with and have created a book that is a delight to read. The stories, while short, are well written, the characters are well-rounded. 
One character is shy and serious. 
Another is perky and outgoing.
Then there's mom. Can there be romance for her?
While the remaining may be a little on the weighty side, she still finds love.

Each character had her own way of dealing with things. Her own way of hiding from things, and her very own romance ~ whether she was looking for it or not!

This is a delightful book. Highly recommended!
My thanks to Thomas Nelson who provided me with a free copy in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own.

About the Book:
Summer, fall, winter, spring-Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There's a secret in Grandma Rose's attic-a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose's three granddaughters-Tess, Clare, and Zoe-and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists-and real-life BFFs-Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

Link to buy the book: 

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend ~ Book Review

Have you ever wondered what made someone tick? Or, why someone was a certain way? No? Drat. I do it all the time.

Like when our son decides it's the perfect time to go feed the dog while he's supposed to be doing his math lesson. Yeah, it's times like those that I wonder what he's thinking. 

But, living with the little guy, I'm at an advantage. I can pretty much tell you why he's feeding the dog instead of doing Algebra ~ because he doesn't want to do it. Shocking revelation, wasn't it?
I didn't think so.

Be that as it may, there are just sometimes I want to know a little bit more about some of my favorite people ~ authors especially. Was so and so an instant success or did they have to struggle? Did they ever feel as though they had achieved something in their lifetime? What was their purpose in writing these things?

When I was offered a chance to review the book, J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, I jumped at it. He's one of my favorite authors, so why wouldn't I, right?

JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend

They say, write what you know.

But what if you happen to write about things like Orcs, Hobbits, and Elves? Do you really know this enough to write about it?  In a way, yes, JRR Tolkien did write what he knew. Or, more like it, the way he saw the world. Overcoming tremendous odds, he gave us some of the best loved stories that still thrive today.

When you read this book, you're getting an intimate peek inside a complex individual that was molded by his fair share of life, death, loss, and love. Be prepared for emotional turmoil that followed him thru his life. Cheer for him when he finds his one true love, and pity him when he ultimately sets aside that love because of the wishes of another.

Not only will you meet the man behind the Hobbit, but the story of JRR Tolkien's perseverance through hardships will inspire you when you thought your hope was gone.

JRR Tolkien had a gift. He was a romantic. I know. Many a man would shudder to be labeled a romantic, but he saw life differently than most. When the regular person would see only an ordinary tower, JRR saw not a normal tower, but a different time and place with evil and good, fighting against one another and that tower, a pinnacle that holds it all in the balance.

Conjuring stories and poems on a whim, he was an immensely gifted man. A creator not only of worlds and words, but of entire languages. 

But why would he desire to write such stories as The Hobbit? To reignite a love for fairy tales to a new readership. 

He has succeeded in this and his stories live on and will continue to do so for generations of romantics to come.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

A Year of Book Marketing by Heather Hart

A Year of Book Marketing by Heather Hart
by Heather Hart

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was an author. This author was a world-class, bestselling genius and all that blessed author had to do was write his stories. Publishing houses were offering him contract upon contract. Adoring fans were beating down his doors, demanding the next book of his series.

And then he woke up and realized times have changed.
No longer was it possible for him to stay at home and never, ever market his own books.

No. Things were much, much different. Now, all of a sudden, there were thousands upon thousands of new authors, clamoring for attention that had been given him. He asked himself, "How could something like this happen? I was once King of the World!" But he had to face facts.

The king of the world had been dethroned. Why?

Because of books like A Year of Book Marketing by Heather Hart had taken and shown the not-so-well-known authors how to market their books.
And they were thriving.

Are you an author? Do you find yourself struggling in the murky marketing water? Or do you get overwhelmed by all the things you could, and probably *should* be doing to market your book?

Well, grab hold of your eReaders, because there's a new book on the market to help you hone your marketing abilities. If they're non-existent, no worries. If you're a marketing pro, great ~ why not refresh yourself with this delightful book?

