Thursday, January 02, 2014

My 500 Words

Welcome to 2014! I hope and pray that the Lord's blessings will flow upon you this year.

Yesterday, the first day of the new year, I joined a writing challenge over on Jeff Goins' blog.  It's called My 500 Words.  The object is to write a minimum of 500 words each day for the month of January - kind of a kick start to help get you in the writing mode.  I think this will help, though right now I'm still on Christmas Break from school (I'm a teacher in real life).  I start back to work this coming Monday, so we'll see how much I actually get done once my life becomes busier and busier.

I've decided that I'll record (in a notebook) my word count for each day in a notebook.  This notebook, which I've called "This and That", will include lists of writing prompts, my word counts, ideas, quotes, and just whatever might help spark some writing motivation.

The idea is to write 500 words each day, but we can write more.  If we do write more, we can't count it toward the next day.  You have to start fresh each day.

I am going to attempt to divide my time between writing blog posts (on any of my blogs) and working on a novel.  Yesterday, I managed two blog posts (my main blog, Confirm the Work of Our Hands, and my knitting blog Kitten Yarns and Crafts) and some work on a novel.  Here are my stats for day 1:

Blog Writing: 1337 words
Novel: 1006 words

I won't be tracking each day on here, but I'm hoping to update by doing a weekly total.

I've kind of come to a block in the novel I had been working on, so I hadn't done any work with it in such a long time.  Last night I decided to start another novel - or maybe it will just be a short story.  At any point, it's some creative writing.  I might even work it so that it's something I can add to the other novel.  It might work...

I've been on Christmas Break for nearly two weeks now, and I've enjoyed it.  I start back to work (teaching) on Monday, and I know at that point I'm going to be coming home tired and not feeling like doing much of anything in the evening.  I fear that is going to interfere with my challenge (which is for the month of January).  Normally I get up at 5:30 in the morning, unless I hit the snooze button and get up at 6:00.  My plan is to actually get up when the alarm goes off, not hit snooze, and get ready for work.  I usually give myself an hour to get ready because I'm really not a morning person and I move around quite slowly.  So, if I can be ready by 6:30, then I'll have about an hour until my ride to work comes and I can get some writing done then.

I'm really tired of falling into the same trap over and over again - promising to get more writing done, hoping to be better at my writing - and then failing miserably.  I really need to change this and smarten up.  Otherwise, I'll never get any kind of writing done.  Enough with the excuses. I just need to do it!

Are you taking part in the 500 Words challenge? I'd love to hear about it and your experiences in the comment section!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CFBA Book Review - Fear Has a Name by Creston Mapes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fear Has a Name
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
by
Creston Mapes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as "The Shop."

Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.


ABOUT THE BOOK


From popular suspense author Creston Mapes comes another faith-building thriller, a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker's terrifying schemes, investigates a pastor's mysterious disappearance, and struggles to keep his faith amidst unthinkable fear.

With his family's safety on the line, Crittendon realizes there are secrets behind "Christian" walls--secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.

Through it all--the sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known--takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying and the Christian response to fear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fear Has a Name, go HERE.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CFBA Book Review - An Open Heart by harry Kraus

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Open Heart
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
by
Harry Kraus


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him ...

They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him.

It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maeltsrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CFBA Book Review - The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo

I have only really just begun reading this book (received my copy a little late). So far, I am really enjoying this book - it's hard to put down. I read Robert Liparulo's "13th Tribe" last summer and absolutely loved it. I was really looking forward to "The Judgment Stone" and was excited to receive my copy. I really recommend this book (and 13th Tribe).


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment Stone
Thomas Nelson (May 14, 2013)
by
Robert Liparulo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Former journalist Robert Liparulo is the best-selling author of the thrillers Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, Deadlock, and The 13th Tribe, as well as The Dreamhouse Kings, an action-adventure series for young adults. He contributed a short story to James Patterson’s Thriller, and an essay about Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. He is currently working on the sequel to The 13th Tribe, as well writing an original screenplay with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).

When not writing, Liparulo loves to read, watch (and analyze) movies, scuba dive, swim, hike, and travel. He lives in Monument, Colorado, with his wife Jodi and four children: Melanie, Matthew, Anthony, and Isabella.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe—the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power—a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment Stone, go HERE.

Friday, May 24, 2013

CFBA Book Review - Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Undeniably Yours
Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
by
Becky Wade


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for many years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. Her first contemporary Christian romance, My Stubborn Heart, has been named a finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award. Her newest release, Undeniably Yours, is available now.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Undeniably Yours, go HERE.

Monday, May 13, 2013

CFBA Book Review - Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Last Chance for Justice
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Kathi Macias


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn't long before Rachel has two men -- a handsome CPA and the youth pastor -- seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn's attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Last Chance for Justice, go HERE.

