Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Joy of Multi-Author Anthologies by Terri Weldon

I recently had the privilege of writing The Matchmakers anthology with Jean C. Gordon and Lisa Belcastro. I had wanted to be involved in a multi-author project for quite some time, and let me tell you it was a blast. 

The three of us first began working on the project when a small press sent out a call for multi-author anthologies. Jean C. Gordon had the idea of basing the books around a dating service for Christians. The dating service would be run by an elderly couple, Libby and Blake, introduced in Jean’s novella. Eventually the idea evolved into a honeymoon travel company set in the Berkshires, but the elderly grandmother still had plans on playing matchmaker for her three single granddaughters. 

It was a fun idea and in no time at all we each had developed a plan for a novella. Unfortunately our writing schedules didn’t allow us to submit the proposal. Still, we wanted to write the books so we decided to indie publish the anthology. 

Writing an anthology based around a single core idea with two other authors proved to be fun. Libby and Blake appeared in all three novellas so descriptions, personality, and tone had to stay consistent. Also, there were times the heroine and hero of one novella popped up in another. I remember Jean asking me questions about what my heroine’s kitchen looked like and how it was decorated as well as needing a description of my hero. 

Jean’s heroine appeared in Lisa’s story along with Libby. And I built the relationship between my hero and Libby based on events in Jean’s book. Whew! Sounds like it would be tough, but with a little teamwork everything flowed smoothly. 

We had so much fun writing The Matchmakers that we plan on doing another anthology together in time for a Valentine’s Day release. I can’t wait!

How about you? Have you ever written a multi-author anthology? Does it sound like something you might pursue in the future? Leave a comment and let me know.

Ellie Alexander is in love. And the only thing sweeter would be if Libby, Natalie, and Stephanie, her three unmarried, unattached granddaughters, could find the same happiness. Maybe with a little help from her and her beau Blake Parker . . .

A Match Made in Williamstown by Lady of Love Inspired Romance Jean C. Gordon — Libby Schuyler has avoided dating since her break-up with college-sweetheart Jack Parker. Out of nowhere, Jack shows up claiming Ellie is swindling his grandfather, Blake, through a travel agency partnership they’ve formed. Libby and Jack team up to protect their grandparents and get to the bottom of Ellie and Blake’s business and romantic relationship. While Libby and Jack fight their reignited attraction, Ellie and Blake conspire to bring the two together.

A Match Made in Sheffield by Terri Weldon— Natalie Benton bounced from one foster home to another until she landed on Ellie Alexander’s doorstep. Natalie’s vagabond childhood caused her to yearn for a secure life, which led to Natalie’s five-year plan: complete her law degree, marry the perfect man, become a partner at Montgomery, Haynes, and Preston, and produce one child. Getting arrested wasn’t in Natalie’s plan. Needing a public defender wasn’t in her plan. Falling for Grady Hunter, her public defender, definitely wasn’t in her plan. Can Grady convince Natalie there is more to life than her five-year plan? Is Ellie the only one who sees a future for Natalie and Grady?

A Match Made in Freedom by Lisa Belcastro — Stephanie Gould loves life on Martha’s Vineyard . . . until she runs into Kay and Tim, her former business partner and her ex-fiancé, who just returned from their honeymoon. Surprised by the heartache she thought was gone, Stephanie heads to the Berkshires to visit family and friends. Arriving in Stockbridge, Stephanie meets Captain Henry Lewis. Little does Stephanie know, her grandmother has already met Henry, and Ellie thinks Henry is perfect. Stephanie has no interest in dating, Henry included. If only Henry didn’t turn up everywhere Stephanie goes. When he walks up beside her at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stephanie can’t deny her attraction, but she’ll do her best to fight it.

