Hostess: Gail Pallotta
Summer’s the perfect time to spend a day by the shore, an afternoon on a lake or several hours in a hammock with a good book. The June releases featured are brand new and offer a great variety in selection. They include a boy’s book, contemporary and historical romance, western mystery, and romantic suspense. The presses are small and traditional. Find your favorite summer reading spot to enjoy these books. Then use the voting box below to let us know which you’re likely to read first. 

Three boys have their hands full with a raging river, a crusty prospector, his gold mine, a gang of claim-jumping outlaw bikers, and a desperate river escape on their makeshift wooden raft. Think that’s the worst that could happen…well it isn’t.

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore disguises herself as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, to land a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In her wildest dreams, she never imagined having to add a second character to her repertoire in the form of Lavinia's dazzling niece, Jessie . . . or considered the problem of losing her heart to Steven Pierce, who has no idea that the woman he’s falling in love with doesn’t exist.

With her father’s death, Anna Newfield loses everything—her home, her inheritance, and her future; she had nothing left but her faith. Major Edmond Grenville longs to rescue her, but loving her means going against his family’s rigid control and perhaps losing his entire future.

Amid murder, mystery and mayhem, Deputy Chief Ryan Fitzgerald and Free-lance journalist Meghan Henry must set aside their personal hurts in order to work together, risking their lives to solve a murder, catch a killer and rescue a baby before it’s too late. And in the process discover that the biggest, most rewarding risk of all is love.

Filipa Beltran is tired of living out her parents' dreams, while Nathan Cross would give anything to make his late father proud. When a childhood friendship blossoms into romance, can this couple find common ground as they search for contentment in their God-given gifts?
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Author LOVE TURNS THE TIDE available from Awe-Struck E-Books Web site: Blog: Splickety magazine, issue 1.1
Staring at a mountain in your life can become pretty daunting.  If you are not careful, you’ll get discouraged and think you can never ever climb that mountain and then cross to the next valley.  That’s when; digging deep inside yourself to find the courage to continue to the valley of your dreams is the answer.  For me, faith is the first step to getting at the answer of how to traverse the mountain pass.  If I don’t have faith that God is watching out for me and has a plan, then I’m walking in my own strength.  

My mom used to always tell me that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I truly believe she was right in drilling that into my mind and heart.  If I don’t have a desire to succeed and strive for success, how will I ever cross that mountain? 

However, willpower is not the only ingredient needed to trek through that mountain pass.  You need climbing gear and food and to basically be prepared for the unexpected.  In your writing life, you need the same thing.  Have you studied and learned your craft?  Are you keeping current on all the best marketing strategies?  What about your emotional needs for encouragement ~ have you linked up with other authors who can provide that encouragement to you? 

If you are prepared with your power pack and have the will power to succeed, your trek through the mountain won’t be easy, but you will make it to the valley of your dreams.  Even if you don't see results right away, keep going; because if you don't, you'll surely never see any results at all.


I really want to encourage other authors to keep going to achieve their dreams, even when the going gets tough. I’d like to share inspiring stories from other authors who have been successful and achieved success making it over the hurdles in their way. 

If you are an author who would like to share an encouraging story about your writing career, please contact me.  I would love to schedule you for a guest post on my blog.  Have a blessed day!  

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

Recently in church, the pastor’s sermon was entitled True Humility and he spoke about David’s interactions with King Saul and how he did not try to steal the crown away from the king, because Saul was God’s anointed. Even though at one point God’s spirit left Saul and came upon David—the young man and future king, did not rush God’s plan through his own devices; but rather waited patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing. Talk about an awe-inspiring moment! That sermon hit me in the gut. 

As authors we love to write and that means if we want to continue to write—and get paid for it—we need to have an audience. How do we get that audience? In a nutshell: we need to continue to write books, brand our name and market and market and market. Sounds like loads of fun, right! So, what is a Christian author supposed to do?

