Friday, May 29, 2020

Speaking Life by Robin W. Pearson

Robin W. Pearson
During this time of additional challenges and uncertainty, how are we using our words to make a difference? Author Robin W. Pearson encourages us to think about the role we take in the lives of readers and listeners. ~ Dawn

Speaking Life

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
~ Habakkuk 3:17-19

Yet. Such a powerful word, those three letters.

In this passage, it means “nevertheless” or “but at the same time,” and the minor prophet uses this little word to great effect. The tone of Habakkuk’s “music” moves from mournful to exultant, from a plaint to a praise. “Though the fig tree may not blossom…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord…”

As a believer, I know there’s power in the Word. It lives, breathes, and creates. The Word was with God; the same Living Word abides with and in us. We can rely on Him to encourage, exhort, discipline, teach, and love us (2 Timothy 3:16).

And as a writer, I appreciate a well-placed word, how it helps me wiggle a sentence into a paragraph, making it fit just so. A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map by reminding them of their shared beliefs in faith, love, and family.

In my debut, A Long Time Comin’, Beatrice Agnew often wielded her spoken words as a sword; they cut to the heart of the matter, sometimes to the quick. Suffering drives her to use letters to convey what she couldn’t bring herself to utter. Prayer, contemplation, and faith—and some intercession from her granddaughter—season her thoughts with grace as she puts them to paper.

Habakkuk’s words, though they were also birthed from pain and doubt, reveal a conversation, not between him and his own sons and daughters but with God. He seeks answers, for he has none to give, and he approaches the Lord expectantly for a word of encouragement. One a fictional woman, the other a very real prophet, each in need of the Lord’s comfort and direction. Both compelled to write down the answers, to share them and “make it plain on tablets.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

These days when we’re facing so many unknowns, we can use some “fitly spoken”—and written—words (Proverbs 25:11). Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? Consider their overriding message. Does it point to joy, love, and peace, or does it convey judgment, fear, and anger? In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. Our words should be a spiritual overflow of what beats inside, encouraging listeners and readers to trust in the Lord, just as Habakkuk’s words pricked the heart of God’s people Israel.

What words describe your life of faith? I can think of two.

Yet God.

A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map … #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson

A Long Time Comin’
A Long Time Comin'

To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.

Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith, and the love of her sweet husband, seven children, and her dog. In her twenty-five-year editorial career, she’s corrected grammar up and down the East coast, and her debut novel, A Long Time Comin’, has earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow @RobinWPearson on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and to read about her adventures in faith, family, and homeschooling.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Unexpected Blessings of the Writing Life by Robin Patchen

Every time I’ve taken a test to place me on the introvert/extrovert scale, I’ve landed right in the middle. In other words, I need to be alone right up until I’m desperate for companionship.

I haven’t been short on companionship lately. We are so blessed that our grown children moved home for the quarantine, joining our third child, a recent high school graduate. This spring, I had my entire family together for Easter and Mother’s Day for the first time since 2015.

And, though it’s been a challenge to make space for three adults to work from home, I’ve enjoyed every minute of this family time.

What I’ve missed these months is my friends. Even though many of them don’t live nearby, there hasn’t been much time even for phone calls and Zoom meetings. And, while I love my family, there’s nothing quite like friendships with other writers, people who get this strange writing life.

For me, this community of other writers has been the greatest and most unexpected blessing of the writing life.

In recent months, I’ve grown my circle of writing friends to include eight other Christian romantic suspense authors. These women whose names I’ve seen in my “also-boughts,” whose books have decorated my Kindle, have become my friends. Together, we’re putting together a box set (more on that below) that will release in October. Honestly, I thought the Lord called me into this boxset to grow my audience and, perhaps, by His grace, to allow us to see our names on a bestseller list.

Now, months into it, I realize He had more in store for me than just business. (Doesn’t He always?) The Lord has blessed me with new friendships. He’s teaching me about working with others, about yielding to those who know more than I do, and about trusting Him to make it all work out. He’s reminding me that friendships don’t have to be tied to the community where I live. Great friendships can be borne over distances like never before.

That last lesson is particularly important for me right now.

After twenty-four years in Oklahoma, we’re relocating to the Austin area. I’ll be saying good-bye to my church family, my extended family, and my friends, many of whom are fellow writers. It’s going to be a challenge. But already, God is planting new friendships in my life. I know his plans for me—for all of us—are good. Despite the unknown lurking ahead, I will trust in Him.

Amazon Buy Link

Lives...and hearts...are on the line in eight brand-new Christian Romantic Suspense novels from the genre’s most explosive authors

Glimmer in the Darkness: Robin Patchen

When Cassidy learns another child has been kidnapped from her hometown, she's convinced the man who took the girl she’d been babysitting seven years earlier is behind the recent abductions. She alone holds the key to finding him. Though James blames Cassidy for his sister’s death, he’ll help if there’s a chance to save a child’s life. Can Cassidy and James identify the serial killer in time to rescue his latest victim?

About me:

Robin Patchen is one of the authors of the Dangerous Deceptions boxset, which includes eight brand-new, full-length Christian romantic suspense novels from best-selling and award-winning authors. It’s available on preorder for only 99¢.