A Year of Book Marketing, available at as well as Smashwords to fit every eReader

Book Marketing Tips for you to Try 
by Heather Hart

Become established in your niche: If you really want to sell books, becoming a “go to” person in your niche is a great place to start.  Becoming known as someone who writes great novels, or knows a ton about fly fishing will help readers feel more comfortable purchasing your books. Ways to establish yourself could be through book reviews, blogging regularly, or getting endorsements from other high profile people.   

Use keywords: Make your marketing count by using keywords that will help it rank higher in searches. It’s simple enough if you know what you are doing. You can spend a little bit of time researching your niche to find popular keywords and phrases and it will really pay off in the long run.

Build trust: Don’t post and run, but instead, make yourself available to your readers. Respond to comments and e-mails. Be open and honest – be real. 

Put in the time: It takes time to market your book. You won’t start seeing crazy sales over night, and you won’t ever successfully market your book if you don’t put time into building your following, learning your niche (to become an expert), building trust, and learning how to use things like keywords to your advantage. Put in the time to learn and apply some marketing tactics and then keep at it until you see success.

Generate traffic: Even if you do all of the above, you can’t successfully market your book if your website has no traffic. Taking the time to build a following, but also to continue to grow your sphere of influence will help you gain more exposure and do better overall.

Following the above tips won’t necessarily guarantee your book becomes a bestseller, but it will help you market your book more successfully. I hope you find them useful on your marketing journey. If you’d like even more tips, consider checking out my newest book, “A Year of Book Marketing.” Besides including general book marketing information, it provides a daily reading to help you market your book each and every day. You can learn more about it at:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Helping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart is the author of “Book Marketing 101” among other titles. She lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four young children, typing away on her computer, and brainstorming new marketing ideas. Heather works as a liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same.

If you're looking for even more help marketing your books, check out "Book Marketing Success" where Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart work together to give authors inside access to marketing their books on a shoestring budget.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Historical Fiction That Grabs Your Heart and Feeds Your Soul

The Legacy of Deer Run 
By Elaine Marie Cooper

The Year is 1800.

A young man makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of a young woman who seems so far above his station in life that he cannot win her.

The lady fights her own war against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, she is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming.

Love is the not the only entanglement. The nation's enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are being forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?

Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story—Book 3 of the Deer Run Saga. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.

The Legacy of Deer Run by Elaine Cooper

What others are saying about the Legacy of Deer Run ~
This is a stellar read of the early American period. Elaine Cooper is a gifted wordsmith who brings the era to life vividly and leaves you wanting more. — Laura Frantz, Author, Love’s Reckoning

“A plot to wound the baby nation of America, trusted friends who turn into enemies, death, faith, and life, all blend into a tragic yet beautiful tale of life and passion in 1800.” — Lisa J. Lickel, Author, The Map Quest

“It's no wonder Elaine Marie Cooper is an award-winning author. Her writing shines with an artistic flair to blend deep-heart issues with light romance, love and adventure. Danny and Susannah capture the heart with their innocent love, yet honor and faith. Their story resonates with courage, commitment, faith and victory.” —Janet Perez Eckles, Author, Simply Salsa
Legacy of Deer Run is a truly beautiful, heart-warming tale that will appeal to readers who enjoy historical romantic Christian fiction. — Lynn Dove, Author, the Wounded Trilogy

Meet the Author ~
Elaine Cooper

Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run (Finalist in Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Religious Fiction, Honorable Mention in Romance at 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival) and The Promise of Deer Run (Romance Winner for 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, Finalist in Religious Fiction for ForeWord Review Book of the Year). 

Cooper is also a contributing writer for Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson. Look for her upcoming short story, “The Tea Set,” that will appear in a soon-to-be-released Christmas anthology called, I Choose You (Dec. 2012) She is a wife, mom, Grammie to triplets, and a registered nurse.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lonely Hearts - Clean Christian Romance

One lonely mother. 

Two matchmaking kids.
Three eligible bachelors.
What could possibly go wrong?