Buy Links
Amazon Kindle & Print: 
Nook, iBooks & Kobo:
Barnes & Noble Print:  

Terri Weldon is a lead analyst by day and an author by night. She enjoys gardening, reading, and shopping for shoes. One of her favorite pastimes is volunteering as the librarian at her church. It allows her to shop for books and spend someone else’s money! Plus, she has the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. Terri has two adorable Westies – Crosby and Nolly Grace. She is a member of ACFW and OCFW, a local chapter of ACFW. Terri is the award winning author of The Christmas Bride Wore Boots.

Readers can connect with Terri: Website: or


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flash Fiction by Voni Harris

Flash fiction is not an entire storm, but rather a moment of time in the storm lit up by a single lightning flash. You don’t have room in 1,500 words or less to be John Steinbeck or Jane Austen. Yet it is still your job as a fiction writer to fill the reader’s imagination with the image of that lightning strike. Flash fiction must flash bright and strong to show that moment in time.

Capturing the flash.

Let your mind’s eye rove over the picture captured in that flash of lighting.

Why the flash? It’s just a moment in time, but it still has plot stuff that came before, and plot stuff that comes after. That flash moment must mean something. It’s a moment of change. The husband raises his hand to hit her. The father reads something in his daughter’s journal. The sound of police sirens draws near the diner. Think of that lightning flash, and dig deep until you know what is changing in that moment. Why the sirens, the journal, the raised hand?

Before the flash. Now, what brought your character to that moment? No room for back story, but something brought this character to that lightning flash. Hint at that. The wife screams, “I’m sick and tired of you hitting me.” The father’s hand hovers over the journal—but he needs to know where his daughter has been going. The criminal fingers the bag of jewelry as he thinks of his sick son. See the barest hints of what came before?

After the flash. You don’t have room to tell what happens next, but something does. Give the reader enough that their imagination can take over. The husband lowers his hand. The father rushes out of the room and gets in the car. The criminal sinks into a seat at the diner table. Leave the reader with an image that shows life has changed for your character.

Writing the flash.

I’ve been writing short stories since I was five years old (not that those stories are very legible, ha!). It took me awhile after I began novel writing to learn to layer in things like description and back story. Flash fiction is a different story when it comes to choice of details and words.

The Details. Write the story elements that embody the scene and mean something to the character or the plot — the elbows that stick to the diner’s tabletop, which makes the cranky mom lash out at her toddler, which shows her in a flash that she hates the kind of mom she’s become. That sticky tabletop does triple duty: setting, character, and plot. Flash fiction offers limited space. The details better multitask! Take your time to find the perfect, multitasking details illuminated in the lightning strike.

The Words. Writers are all about words, but in flash fiction, take a double — a triple — look at your words. Get out the thesaurus, even. Seek out those words that really bring the image alive. Instead of “restaurant,” use “diner.” Take a quadruple look at your verbs.

Take your time. Be choosey.

Flash fiction may be quickly read, but it is not quickly written. This is the challenge: To write that lightning moment with such power and clarity it stays with the reader.

Have you ever tried flash fiction to sharpen your writing, try out a new craft skill you’re learning, take a break from your other writing, build a blog following, or see what it feels like to write in a different genre?


Voni writes from her family’s home on the beautiful Alaskan island of Kodiak, with a husband, a  golden retriever and a wheaten terrier to keep her from sitting at the computer too long at a time. She holds a radio-TV degree from Drake University, and her short story “The Wedding” was published in Heart-Stirring Stories of Romance (edited by Linda Evans Shephard). She has won First Impressions and Daphne DuMaurier unpublished awards. She enjoys capturing the flash when she writes flash fiction for her Leaning into Life blog at

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

From Book to Hallmark Movie 15 Tips and Tricks, Part 1 by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter
In the spring of 2015 I signed an option with a producer who wanted to make one of my books, The Convenient Groom, into a Hallmark movie. Shortly afterward the same producer also optioned one of my novellas, A December Bride. To say I was excited is an understatement. I tried to temper my enthusiasm. After all, a lot can happen between signing an option and the actual film debut. But I crossed my fingers, said a lot of prayers, and waited patiently.