Preorder Dangerous Deceptions at Amazon or your other favorite e-book retailers.
Learn more about Robin Patchen at her website and download a free copy of Convenient Lies

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

When You Can’t Write Because Life Hurts by Norma Gail

When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? Quit? Take a break? Write the hurts? We each react a different way. If you’re like me, matters of the heart and spirit pour over into your writing. Experiences that hurt either stifle our writing or open it up like a flower bursting through hardened soil and opening under the brilliance of the sun.

I took a break for a year and a half. In the same way a crimped water hose staunches the flow, no words streamed from my heart or gushed from my keyboard. I could deal with what was already written, so I edited. However, the pain in my heart was so raw and ugly, filled with anger and grief that I didn’t even want in a journal.

Within two years’ time, I experienced three relationships torn apart, our son went through a divorce, my mom died, I became caretaker for an elderly aunt and uncle, my husband went through a job change, and finally forced retirement. I underwent four major surgeries. My mind, body, and heart were worn out. My tears flowed freely. My words did not.

As time passed, scripture touched my wounds with healing balm. God’s word confronted me about attitudes, words, and actions that required submission to him. It became clear that I must seek and offer forgiveness out of obedience. Hurtful emotions had to be left to him. My heart became a garden where weeds threatened to choke the fruit. However, forgiveness kills spiritual weeds.

To forgive heals even when the heart hasn’t caught up. Peace comes when I pray God’s will and not my own. Rest happens when I walk away from the throne and leave my burdens there.

As writers, our hearts speak through words. It doesn’t matter what the form, devotions, inspiration, fiction, or non-fiction. Our emotions break their silence through words. Yet silence is necessary to hear God’s thoughts above my own. Whatever our struggle, it impacts our writing with new meaning which can touch our reader’s hearts with power.

It’s all right to take a break. I jotted down feelings, sentences, quotes, and scriptures. None formed a written piece of any kind, although their impact is etched in my spirit. God met me through those broken sentences.  

When we survive the trials life sends, we grow. However, we don’t grow in a vacuum. Others experience similar times. Psalm 37:23 says, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I survived. I’m stronger as a person and a writer because God upholds me with his hand. When life hurts and stifles words, rest in the Father’s arms, soak up his word like healing balm. Allow him to grow you in new ways. He will not let go.

© Norma Gail Holtman, May 11, 2020

When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? via @Norma_Gail


Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands released May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years.

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. Though her husband says he has accepted her infertility, she fears his reaction when her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage. However, Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” As a result, his parents reveal a family secret involving an altered deed and missing aunt. Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of her child, Bonny struggles with depression. 

As Kieran's elusive attacker stalks the family, threatening their safety, the couple is forced to hire bodyguards. Bonny still longs to be a mother but Kieran fears his deep-seated opposition to adoption will drive them apart. Are faith and love strong enough to keep their fledgling marriage on solid ground? Will they choose to trust God when his ways are impossible to fathom?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Three Ways to Increase Your Impact by Emily Wickham

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances”
(Proverbs 25:11, NASB).

Words reach into far places. And as Christian writers, we aim to impact people’s lives with our words. We can achieve a more significant influence by implementing the following three practices:


It can be tempting to limit our writing to all things favorable, but we should open up about our struggles from time to time. Life includes the not-so-great, and occasionally we behave not-so-great. Let’s just be real.

Authenticity also looks different for each person, so we shouldn’t seek to adopt another writer’s pattern. Some excel at sharing their innermost feelings while others practice caution in this area for worthy reasons. Various writers pen truth in an ultra-direct way as opposed to those who craft gentler messages.

Each type of writer appeals to certain readers. The point is, Be. You. God has gifted each of us uniquely to impact the audience He brings our way.


Writers are creatives, yet a lack of diligence can accompany this blessing. Jumping from one activity to the next doesn’t bode well for writers. Rather, we must write through all of life’s adventures.
Instead of carrying out the ‘tyranny of the urgent,’ let’s look ahead with wisdom. Choose a writing routine that works best for you as well as your family… and stick to it.

By planning a doable schedule, we’ll experience encouraging results. We’ll find we work more efficiently while producing consistent content. Focusing on our God-given projects along with our commitments will benefit all.

Let’s attend to the writing opportunities God provides—whether blogging, composing articles, authoring a book, and/or other endeavors—with diligence.


I’m unsure why this practice can easily elude us. Perhaps we underestimate the impact prayer plays in reaching others, or maybe we’re so excited to share each blog post/links to our work that we simply forget to pray. Yet I’m convinced our prayers contain tremendous power.

God provides each word we write. He also directs readers to our material. He hears us when we ask Him to use our words for His purposes, and He answers according to His will. All of this is pretty amazing. Let’s be faithful to pray after we post, knowing God holds a plan for each message.

By being authentic and diligent, and praying after posting, we can eternally impact our readers. Every step toward this goal is noteworthy.

Which of these three ways resonates with you the most?

Note: A previous version of “Three Ways to Increase Your Impact” first appeared on July 3, 2018 at

Consider three ways your words can significantly influence others for Christ. @emilywickhamPH @MaryAFelkins #WritingCommunity #Impact #SeriouslyWrite #writeauthentically

Emily Wickham seeks to stir hearts toward Jesus. She writes for LifeWay, speaks at ladies’ events, and shares Devotions for Women videos on social media. Emily encourages Christian women plus equips Christian writers on her blog. She is the author of one Bible study, which was translated into Spanish in 2016.