We’re taught by God’s Word that humility as a believer is a high priority on God’s list. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (I Peter 5:5 NIV) Okay, so God wants me to be humble, but that is the antithesis of what I’ve been taught to do as an author in promoting myself and my books. Is it possible to be both humble and proud at the same time? How can a Christian author market his or her books in a way that glorifies God and doesn’t bring glory to him or herself?  This is a question that has plagued my mind for some time now and this recent sermon at church brought it squarely into focus again.

I’ve learned that God wants us to be in step with Him—not two steps in front and not two steps behind. Of course this is not always easy and we’re human so we (me included) falter many times. However, God never said we had to do this life journey alone. He has provided His Holy Spirit to be our guide and His Word is a light unto our path. Once we realize that following God’s plan will benefit us in the end, it’s easier to let go of our own desires and follow after Him. If you’d like to find out more about my own personal journey and why I almost gave up writing, please check out this post: What's Your Reason to Write?

Now, humility for the Christian means we are giving credit to God for all of our accomplishments and acknowledge Him as Lord over our lives. Sounds simple, but our pride many times gets in the way and this is especially tricky for an author or someone else who needs to promote self for career advancement. When you start to believe in your own power towards achieving success, you are heading down the wrong road. Pride goes before a fall. However, that’s where God comes into the picture as mentioned in I Peter 5:5—when walking in humility, God won’t oppose you, but He’ll shower you with His grace and favor. Now who wouldn’t want that? I know I’d prefer God’s umbrella over me rather than His opposition.

David was content to leave both promotion and demotion to God. He didn’t worry about when he was going to advance to be king. He was at peace leaving his advancement to God’s timing. Yes, David was human, so I’m sure he had his moments of doubt and indecision—like when he snuck up behind King Saul in the cave and cut off a piece of his royal robe. True, he denied his men the many chances to kill Saul, but even cutting off the piece of his robe caused him pain because he knew Saul was still God’s anointed. If only we all could experience such a check in conscience when we walk in offense towards God—but each day is a new day and God is a God of second chances. Amen to that!

In God’s perspective, we only get to the top of the ladder by helping others up before ourselves. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Usually I prefer reading the New King James Version of the Bible, but this verse pastor read from The Message version really hit home. “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil. 2:3) Since 2010 when I really started promoting my books, I started out with a perspective of doing unto others as I would have done to me. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but just to share part of my journey.

To me it made sense to help other authors get promotion because one day, maybe they’d help me when I needed it. I started my website and blog about 6 – 8 months before my second book came out. My first was published years ago and then I got sidetracked with life and did not writing anything new and slacked off majorly in the promotion department. So, while I was trying to build up my platform and gain followers—again, I hate saying this word because it goes against the grain of trying to live in humility!!—I figured no one wanted to hear about little ol’ me. That’s when the brainstorm came that if I promote other authors it would be a win-win situation. I’d get FREE content for my blog and they’d get FREE publicity.

It’s been wonderful because the situation worked out beautifully for all involved and I’ve made some good friends alone the way—many who have reciprocated with free publicity for me. I truly believe that two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. (Ecc. 4:9-10)

I believe it is possible to live in the limelight without becoming a glory hog—but you can only accomplish this with God’s daily help. If you think you can remain humble in the limelight on your own terms, you’ll be mistaken and will take a hard fall.

Wouldn’t you rather trust God to open up doors of opportunity for you that are exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or imagine according to the power [Christ] that works in [you] (Eph. 3:20)? Isn’t it better to walk in step with God’s perfect timing and specific plan for your life? Don’t you think a God promotion is so much better than a God demotion? Can you imagine living under the umbrella of God’s unfailing favor and grace every day?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject and how you’ve dealt with it…

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

Do you use Twitter in your book promotion and name branding? If you aren’t utilizing this awesome resource—you definitely should jump on the bandwagon and get ready for the ride. 

I opened my Twitter profile last year and linked it to my Facebook Page so that all of my status updates from Facebook get posted to Twitter—as well as my daily blog posts. It wasn’t until this week that I’ve been doing more research and reading various articles on how to use Twitter the right way.