Then in March of last year I was notified that filming on The Convenient Groom was soon to begin. The movie was really happening! Partway through filming I was notified that A December Bride would also be filming soon and was slated for Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas 2016. Two movies in one year—someone pinch me!

As I began sharing the news about the movies I found that other writers are curious about the book-to-movie process. So I thought I’d offer some ways to increase your chances of scoring a Hallmark movie and tips to make the ride go more smoothly if you do.

  1. Write a romance novel. Hallmark isn’t called “The Heart of TV” for nothing. Their movies usually revolve around romantic love, so romance novels that have lots of good “feels” fall right into their sweet spot. Hallmark also keeps their content clean so it makes sense that they’d actively seek wholesome novels. And they seem to go fishing in the Christian publishing pond for this very reason. If your novel hinges on a drunken one night stand—probably not going to happen.
  2. Publish your novels through a publisher that actively seeks movie deals. I’m sure there are many ways producers “find” novels. But in my case it was through HarperCollins Christian Publishing, whose rights department routinely pitches their novels for film rights. As it happens, this particular production company had already optioned a couple of other books and made them into Hallmark movies, so there was already an established history.
  3. If you watch Hallmark movies then you know most of the stories have compelling hooks, so start your novel with a gripping premise. High stakes don’t hurt either. Here’s the hook for The Convenient Groom
    A celebrity relationship expert with a best-selling book about finding Mr. Right finds herself jilted just before her highly publicized wedding. In a panic 
    she accepts the offer of a contractor—who secretly loves her—to step in as the groom in order to save her career.
    And A December Bride:

    What started as a whim turns into an accidental—and very public—engagement announcement. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.
  4. Utilize a romance trope; they’re popular for a reason. If you can take a trope and spin it in a fresh way, all the better. The Convenient Groom is, of course, a modern day marriage of convenience story. A December Bride is a pretend engagement. 
  5. Many books are optioned for movies, but few of them actually get made. An option is when the production company reserves the right to make your book into a movie. The option expires after a period of time—usually a year. If your book gets optioned, celebrate! But realize that there are a lot of steps between the movie option and the film premier, not the least of which is funding. A lot can go wrong, so you can’t really count on the movie happening until filming is underway. The producer who optioned my books has a long and close relationship with Hallmark, which really helped my chances. 
  6. If your book gets optioned you will split the option payment with your publisher as per your book contract. If your book has not yet earned out, this payment will go toward earning back the advance. If the movie actually gets filmed, the production company will pay whatever was negotiated in the option agreement, usually on the first day of filming. You will split this with your publisher as per your book contract. If your book has not earned out this payment will also go toward paying back the advance. Everyone is curious about how much a Hallmark movie pays. I’m contractually prohibited from sharing the specifics, but suffice it to say you probably won’t be buying that yacht you’ve always dreamed about. The payment, however, could serve as a nice kick-start for your kid’s college tuition. 
  7. Don’t expect to write the screenplay for your movie. Just like novel writing, screenwriting is a craft that takes years to hone. And even if you’ve got experience with screenplays your production company may have favorite writers they prefer to use. I wouldn’t know the first thing about writing a script, and since I wanted “my” movies to turn out great I was happy to leave it in the experts’ hands. 
Thanks, Denise! That's great information, especially tip #6.

Come back next Tuesday for the remaining eight tips on the process of turning your book-into-a movie. Never happen to me, you say? No, you never know. Dream big and save these two post! ~ Angie

Tweet: What happens when your book becomes a Hallmark movie? @DeniseAHunter
About the Author
Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including "The Convenient Groom" and "A December Bride" which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books. 

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband have three boys and are rapidly approaching an empty nest. 

You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her FaceBook page at

Mark your calendar: Denise is celebrating her latest release, Sweetbriar Cottage, with a Facebook party, June 13, 2017 at 8 p.m. EDT. 