Emily, a resident of North Carolina, is Mark’s wife of 30+ years. They are the blessed parents of four adult children and two daughters-in-love. God’s faithfulness and love inspire Emily on her journey through life as she purposes to exalt Christ through written and spoken words.

Connect with Emily:

Alcanzando la Justicia
Do you know any missionaries to Spanish-speaking women? Or, is your church involved in outreach to the Hispanic community? Emily would love to put her Bible study on Esther into their hands, and she’s willing to fundraise for this purpose. Please see her website for more information. You also can purchase Alcanzando la Justicia on Amazon.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Showing Appreciation for Authors

Book signings, local vendor events, library “reading” hours and launch parties can be part of the daily schedule of an author. The story is written and a publisher is found. No one knows the time and dedication an author has put into each story, article, devotion or whatever they have written.

The finished product is released into the world and another waiting period begins. Will people like the story? Will someone or hopefully many people purchase the story? Not all stories are written for payment. Some pieces of writing are written for enjoyment or to help others or to simply get the author's name out to the world.

When I read a great piece of writing, I like to thank the author via reviews. There are times when I can find a “contact me” page on the author website or social media page. A short note is a great way to let an author know you enjoyed their work.

I’m a published author and I appreciate when readers take the time to review my work. Also, when I receive special messages sharing how the writing impacted them. Smiles from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters and other authors are appreciated, too, when they share how much they like “Licky the Lizard”. My children’s book is being read online and before the Covid-19 situation, was read at schools, preschools and medical offices.

I am very appreciative of other authors who are writing and sharing their unique talent. Every person has a story inside their thoughts, whether they write the story or speak the story. Our imaginations are filled with possibilities for stories.

If you are a reader, you have a wonderful opportunity to encourage authors. Even if you are a published author, there are many ways to share appreciation for other authors.

First, read their stories, blog posts, articles, devotions. Reading helps us become better writers.

Second, post reviews. The same review can be shared on various sites. Just copy and paste.

Third, if you are able, send a note of thankfulness to the author. Search online for their website and contact information.

Also, share their work on social media. Share with family and friends.

Most of all, thank God for giving people the desire to write and share unique stories.

Have you thanked an author lately? If you are an author, let me say “Thank you”.

Have you thanked an author lately? If you are an author, let me say "Thank you". @mimionlife #seriouslywrite

Melissa Henderson

Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages. Her first book for children, “Licky the Lizard”, was released in 2018. She also has a story in the compilations “Heaven Sightings” and “Remembering Christmas”. She contributes articles and devotions to various magazines and websites. Her passions are helping in community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon and Stephen Minister. She and her husband Alan moved from Virginia to South Carolina to be near son, daughter-in-love and first grandchild. The family motto is “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons”.
Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at

Website and blog :
Amazon link to "Licky the Lizard"
Facebook : Melissa Henderson, Author
Pinterest : Melissa Henderson
Twitter : @mimionlife

Friday, May 22, 2020

Humor in the Midst of Intensity by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
During this “pandemic” we call the COVID-19 Coronavirus, there have been some funny things that have come across my social media feeds. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud were:

Three hours into homeschooling: One is suspended for skipping, and the other one has already been expelled.

Day 4 of Homeschooling: All my students passed for the year today.

(Picture of a mother holding a cloth in front of her son’s face): Day 7 of Homeschool Biology: Testing to see if Chloroform has a smell.

(Picture of a man’s belt draped over a doorknob): Just hired an assistant principal for our homeschool.

(Three weeks into the stay-at-home order): Is it okay to shower now, or do I just keep washing my hands?

Our homeschool has raised the bar for our “school”! Now, only the adults can reach it.

(Teacher speaking): I’m so tempted to text my students while they are in class with their parents.

Okay, teachers…well played. We will give you respect and raises now. Just give us the antidote so we can send our kids back to school!

I tried donating blood today…NEVER AGAIN!!! Too many stupid questions. “Whose blood is it?” Where did you get it from?” “Why is it in a bucket?”

(Sign outside a bookstore): Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has now been moved to the Current Affairs section.

If you want to save money at Christmas, now’s the perfect time to tell the kids that Santa didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Saw a picture of the “Corona Lisa” (Mona Lisa) with long hair that has gone gray down the part.

(Caption underneath a photo of a picturesque mountain scene with scrolling words fading into the heavens): Due to less air pollution, we can now see the Star Wars intro again in the night sky.

I’m giving up drinking for a month.
Sorry. Bad punctuation.
I’m giving up. Drinking for a month.

Saw a picture of a woman all dressed up, standing near a beach. Her hands are over her mouth in utter surprise. A man is kneeling before her, in the obvious marriage proposal position. His hands are lifted up, holding a roll of toilet paper. “OMG!” the woman said. “He went to Charmin!”

To protect myself from these new Murderous Hornets, how much toilet paper do I need to buy?

We laugh at these memes because in some capacity, there is a truth in there somewhere. Of course, that’s what makes humor funny. That’s how comedians make a living.