One thing I have been doing was following other Twitter profiles, and I have gotten followers in return. I reached a certain amount of followers and remained stagnant for a while—I would lose some followers, and gain more; but always remained at that stagnated number. Until this week…that’s when I began to put productive tools to work.

I’m sure this is a no-brainer for many people, but it’s been an exciting discovery for me. I learned that when you tweet about a topic, you should use the hashtag (#) to mark those keywords or topics in your tweet. I found out that Twitter originally created the hashtag as a way to sift tweets into various categories. You can insert the hastags anywhere in the tweet. If people click on those tags, all the tweets in that specific category are shown. When you use the hastags, your tweets are more easily available for others to locate—thus leading to possible new followers and people reading your tweeted content.

You use the “@” symbol in front of usernames if you are referring to a person with a profile on Twitter—and if you want to retweet something someone said, you use an “RT” (for retweeted) and use the “@” symbol plus the username and copy the tweet. This allows you to retweet something that you found interesting or profound or whatever it meant to you and you also are giving credit where credit is due.

Here’s an example of a tweet I posted where I utilized a hashtag and the “@” symbol:

Watched premiere of #RealNews @theblaze...great news show, loved the discussion style format. Will continue to watch! Follow my tweets on Twitter

Now, of course none of these are new ideas about utilizing Twitter—however, if you are like me--sometimes a slow learner with new technology—then this is a whole new territory for you. I feel like a kid who has just found a bowl of his or her favorite candy. I’m excited to continue to explore Twitter and utilize it as a great tool for social networking—book / name brand promotion—and a venue for the greatest right (and privilege of all)…FREE speech and the ability to vocalize my opinions. Speaking of opinions, I’d love to hear yours.

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

Welcome back to another day at The Mustard Seed. Kendra LaLonde is a guest today. Let's find out more about her and then we'll chat. 

Kendra LaLonde, using the pen name “Ken R. LaLonde”, is a pre-30s Christian woman who wants to write novels that are pleasing to the Lord.  

She began at 16, but severe health problems—coming up when she was just 18 years old—have kept her from pursuing her writing endeavors until now.

To connect with Kendra online, please check out her blog and facebook pages below:

Blog: Writers and Readers Alike  
Find Kendra on Facebook

So let's chat. Kendra, what was your most favorite July 4th ever and why was it so special?

Hum. That’s a tough question to answer. I really enjoyed last year’s. We went to visit my brother in New Hampshire, and we had a great day with the church family there.

Is July 4th really July 4th without going to a parade, having a BBQ and watching fireworks at night…if not, what other traditions does your family have?

Yes, it is! July 4th is so much more than fireworks displays and having fun! It’s more about family and friends!! We usually spend the day together doing something—as a family.

I agree. It's a special time to remember our hard-won freedom and be with family and friends. Do you consider yourself patriotic and why?

I do think I am patriotic. I don’t like hearing anything against my country! I may live in Canada (we are missionaries) but I am American through and through—I don’t like hearing anyone talking badly about my land of birth!

Thank you for sharing that. Have you written any books with a patriotic or military theme…what was your inspiration to write it?

No, I have not. But I would like that. My inspiration for wanting to write one is seeing and hearing about all those who are losing out for the sake of our country’s Freedom.

That is definitely a great inspiration--the wonderful freedoms we have. Have you shared with your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews about the real meaning of July 4th so that they can learn about our country’s history?

So far, I have none with whom to share.  LOL

Can you tell us the top five random facts about yourself?

  1. I am one of the most dramatic/theatrical people I know
  2. I do not like to travel much
  3. The health problem I spoke of: TBI (Trauma Brain Injury)
  4. I look much younger than I really am
  5. I have never had a boyfriend—he must be Godly/a believer

Why do you like being an author?

I love the thought of sharing God’s Word with people in a way that is better understood—I do not articulate well when speaking.

