Please help me welcome author, Lynn Dove to my blog today. 

Lynn Dove is a graduate of the University of Calgary, where she earned her Bachelor of Education degree in 1981, she has spent the last thirty years teaching children in the private and public school settings.  In 2007, she earned a Masters of Religious Education degree from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.   

Thank you, Lynn for stopping by. Can you share a little more about yourself.

I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a soon-to be grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order).  I wear so many different “hats” that I find prioritizing them tends to focus me better.  I have been married to my best friend, Charles for 32 years and we have three wonderful children: daughter, Laurelle (husband, Matt) are expecting our first grand baby in February, and we have two live-at-home teenagers, Brett and Carmen.   I have been a teacher most of my adult life, and I still substitute from time to time at the private Christian school my teenagers attend.  I love volunteering and working closely with the youth in our church as well.  Lastly, when I’m not writing, I’m reading.   I love to blog and when I’m not blogging, I’m working on my next book.

Can you tell us more about your book, Shoot the Wounded

Shoot the Wounded, the first book of the Wounded Trilogy, is written for youth and young adults. It addresses how lies and gossip destroy a person's spirit and speaks to the heart of relevant themes such as bullying, teen pregnancy and family violence.  The story points the characters, and ultimately the reader, to hope in Jesus Christ.  

STW was a finalist in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards.

Congrats on your book being a finalist. That's great!

What about the sequel, Heal the Wounded

Heal the Wounded, is the much-anticipated sequel to STW and the second book of the Wounded Trilogy.  HTW delves even deeper into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle.   

Heal the Wounded, continues to follow the characters, Jake, Leigh, Mike (Jake's best friend), and Tim (Ronnie's brother) each of them dealing with the aftermath of their friend’s death in the first book. Jake is especially dealing with a variety of disappointments (“Job” experiences I call them) that cause him to question why God allows bad things to happen to good people. 

A new character is introduced into the story, Cassidy, a young cancer patient whose unquenchable spirit and faith impacts Jake, Leigh, Mike and Tim in a way that allows them all to experience God's grace and the power of His healing in each one of their lives.

Wow, sounds like two powerful books. 

Both STW and HTW have been selected as helpful resources on the world’s largest anti-bullying website:

That's great. I'm glad your books are making a positive impact. Where can readers find your books and where can they find you online?

Books are available on,, on my website and around the world.

Readers may also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook my blog: “Journey Thoughts” and on my website:

Let's chat. Why did you become a writer?

I know this is a cliché answer, but I have always wanted to write.  I have written poetry and short stories since I was in elementary school.  I was always writing.  In fact my biology teacher in high school signed my Gr. 12 year book: “To the only literary biologist I know”.  My teachers could always count on me to give a lengthy treatise on any subject.  I did not have aspirations to be a novelist.  My debut novel, Shoot the Wounded, actually started out as a short story but 100 pages later, I realized I couldn’t call it a “short story” any longer.  Then it sat for ten years taking up valuable computer memory space until one day as I was deleting files I came across the story again.  It was my husband who encouraged me to finish it and then get it published.

Wow, love that. I can totally relate. I always felt called to write and started my first book when I was just out of high school and didn't get it published until years later. Do you tend to base your characters on real people?

I have three children and because two of them are teenagers and I write novels for teenagers, I have been very purposeful not basing my characters on any one of them.  It would mortify them!  Instead I try to draw on my experience with working with teenagers in general as a high school teacher and as a youth leader, so I kind of create characters that have a smattering of many individuals I know personally all rolled up into one cohesive characterization.  My kids still say that they see themselves in the characters.  I suppose that’s to be expected, but I pray that when they recognize themselves they see the character as positively portrayed and not the otherwise.

Any new book projects?

I have just released the second book in the “Wounded Trilogy”, Heal the Wounded and I am currently working on the third and final book in the trilogy, “Love the Wounded”.  I am hoping to have that released late 2011, God willing.  I am also working on a more autobiographical account of my journey with breast cancer in 2001. 

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I am asked this question a lot and my advice is always:  WRITE!  If you feel called by God to write, just write.  Decide in advance what your goals are for writing.  Is it for pure enjoyment that you write?  Is it something you do that is private or is it something you want to share?  Decide to whom you are writing.  Knowing your audience will also determine how you will write and what your focus will be when you write.  Also determine your “success” goals before you embark on the publishing journey.  Do you want to have a small, intimate audience or a world-wide audience?  That will help you set realistic expectations  when it comes to selling and promoting your work. 

I had no idea when I embarked on this writing adventure that there would be so much work involved in promoting yourself and your work.  As a Christian we revere humbleness, however for you to be noticed in the industry and to get your books into the hands of readers, you have to create a “buzz” about your work.  It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort and purposeful networking.  I spent the past year building online relationships with hundreds of authors and industry professionals.  I read and reviewed books and I have a successful blog that showcases new and “seasoned” authors.  I have learned so much for those who have been in the industry a long time, and I have been blessed with incredible mentors along the way.

Some great advice. Thank you for sharing. What's you favorite work of literary fiction?

There are so many wonderful works of fiction it is tough to choose just one.  I love the classics but the book that inspired me to read (and then write) was Lucy Maude Montgomery’s, “Anne of Green Gables”.  I suppose being a Canadian, I gravitate naturally to Canadian authors and their work.

My sister and I are big fans of the Anne of Green Gables stories. Who is your favorite contemporary author?

Again there are so many wonderful authors out there.  I am an eclectic reader, meaning that I read all genres of fiction so my favourite Christian author(s) are Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and Suzanne Woods Fisher and Janette Oke.  I also like Nicholas Sparks, and Jodie Picoult. 