We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. Even if you write mysteries or thrillers, action-adventure, or dark fantasy, humor is a natural part of life. It comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to occur in dialogue alone. It can be physical comedy. It can be satirical. It can be at another character’s expense. It can be a play on words. It can be an off-the-cuff, comedic response to a serious inquiry. It can even be a specific glance or look. No matter how you insert it into the story, it just needs to be natural and authentic, not forced, like some sign in front of your reader, flashing the words, “Laugh Now!” If you have to tell them to laugh, they won’t like it.

Natural and authentic humor is the kind of humor that gets the most laughs in real life. The same is true for fiction. I bet that if you start thinking about the books and/or movies you like the most, it is the comical moments that left their mark on you. For me, it’s the movie Jaws where Chief Brody sees the shark for the first time and says to Captain Quint in a somewhat PTSD state…

You know the line, don’t you? You just said it, didn’t you?

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Why? Because the humor, embedded with this intense moment of realizing they are going to die, was authentic, not contrived.

Or take this six-minute clip from the movie Star Trek: The Search for Spock. Humor sandwiches this scene with little bits sprinkled in the middle. What makes it work, though, is the comradery amongst the characters. Their friendship and idiosyncrasies make it a fun section in an otherwise suspenseful scene.1

Or take this clip from a comedy show that is dealing with a serious issue of interracial relationships, trying to fit in, and being something you’re not, and using a play on words in a hysterical fashion: Everybody Loves Raymond – Robert Trying to be Black.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. It makes for memorable moments and memorable characters. Ones that resonate with readers, possibly, for the rest of their lives.


1I have to admit, I’ve used Scotty’s line about stopping up the drain multiple times in real life. Comes in really handy as an educator. We’ve been overhauling the plumbing of public education for decades now.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

The Letters
The Letters


Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are now available: Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Summer 2020! And, his newest standalone novel, The Letters, is now available in both e-book and paperback!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter: @CKevinThompson
Instagram: ckevinthompson
Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor
ACFW Fiction Finder:
Christian Authors Network:
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson
BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Running In Place by Terri Weldon

How many news stories, blog posts, and social media rants have you read about COVID lately? If you’re like me the answer is - too many. I’ve had to limit the number of times a day that I allow myself to read about COVID-19. Social media posts for the most part are just tossed aside. No way I’m getting caught up in those arguments! 😊 And blog posts, well I remind myself that to the author it is only one, the one they’ve written. Besides, those are far more interesting than the news or social media posts.

Being at home all the time has left me feeling off balance. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed or get up. There’s no where I need to be. I feel like I’m running in place. Giving it my all, but getting no where fast.

Unfortunately, my writing is mirroring my life. I edit, and then I’m asked by my most trusted critique buddy, “Did you read this chapter after you edited it?” I continue to work on my plot, but when I try to align my edits with my plot changes nothing works. I’m running, but I’m not moving. I’m stuck in the same place.

Those are the days I begin to wonder if this writing gig is worth the effort. It is. For me. I realize there are others who have walked away from writing. And you know what? If that’s the right choice for them, then more power to them. So today I had a chat with my friend and we worked on my plot. I may not always like what she tells me, but I trust her implicitly. Find someone you trust that much. It may take time, but keep looking. Remember, you need to be that kind of writing buddy in return. If your friend isn’t a writer, support them in whatever endeavor they pursue.

Because my friend has me excited about working on my manuscript. I no longer feel hopeless or like I want to give up. Now instead of running in place I’m jogging down the path toward the finish line.

Have you ever felt like you were running in place? How did you break free? I’d love to hear your tips.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – I Corinthians 9:24

Amazon Buy Link
A Match Made in Sheffield

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?

Terri Weldon is blessed to be able to write fulltime. She enjoys gardening, reading, working jigsaw puzzles, 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 an adorable Westies – Crosby. 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 at her Website or here at Seriously Write.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep by Patty Smith Hall

I almost quit writing last Wednesday. It wasn’t like I woke up that morning and decided ‘today, I’m going to quit writing’ though I will say it wasn’t too long after that. In fact, I had finished up my morning prayer and was going through everything that had to be done. Manuscript to my editor. An article for a friend. Edits for another friend’s story. Throw in a meeting with my critique group (online) and my mastermind group (again online!) and even I could tell I was in trouble. The weight of everything that needed to be done, along with my family responsibilities pressed down on me, and I couldn’t help but wonder:

Why am I doing all this?

It’s not the money. Most writers make less than $10,000, lots of them make less than $5000. When we were doing our taxes this year, I realized I was spending more on conferences, software and books than I made. Even in my best year, I only made just under that $10,000 mark. One time, a friend of mine figured out that for every word she wrote, she made a half of a penny. Most royalty statements go by without a check attached to it and if there is one, it may be enough to buy a sweet tea at McDonalds.

It’s not the fame. Do you have a clue how many books, both tradition and indie published are listed on Amazon? Hundreds of thousands, millions, and they’re all shooting for the top dog position, that number one slot. And then once you get there, there’s someone else just like you, trying to grab the brass ring from you.

Why am I still writing?

I could quit right now and be proud of the career I’ve had. Many people never see their book on the shelves of the local Barnes and Noble, and yet it’s happened fifteen times for me. I’ve been indie-published many times over, and have fans as far away as India (Cool, right?)