I can understand that feeling completely. I don't like public speaking, but I love writing. Who’s your favorite author of classic literature?

Hum. I enjoyed reading some Charles Dickens; Louisa May Alcott; and a couple of other lesser-known classic authors. But I'm not a huge fan of classic literature. I prefer more modern terminology.

What’s your favorite novel?

Oh my! There’s no way I can choose just one; although I do love ‘Between Sundays’ by Karen Kingsbury. But there are just so many that I love—authors and novels alike!

Karen Kingsbury is my favorite author of fiction. Do you have a fond memory of interaction with a reader?

Well, whenever I get positive outlook on my attempts for my first novel, it’s very encouraging.

Positive feedback is awesome. What was the happiest moment in your childhood?

Hum. Since I can’t remember my past very well—in great detail—I'd have to say that, honestly, the Summer I became a Christian is my fondest memory. It was at a bilingual camp, and it was a wonderful week!

A wonderful life changing event to remember. Kendra, thank you so much for guesting today. I enjoyed chatting with you. 

Hope you all can stay to chat with Kendra. 

If you're a blogger and want to earn money blogging, take a look at Empower NetworkI did and love the opportunity! 

Clash of the Titles has a BIG week coming up! 

Wednesday marks the beginning of our June Releases Clash, hosted by the lovely Gail Pallotta. She'll introduce you to five amazing new books, so get your voting finger ready.

Saturday, we'll announce the three finalists in the 2012 Laurel Awards. Our judges have been raving about the books, saying they wished they had more than just the first two chapters. Remember, this year's judges are readers like you, who have no connection with the writing or publishing world. You could be one of them! If you're interested in being a judge for the upcoming Olympia Award, please email us at contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com.

Our current judges are still sending in their score sheets, but by Saturday, we'll have the final tally!

In the meantime, we'd like to pass along that Astraea Press is having a HUGE Summer Sale. Almost all of their stock is available for $.99 on Kindle and Nook. To whet your appetite, here are five titles from their Inspirational line. The sale lasts until the end of July, but get your e-books today, before you forget!

Contemporary Romance

Paxson Taylor’s recent relocation to St. Louis leads her to a life different from what she’s experienced in the past. Through her work with a small charity, she meets and attracts the attention of professional baseball player, Sebastian Quinn. Flattered, Pax tempers her desire for the handsome playboy with her need to serve her God—a God Seb doesn’t believe exists. Through unspeakable tragedy, they grow closer and with disappointment, drift apart. How can two people from opposite ends of the faith spectrum reconnect when they need each other most?

$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK

2012 Selah Award winner in youth fiction
Middle grade historical/adventure

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German troops invade, she knows it will never be the same again. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and Cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. With the right tools and a little help from a boat named, Trina, they'll be off the island in no time. When things start going wrong, Lizzie wonders about God's plan. From the looks of it, He might expect them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK

THEN SENTENCE by Elaine Cantrell
Contemporary Romance

How could he do it! How could her father bring into their home the guy who burned the church? Yeah, it was an accident and her dad’s a minister, but if he wanted to save this man’s soul, why didn’t he go to the prison to do it?  And no matter how cute the criminal is, no matter what anyone says, she doesn't watch him all the time. Nice girls don't fall for guys like Clint.  Do they?

$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

THE MULLIGAN MAN by Monique O'Connor James
Short Story

When six kids are at a party, partaking in a little too much fun, one of them is killed. The Mulligan Man, a character straight out of folklore appears offering them the chance to fix all the wrongs. In order to complete the deal, the teenagers must find out the truth of what happened, perform a random act of kindness, and become friends.
If they meet these stipulations, he will allow them to bring their friend back from the dead. In the process they learn not to judge, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and that love can bridge even the boundary of death.
$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

THE PECULIAR PRINCESS  by Christina Graham Parker

Sent back four hundred years to reclaim her birthright as Princess of Dresdonia, Lexy Newberry discovers the only thing harder than living without electricity is guarding her heart from the perplexing Lord Lukas Reynard.