CFBA Book Review Wounds by Alton Gansky

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wounds
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Alton Gansky


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alton L. Gansky is the author of 24 novels and 8 nonfiction works, as well as principle writer of 9 novels and 2 nonfiction books. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice) and recently was award the ACFW award for best suspense/thriller for his work on Fallen Angel. He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies and Lit.D. He lives in central California with his wife. In addition to his own writing, Alton Gansky has consulted and provided editing/ writing services to several CBA publishers and written copy, video scripts, and other works for the general business market. Through Gansky.Communications he has consulted with publishers and agents, as well as provided editing services. He is “the go to guy” for co-writing having been selected by Penguin, Waterbrook, Broadman Holman, and other publishers to work with their top tier authors. Gansky is in frequent demand at writer’s conferences having taught and keynoted in California, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Delaware, Washington, and Canada. He has also been guest lecturer on suspense writing at Taylor University in Indiana.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A man’s lifeless body is found in the fresh soil of San Diego’s botanical garden. Cause of death is asphyxiation, an easy call for the medical examiner. More mysterious, however, are the tiny drops of blood on the victim’s skin, resulting from hundreds of punctures. A rabbi leaving his house for work expects a regular day at the synagogue. That quickly changes when he discovers a dead man on his front lawn, clearly beaten to death. Motorcycle riders racing along the empty streets of an abandoned military base stumble across another man’s corpse, its skin revealing long, red-purple marks of a thrashing given with wood dowels. The numbers mount. Each week another victim and another mysterious clue in a game of mass murder the police don’t want to lose. The solution rests with Dr. Ellis Poe, a religious professor who only wishes to be left alone with his books and classes. But evil must be faced, and the choice is no longer his own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wounds, go HERE.


Monday, April 01, 2013

CFBA Book Review - The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Guardian
Bethany House Publishers (March 26, 2013)
by
Beverly Lewis


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

ABOUT THE BOOK

When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects is to find a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears. Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs. But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak a word of English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no closer to learning her identity. Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow--and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?

If you would like to read teh first chapter of The Guardian, go HERE.


Monday, March 25, 2013

CFBA Book Review - The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK



Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CFBA Book Review - Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of Glass
Tyndale House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Gina Holmes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey now called Novel Rocket and she is also the founder of Inspire The Fire.

Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW Religion bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain, was also named a Christy finalist. Her upcoming novel, Wings of Glass will releases this month. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.



ABOUT THE BOOK

From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of Glass, go HERE.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

CFBA Book Review - Memory of Murder by Ramona Richards

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Memory of Murder
Love-Inspired Suspense
by
Ramona Richards


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from Ramona:

The hardest biographical sketch to write is always your own, whether or not you’re a writer by profession. You can’t decide what to throw in, what to leave out, and whether or not you should list strengths and flaws, or just strengths.

I like writing and telling stories so much that I once tried to live out a few. After getting a master’s in English, I went on to be the seneschale of my local Society for Creative Anachronism. I had a rocky start, but I did get better. (Robin Hood, eat your heart out.)

People often ask members of the SCA, “Are you in a play?” so I thought it would be fun to do that, too. For seven years, I produced and performed in shows staged by Nashville’s Circle Players.

Although I’m single now, I married in 1982 and in 1987 had Rachel. She’s a cutie. Severely disabled, she’s the heroine of many an article for Special Ed Today magazine. Rachel's nurse, Phyllis, is the real life heroine of “An Act of Desperation,” which I sold to Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul.

I’m not really a complex person, and my dreams are fairly straightforward: sell books, have enough money to pay the bills and travel a bit, and settle into a cottage. In early 2006, I bought the cottage, which is now more or less swamped by books and DVDs. I write at night (I’m a lifelong night owl), and I occasionally escape by scuba diving, hiking, dancing, and going to movies and bookstores.

I’ve gone to the same church since 1993, and I even sing in the choir. It’s a small but awesome church. I’m no angel, although occasionally I play one in the backyard.

I like staying busy. Life is too short not to follow your dreams.

ABOUT THE BOOK

THE SECRETS OF HER PAST COULD IMPERIL HER FUTURE

Lindsey Presley certainly can't imagine why anyone would want her dead-though she knows she wouldn't be alive today if not for the local cop who saved her from two murder attempts. Deputy Jeff Gage has worked difficult cases, but with only Lindsey's fractured memories of a broken past to guide him, this is by far his most challenging.

For Lindsey, fleeing the town she has come to call home is unthinkable. Separately, they are vulnerable, but together, Jeff and Lindsey just may stand a chance of catching a ruthless killer.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Memory of Murder, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer: