Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just in time for your long holiday weekend, my new novel Almost There is now available on all channels! It's a gripping summer read about sacrifice, forgiveness, and the surprising ways God meets our deepest needs.

Here's a snippet from the first page:

In Paris, art seeps into your feet and drips from your fingertips. Dark-eyed buskers in berets squeeze out sweet accordion songs, and the birds trill along. The air tastes like crème brûlée; the light is melted butter. Or so I’ve heard. In two weeks, I’ll find out for myself.

I can see it all now: In the golden mornings, Mum and I will set up matching easels on the banks of the Seine and paint side-by-side. She’ll be too excited to sleep till noon, too inspired to stare blankly at the wall. Her sadness will fall away like a too-heavy coat, and she’ll once again fill canvas after canvas with works of aching beauty. 



Short description:
Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save.

Add it on Goodreads
Read the first four chapters for FREE on Wattpad

Purchase the ebook on Amazon (US) / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / KoboApple iTunes
Purchase the paperback from Createspace / Amazon (US) / Barnes and Noble

Giveaway

To celebrate the release, I'm running a fun giveaway of an Almost There themed gift basket. Enter by June 9 for a chance to win.


The gift contains:
Paris-themed lined journal
Be Still: a Psalms adult coloring book
Trouvaille vanilla candle 
Parisian market-style wire basket with linen liner

Here's a peek inside the coloring book:


Not only does this verse nicely sum up some
of Dani's goals and struggles in Almost There, but also
a dressmaker dummy makes an appearance in the novel.
Intrigued?

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, May 26, 2016 Laurel Garver
Just in time for your long holiday weekend, my new novel Almost There is now available on all channels! It's a gripping summer read about sacrifice, forgiveness, and the surprising ways God meets our deepest needs.

Here's a snippet from the first page:

In Paris, art seeps into your feet and drips from your fingertips. Dark-eyed buskers in berets squeeze out sweet accordion songs, and the birds trill along. The air tastes like crème brûlée; the light is melted butter. Or so I’ve heard. In two weeks, I’ll find out for myself.

I can see it all now: In the golden mornings, Mum and I will set up matching easels on the banks of the Seine and paint side-by-side. She’ll be too excited to sleep till noon, too inspired to stare blankly at the wall. Her sadness will fall away like a too-heavy coat, and she’ll once again fill canvas after canvas with works of aching beauty. 



Short description:
Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend.

But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save.

Add it on Goodreads
Read the first four chapters for FREE on Wattpad

Purchase the ebook on Amazon (US) / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords / KoboApple iTunes
Purchase the paperback from Createspace / Amazon (US) / Barnes and Noble

Giveaway

To celebrate the release, I'm running a fun giveaway of an Almost There themed gift basket. Enter by June 9 for a chance to win.


The gift contains:
Paris-themed lined journal
Be Still: a Psalms adult coloring book
Trouvaille vanilla candle 
Parisian market-style wire basket with linen liner

Here's a peek inside the coloring book:


Not only does this verse nicely sum up some
of Dani's goals and struggles in Almost There, but also
a dressmaker dummy makes an appearance in the novel.
Intrigued?

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book series are all the rage in publishing, Readers enjoy spending more time with familiar characters and/or worlds, and series promise a kind of brand consistency that the risk-averse reader appreciates. They know that if they like your style and content, they're more likely to continue liking your other similar works.

That doesn't automatically mean one should only write series. If you are a young writer, it might be wiser to experiment in numerous genres until you hit your stride and wait to invest time in creating series once you've found the sweet spot --stories that you like to write and readers like to read.

Some genres lend themselves to particular types of series more than others. Romances rarely if ever span several books with the same characters. Romance arcs are usually constrained by reader expectations of a happy ending, not a cliffhanger. Romance series tend to be joined by locale or by theme, spanning numerous discrete pairings whose stories might or might not overlap.

Mystery series tend to follow the same sleuth, but move from case to case, again, eschewing the cliffhanger model. Readers expect a mystery to be resolved by book's end--to be a stand-alone product. The sleuth might develop over the series, or he or she might be a more steady force and the appeal is the new intellectual puzzle rather than character development.

It's in adventure, science fiction, and fantasy (and their subgenres, like dystopian) where cliffhanger endings and incomplete arcs are more the norm. But look at series like Harry Potter, and you'll find that each book has a complete, contained arc, while each book also contributes to and moves forward a larger, whole-series arc. Whether you could create such a series by building on a stand-alone is debatable, however. Rowling's work clearly was heavily planned and structured to give equal weight to each volume's arc as well as the series arc. So I'd think twice about attempting to take your stand-alone fantasy and expect to have a series arc pop out without having been planned it, with seeds planted that have yet to come to fruition.

With those genre-trope caveats out of the way, I'd like to suggest some ways to build series when you've written stand-alone books.

Same world

Some of McCaffrey's Pern series (via Amazon.com)

Frank Herbert's Dune series follows several different characters through a universe he creates in which space travel is made possible through an altered-mind state caused by a rare drug, Spice, found on the desert planet Arrakis. Whoever controls the Spice controls the universe.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern series take place on the planet Pern, where human colonists genetically modified lizards into dragons in order to fight a sky-borne menace called Thread. Books cover everything from the first colonization to generations of dragonriders over centuries, and include other professions in the planet's guild system during its "middle ages," such as healers (Nerilka's Story) and bards (Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, Dragondrums).

If you've spent considerable time and effort building a unique setting, consider how you might use the setting for other stories, focused on other characters and/or other segments of society. It doesn't necessarily need to be a fantastical or otherworld setting either. A New Adult author might work with a particular invented college campus with unique majors or unique campus features. A cozy mystery writer  might set all of the stories in the same region with different amateur sleuths. A literary fiction writer might follow several generations who live in the same oddball town.

Imagine how the unique setting might change over time because of the events in your stand-alone. Consider picking up with your main character's children or grandchildren, or with a secondary or even tertiary character you wished you could have developed more in your first book.

Spin-off characters


L.M. Montgomery's Anne series contains seven books, five that focus on Anne Shirley, and two with her children, Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside. This series follows Anne from childhood, when she is adopted by the Cuthbert siblings, into her teen years, college, early career, marriage and motherhood, moving to several locales in Canada. Once Anne is fairly settled and no longer having madcap adventures, her kids carry on.

Perhaps the sidekick character in your first book would like his or her own story. Or perhaps you'd like to carry forward what happens next from the love interest's point of view, as Gayle Foreman did with both If I Stay / Where She Went and Just One Day / Just One Year.  Perhaps you'd like to experiment with changing genres without switching brands, so spin off a younger or older character and write his or her story in your existing world, but write it as middle grade, or young adult or adult.

Thematic series


If you feel like no characters are begging to have their own story, and you want to try a new setting, consider building a thematic series of stand-alones. The books might have the same kind of content--all coming-of-age, all awkward romances, all entrepreneurs struggling with start up businesses. Or they might have complementary themes, like Melody Carlson does with her True Colors series, each a faith-based story about a teen struggling with a particular social problem, like peer pressure, substance abuse, jealousy, heartbreak, abuse, depression.

Unfinished business


Even if your stand-alone book tied up several loose ends, there might be some that you chose to leave to the reader's imagination, merely hint at, or simply chose to not address for fear the denouement would feel unrealistically tidy. That's the case with my second book, Almost There. It picks up a year and a half after my first book, which deals with my main character losing her dad. But while I gesture toward Dani and her mother heading toward a better relationship, I leave somewhat open ended what that might look like in the future. And her mother's family, Dani learns, have a history of dysfunction that's only briefly examined in Never Gone.

Think about the  How to Train Your Dragon films. While Hiccup and his father have largely reconciled at the end of the first film, it remains to be seen how their relationship will change as Hiccup matures from teenager to man. Plus, the first film hints at the hole left by the loss of Hiccup's mother--a loss shrouded in mystery. That mystery comes to the fore in the sequel.

Unfinished business stories work only if you love your character enough to stick with them into their future. What parts of your initial novel weren't tidily tied up? Conversely, which tidily tied up things might, in time, fall apart? What minor characters lurking in the background want to come forward and interact with your protagonist? What aspects of your protagonist's flaws do you believe will loom large and cause conflict in the future? Build on your previous story, considering where natural consequences would lead over time.

If time has passed since your initial release, it's wise to work to make the sequel understandable as a stand-alone itself.

What are some of your favorite books series and why?
Friday, May 20, 2016 Laurel Garver
Book series are all the rage in publishing, Readers enjoy spending more time with familiar characters and/or worlds, and series promise a kind of brand consistency that the risk-averse reader appreciates. They know that if they like your style and content, they're more likely to continue liking your other similar works.