Lonely Hearts by Amanda Stephan

When widow Becky Callis moves to a new town, her intent was to start over in a place where she's not reminded of her dead husband. Her kids however, take it as a chance to help their mother start over romantically. The only problem is, there seems to be quite a few eligible bachelors they can choose from! They soon realize it's easier to find someone to like their mother than it is to figure out which man is best for her.
Meet the eligible bachelors. 
Scott Boone. Even though this handsome cowboy is younger than Becky, his interest is plain much to the delight of both kids.

Jack Anderson and Becky have been friends since childhood. When they're reunited years after their lives have taken very different paths, this lonely preacher begins to wonder if God has brought her back into his life for a reason.

Pearce Morgan is a single parent raising his young daughter after his wife deserts them soon after Emily's birth. Divorced and disillusioned, an unlikely friendship arises between him and Becky when his shy daughter decides she loves Becky and her kids. 

This sweet Christian romance novel will remind you and your loved ones of what's really important. 

Cherish those moments before they're lost forever and all you have left is a heart full of empty regrets.

Available at for only $2.99!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

The Price of Trust ~ $2.99 on Kindle

The Price of Trust by Amanda Stephan 
Beaten and betrayed by the one who was supposed to love her... 
Carly Richards is on the run!

When she's left to herself after the death of her father, Carly turns to the only helping hand offered to her. Only too late she realizes what that will cost her.

With no one else to help her escape the brutality of the one who was supposed to love her most, Carly decides to take matters into her own hands and run away.

Chased and hounded relentlessly across the country, Carly is reluctant to make friends on the many stops in her journey. But when unforeseen circumstances make running again impossible, she can't help but care for the people who have reached out to her. Especially handsome Joe Baird.

Tense and sweet at the same time, curl up and enjoy the ride in this Christian romantic suspense novel fraught with danger as well as true love as our heroes must each face their own inner--and outer--demons.

Read an Excerpt!

Available on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Soul's Gate by James Rubart ~ Book Review

Movie Rating: PG-13 for frightening images
Book Rating: @@@@
Swearing: None
Inappropriate Scenes: None
# of Pages: 400 (paperback)
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Back Blurb:
Reece stood and faced the group. "Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory. A world the prophets saw; the world Enoch, and Elijah, and Paul, and John the apostle all saw. A world that is all around us in every moment if we would have eyes to see and ears to hear." What if you could travel "inside" another person's soul? To battle for them. To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds. To help set them free to step boldly into their divinely designed future.

Thirty years ago that's exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his destiny.

Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest regret and train them.

They gather at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity. And how to step into the supernatural as powerfully as anyone in the Bible did. Their training is only the beginning. The four have a destiny to battle for a freedom even Reece doesn't fully fathom. But they have an enemy hell-bent on destroying them as well and he'll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.

My Review:
Has there ever been a time in your life where you wish someone could come inside your soul and fix what's broken? Take away your past regrets and make all things fresh and new? Yes, we've all been there, done that. We've made our mistakes. Sometimes that's what limits our growth today - when we focus on our regrets. Meet Reece Roth. Soul traveler. Soul healer. Teacher. Man with a tragic past. And an awesome destiny. All he has to do? Embrace it and be/do what God created him to do.

This book was well-written and engaging. Is there anything else we would expect from James Rubart? I didn't think so. The author of Rooms, Book of Days, and The Chair, he takes us on another wild ride. One thing I did miss? Romance. I kept wanting the two main characters to get together and, well, I was bummed. Another issue for me was that it seemed that God was kind of portrayed like a puppet. Say a few magic words, say you have tons of faith, and BAM God will give you exactly what you want. That left me a little wanting, I suppose.

Overall, I think it was very good and well written, and I was glad to pick up a book and not have to worry about swearing or inappropriate scenes.

*I was given a copy in exchange for my honest review, and these thoughts are my own.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One Sheets

There are a lot of writer's conferences coming up, and if you're like me, you may get a little overwhelmed by all the information you need to take along with you. I attended my first conference in the beginning of June, 2012 so I could see an agent. There I said it.