Sweetbriar Cottage 
When Noah and Josephine discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Sweetbriar Cottage
by Denise Hunter

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job and settled at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Springtime Blessings by Mary Manners

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
                                                                                                ~ James 1:2, NIV ~


Sometimes I’m so caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of life that I forget to thank God for how very blessed I am. Springtime, with its new life and burst of color, is a perfect season to reflect upon the many blessings that fill our lives.


I have so many reasons to be thankful. My loving husband, Tim, is a man with whom I share a real-life romance filled with love and laughter, adventure and fun. Tim supports and encourages my passion for sharing the written word. He understands that my love of writing is more than a job…it is a ministry. I’m so thankful God brought him into my life.


I’m thankful for my daughter, Danni, who has grown into a beautiful young woman. Danni just graduated from college and is prepared to spend her future teaching young children the joy of learning. She brightens my life with her loving, generous spirit. Danni's a friend to everyone. She holds a special place in her heart for the elderly, children, and the hurting. As she comes into her own, I realize with a greater and deeper understanding just how much she is truly a blessing to me.


The friends I've grown closer to through the years, especially my precious writing friends, are a reason to give thanks. These wonderful people completely understand when I mention the ‘voices’ that speak to me while I’m brainstorming a new book. They don’t mind if I take a time-out from our lunchtime conversation to jot down an idea for future reference. I love them dearly.


But, most of all, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, who has given all of this and more to me. What an amazing blessing to know His love and grace are never-ending! Even in times of trial, I know that He is working in me to provide for greater things. My faith has taught me to embrace hardships and disappointments as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
So, as spring eases into summer, take a moment to joyfully reflect on the many blessings that fill your life.
Love blooms in the most unlikely places…

Hattie Cutler and Anthony Moretto have both survived the death of their spouses. With children grown and the Cutler Nursery business flourishing, Hattie decides it’s time to turn her attention to other endeavors. A community garden on the church grounds is just the place to start. She spearheads the project, and when Anthony steps in to offer his assistance more than gardening is on the agenda. The two have shared a long-time friendship which has blossomed into love; that truth is clear to everyone—with the exception of Hattie and Anthony. But can the two learn to sow more than vegetables and, in turn, reap a beautiful future together?
Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons, a daughter, and three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.
A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades sharing her love of learning. While growing up in Chicago, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, hot dog vendor, grocery store cashier, lifeguard, swim instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that bring humor and insight to her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs, ocean sunsets, and flavored coffee.
Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Chasing Two Rabbits by Christa Kinde

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to write under TWO names? What would it take? Just thinking about it makes my head spin! Christa Kinde has found ways to juggle the demands. Enjoy as she shares a part of her writing world with us. ~ Dawn

Chasing Two Rabbits

My childhood was steeped in stories, but I never thought of becoming an author. Yet when I stumbled into a circle of writers who urged me to try, I gave it a go. And found something unexpectedly precious.

I love writing. The challenge suits me.

Early efforts lead to traditional publishing contracts. But when one of my other story ideas didn’t catch a publisher’s fancy, I researched the indie option. That’s why my publishing journey forks.

Two names. As a hybrid author, I publish Christian titles under my own name. Bibles, Bible studies, and devotionals are lined up on a shelf with my fiction debut, the middle grade Threshold Series [Zonderkidz]. However, I also independently publish family-friendly fantasy under my maiden name—C. J. Milbrandt.

Two hats. Is it hard balancing two publishing plans? Not if I stay flexible. I can adjust CJ’s deadlines and release dates to accommodate incoming traditional contracts. Do I like being my own publisher? Yes! All the big choices are mine to make—story development, cover concepts, titling, trim size, and interior design.

I enjoy planning. The challenge suits me.