I have a huge pile of books currently on my to-read list: The Search – Suzanne Woods Fisher, The Judging – Ellen C. Maze, My Mother the Man-eater – Tracy Krauss, Overwhelmed – Jennifer Barnes Maggio (non-fiction) and Heaven is For Real – Todd Burpo, to name a few. 

I love Karen Kingsbury's and Janette Oke's books. Have your family and friends been supportive of your writing career?

I have a hugely supportive family, extended family and friends.  My kids will no doubt be pleased to eat regular meals and have more undivided attention from me once my third novel is completed.  Right now they are content with take out and pizza…

My biggest fan is my husband, Charles.  He has been the one who encouraged me to publish in the first place (and he had never even read the book at that time).  My church family hosts my book launches and prays for me on a regular basis.  They realize that this is a ministry for me, and they have bought my books and sent them all around the world!  I am more than blessed!

That's awesome. Support from others is so vital. Thank you again for stopping by. 
I hope everyone can stick around for a while and chat with us. 

by Jen Slattery A few years ago someone mailed me a historical fiction about.... Well, I'm not sure what it was about because I never made it that far. I tried. Oh, my, did I try, but after page upon page of life-activities, my perseverance waned and I put the book aside. I learned the heroine wore her hair in ribbons, what she ate for breakfast, and numerous other details of her daily life. To the author, perhaps these events were significant. Maybe she had fond memories of getting her hair done and thought perhaps if she outlined these details, one movement at a time, she could invoke those same emotions in her reader. But sadly, her over-abundance of minute details, void of conflict, dulled my brain. As I read over today's excerpts again--talking of spiritual warfare, castles, and jail sentences--I realized one of the things I long for in a story is the ability to visit a place other than my own. That doesn't mean I always gravitate toward time-traveling speculative fiction, but I don't want to relive the monotony of life either. I love books that raise the stakes, introduce me to unique settings and unique characters, and allow my mind to drift from the day-to-day. One of my favorite authors is Charles Dickens. Upon first glance, I might conclude this is due to his "other-than" settings, but I believe it's more than that. His use of language creates images so vivid and emotive, he manages to turn a walk through the city into a unique experience. And yet, somehow he does this without losing the human element--the universal emotions we all share. So basically, he creates a world that is unique enough to grab my attention and propel me into the story, but he does it in such a way that I deeply connect with the characters. This week's excerpts captured my attention with their unique settings and story-lines. The shuffle of monotony in a high school is intensified by the presence of evil. In excerpt B, I'm introduced to the magnificent Hearst Castle, and the world of antiquity. In both, I realize much more is at stake than castle restoration and chemistry class. What about you? What are some things you look for in a story? Think back to a story you've particularly enjoyed. What was it about that novel that grabbed you? Is it a slightly quirky character or a castle shrouded by clouds and hidden behind a patch of trees? (If you haven't already done so, read over both excerpts. And remember, there are numerous ways to be entered into our drawing for the book give-aways: leave a comment on any of the articles posted over the next week, fb share us, tweet us, or subscribe. Remember to shoot us an email letting us know you've shared, tweeted, or subscribed.) To our blogging readers, if you'd like to join the COTT family as a blog alliance partner, shoot us an email at contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com. We'd love to tell you more.
Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer and biblical studies major at Calvary Bible college. In 2009 she won first place in the HACWN writing contest in the book category, placed second in the 2010 Dixie Kane, fourth in the 2010 Golden Pen and third in the 2010 CWG Operation First Novel Contest. She has a short piece appearing in Bethany House's Love is a Flame (under a pen name), forwarded by Gary Chapman, another piece in Cathy Messecar's A Still and Quiet Soul, and writes for Reflections in Hindsight, Christ to the World, Samie Sisters, The Christian Pulse, and reviews for Novel Reviews. She's also written for Granola Bar Devotions, Afictionado, The Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Romantic Times Review, Bloom and the Breakthrough Intercessor. 
Contact Jennifer: slattery07(at)yahoo(dot)com
Jennifer's Blog, Facebook
I'm looking to fill up some spots on my summer blog schedule. Are you interested in being interviewed or having your book featured? Would you like to do a guest post or share your inspirational writing journey? 

I know you're really interested. So what's the next step? Go to my contact page and send me an email. Let me know which option you're interested in for your guest spot and I'll email you the appropriate guest format. 

At this current time, I have 7 spots left in June, 6 spots left in July and 14 spots left in August. I hope to hear from you. Book giveaways are also welcome during your guest spot.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and remembers what this holiday is all about! God bless and be safe! 

I love reviewing books. So much fun and I hope you enjoy this review and book excerpt. Please feel free to leave comments for Robin. Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! 

Title:  The Artist’s Granddaughter
Author:  Robin Bayne
Publisher:  White Rose Publishing
Length: 26,011
Category: Christian
Rating: Sweet
Purchase Link: 
Official Release Date:  Mar 29, 2011

This story begins with Megan Roberts bidding on her grandfather’s painting. She made a promise to her dying father that she would do what she could to find it and keep it in the family. She never expected her first love to outbid her and take possession of the painting. Michael Kirk, back in town—she couldn’t believe it, especially how he left so many years ago and broke her heart. Megan wondered why he wanted the painting and she soon finds out his boss asked him to get it for his collection of art.