$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

What do readers want anyway?  They want a spell-binding story that really draws them in and they devour each page—at the end they are left wanting to read more about your characters.  Sounds like a tall order but it is possible.  Think of some awesome books you’ve read that have kept your attention and you didn’t want the story to end.

Let’s break down what are some key ingredients to a spell-binding novel.  First of all you need compelling, believable characters.  Your readers need to relate to these characters and if they don’t get to know them, they can’t relate.  How do readers get to know your characters well enough to relate to them?  You need to write well rounded characters.  Dive deep into their point of view as you write their story.  Never head hop in scenes and make sure that you allow your readers to fully embrace who these characters are. 

For example, stay away from passive voice and utilize active voice.  What sounds better to you?

She was running away from him.


Her heart pounded rapidly and the hair on the nape of her neck stood up as she ran from the intruder.

When your characters are going through an emotional struggle, how do you portray that?  You’ve heard the saying, show don’t tell, well it is extremely important to let your readers in on what is going on in your character’s mind.  When writing a scene, you must only write from his or her perspective.  For example, what does your character see, hear, taste, smell or feel.  In one scene, you cannot jump from two different characters’ points of view.  It confuses readers and does not make for a complete picture of who your character really is. 

What sounds better to you?

Someone approached his desk but he focused on the file in his hands.  When he glanced up, he saw her standing in front of him. 


Marc Abrams heard the clicking of heels approach his desk, but he ignored the intrusion and focused on the file in his hands—until he smelled the familiar scent of jasmine and roses.  Not wanting to get his hopes up, he glanced over and there she stood.  She looked like a tall drink of water in the desert, with her slender physique and shiny hair and piercing eyes.

The first section tells what happens but doesn’t let the reader experience what Marc experienced.  When you read the second section, you are right there with Marc as he heard someone approach and then smelled her perfume.  You feel his excitement, hoping it’s her. Then you get to see how much this person affects him. 

Telling a good story is also about writing compelling, believable dialogue.  You need to write how the character would actually speak.  Not everyone speaks in correct English.  Make your dialogue become a work of art. 

(This is an excerpt from, Bella Lucia.)

She smiled.  “You know, you always make me feel better.”

            He raised his eyebrows.  “Really, because that’s not the impression I’ve gotten from our last few encounters.  I thought you couldn’t stand me.”

            “You’ve grown on me.”

            That brought uproarious laughter from him and his nervousness eased up a little.  “Oh, like a fungus, easy to get and hard to get rid of—those words hurt, you know.”

            The way she scrunched up her nose, endeared her further to him.  “You remembered that, huh?”

            “It’s not every day that a woman calls me a fungus!”

            “You’re not like a fungus, just a little annoying at first.”

            They settled down on the rock wall in front of the police station.  “Ok, I can deal with that.  I know my partner thinks I’m annoying too, but he has his own issues.”

            “Don’t we all?”  The distracted look came over her face again and he took serious note of it.  Before he could ask what was on her mind, she shared her concerns.  “I think my boss is keeping something from me.”

Remember to also keep your facts straight.  Do your research.  Readers don’t like to read a book that is full of mistakes.  Don’t repeat the same word a lot in your paragraphs.  Just try to remember all of these rules to make your story come alive and have fun.  Write and write and write and then don’t put editing on the backburner.  Editing is essential to putting your best work out there. 

What is one of the best books you’ve read lately?

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

I’d like to begin by saying that in my short writing career, I have come to realize the answer is definitely—beyond a doubt—yes! “No man is an island, entire of itself.” (John Donne) We need each other and I’d like to share why.

The entire passage Donne wrote:

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea, 
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, 
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.

I have been fortunate to find many new friendships online with great authors. I really appreciate this because I haven’t found any local author groups to attend, so finding communities of authors to network with and learn from and share encouraging words with has been—absolutely priceless! It’s something that has kept me going when setbacks came in my career and I needed advice and a friend to lean on.