So why do I keep writing?

Because I can’t imagine a day without it. Because I find great joy in the creative process of discovering characters. Because my fingers itch to write each and every day. And if I’m really honest with myself—I didn’t start down this path to get money and fame (though these things are nice.) I write because I heard God’s still, small voice calling me to write. Sometimes, I lose my focus and all my failures come back to haunt me, but then I look up. I come across a verse that speaks to my situation. I get encouragement from an unexpected source. God has called me to write, and until He tells me to stop, I’ll continue writing my little stories.

Why do I write? I write for Him.

I almost quit writing last Wednesday. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite


Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 

Hearts in Flight

Serving her country as one of the Women's Army Special Pilots is Maggie Daniels's dearest wish. But there are obstacles to overcome above and beyond the enemies in the Pacific, including her overprotective family, skeptical fellow pilots—and handsome, distant squadron leader Wesley Hicks. Whatever it takes, Maggie will prove herself to Wesley, until she succeeds in winning his admiration…and love.

Wesley can see that Maggie's a first-class pilot. She's also too fearless by half. The war has cost Wesley so much already. Can he let go of his guilt for a chance at happiness—and can he learn to trust in God…and Maggie…enough to believe in love for a lifetime?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

COVID Crazy! By Shannon Redmon

I think I’m going COVID Crazy.

If there was such a diagnosis, I dare say many of us would claim the condition. Symptoms like over washing of hands, the excessive use of sanitizer and Zoom fatigue, plague our once normal routines.

However, my most severe symptom is … the longing to return to church. To worship my God with fellow believers. To feel the lightness in my soul as we align our hearts with God, united.

Sometimes, I go out of my way to drive by the parking lot and pretend everything is still the same and then God reminds me many people’s lives have been far worse affected than mine. I pray for those who have lost loved ones to this mean, evil sickness and pray the virus will die out so we can all do the things we love once again.

I also realize that my past casual attitude toward the freedom to assemble was wrong, but thankfully God is not limited to our buildings nor held by man-made restrictions.

The law will not quiet Him nor will the gospel of Jesus be stopped.

His message of faith, hope, love and forgiveness will continue to march forward with life changing good news, the COVID virus beneath his nail-scarred feet.

In our church alone, God has reached over 70,000 people with the gospel of Jesus Christ through online efforts! Isn’t that amazing? Over one-hundred thousand dollars has been raised in t-shirt sales with the entire amount going to help those who lost their jobs in our tourism community. Millions of prayers around the world are rising to His ears. Lives are changing. Souls are at peace.

That’s what God does. He makes something beautiful out of the ugly.

He can do the same in our personal lives and in our writing, too.

God wants much more for you, for us. He sees our hearts at every scary, isolated moment and pleads for surrender to Him, even in the midst of a world pandemic. He can take the pieces of mounting despair and make us whole again, if we chose to surrender to Jesus Christ.

Will you give your life to Him today?

For those of you who are like me and long for the encouragement of other Christ followers, please share with me in the comments below, what amazing things you’ve seen God do during this crazy COVID time.

God isn't limited to our buildings nor held by man-made restrictions. His message of faith, hope, love and forgiveness will continue to march forward, the COVID virus beneath His nail-scarred feet.@shannon_redmon #covid #encouragement

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There’s nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes her stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.

Shannon’s writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, and the Seriously Write blog. Her stories have been selected as a semi-finalist and finalist of the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. The StoryMoore Blog is named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.

Connect with Shannon:
The StoryMoore Blog
Twitter @shannon_redmon
Check out Shannon’s story in a compilation with other authors published by Revell.
The Horse of My Dreams

Monday, May 18, 2020

When You Don't Have Time to Write by Patty Nicholas-Boyte

I read a question on social media the other day from someone who was sincerely looking for advice on how to get writing done as she was a mother who also worked outside of the home, sixty hours a week.

I anxiously scrolled through the comments looking for answers. My children are grown and out of my home, but I have an extremely busy schedule. I work forty plus hours a week, am involved in women’s ministry, plus I am navigating the waters of a new marriage.

And like most of you, I’ve also been trying to figure out how to work from home during the current Covid-19 pandemic. What is an author to do, especially when deadlines are looming ahead?

The answers that followed that question ranged from doing short bursts of fifteen minutes of writing, schedule one long day per week, to a marathon writing session once a month. All great pieces of sage advice.

I employ most of these strategies myself and they all work well depending on where I am on a project or deadline. What I didn’t share, as I needed to get back to my own work in progress, was these three things which I use the most. I thought I would share them here with all of you lovely writers.

Three things I use the most when I don't have time to write.

  1. Set a specific time to write and stick to the schedule. I set my alarm for four in the morning, and with few exceptions, I get up each and every day at that time. I am able to get more accomplished during that time of day than one might think. 
  2. Pray. I make sure I take the time for bible study and prayer before I write. When I have spent time with God, words and thoughts flow, and I know I am working in His strength, and not my own. 
  3. Writers Sprints. I have an accountability, writing partner, who I can brainstorm ideas, as well as share struggles. We try to set aside one morning a week where we can talk about our work in progress, and then sprint write in short bursts. I get more writing done during these sprints than I can in an hour of writing on my own. 