Ms. Bayne sets this story up perfectly and you are hooked right away. You wonder if Megan and Michael will patch up the past and move in to the present with a future together or continue living with broken hearts. This novella is short but sweet and so deliciously full of detail and complex character development. Without even realizing it you are swept into their sweet love story and root for them every step, willing these two delightful characters to find their way back to each other.

The attention to detail and the way the secondary characters are developed, leave you feeling satisfied with your experience in the small town setting. By the end of this novella, I found myself wanting to read more about Megan and Michael to see how their lives played out. I only met them for a short time, but they felt like good friends that I’ve known for ages. I’ve never read any of Ms. Bayne’s books before, but she is now definitely one of the authors on my favorites list. 

Check out this excerpt from The Artist’s Granddaughter

Bolts of dislike struck the back of her head, but Megan faced forward, sat straight, felt the collar of her dress scratching the back of her neck. She studied the works of art at the front of the room, ignoring Debbie’s gaze boring into her as if today was just another day here at Carrolton High. Debbie had stopped speaking to her in the tenth grade, and now, thirteen years later, the first time Megan had been back in her old school, the woman was shadowing Megan’s every move.

From the front row of folding chairs, Megan could see every item being auctioned to benefit the school. Most of the framed works were serigraphs and lithographs, but a few were original oil paintings. Granddad’s last oil was framed in painted gold wood, museum-style, and the next to be put on the auction easel. She twisted the sapphire ring on her right hand without looking down.

After an elderly gentleman bought a Civil War sketch, two young boys lifted Granddad’s picture onto the tripod, and the auctioneer gave a brief description of the oils used to paint the rustic cottage on the canvas. The gardens of muted pastel flowers sparkled as if made from crushed opals and emeralds. Of course, the auctioneer didn’t know how warm the man had been who’d so lovingly crafted the piece and carefully signed Delano Roberts in the lower right corner. This was business tonight.

He opened the bidding at eight hundred dollars, which Megan had expected. Her checkbook sat securely in her purse, plumped with the funds she’d been saving for this event. Even though her parents hadn’t left her much in the way of money, she’d done all right for herself, preparing for the day, this day, when she could dramatically reclaim her heritage. Megan’s excitement dimmed a bit when she thought of Granddad, and how much she missed him.

“One thousand,” Megan said, after someone’s bid of nine hundred, and she emphasized the thousand. Her pulse quickened. This piece would be going home with her tonight, no matter how high the bidding went.

“One thousand from the pretty lady with the gold hair.” He paused and listened. “Eleven hundred, do I have twelve? Twelve? Twelve hundred?”

Megan nodded. The auctioneer had pointed to someone behind her again, and Megan turned to look, searching for another elderly person who liked the painting. She wanted to stare him down.

Instead, she gasped. The woman now bidding thirteen hundred dollars was none other than Debbie Grimes, who stood tottering on narrow heels, swinging long dark hair as she tried to outbid Megan.

“Fifteen hundred,” Megan said, loud and clear. Her blood pumped faster and her face warmed. People were whispering behind her back, probably wondering if she’d lost her mind. Debbie had some nerve! Had she somehow figured out why Megan wanted the piece so badly? Could she have that much spite left after all these years?

The portly, bearded auctioneer sweated profusely while he looked back and forth between his competing bidders, clearly unexpected in this small town charity benefit. Megan figured he would rub his greedy little hands together with glee if he didn’t have that wood gavel to play with.

Megan raised her program, showing her bidder number on the back cover, indicating she’d go the two thousand now needed to top Debbie’s last bid. The smell of gym socks pervaded her senses when she tried to take a calming breath, and she could taste the rusty water from the hall fountain as if she’d drank from it yesterday. Sitting even straighter, she glanced Debbie’s way again, and bit her lip when she saw the ice in her old friend’s eyes. Granddad always nagged at her to stop biting that lower lip, but he wasn’t around to do that anymore. So what if no boys—make that men—would notice her if she bit her lip? There were none to notice, anyhow. She could have a good old chomping session if she really got nervous!

Words echoed around the makeshift auditorium and before Megan knew what had hit her, Debbie had bid over four thousand dollars for the painting.

Megan had only five thousand dollars to her name.

She blinked, considering her checking account and the tiny savings account she held at the local bank. Swaying slightly, she wished she’d sat in the second row so she’d have a chair back to clutch for balance. Yes, she could go a little higher, but at serious risk to her security blanket. It didn’t matter. She had to have Granddad’s last piece—and she’d promised her father she’d find it and keep it in the family.

“Four thousand five hundred,” the auctioneer chanted, waving his gavel and pointing at Debbie, questioning the bidder who had fallen silent.

Megan smiled, her shoulders losing some of their tension. She clutched her program, ready to show her number to the auction recorder as the highest bidder, when another voice rang out. A male voice.

“Six thousand,” came the confident bid from the back of the room.

Megan froze again. She knew that voice. Hadn’t heard it in years, but knew it as though it had whispered in her ear every night. With moist palms, she turned and leaned to look over the crowd. A man stood just inside the bright blue doors, arms crossed in front of his wide, well-suited chest.

Her teeth sank into the softness of her lip.

Michael Kirk was back. 

Please welcome author, Lila Munro today.

Lila Munro is a writer of contemporary romance currently residing on the coast of North Carolina. She is a military wife and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fourteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Destiny’s Fire, A Slower Lower Love, Salvation, Force Recon: Beacon Bayou, and Identity Crisis.

Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2010-2011. Ms. Munro always works as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Rebel Ink Press. She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted via her website , her joint effort website or through Facebook at  You can also contact her via email at   For more information about Rebel Ink Press please visit their website at

Hello! It’s a pleasure to be back here on Joanne’s blog, and I’d like to take a second to thank her. Joanne never fails to welcome me with open arms when I need a place to blog and/or promote myself. She gave me a list of very interesting topics to choose from and discuss today. One in particular caught my eye, but it didn’t really set me down the path that I think she had in mind when she added it to the list. ‘Discuss industry trends—is the e-book a trend or here to stay.’

I must say, and this will be to some on your displeasure, the e-book is definitely here to stay. Will it wipe out the paper or hard bound book as we know it? I seriously doubt it, and if that happens it will be years before the undoing of the written word is complete.  It will be well past the time that those of us that grew up without texting, computers, and acronym-ing (my own word) have left on this Earth. We are perhaps the last generation on the planet that were raised to appreciate the beauty of writing letters and reading on a Saturday afternoon instead of sexting to our “friends.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my e-reader. I’m not sure what I’d do without it now, but I still very much love my real books. It would be a shame to see them go. That being said, the train of thought that this suggested topic led me to was this. How e-books have affected the market trends insofar as genre’s and what’s available.

Now, e-books have been around for years, most people either just didn’t realize it or did and were so technically challenged they didn’t know how to get into that world without some code. It would seem that the e-book revolution really began to take off with the resurgence of paranormal interest in the world. E-books opened the door for everyone and their sister, or brother, to write a scary love story—usually involving vampires--and could put it up in a matter of minutes either through self-publishing, or by finding one of literally hundreds of cottage industry e-publishers coming to fruition. A few years ago, the flood gates opened and the industry was over-run with vampires and werewolves. No offense paranormal writers, I respect your genre as much as the rest of the genres, but I have a bit of disparaging news. Your genre is a trend. A trend that is in the process of dying I’m afraid. The Twilight-esque era is coming to a close, as do all eras. You see, this generation wasn’t the first to be entranced by sexy vampires. It happened in the days of the silent black and white films with the original Dracula, again in the 60’s with the popularity of the drive-in and the Saturday night monster mash, back to back double feature blood fest, and again in the late 80’s/early 90’s when Freddy was on the loose and Brad Pitt lit up our imaginations with what it would be like to wake up each evening with our very own vampire. Anne Rice filled our imaginations long before Stephanie Meyer did—and Anne’s vamps did not sparkle. No offense, but I’m old school that way. 

So, yes, it’s not just my opinion, but evident from past events, that romance sub-genres come and go in popularity. They are in fact trends themselves. What’s the next trend? It’s my opinion that the next trend is fairy tales and the sexier the better. With Little Red lighting up the big screen, the onslaught of fairy tale romances is sure to follow. Look at the possibilities—and by the way, they aren’t new, writers have been tapping fairy tales for years, but with Little Red leading the way, they’ll take off like wild fire now and be done to death.

What lasts? What is timeless? What makes a classic that spans the ages? The heart of it all. The story line, not the tag line. The promise of true love, its journey, and a happily ever after ending. Real love and the meat of the story will always win in the end.

Lila, please tell us about your new book, A Slower Lower Life.

When two worlds collide,

Being the oldest of eight has never been easy for Kurt Delaney, but the pressures he’s put on himself far exceed any anyone else inflicts on him. Known as the family stick in the mud, Kurt’s pushing forty and with the heirship to the family farm hanging in the balance, he finds his hopes of a married life and children swirling down the drain. Honor and family are everything to him and a mate that doesn’t hold those things as dear as he does is unacceptable.

Deidre Maloney is a city born and bred girl. In the absence of her botanist parents, she was raised by a nanny and knows nothing of a family’s love or how being married works. Commitment isn’t a word in her vocabulary. Only concerned with finding a new job and a fling, she embarks on a trip from Chicago to Seaford, Delaware to see her best friend Cait marry her high school sweetheart. Being attracted to a Delaney brother wasn’t on her carefully planned itinerary.

the aftermath is all that matters…

With so many differences between him and Deidre, Kurt can’t believe he’s let himself fall for her. She’s looking for a prime rib guy and he knows he’s just skirt steak. When they’re in close proximity, however, something undeniably amazing happens. How does he convince her that family isn’t something to fear and love doesn’t hurt? How does Kurt show Deidre that a slower, lower life is what she’s been looking for all along?

You've got me hooked. Can you share an excerpt. I know I'd like to get a taste of this book.

Kurt rounded the final corner to find the carousel area void of passengers. Not a single bag remained on the conveyor, not a single person waited to claim anything. Where the hell did she go? Okay, where would I go if I’d just landed and had already claimed my luggage? She’s a female, dumbass. The bathroom. Kurt turned on his heel and headed back toward the blue sign he’d seen hanging overhead indicating where the lavatories were. Standing just outside the ladies’ room, he waited a few minutes. If she was in there surely she’d have come back out by now. An elderly woman in a pair of green plaid golfing shorts and a white polo shirt with a pink ball cap on her gray head popped out of the swinging door nearly striking Kurt in the face he’d been standing so close.

“Oh, excuse me,” she said in a crackly voice. “You shouldn’t have been so close to the door.”

“Yes, ma’am, I realize that,” Kurt answered, touching the bill of his Soil Service cap with his fingertips. “Did you see a woman about this tall?” He held his hand to his chest. “With black hair and gray eyes in there? At least that’s what she looked like last time I saw her.”

“Well, she couldn’t have changed that much in, what? Ten minutes?” the old woman snapped and looked at Kurt like he’d sprouted a third eye.