Two websites. As authors, we’re expected to maintain an online presence through websites, blogs, and social media. That means double duty for me. My two personas each have a slightly different focus. For example, Christa tweets about #amwriting, but CJ talks about #amreading. How do I juggle both? Scheduling my posts ahead of time, so there’s a steady stream.

Two audiences. We all know that writing is hard work. Why complicate things by maintaining dual accounts? I prefer to think of “leading a double life” as an adventure. One I can share with two audiences. Christa’s books appeal to Christians, but CJ’s suit any readers who enjoy stories with magic in the mix.

I crave variety. The challenge really does suit me.

Two goals. According to an old Russian proverb, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”If you’re thinking about establishing an alter ego, be wise. Splitting your efforts might only slow you down. Spreading yourself too thin might frazzle your nerves. But if you can be flexible, adaptable, tenacious, and cheerful about the attendant challenges … why not give it a go? You might find something unexpectedly precious.

Ewan, Zane, and Ganix—three half-brothers take sibling rivalry to new lengths as they race each other across their homeland. The Byways Books by C. J. Milbrandt, 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, “Best Book Series – Chapter Books,” bronze medal. Magic isn’t the only legacy Mr. Ian Johns wants for his bickering sons. Liberty’s Postmaster hoped the boys would bond during a family trip, but they twist his vacation plans into a race. Ewan, Zane, and Ganix soon find themselves far from home, facing choices that are far from easy.

Book #11, Beneath the Torch: A Ewan Johns Adventure. Ewan’s and Zane’s teams have reached their shared waypoint, but it’s easy to get lost in a city as big as Beacon. A case of mistaken identity leaves Ewan tongue-tied. An urgent letter sends Jovan rushing through the maze of squares. And Zane is having all kinds of trouble with two little tagalongs. [Releasing May 23, 2017]

Faith in a Father whose ways are mysterious. Hope in a Friend who’s coming again. Love that bears fruit in far-off places. Christa Kinde believes in bright colors, good manners, crazy socks, word games, cat naps, and postage stamps. But most of all, she believes in God. She writes about her faith with studies, stories, and devotionals that bring truth into focus and give faith a practical spin. Christa also writes family-friendly fantasy as C. J. Milbrandt. Her award-winning Byways Books take sibling rivalry to new lengths as three brothers race each other across their homeland. And in her Galleries of Stone trilogy, statues on the legendary Moonlit Mountain have a life of their own.

Connect with Christa:
GoodReads: Christa Kinde
Twitter: @ChristaKinde
Facebook: @Christa Kinde
Pinterest: /ChristaKinde

Connect with CJ:
GoodReads: C.J. Milbrandt
Pinterest: /mrsmilbrandt
YouTube: CJMK Books

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bring on the Clichés by Jenna Victoria