The other piece of advice I would offer would be to try all of the strategies people throw out there and see what works for you. What might work well for one person may not work for another. I know well the struggle of trying to get thousands of words written in a week to attain my goals and deadlines.

The only real failure is giving up. So please keep at it, slow and steady will win the race.

Multi award winning writer. Patty Nicholas-Boyte writes Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Bible Studies, Devotions and Blogs. Patty lives with her Husband Brian in the mountains of North Carolina. She is a busy event planner for the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove. She is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group and a member of the Suspense Squad a group of romantic suspense writersShe is a mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three. 

She is a regular contributor to the Billy Graham Training Center Cove Blog.

Devotions are published in compilations by Lighthouse Bible Studies.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Finding Our Funny Bone by JoAnn Durgin

Meme with Proverbs 15:15

Finding Our Funny Bone

I’ve often heard that humor is one of the most difficult types of writing to conquer, but that hasn’t stopped me—and it shouldn’t stop you (if you’re so inclined)! My philosophy is that we need humor in our lives. Life is tough enough. Whether it’s subtle (eliciting a smile or a low chuckle) or overt (prompting robust laughter), even the slightest touch of humor can be cathartic for both the author and the reader. Sure, we need pathos and drama in our writing to create conflict and reflect real life, but humor can likewise reach hearts and impact lives—yes, for Christ! I’m convinced our Lord has a wonderful sense of humor.

The funny bits I insert into my fiction tend to be more of the “everyday” variety, derived from situations familiar to everyone. Remember the TV sitcom, Seinfeld? The show became wildly popular and won multiple awards for being “a show about nothing.” Every episode focused on the humor to be found in the daily lives of the characters. In the process, the show created a sense of fellowship, happiness, and well-being.

If you’ve never attempted to write humor, where do you begin? Well, let’s start with the basics.

What is humor? By definition, humor is “that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous” or “a funny or amusing quality.”

What is the value of humor in our writing? Any genre can benefit from humor. Adding humor to your work can stretch you as an author in the following ways:

*Forces you to step outside your comfort zone.
*Helps to avoid monotony in your writing.
*Helps you to develop pacing, word choice, characters.
*Ramps up the tension in the novel or provides needed relief.
*Lightens/balances the mood when underlying themes are serious.
*Transforms the way a reader views your novel.

How can humor be incorporated into your manuscript? Humorous dialogue, funny plot lines, literary devices, wordplay, and silly scenarios can all add creativity and interest. These can all be accomplished through the use of:

Satire: The purposeful use of mockery that exposes individuals or society to their foolishness, corruption, or inappropriate behavior. This is often done in a lighthearted manner so as not to offend readers. Satire can magnify or distort behavior so that it seems outlandish.

Irony: The use of words to express the opposite of their literal meaning (can be associated with both tragedy and humor).

Similes/Metaphors: Crazy/absurd comparisons that support important messages and themes. You can parallel two objects, ideas, or characters in unusual and amusing ways that appeal to the reader’s emotions.

Unexpected Twists: Humorous/ridiculous and unexpected plot twists provide mystery and suspense while retaining an overall lighthearted tone/mood. They give readers an opportunity to laugh at circumstances and situations that might otherwise seem sad or overwhelming.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom for writing humor I’ve picked up along my writing journey:

Know your genre. Study the conventions, clichés, and tropes. Then turn at least one of them on its head in a humorous way. But it still has to feel real. Think through the details of the world you’ve created and how your characters relate to each other. That’s where you’ll find the humor.

Surprise your readers. Throw in something completely unexpected—it can be an action, a sentence, a scene/chapter ending, or even a single word or phrase.

Make your humor meaningful. Suggest a deeper meaning to make your work entertaining but also relevant and valuable.

Write to make yourself laugh. Comedy is subjective. There’s no formula or surefire way to predict what readers will find funny. Hint: if you write something and laugh every time you read it, then readers probably will, too. But you still might want to test it out on a few beta readers!

If you don’t normally inject humor into your writing, why not give it a try? You might discover a hidden talent!

Until His Nets Are Full,

Adding humor to your work can stretch you as an author. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @Gr8tReads
Author JoAnn Durgin shares tips on how to incorporate humor into your manuscript. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Only a Heartbeat Away
Only a Heartbeat Away

Before the release of Georgia Adler’s debut novel, a top literary critic reviews it as a “contemporary masterpiece of epic proportions.” When her agent sends out a press kit, magazine editors and talk show promoters across the country clamor for her attention. Why did things have to get so complicated?

Grayson Chambers walks into a tempest when he visits his friend Nick in Manhattan. He’d only planned on lunch, but a new female novelist who’s taking the literary world by storm is being interviewed, and Nick’s in desperate need of an immediate replacement for the ailing male model. Swallowing his misgivings, he agrees to work with a demanding, beautiful diva for a few hours since it’ll give him the opportunity to publicize his foundation.

After Georgia meets Grayson, she begins to question the very crux of her novel, and Grayson wonders if the basis for his foundation is misguided. Is this a “chance” meeting between them or a way for God to reveal His plans for their lives?