“No, no. I’m picking her up. I haven’t seen her in a while…”

Before Kurt could finish his sentence, a woman that he was sure was Deidre came out of the restroom wearing a strapless white sundress that only fell to the middle of her thighs and was stretched so taut across her breasts her nipples strained against the fabric. And they were apparently uncomfortable with their hindrance. His eyes followed the lines of the fabric along the rest of her body and down her tan legs to find spike heel open toe white pumps on her feet. Ten tiny perfect toes with red tips peeked out. He scanned back up with his breath caught in his throat. Big, square framed black sunglasses hid her eyes so he couldn’t see the color, but that short black hair and big gold hoop earrings. That was Deidre.

“Deidre?” Kurt said, wiping his sweaty palms along his jeans. What was wrong with him? He’d seen her before. Of course that was last fall and she was covered up in a pair of chocolate corduroy pants and a burnt orange sweater, and a cream silk scarf had partially covered her head. It was funny to him that he actually remembered that. Now that he could actually see her. Wow. “Deidre is that you?”

The woman looked up and never so much as attempted a smile. It was then that he noticed she looked a bit pale and along with the carry on she held in her left hand she dragged three enormous suitcases stacked up behind her.

“My God, woman. You are just staying a few days right?” he asked, reaching around her and taking the telescopic handle she hung on to, relieving her of the melee of bags.

“Kurt? Long time no see.” Deidre tugged the purse handle on her shoulder a bit tighter and huffed. “You’re late.”

“Well, you should have thought of that possibility when you expected someone to get here before the chickens woke up. Do you know what traffic is like out there right now?” Kurt forgot the breathless feeling he’d experienced when he first looked at her.

“Of course I do. Did you forget I used to live here? I like to travel early and with some planning the traffic should never be a problem.” She fanned herself with one hand. “I’m ready to go.” With that she stomped off toward the double doors that would take them back to the parking garage in a quick march.

“I can understand why you haven’t seen her in a while,” the old woman said and laughed. “I wouldn’t want to either.”

This was going to be a treat, Kurt thought to himself. Not only was she a city girl, she thought her stuff didn’t stink. Did she think he was nothing more than her chauffer and concierge for the week? Well, she had another think coming. He watched her perfectly round butt swishing back and forth seductively and gave the heap of baggage a tug. How she managed to pull the mammoth mess as far as she had was beyond him. Before he made it ten feet past where he’d found her she disappeared out the doors. Taking his time, Kurt made his way through the terminal all the while muttering what he really thought about her behavior quietly and smiling at the other passers-by. He took a deep breath and went out the doors.

Said Judith at Book Binge about A Slower Lower Love book one in The Delaney Brothers series:

This is one of those novels that needs to be read and re-read.  There is so much here and such depth that it will, in my opinion, take more than one read through to plumb those depths and identify all that is going on with the characters.  So I recommend that lovers of romance novels with tension, authentic emotion, and essential humanity not miss this story.  It is a full length novel and well worth the time and effort to explore. I give it a rating of 5 out of 5.

Awesome review, Lila. Congrats!

Where can readers find A Slower Lower Life online?

Purchase Link:

Lila, thank you so much for stopping by to visit today and guest on my blog. As always, please come back again!

Jo Ramsey has stopped by today to give her Top Ten List of do’s and don’ts for beginning writers. She is also giving away an autographed copy of The Black Bridge, her YA novel. Please leave a comment at the end of this blog post to be entered to win a copy of her book.

When you’re first starting out as a writer, there’s a lot to learn. It’s hard to narrow it down to ten things, but here goes:

1. Don’t ever plan to “master” the craft of writing. You’ll always have something to learn.

2. Take your time. You don’t have to be published tomorrow. You have time to learn and improve. I wrote a book six years ago that I thought was ready to be published. When I look at that manuscript now, I cringe at how much I didn’t know about writing. (It did get published eventually; it’s the book we’re featuring here today. But it took a LOT of work to get it there.)

3. Get to know other writers, both in your genre and in other genres. You never know who might be able to offer you advice, help you with editing, or even help you find a publisher or an agent.

4. When you finish your first draft, put it aside for a few weeks before you start revising. You might be surprised by what needs to be changed—and by what ends up sounding better than you thought it was when you wrote it.

5. Learn to edit. Punctuation, spelling, grammar, all of it. You still might need to change things depending on the house style of specific publishers, but at least you’ll have a fairly clean product to start with. Editors do not exist to fix basic errors.

6. Build up your armor. You’re going to get rejected; when you’re published, you’re going to get negative reviews. You can’t let it get to you.

7. Pay it forward. If another writer helps you along the way, acknowledge them, but also pass along your help to a newer writer.

8. Write what’s in your heart, not what’s “trendy”. Unless the trend is what’s in your heart, in which case go for it.

9. Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s hard work, and the payoff often amounts to pennies per hour, if that. Write for the love of writing, not to become a millionaire.

10. Always remember the feeling you have when you get your first contract offer. Try to have that feeling every single time you get a contract. Be excited!

Wow, some awesome advice. I love it. Thank you for sharing.

Now I have a few questions for you.

How do you relax after a long day at work?

That depends; do you mean at my day job or at work on my books? After my day job, I relax by writing. I only work the day job three days a week; the other four, I spend writing and doing all the other stuff that goes along with being published. After a day of that, I relax by watching TV with my kids and listening to them tell me about their days and what’s on their minds.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

One of my favorite memories is spending time with my three “uncles” (my dad’s best friend and his two partners) at their home just outside Boston. They took me to museums and concerts, cooked gourmet meals for me, and set me loose on the city with one of their transit passes.

Sounds like a fun time. Where is the most exotic place you’ve ever traveled to?

I’d have to say France, because that’s the only place outside North America that I’ve been to. I went there on a three-week mini student exchange program my senior year of high school.

Can you tell us bout your book The Black Bridge?

Since age five, Topher James has lived beside the “Black Bridge,” an old iron railroad bridge with a history of unexplained disappearances. Topher’s psychic abilities tell him that something dark lurks around the bridge, but as long as it doesn’t bother him, he’s unwilling to do anything.

When Topher’s girlfriend Linnette begins talking about sharing power with the dark presence at the bridge, Topher realizes that both the presence and Linnette are dangerous. Topher realizes he must do something to stop them. But it’s too late! His best friend, Luke, dies, leaving his sister Callie in danger.

Topher and Callie are plunged into the universal war between darkness and light as they attempt to protect themselves and their friends. But can they win…and at what price?

Very intriguing. Sounds like a great book. Where can readers find it online?

Can you share an excerpt?
Topher, go back.

The thought came to me as I crossed the wooden footbridge, startling me momentarily into stillness. For a moment, I thought someone else had spoken and looked around to see who. No one appeared. The black steel frame of the Black Bridge rose menacingly against the cloudless sky; other than that, I saw nothing unusual.

Then again, the menace wasn’t unusual either. Darkness always surrounded the bridge, though no one else seemed to notice. It pressed in on me every time I went near the place. Usually, I ignored it, and I tried to this time as well. After satisfying myself that I’d heard only my own thoughts, I continued on my way.

As I crossed the bridge, the pressure increased, as though the bridge wanted to push me away. Topher, go back. Again I wondered whether the warning came from me or something else, and just for a moment I considered heeding it.Only for a moment, though. I wouldn’t go back. Just like every day since middle school, my friends waited for me on the other side.

It was a cold day for September. As I stepped off the end of the footbridge and joined the guys by the stone wall that hid the bridge from the road, I shivered in the breeze coming off the river. Topher, go back. Irritated, I wrapped my arms around myself and told the thought to shut up.

Luke laughed at me. “You cold or something?”

“Yeah.” Although the thought didn’t repeat itself, the darkness still pressed against me. No matter how hard I tried to shake off the feeling, it wouldn’t go away. I needed something to center me. “Give me a cigarette,” I commanded Luke. I didn’t often smoke, but there were times when it seemed necessary. I was only seventeen and couldn’t smoke legally. I’d started when I was fourteen and hadn’t been caught yet.

“Right, like that’ll warm you up,” he said sarcastically. He tossed me one.

After a few minutes we heard someone coming down the path that led from the road to the bridge. The Black Bridge constituted a major route across the river for pedestrians and bike riders, especially at this time of day when school had let out. Today, though, it would be a bad idea for anyone to come near the bridge. A new thought came to me, I shouldn’t be here. And neither should whoever walked along the path.

Jo, thank you so much for stopping by today. I enjoyed your writing advice and chatting with you. Thank you for sharing about your new book, The Black Bridge.

Please remember, if you comment on today's blog post, you'll be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of this book.

by Michelle Massaro
Christine Lindsay crowned COTT champ!
Shadowed in Silk won the vote for Best Back Cover Blurb against competitor Sunny Eads.
A clip of her winning excerpt:
After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.
read the full blurb here
A few reader comments
  • I'm drawn to the post war aspect of the second one.
  • Both really pulls you in but the romance of India under the Bristh rule caught my attention.
  • Oh, India! Sounds mysterious!! Makes me wonder if this is a romance or not. Would def give this book a go.
  • Blurb B is just so intriguing! Definitely makes me want to read the whole thing. So much clearly going on.
Christine says
The only reason I write is in order to encourage readers to love Christ and follow Him. He's God---if He wants me to succeed, then He'll make it happen. And if He wants me to have quiet success, then I'll praise the Lord for that. read the full interview here. About her experience with COTT she writes: I'm so thankful for this opportunity. Thank you every one, especially Sunny and Lisa. What a fun contest. And to every one for their positive comments.
Want to get in on the voting action? Head over to Clash of the Titles now and cast your ballot for this week's Clash!
Join us in June as we premier COTT's book club! Karen Witemeyer and her COTT winning novel, A Tailor-Made Bride is up as our first read (The books is offered as a free e-book here; if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the program to your pc or mobile device free here). More details and to vote for July's book, CLICK HERE 

Michelle Massaro is a homeschooling mom and aspiring novelist. She is Assistant Editor for the literary website Clash of the Titles and writes for COTT's Blog Alliance. Michelle also serves on the worship team and teaches origins science to the youth at her church. She and her husband of 15 years live in sunny So Cal with their four children. Connect with her on twitter @MLMassaro, facebook, Clash of the Titles, and her blog Adventures in Writing.
Please join me in welcoming author, Elisa Maria Crites to my blog today. Her novel, Secrets Under the Midnight Sun is the Grace Awards winner in the YA category. Congrats, Elisa, that's great news! Here's the link. 

Elisa Maria Crites is the mother of three and grandmother of nine. She lives in Alaska and enjoys traveling, biking, reading, quilting, time with friends and laughter.

You can visit her website at find her on Facebook:
Elisa Maria Crites or visit her blog:

So excited for you and your book winning the Grace Award in the YA category. Can you tell us more about your book?

Secrets Under the Midnight Sun is set in Alaska in 1967. Twelve-year-old Freddie has a secret even the midnight sun can’t shed light on. She anticipates the return of her older brother from his four year stint in the Air Force, expecting her life to change for the better. When he comes home and reveals a secret of his own, her life crumbles around her. There’s no one to turn to besides her mother, but confiding in her mom, could tear the family apart.