“Avoid Clichés” is something drilled into the psyche of every aspiring writer. We are told to send each and every cliché in our manuscripts off to oblivion. Using trite phrases is second nature to us, though. We fall back on them like well-worn shoes. They say what *we* meant to say. They fit like a glove.
Those tried and true sentences flow like honey when we attempt to provide our readers with a bird’s eye view of our story world or insight into who’s who in our cast of characters.
Cliché is a common denominator as we breathe life into the personality of our characters, but they turn them into cardboard cutouts or caricatures. Alice has blonde hair (caught back with a blue ribbon) and is sweet and unassuming. Rosalita, a flamboyant spitfire, has ebony curls that tumble down her back, and eyes that flash when she’s angry. Gareth is a dark-eyed, dark-haired loner with a haunted expression and a gaze that sears into our very souls. Naturally.
Even our villains and their motivations can fall under the umbrella of cliché: the owner of big, bad company greedily covering up environmental issues, or an unrepentant mercenary hired to kill the heroine or the hero, or their family. Don’t forget the wild-eyed, crazy religious zealot who keeps his wife or daughter on a short leash or under lock and key.
Readers encountering clichés or careworn plots or stereotypes get irritated and think, “Can’t they write something original?” and put down the rest of the book without finishing. That’s bad.
Even worse, the use of cliché is what stands in the way of an agent or editor seeing your own personal voice – because you’re hiding that voice behind the turn of a well-worn phrase or an oft-used metaphor.
So, why use Clichés?  Here are four reasons to consider.
Cliché’s give breathing room to writers.
Give yourself permission to write clichés in the first round.  Use them as placeholders, to put a good-enough description in place as you move forward to finish the next chapter, and the next. If you dither over how to describe something, throw in a cliché and call it a day. A rolling stone gathers no moss, after all.
Then, when the book is completed in rough draft, you can go back to page one and start hunting, changing each instance of ho-hum into a fresh example of brilliance.
Let the cliché serve as fuel for similar, but less hackneyed phrases. I took an online class called the Rule of Six for Plotting with author Shirley Jump, and learned that the first five ideas (or thoughts) we have as plot ideas or descriptions are the overused ones, or low hanging fruit. Write down those five cliché’s that comes to mind – and then think deeper. How else can you say the same thing?  Once we get to the sixth idea, it’s usually something original.
If your hero compliments the heroine by saying, “Your eyes shine brighter than the moon,” that’s a cliché. However, if you add the words, “on steroids” – they give it new life. What can you add to the end of a cliché to make it fresh for your fictional situation?
The phrase “Your eyes shine brighter than the moon. On steroids” above, gets even more of a punch if your hero (or the heroine!) is a body builder. The statement turns into something believable, and becomes an inside joke that the reader “gets”.
Cliché’s are springboards. Associate a new word with a cliché - for instance, “pulse” typically throbs, pounds, stutters, etc. What different verb can you add? Pinches? Pushes? What other body part can you focus on to avoid the pulsing clichés? Ears? Nose? Brain? Fingertips?
Dead cliché’s can “get a life” if you add to them.
Give cliché’s genuine details about a character’s life- and they become infinitely more interesting. Relate a cliché to your character’s family, or profession, or superstitions and it soars above the rest.
Of course, when all is said and done, clichés do detract from your writing ability, and not add to it. Take this blog post as an example. How many clichés could you identify? More than a baker’s dozen, I wager. I guarantee your eyes glossed over each one.  Not the reaction a writer wants from a reader.
Ultimately, the very best way to use a cliché is in avoidance. Tell the story that only you can tell – a story that uses words that no-one else on earth has ever written in that exact same way.
And you’ll see. The world will become your (literary) oyster.
Title:  Love Among the Lilacs
Publisher: Forget Me Not Romances
Blurb:  Bookkeeper Mollie Wright knows about living on the streets, and her purchase of sweet Lilac Cottage is a dream come true. She is determined to stay and fight when a legal error puts her ownership at risk. Attorney Sean Grady never wanted his great-aunts to sell their cottage in Westchester County, New York, so when a paperwork snafu puts the deal on hold, he moves swiftly to evict the pretty, feisty squatter. Mollie finds unexpected allies in Grady Cove neighbors and a member of Sean's own family but knows the clock is ticking. Will a theft and her past secrets force a showdown to heartache, or will Mollie and Sean discover home is truly where your heart is?
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Format: E-book, Paperback
Amazon Link:
Bio:  Ever since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs & Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955, Jenna has yet to taste a cake she hasn't liked.
Jenna  writes books for readers who enjoy sweet & compelling romances, and also for those who look for her  “fiction that feeds your faith” titles – happily-ever-after romance & romantic suspense stories with a Christian world view. Her stories emulate those she enjoys reading…with a heroine who is in grave danger & a hero who is smart enough to get out of her way as she kicks butt & takes down names… and those that feature  satisfying fairy-tale-endings.
Her clean romances won’t put you into a diabetic coma, and her faith-based romances aren’t preachy or unrealistic. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation,  reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.
Social Media Contacts
Amazon Author Page
Blog - Bookish By Design:
Book Review Blog


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Fun Approach to Book Videos by Patricia Beal

As a debut author and video-phobic, I did a lot of reading before producing my book trailer.