JoAnn Durgin (Julianna Desmond)
Only A Heartbeat Away was the first release from author Julianna Desmond, the pen name for USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin. Since then, other releases have included Only A Breath Away and Only A Whisper Away. Stay tuned for more! Each standalone story features a heroine with an unusual or interesting occupation and a faithful hero who can’t help falling in love with her. Overflowing with faith, humor, hope, and romance, these novels are a lively escape for those seeking an uplifting and lively read!

JoAnn Durgin is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Lewis Legacy Series, Prelude, the Starlight Christmas Series, Catching Serenity, Hearts Design, Gentle Like the Rain, Whisper to My Heart, the Serendipity Christmas Series, the Treasured Vow Series, the Wondrous Love Series, If You Believe, Echoes of Edinburgh, Portrait, and The Valentine Verse. Her most recent release is Love on Assignment in Millcreek, Book 1 of The Millcreek Christmas Series.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Catch and Release By Patti Jo Moore

With all due respect to those of you who enjoy fishing (waving to my brother-in-law Bob), I do not share your passion. 😉 In fact, the only time I’ve actually fished was as a young child, when one of my older sisters and her boyfriend took me to a lake to fish. That remains a fun memory, but I’ve never had the desire to fish again (something about those worms…).

The one and only year I taught the fourth grade, one of the (few) highlights of that year was a field trip that May, when we went to a rural area of Georgia so the students could fish at a “Catch and Release” lake at a nature center. Needless to say, the students had a wonderful time, and thankfully didn’t mind tossing their fish back into the water. I enjoyed walking around with my camera, observing their excitement and making sure no one fell into the lake.

When I recently thought about that memory, it occurred to me that as writers, we’re doing a sort of “catch and release” with our stories.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Writing in Quarantine Chaos by Abigail Wilson

Covid 19 and the resulting quarantine has swept across the world, altering not only how we interact with one another but how we work. Writing has always been a solitary profession for me, kids at school, husband at work, as I bask in the quiet shelter of an empty house. Early on I realized productive writing involved silence, and I treasured it. So what do writers like me do when we’re suddenly isolated with our whole families?

Rethink everything.

At first I thought I could write while my children worked on their own online school assignments. At least it would be quiet, right? Turns out, online school requires constant parent participation, which for me only led to increasing levels of stress and frustration.

If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath. Sometimes God encourages us to take a pause and slow down. Writing during the Coronavirus quarantine will never look like it did before. Not only are we dealing with changes to our schedule, but the fear, loneliness, and grief hiding in the harsh unknowns of this threat certainly play a factor in our creativity. Allow yourself a moment’s break.

Then, when you’re ready, consider these ideas to manage your writing life:

1. Limit the distractions you can control. Turn off the alerts—email, phone calls, social media

2. Write at different times of the day, see what works best. Maybe you saved family time for the weekends. Well, now that’s the only time your spouse might be able to distract the kids. Take advantage if possible. What about writing at night or getting up early in the morning? Do whatever works for you and your family’s new schedule.

3. Think outside the box. What about writing in your car, either in the driveway or at a park? Don’t laugh. I do it three times a week, and it has been incredibly helpful. The porch is also a good option.

4. Write the scene you’re thinking about. If you’re an author like me, you write in a linear fashion, but I find now that writing whatever feels right for the time I have can be a bit easier during distractions.

5. Read. It’s research, right? And it gets the mind working. If you just can’t focus on anything new, pull out an old favorite. You might be surprised how easily you get lost in that beloved, familiar world.

6. Pray—“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

In the end, whether five or five hundred words on the page is the new normal, give yourself some slack, and remember to keep your focus on what truly matters—God.

...whether five or five hundred words on the page is the new normal, give yourself some slack... via @acwilsonbooks #SeriouslyWrite


Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s diving meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey releases May 26, 2020.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Finding Focus for Your Fiction by Marie Wells Coutu

If you’re like me, this whole COVID-19 shutdown has made it hard to focus on writing.

Between the news, social media, and families at home, there is much to distract us from our BICHOK (bottom in chair, hands on keyboard) tasks.

But it occurs to me that focus is key to telling our stories. So let’s turn our F-O-C-U-S to writing a scene and use it to deepen our characters and strengthen our fiction.

F-Field of vision. When your character enters a room, you can describe the whole room down to the last detail—and bore your reader. Or you can show what in that room is most important to your character. What’s in your character’s “field of vision”? What your character notices first reveals something about her. Depending on what is going on in her head, the first thing she notices may be a piece of furniture, the color of the walls, or a particular person. It might even be something or someone missing from the setting that she expected to be there. Narrow the field of vision for your reader, emphasizing the things that will develop the character or advance the plot.

O-Orient. You’ll want to help the reader understand what’s happening by orienting the scene. Make sure the reader knows where the scene is taking place. For your own information, try what’s called “blocking” in theater. Know where your characters are in relation to each other and to important objects, and “block” your scene as you write to show how they interact with each other. And bring your reader along when they move.

Of course, you can’t spell out every movement (or you’ll have a million-word novel), but if you have a character getting out of his Ford Prius and in the next line, he’s talking to someone in the kitchen, your reader will get whiplash. Provide enough information so your reader is oriented to the setting and your scene makes sense.