The book can be ordered at or you may order it through your favorite local store.

Now for the fun part. Let's chat.

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

Good question. I’ve written all my life, but didn’t think of myself as a writer. I rarely shared anything I wrote. In the 80’s I took a creative writing course at the university and my professor asked me when I planned to write for a living. I laughed. Then in recent years, while traveling I had several encounters with strangers who thought I was a writer or encouraged me to do so. It began to look like maybe someone was trying to get my attention?

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

One of the best things about writing fiction is the freedom to create places and personalities. I enjoyed the process of giving the characters personalities. There are some characters in this book who have traits of real people I have known and loved. I am amused, (easily I suppose,) when characters tell me things about themselves that I never would have guessed.

I enjoy that process as well. It's neat when the characters lead the way.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

I am. The problem is I’m a multi-tasker. Or maybe that’s a gift. Either way it means I have a short attention span and likely have numerous projects going on at any given time. What usually happens is I have to see which one becomes the most demanding.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

If you desire to write, don’t wish for it to happen. Words don’t appear on paper, (or screen) magically. It will never happen if you don’t take the initiative. If need be, start small with a journal, but if the desire is there, pursue it. Don’t wait thirty or forty years and suffer from the I wish I had done so and so ‘itis’.

Very sound advice. So true that we need to take that first step towards making the dream happen.

What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why?  Do you have a favorite literary author?

It’s difficult for me to say I have an all time favorite. There are many that have touched me. One author I enjoy reading is YA author Richard Peck. Recently my granddaughter loaned me one of her current favorites, The Louisiana Sky. She enjoyed it because it was about a girl near her age and I enjoyed it because it made me laugh and the story unique. I guess I must at least mention Jane Eyre. (Sigh.)

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

There is always a book on my table or desk that I’m in the process of reading including contemporary, historical, etc. Books I finished recently include, Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington, The God Hater by Bill Myers, and Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. I’ve also read Woodhouse family Welcome Home, The Amber Photograph by Penelope Stokes, Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and Kestrel’s Midnight Song by J.R. Parker. I appreciate a number of newer authors including YA authors Jill Williamson, (fantasy) and Melanie Dickerson, (fairytale retelling).

That's great. I love to read, too. I find it so helpful in maintaining the edge in my writing. Always want to be learning more.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

Some don’t take me seriously, others are impressed, while a few are constant cheerleaders. And now that they are reading the book some are even proud of me. Isn’t it that like with everything we do?

Very true. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?

Hmmm, maybe it’s tenses. Or passive writing. Or….I find writing is like life in that one never stops learning. And as in the rest of life, the more I know, the more I see there is to learn. It’s a continuing journey

Definitely agree. The writers that are always learning and continuing to improve their craft are the ones who pen the most loved and impacting novels.

Elisa, thanks so much for stopping by today. I enjoyed the chat.

Hope everyone stays for a while to visit.

I have another book review today. Hope you enjoy the review and book excerpt and feel free to leave comments for Delia. Have a great weekend everyone!

In book two of the Solomon’s Gate series, Kylie Matthews finds herself accepting a dare and she ends up applying to become one of the seekers at Castle Creek’s Christian dating agency. She is looking for love and a “kiss that steals [her] breath away?" The only problem—she has an extremely low self-esteem and due to circumstances from her past, she reacts irrationally to facial disfigurement.

This becomes an issue for her because the man she is matched with, Rick Dale, has a six year old daughter who’s face is severely scarred on one side. Kylie and Rick have a strong attraction to each other and want to explore the romantic possibilities; however, Kylie needs to trust in God to overcome her issues and jump into this new relationship.

I read book one in this series, Destiny’s Dream and I gave it my highest rating. I went into this review expecting great writing from Ms. Latham. She far exceeded my expectations. Kylie’s Kiss is just as good and so fulfilling to read. As you read this book, you journey with Kylie as she realizes and admits she has a problem and that God is the only solution. The psychological issues this character deals with could weigh the book down, but it doesn’t—Ms. Latham weaves it into the story in a way that causes the reader to understand the issue but not get bored with psychological jargon.

For those readers who loved Destiny and Clay from book one, you get a treat because they still play a role in this story. However, Ms. Latham expertly builds upon the foundation of book one in this series and Kylie and Rick are not overshadowed by the original Castle Creek characters from Destiny’s Dream. They take center stage and you get to truly know them and cry when they cry and feel what they’re feeling.

The book flows so smoothly that you can’t wait to read the next chapter. Ms. Latham skillfully adds details, great character development and realistic dialogue that you feel you are right there with Kylie and Rick and all the wonderful characters. I highly recommend Kylie’s Kiss and look forward to reading the next book in this series. Reading Ms. Latham’s stories are a real treat!

Check out this excerpt from Kylie’s Kiss

Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”

Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”

“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.

“You have a child. How old is she?”

“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”

Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”

“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.

“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”

Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.

Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.

When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.

“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.

“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”

Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”

“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”

Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.

Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”

He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?

Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.

Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.

The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.

Today is book review day at my blog. Thanks for visiting. You get to find out about another wonderful book I read. Here's my review. If you've read this book or would like to read it, please feel free to share your comments with JoAnn.