I ended up using a variety of ideas to come up with something that was simple to make and that conveyed the idea of the novel.

Maybe a book trailer is something you’ve always wanted to make but was too intimidated to try. I want to share my approach with you. It might be helpful or spark an even better idea. Here goes.

I used because I like their music selection and because you can remove their logo if you subscribe. I’d also seen some of their videos in publishers’ pages. If you have iMovie I guess you have more options, but I don’t.

For the content of the video, instead of trying to talk about the story as a whole, I tried to isolate a central theme that represents a universal struggle.

Why? Because in most advice blog posts I read, people urged writers to make the video about the reader, and a good way to do that is to offer a solution to their problems.

The best part? By using that approach, you don’t really have to say, “buy my book” because chances are you planted that desire in the reader’s heart with your theme/need approach.

Here’s the video I came up with. I used the word “produced” earlier, but I had to laugh. I don’t think I know enough about videos to “produce” anything.

What do you think? Do you think this works? Feel free to ask me anything you want. There’s no question too silly. This is me you’re talking to… video-challenged.

How challenged? The little video clip at the beginning was shot with my phone, shared on Facebook, saved to my computer, and then uploaded to Animoto. That’s’ how clueless I am with all this. Ask away…

Love y’all!

If you've created book trailers, have you tried this approach? If you're a reader, what type of content in a book trailer appeals to you?



Patricia Beal is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (May 2017).

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Pray for Someone and Horrible Things Happen by Zoe M. McCarthy

My friend has been dealing with an ailment that I can only imagine how difficult it is. Her disorder adversely affects her life minute by minute. I told her I would pray for her, and I have. Daily and fervently.
Zoe M. McCarthy

No doctor of any kind could pinpoint her problem. Physicians would have her try various regimens, but nothing worked. Or they misdiagnosed the problem, and her health got worse. I prayed harder. My hope that God would heal her remained high, but I worried her faith would wane.

Then she was diagnosed with a condition that was promising, and she had a good couple of weeks. I was praising God.

In her next email, she said she’d contracted an ailment that exacerbated her illness and took three miserable weeks to heal from. I had to tamp down over and over my “Why God?” thoughts. I asked God whether He was worried, as I was, that she’d give up Him. My husband and I prayed for her healing.

The next day she sent me a quick email that she was in the hospital with an attack from a third illness! I was shocked. And disappointed. I didn’t know what was going on. I told God I knew He loved her, and I knew He was working in her, but was she able to hold on to this? I asked God to bind Satan.

In a Bible study, we sang Horatio Spafford’s “It Is Well With My Soul.” My friend popped into my mind in the way that God often speaks to me. “When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”

I sent my friend Spafford’s hymn and the story of his losing an investment, his son to Scarlet fever, and his four daughters in a sinking ship.

In her next email, she said that in the end the hospital stay was a good thing. She found the right doctor who was ordering tests that should have been done long ago. They’d already ruled out scary diseases. She told me she felt blessed and was ready to handle whatever ailment she had to deal with.

What an example for me!

I was so humbled. God knows what He’s doing with people’s faith through their trials. He knows their strengths. He’s taught me much about trusting others’ faith and God’s work in them. I don’t know if the tests and the right doctor will be able to treat my friend’s ailment successfully, but I’m simply called to pray and care. I know she’s in God’s hands and is willing to trust the Lord.

When have you recognized blessings among your trials?

Sometimes when you pray hard for someone else, God is working a lesson in you. Click to Tweet.

About the Author
Zoe M. McCarthy believes that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Her first novel is Calculated Risk. She has two more contemporary romances and a nonfiction book to help writers ready their manuscripts coming out soon. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.
Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website:

Calculated Risk

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…
Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

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