This last year, I started an online yahoo group called Authors and Readers of Romance. The purpose of this group is to provide an online setting where people—authors and readers—can connect and discuss books and accomplishments in their lives, offer advice and where readers can chat with authors. I am excited to see this group growing in members and if you’d like to join, please feel free to hop on over. We’d love to welcome you to our discussions.

If I was allergic to networking with other authors, I wouldn’t be moving forward and taking the beginning steps to expand my platform—as I’ve been doing this last year. I’ve blogged about this before—in order to achieve a healthy following for your blog, you need to provide interesting content. One way that I’ve accomplished that feat is that I host guest authors. They can blog about topics, which I provide (unless, of course, they have something more spectacular that they’d like to discuss); they can be interviewed and I also do book reviews.

However, I haven’t forgotten about readers. I am always looking for readers who are interested in guest blogging or being interviewed in my Reader’s Corner. It’s my philosophy that readers are the lifeblood of authors. If no one purchases and reads your book, then you’re not earning anything, except a chance to do what you love to do—write and tell stories.

Of course, as authors, we always need to work hard at promoting our work and branding our name; however, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need support along the way. The author who wants to stay closed in and thinks he or she can only succeed by climbing over someone else, will never make it to the top. There will be exceptions to this idea—but generally speaking; it’s been stated most aptly in Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.”

I truly believe that theory! When we work together, we have a greater chance of success. Yes, you will always be out for number one--yourself—however, you need to find a way to marry this philosophy into your marketing perspective. Bring another author or two or three or four along with you as you climb the ladder of success. It will definitely be less lonely at the top if you’re not without author friends.

We really need each other. You may not believe me and maybe you want to try it your own way and claw your way to the summit, but I don’t believe you’ll be happy along the journey or when you look down and see the people that you trampled on, as you traipsed towards the pinnacle of success. We work better together. Find critique partners—find friends who can lend a listening ear—find authors who’ve traveled the road ahead of you and ask them for advice—then don’t be afraid to return the favor and help someone else on their journey towards success. You won’t be sorry you did…you’ll only eventually be sorry if you didn’t!

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

*guest post by Michelle Massaro

At Clash of the Titles, we're interested in the Christian Fiction that's making a splash, flying onto the scene in a burst of attention-grabbing technicolor and gripping our imaginations. Every month we're seeing batches of new stories hit the shelves and here's one that has also hit our hearts.

Dineen Miller's The Soul Saver recently competed on our website and garnered a lot of attention there. We just had to know more about this book and its author. Here's what we discovered...

About Dineen Miller:

Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.



Facebook pages:

GoodReads author page:

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:

Q & A with the Author

1. What inspired the story for The Soul Saver?

My own life. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of how God can work in amazing ways in our lives when we trust Him. The Soul Saver is that story—of how Lexie Baltimore desires to love her unbelieving husband in the way God is calling her to and the battles she faces with the enemy because she’s on the front lines praying for the salvation of her

husband. I wrote this book for all the Lexies out there, to encourage and remind them that we’re not alone. God is there working in ways we can’t even imagine!

2. A suspense novel in the Christian industry can often be difficult to write. What helped you overcome those obstacles?

Staying true to the message I felt God calling me to write. I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in 2008 and by the end of the week, I left with a clear understanding that God wanted me to write this book. I stayed faithful to that calling and trusted God to find a place for it. Some in the industry either had reservations with the issue of being spiritually mismatched or with Tobias, a demon, who is simply a tool I used to show the spiritual warfare that is common in spiritually mismatched marriages. At one point I wondered if I would have to take him out, but my amazing agent, Rachelle Gardner, encouraged me to hold true to my story and she was right. The right timing and publisher did come along. I will be forever grateful to Barbour Books for giving The Soul Saver a chance.