Title:  Paradox
Author:  JoAnn Carter
Publisher:  Desert Breeze Publishing
Length: Novella
Category: Christian
Rating: Sweet
Purchase Link:

Lilly Holland is doing fine running her own business, a flower shop and enjoys bringing the beauty of flowers to peoples’ lives.  An unexpected phone call throws a monkey wrench into her plans and she goes back home to her family’s lodge in the small town of Paradox.  Her character is engaging and draws the reader into her story and you can’t wait to find out what happens with the family crisis and ensuing romance with Ric Walker, the lodge’s groundskeeper.
I must confess that I don’t usually read novellas but as soon as I got immersed into Paradox, JoAnn Carter got me hooked on the sweet romantic story between Lilly and Ric.  It was a fast read, but that did not detract from the detailed telling of this tale of healing and hope in God.  Ms. Carter creates interesting characters that have depth and are very real—you believe every word she writes and you live the story with the characters.

For such a short book, this novella seemed like a full-fledged novel.  When reading shorter works of fiction it’s more difficult to combine detailed story-telling and character development within the confines of the limited word length.  However, Ms. Carter has succeeded with flying colors.  I read through this story quickly, but came away from it, feeling as if I read a full-length novel, fully satisfied with this wonderful tale.  I highly recommend Paradox.  You won’t be disappointed with this one. 

Check out this excerpt from Paradox:

Ric peered at Lilly out of the corner of his eye, which was nothing new. In fact, since she first walked through the police station door, he couldn't seem to stop watching her. How different she seemed from what he remembered. Although he had only met her a few months before she graduated school and left, he thought about her from time to time throughout the years. Her personality reminded him of a painter's palate with all different colors. Once the artist set to work, they would somehow blend to make something beautiful on the canvas, but for now, it was hard to see what kind of picture would be made. One part of Lilly had been fun and exuberant, yet another part of her seemed tempered by a kind sadness that lurked in the depth of her eyes. She had moved with grace and poise, yet with the quick, flightiness of girlhood spontaneity. She walked with a sense of confidence and yet of uncertainty.

It had often made him wonder what made her tick and what kind of woman she grew into. Now that he saw her, he was even more intrigued. Granted, Lilly had been a beauty even in high school, but now, she was more than that. She was different somehow. He couldn't put his finger on it, but it made him all the more curious. Why hadn't she returned to the lodge on her summer school breaks or once she graduated from college?

"So I heard from your folks that your business is doing well."

For a fleeting moment, she looked surprised, but then shrugged. "I'm just doing what I love. It feels more like a ministry to folks than a business most of the time." Her face lit up as she spoke. "There's nothing like watching the expression of someone who received an arrangement that I crafted for them -- now that's true beauty." Lilly lowered her gaze and looked up at him through her long lashes. "Sorry. Sometimes I get a bit carried away when I talk about my flowers."

"Don't be sorry. I think it's refreshing. Besides," Ric leaned forward and took off his coat, "It says a lot about you."

"It does?"

He nodded. "I give you credit for following your heart. I'm sure running a shop can be challenging, but I guess you learned all about that from living at the lodge."

Lilly chin snapped up. Her reply was quick and decisive. "Oh, my flower shop isn't anything at all like the lodge."

He tilted his head and wondered what caused the apparent chip on her shoulder. Cautiously he said, "I don't think the lodge is such a bad place. In fact, I like it there."

Lilly smiled a guileless smile. "I'm glad."

Interesting, so whatever is bothering Lilly wasn't the lodge itself. Then what was it, Ric wondered?

"Speaking of the lodge," She crossed one thin ankle over the other. "I'm kind of surprised you're still working there. I thought this job was just a interim kind of thing."

He rubbed his fingers against his five o'clock shadow. "Yep, that's how it started out anyway. I thought I'd only be here for a season, but then before I knew it turned into a year and then two until..." He shrugged, "Here we are now."

"Why?" Lilly's brow puckered in confusion. "Don't you miss your carpentry work? I heard you were very good."

He was amazed at how much her praise mattered. To cover his own reaction he teased, "Were? I beg your pardon." He chuckled when her cheeks grew pink. "I'm just fooling around. Besides, believe me, I get plenty of opportunities to use my skills around the lodge."

If that were the only reason he decided to stay on at the lodge, life would be so much better, but it wasn't. He lowered his voice. "My mother's health is not good. In fact, she's getting worse every day." He took a deep breath. "It's cancer."

Lilly's green eyes darkened to emerald, "I'm sorry."

Thankfully, she didn't ask for details. As it was, he was just holding himself together, which was strange. Usually, this wasn't something he would talk about in the first place. And if he did, he made sure his feelings never got the better of him. But the look of compassion in her eyes was doing odd things to his sense of equilibrium. Granted, she may be a foot smaller than he was and not much more that a hundred pounds soaking wet, but there was a strength about her that reminded him of his mother, a strength that can only be acquired by walking through the Refiner's fire. He swallowed hard and in a matter-of-fact tone said, "Unfortunately, the medical bills are more than my father can handle on his own. Working at the lodge is a stable, good job." He winked and tried to lighten things up a bit. "Besides, like I said, I like what I'm doing."

"Does your family live nearby then?"

"Yep, only about a half-hour away."

Lilly nodded. A few blond highlights in her light brown hair caught the light just right reminding him of sun glistening on water. She placed her lower lip between her teeth for a moment as if she wanted to say something, but held back. Finally, she said, "I'm glad you're so close to your family."

"I couldn't imagine it any other way."

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    In accordance with FTC Guidelines for blogging & endorsements, I want to post this disclaimer. From time to time, I do purchase and review some novels. However, most of the novels I review are given to me as a complimentary review copy by the author or publisher. I do not receive  monetary compensation for the reviews I complete.

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