That doesn't automatically mean one should only write series. If you are a young writer, it might be wiser to experiment in numerous genres until you hit your stride and wait to invest time in creating series once you've found the sweet spot --stories that you like to write and readers like to read.

Some genres lend themselves to particular types of series more than others. Romances rarely if ever span several books with the same characters. Romance arcs are usually constrained by reader expectations of a happy ending, not a cliffhanger. Romance series tend to be joined by locale or by theme, spanning numerous discrete pairings whose stories might or might not overlap.

Mystery series tend to follow the same sleuth, but move from case to case, again, eschewing the cliffhanger model. Readers expect a mystery to be resolved by book's end--to be a stand-alone product. The sleuth might develop over the series, or he or she might be a more steady force and the appeal is the new intellectual puzzle rather than character development.

It's in adventure, science fiction, and fantasy (and their subgenres, like dystopian) where cliffhanger endings and incomplete arcs are more the norm. But look at series like Harry Potter, and you'll find that each book has a complete, contained arc, while each book also contributes to and moves forward a larger, whole-series arc. Whether you could create such a series by building on a stand-alone is debatable, however. Rowling's work clearly was heavily planned and structured to give equal weight to each volume's arc as well as the series arc. So I'd think twice about attempting to take your stand-alone fantasy and expect to have a series arc pop out without having been planned it, with seeds planted that have yet to come to fruition.

With those genre-trope caveats out of the way, I'd like to suggest some ways to build series when you've written stand-alone books.

Same world

Some of McCaffrey's Pern series (via Amazon.com)

Frank Herbert's Dune series follows several different characters through a universe he creates in which space travel is made possible through an altered-mind state caused by a rare drug, Spice, found on the desert planet Arrakis. Whoever controls the Spice controls the universe.

Anne McCaffrey's Pern series take place on the planet Pern, where human colonists genetically modified lizards into dragons in order to fight a sky-borne menace called Thread. Books cover everything from the first colonization to generations of dragonriders over centuries, and include other professions in the planet's guild system during its "middle ages," such as healers (Nerilka's Story) and bards (Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, Dragondrums).

If you've spent considerable time and effort building a unique setting, consider how you might use the setting for other stories, focused on other characters and/or other segments of society. It doesn't necessarily need to be a fantastical or otherworld setting either. A New Adult author might work with a particular invented college campus with unique majors or unique campus features. A cozy mystery writer  might set all of the stories in the same region with different amateur sleuths. A literary fiction writer might follow several generations who live in the same oddball town.

Imagine how the unique setting might change over time because of the events in your stand-alone. Consider picking up with your main character's children or grandchildren, or with a secondary or even tertiary character you wished you could have developed more in your first book.

Spin-off characters


L.M. Montgomery's Anne series contains seven books, five that focus on Anne Shirley, and two with her children, Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside. This series follows Anne from childhood, when she is adopted by the Cuthbert siblings, into her teen years, college, early career, marriage and motherhood, moving to several locales in Canada. Once Anne is fairly settled and no longer having madcap adventures, her kids carry on.

Perhaps the sidekick character in your first book would like his or her own story. Or perhaps you'd like to carry forward what happens next from the love interest's point of view, as Gayle Foreman did with both If I Stay / Where She Went and Just One Day / Just One Year.  Perhaps you'd like to experiment with changing genres without switching brands, so spin off a younger or older character and write his or her story in your existing world, but write it as middle grade, or young adult or adult.

Thematic series


If you feel like no characters are begging to have their own story, and you want to try a new setting, consider building a thematic series of stand-alones. The books might have the same kind of content--all coming-of-age, all awkward romances, all entrepreneurs struggling with start up businesses. Or they might have complementary themes, like Melody Carlson does with her True Colors series, each a faith-based story about a teen struggling with a particular social problem, like peer pressure, substance abuse, jealousy, heartbreak, abuse, depression.

Unfinished business


Even if your stand-alone book tied up several loose ends, there might be some that you chose to leave to the reader's imagination, merely hint at, or simply chose to not address for fear the denouement would feel unrealistically tidy. That's the case with my second book, Almost There. It picks up a year and a half after my first book, which deals with my main character losing her dad. But while I gesture toward Dani and her mother heading toward a better relationship, I leave somewhat open ended what that might look like in the future. And her mother's family, Dani learns, have a history of dysfunction that's only briefly examined in Never Gone.