I'm looking for an agent, editor, and/or publisher. Take your pick... ;) 

When I signed up for this conference, it was in the future and I had plenty of time to hone, polish, edit, polish, re-write, and polish my manuscript for this particular agent's eyes. However, I knew it was nigh impossible this person would want to carry around my 90,000+ manuscript for the entire day. So I made up a One Sheet.

Basically, a one sheet is your ammunition against a poor, over-wrought, over-tired agent or editor. This is your One. Chance. to grab said agent or editor's attention. How do you do that? Easy, my dear Watson. (Yep. I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes movies, by the way.)

On your one sheet, you'll want to include a few necessary items.

- Title of your book.
- Tagline. (this is your hook)
Find a picture or background that will somehow convey the feeling of your book.Stock Xchange has some great freebies.
- Brief synopsis. (this is where you reel them in) but don't give away the ending of your story. You want them to ASK you for the full synopsis. More on that later.
- Your book's genre and word count.
- Your name, home address, email address, and phone number. (Short of writing your name on the bathroom stalls, you want to make it easy for them to find you.)
- Your website.

Some Tips:
Make it look professional.
Make it look professional.
And most importantly,
Make. It. Look. Professional!
Remember why you're there. You're going to make an impression within the first few seconds of meeting these people. Make yourself stand out in a good way.

I actually worked several different one sheets up on my computer. This is a fine way to do it, but what I came up with didn't really excel in the quality department. So, I checked my email for inspiration. (I know. A weird place to check, but it was THERE!) And I went to Vistaprint and took them up on their offer of some free flyers. 25 of them, to be exact. Great! Wiggle room. If one got messed up, I had plenty to take its place.

And this is what I took to the meeting with that wonderful agent:

one sheet for writers conferences by Amanda Stephan

So what do you think? Have you been to writer's conferences, and if you have, what did you find 
useful? Not so useful?

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Book Blast ~ Winter's End by Rebekah Lyn

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Winter's End by Rebekah Lyn

Title: Winter's End (Seasons of Faith)

By Rebekah Lyn

Book Two of the Seasons of Faith Series

Musician Michelle Burton just had the best night of her life. Her band Tangled Web opened for Wonderland in downtown Orlando and the crowd loved them. Too excited to sleep she makes a fateful decision to go to work early. The best night of her life turns into the worst day of her life.

Nearby, at boutique Hotel Lago, Stephen Longbottom, acting concierge manager, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the board of directors for Silken Pleasures, a multimillion dollar company based in New York and specializing in high end cosmetics, fragrances and lingerie. Their incessant demands before they even arrive are driving him to distraction. Meanwhile Lizzie Reynolds, his boss is on a romantic ski trip in Vermont leaving him to manage his first solo event.

Hope, forgiveness and love are an integral message throughout the book and like a fine tapestry the threads of God’s master plan for the character’s lives are woven into a fabric of great storytelling, conflict and humor.

Readers who came to know and love the characters of Summer Storms will enjoy catching up with Lizzie, Stephen, Michelle, Jeffrey and Ian.

Kindle | Paperback

Rebekah Lyn
ScanRebekah is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings. She is a Florida native and a graduate of Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fl. A love of history, research and journaling led naturally to a passion for writing. She enjoys travel and has traveled extensively across the United States and Canada as well as Europe and the Caribbean. Her reading taste run from the classics to light fiction. When she is not working or writing, she enjoys cooking,baking and sharing recipes on her blog,

Her current works include, Summer Storms and Winter's End, books one and two in The Seasons of Faith series, and Julianne the first book in The Coastal Chronicle series. She is currently working on the, as yet untitled, second book in the Coastal Chronicles set in coastal Florida during the early years of the space program.

Rebekah currently resides in Florida along with her "attack" cat, Mia. They would enjoy meeting with you on her Facebook page.

Follow Rebekah Lyn
Website | Facebook | Twitter

This book blast is hosted by Crossreads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!
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