C-Concerns. What gets mentioned gets noticed. Consider the well-known advice that if you show a gun in Act I, it should be used before the play (or book) ends. Use that sort of focus to help your readers understand what motivates your POV character. Show what interests him, what his concerns are, and what’s important to him.

U-Unify. Give unity to your story by choosing scenes and plot elements that reveal the theme in different ways. The TV show Bluebloods is an excellent example: in an hour-long episode, three (or more) members of the Reagan family will deal with a similar issue from various perspectives through three different plotlines. For example, in a 2006 episode called “Justice Delayed,” Jaime and Eddy discovered thousands in cash in a dead man’s apartment; Erin sought to prosecute a man accused of killing his wife; and Frank and Danny dealt with a man released after 20 years in jail for murder and his son who confessed to a recent murder. By the end, the issue is brought into focus during a discussion at the Sunday dinner table.

In this episode, the themes of justice, second chances, secrets, and truth all played a part, but Frank pointed out the overarching theme of grace. By showing different facets of a complex theme, you can unify your plot and your novel.

S-Sharpen. Using a (virtual) spotlight to emphasize what’s important will help to sharpen your scenes. Eliminate the extraneous and focus on aspects of the setting and characters that contribute to the overall effect of the story.

Pages and pages of description of the moors in Wuthering Heights may have set the mood for the story, but today’s readers will quickly lose interest. By turning the spotlight on key elements, you can achieve the desired mood and help your readers experience the story through the eyes and hearts of the characters.

Narrow the field of vision for your reader, emphasizing things that will develop the character or advance the plot. @mwcoutu @MaryAFelkins #writingtips

Marie Wells Coutu finds beauty in surprising places, like old houses, gnarly trees, and forgotten treasures. When she’s not writing about finding restoration and healing through God-designed journeys, she enjoys taking broken things and making them useful.
She is currently working on historical romance novels set in the 1930s. One manuscript won the 2019 Touched by Love Contest and the 2019 Sheila Contest, and a second novel also won in the Sheila Contest.
Her published novels are women’s contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. The Secret Heart, her newest release, and Thirsting for More, the second book in the series, were finalists in several contests.

You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook author page and her website,,
Follow her on Twitter @mwcoutu or on Amazon.

Monday, May 11, 2020

PLOT TWIST! You're in a Story

The best stories have plot twists.

Everyone is comfortable—the characters, the reader, the whole world humming along, then BOOM. A surprise. Something happens to change the plot.

In award winning western West for the Black Hills, Philip Anderson is comfy. He has a small farm, raises horses, and clings to his security like lovely smells from a rose. Kindness is also a strong trait, and he delivers a horse to a friend. As he’s returning home on his own black Arabian, his horse, Raven, is stolen. He catches a glimpse of the man riding around the corner.

Philip follows the thief through town.

Philip could let the thief have the horse, and his life would just move ahead like nothing happened, just minus his horse. But the story would fall apart, and we’d lose our respect for Philip. Instead, he catches up to the man and calls him out.

After the man dismounts, he argues with Philip until the man draws his gun to fire. Philip draws as well, and is so fast and accurate he fires two shots and hits the man in both shoulders.

He later finds out the man was hired to steal the horse. Why? What’s going on? And in that moment, Philip’s life takes a sudden turn as he uncovers a past about his family he never knew.

Plot Twist.

You’ve had a similar plot twist. Quarantine. Loss of job. Loss of book sales. A country already factionalized and now even more so. Many I know have lost those they love, watching them die alone. Others haven’t seen a case of Covid19 and aren’t entirely sure why their future is dismantled for something that hasn’t affected them in the slightest.

Plot Twist. Like Philip Anderson, you’ve had something stolen from you. Or changed. Or dismantled. And like a character in a book, there is an author. I know what happens to Philip Anderson. I am writing his story.

You have an Author writing your story. Have faith. He knows the end. And that end is for good and not for evil. God’s not writing a postmodern fiction. He’s writing a story that already involves redemption and love.

Know that with every plot twist, your life is being penned by a Master Craftsman, an Artist who tells the perfect story. A story of which you are a character. You're writing the lines of your life with Him. Don't give up! We, as friends and readers of your life, are cheering for you!

The Ballad of (your name here). Enjoy the story you're in, plot twists and all!

You're in a story with a massive plot twist. Now what? #seriouslywrite #writerslife @peterleavell

God's the author of your life. And He's not writing a postmodern fiction. He's writing a story that involves redemption and love. @peterleavell #seriouslywrite

The Ballad of—fill in your name—. How you're in a story with a plot twist. #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

Peter Leavell, a 2007/2020 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at

Philip Anderson keeps his past close to the vest. Haunted by the murder of his parents as they traveled West in their covered wagon, his many unanswered questions about that night still torment him.
His only desire is to live quietly on his homestead and raise horses. He meets Anna, a beautiful young woman with secrets of her own. Falling in love was not part of his plan. Can Philip tell her how he feels before it’s too late?
With Anna a pawn in the corrupt schemes brewing in the nearby Dakota town, Philip is forced to become a reluctant gunslinger. Will Philip’s uncannily trained horses and unsurpassed sharpshooting skills help him free Anna and find out what really happened to his family in the wilderness?