Think about the  How to Train Your Dragon films. While Hiccup and his father have largely reconciled at the end of the first film, it remains to be seen how their relationship will change as Hiccup matures from teenager to man. Plus, the first film hints at the hole left by the loss of Hiccup's mother--a loss shrouded in mystery. That mystery comes to the fore in the sequel.

Unfinished business stories work only if you love your character enough to stick with them into their future. What parts of your initial novel weren't tidily tied up? Conversely, which tidily tied up things might, in time, fall apart? What minor characters lurking in the background want to come forward and interact with your protagonist? What aspects of your protagonist's flaws do you believe will loom large and cause conflict in the future? Build on your previous story, considering where natural consequences would lead over time.

If time has passed since your initial release, it's wise to work to make the sequel understandable as a stand-alone itself.

What are some of your favorite books series and why?

Friday, May 13, 2016

By guest author Bokerah Brumley (and her collaborators)

It’s safe to say that I love anthologies. I enjoy the teamwork a multi-author project creates. The cross-promotion is invaluable and I always glean a lot from the other authors.

Here are four tips I’ve learned from participating in successful anthologies.

1. Be flexible. Invariably, the anthology lead will make a decision that, in your opinion, is less than ideal. Think of an anthology as a commercial for your work. It matters MORE that the anthology gets into the hands of as many people as possible, into as wide a market as possible. Be willing to allow advertising venues or cover art that isn’t quite your cup of tea. Most anthologies are about reaching new customers. Discuss any differences in private messages.

2. Speak up about what matters to you. If you type the words, “I don’t care,” MEAN THEM. I’ve watched whole threads dissolve in indecision because an author’s first comment was “I don’t care” when they DID care. If you care about the outcome of a decision, by all means, voice your opinion, but don’t expect the anthology lead to pick your preference. Keep it drama-free. All the other authors will love you for it.

3. Contracts help. I know it sounds a little harsh. But a contract that delineates release date, exclusivity (or non-exclusivity), length of anthology publication, price point or other important details can be helpful to long-term satisfaction of all involved. The contract puts expectations in black and white. And it might be the first time that the participants really think hard about what’s required when they sign on.

4. Have fun. Be cheerful. Most of the authors already know that best seller status probably isn’t going to happen, but it’s nice to dream a minute before reality checks in with a bad review or lagging sales. Enjoy the process.

More thoughts from Bokerah's collaborators:

From Kimberly A. Rogers: “Compromise is king. Setting realistic goals and also building in enough time to accommodate different schedules.”

From Julie C. Gilbert: “Good communication. Flexibility (don't get attached to things one way). Responsibility (meeting deadlines). Fun (enjoy the journey). Hard work (be willing to help out where you can...you don't have to volunteer to do everything, but if you can do something, offer your services).”

From C.L. Wells: “Looking back, I think it would have been fun to start off with an icebreaker of sorts to help everyone get to know each other a little bit quicker. Some short light activities that not related to the project at hand.”

From Faith Blum: “Be flexible, willing to help wherever you can, and don't be afraid to share unusual ideas.” She adds, “I like C.L. Well's idea, too!”


About their collaborative work, Where Light May Lead




Available Now for FREE

Six authors, six genres, six bite-sized stories of women living out their faith in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. When the heart is willing to follow, where does the light lead?
Sample Old West justice. Watch a romance unfold over light years. Laugh as an introvert finagles her way out of a bridal shower. Agonize with an FBI agent as she negotiates for a child’s life. Imagine a shape-shifting cat who tracks down a kidnapper. And peek behind the scenes as a guardian angel argues with a double-talking auto mechanic. Learn again that the light of faith can lead you anywhere.
That’s How She Rolls by C.L. Wells
Tessa, a self-conscious introvert, attempts to avoid a party and everything goes wrong. When a handsome stranger offers to lend a helping hand, she isn’t sure things will ever be right again.
Leopard’s Find by Kimberly A. Rogers
Ever wonder what your favorite characters were doing before you read about them for the first time? Sparks fly whenever Raina and Baran from The Therian Way are together. But what exactly was she doing before she met him?
Whatever Raina’s up to, it’s never boring.
Upsie-Daisy by Jane Lebak
Did you know guardian angels have a sharp sense of humor? It’s a requirement for the job, otherwise they’d run screaming instead of dealing with us. If you’re new to the Lee and Bucky stories, welcome to the world of sarcastic mechanics and pun-slinging angels. This story takes place about four months before any of the full-length novels, that way you can dive right in.
Circular Horizon by Bokerah Brumley
As a speculative fiction writer, I’m forever intrigued with the ‘what if.’ For instance, what if there was real-world science fiction featuring a God-fearing astronaut? This brain-wandering led to a story, and I briefly explore this idea with Mae McNair and Abel Onizuka in Circular Horizon.
‘Tis So Sweet by Faith Blum
Eleanor Miller has always loved her younger brother, even through all the bad things he has done. But when he almost kills a man, she needs to let him go and trust God to draw him to Himself. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything, no matter what happens?
The Quinn Case by Julie C. Gilbert
Law enforcement’s a tough career to make it in both physically and emotionally. The Quinn Case takes place several years before the events in Heartfelt Cases Book 1: The Collins Case. Herein, you’ll meet a young FBI Special Agent named Ann Davidson who must find a missing child even as she struggles to put another case behind her.
Immerse yourself in six clean, sweet, Christian novelettes in this awesome multi-author anthology fiction box set….and maybe encounter your next favorite author!