3. What made you want to write in this specific genre?

I love intricate stories and characters. Suspense wrapped with the supernatural is something I’ve always loved to read. The amazing thing is, we live in a world full of suspense and the supernatural every day. My favorite stories have and always will be of the miraculous, of how God has provided, made His presence known, saved a lost soul because that is what’s really happening around us if we just take the time to notice it. God loves to wow us. I hope I can do a little of that to my readers too. They deserve it.

4. Do you have any future projects going on?

I have a novella coming out in August, A Love Meant to Be, that’s part of a collection titled Rendezvous in Central Park. I have the distinct privilege and honor of writing with Ronie Kendig, MaryLu Tyndall, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, three seasoned and very talented authors. I love this story because it’s a tribute to my father, a Vietnam vet who passed away in 2010. These stories span from the Civil War to WWII to Vietnam to present day conflict in Afghanistan.

About The Soul Saver:

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

What others are saying:

“Deep, compelling, a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and the saving power of love. Dineen Miller hits home with this debut novel. The Soul Saver will stay with you for days after reading the last page.”

                    — Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of Havah: The Story of Eve

“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like The Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”

                    — James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

Links to purchase The Soul Saver:



The Soul Saver Booktrailer:

*Michelle Massaro is a 2012 Genesis Finalist and Assistant Editor with COTT. She loves to connect, so stop and see her on Facebook at
Do you have a solid plan for promotion of your books—one that is not building a house of cards, which can fall down with the slightest negative wind blowing—or one that is building a stone house with a solid foundation. You need something indestructible to the negativity that will surround your writing career. So let’s break it down into key steps you can take to build that solid foundation. 

The first step is branding your name, not your books. Of course you need to promote each book you write—but your fans are not going to always be able to spout off the titles of all your books, but if they like your work and if you’ve become popular, they will remember your name.  If they know your name, they can easily find you online or in the bookstores.  When they find your website, then they can look up your books.  When they go to the bookstores, they can find your specific titles. 

A second huge step towards building a solid foundation is to blog and be the best blogger you can be. How do you do that? Content is KEY. If you don’t have good content, then you won’t have return visitors and you won’t attract new visitors to your blog. Make sure you have a great title which explains what your blog is about—what your purpose is. When you write your own blog posts, try to make the titles, questions rather than statements. You want to pull readers in and questions (especially good ones) usually beg to be answered. The other reason I use questions in the blog titles is because I used NetworkedBlogs and they get linked directly to Facebook and Twitter. For the purposes of Twitter, that works well because tweets are short and that question plus the link will really stand out and get people’s attention. If you don’t think that you have enough content to blog every day, invite guest authors to post or be interviewed for your blog. Have blog parties. Post reviews of books that you review. You can even connect with readers and encourage them to post guest blogs or be interviewed as well.

Social media has changed the way that authors are selling and promoting books. With the advent of Facebook and Twitter and before that, other sites like MySpace—authors have brand new opportunities opened to them. They can more easily communicate with readers now and “meet” new prospective readers online and have FREE ways to get their promotional information out there. My first book was published 8 years ago (not that long ago) and things were even drastically different then regarding using social media for marketing. For more information check out my post on Utilizing Twitter the Right Way.

Networking with other authors is highly effective. We should not think that going it alone in our journey is going to get us very far in our careers. Authors do need other authors in their lives. I’m a strong proponent of working together—especially if I want my blog to succeed—which helps promote my name—which will in turn increase my brand recognition—thus increasing book sales. Since I have always been open to having guest authors on my blog (which helped me with new content and helped them by giving exposure), it’s paid off. I have had many authors reciprocate and offer me guest spots on their blog.

Last but not least by any means, you need to get in touch with readers. Make yourself available to respond to all (or as many as possible) of the comments on your own blog posts which readers post. Also, when you guest on other blogs, keep to the same method of connecting with readers. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have invited readers to guest on my blog and also be interviewed.

What are your thoughts? What promotional methods have you found to be useful?

If you don’t jump at the chance some opportunities present—then you miss out on a world of possibilities. Gold Rush

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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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