You're invited to our Facebook party!
The Light Leads to Peace (and Prizes)
6:30 - 8:30 PM CST on Saturday, May 14, 2016.
About the Authors

C.L. Wells CL-Wells-Head-Shot

C.L. Wells is a JANE-OF-ALL-TRADES, with a passion for writing and animals. She lives in Kansas with her family, which includes a fat doggie who is not named Toto and a cat who moonlights as an escape artist. Feel free to ask her about the ‘escape artist.’ She plans to write about it someday. She would love hearing from you.

Kimberly A. Rogers

Kimberly_2011_2
Kimberly A. Rogers writes urban fantasy with a Christian twist. She lives in Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains add inspiration to an overactive imagination originally fueled by fantasy classics such as the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Jane Lebak

headshottiny
Jane Lebak has been publishing since 1994, with several novels in print as well as over seventy-five shorter pieces in magazines, newspapers, and journals. She is one of the bloggers for QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents. She lives in The Swamp, reading books and knitting socks with her husband, children, cats, and fishtanks.

Bokerah Brumley

IMG_3935a (2)
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. She lives on ten acres with five home-educated children, four peacocks, three dogs, two cats, and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired publicity officer for the Cisco Writers Club.

Faith Blum

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped
Faith Blum is a historical fiction author who also loves to do pretty much any right-brained activity, especially if it involves crafting. She lives with her family on a small family farm in Wisconsin.

Julie C. Gilbert 

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)
Julie C. Gilbert writes in several genres including Christian mystery, YA science fiction, and mystery/thriller. Regardless of category, she writes about people who face hardship and right wrongs because they have an innate need to do so. In other news, she is obsessed with Star Wars and has a day job teaching high school chemistry in New Jersey.
Have you ever participated in an anthology? Any tips to share or questions for my guests?
Friday, May 13, 2016 Laurel Garver
By guest author Bokerah Brumley (and her collaborators)

It’s safe to say that I love anthologies. I enjoy the teamwork a multi-author project creates. The cross-promotion is invaluable and I always glean a lot from the other authors.

Here are four tips I’ve learned from participating in successful anthologies.

1. Be flexible. Invariably, the anthology lead will make a decision that, in your opinion, is less than ideal. Think of an anthology as a commercial for your work. It matters MORE that the anthology gets into the hands of as many people as possible, into as wide a market as possible. Be willing to allow advertising venues or cover art that isn’t quite your cup of tea. Most anthologies are about reaching new customers. Discuss any differences in private messages.

2. Speak up about what matters to you. If you type the words, “I don’t care,” MEAN THEM. I’ve watched whole threads dissolve in indecision because an author’s first comment was “I don’t care” when they DID care. If you care about the outcome of a decision, by all means, voice your opinion, but don’t expect the anthology lead to pick your preference. Keep it drama-free. All the other authors will love you for it.

3. Contracts help. I know it sounds a little harsh. But a contract that delineates release date, exclusivity (or non-exclusivity), length of anthology publication, price point or other important details can be helpful to long-term satisfaction of all involved. The contract puts expectations in black and white. And it might be the first time that the participants really think hard about what’s required when they sign on.

4. Have fun. Be cheerful. Most of the authors already know that best seller status probably isn’t going to happen, but it’s nice to dream a minute before reality checks in with a bad review or lagging sales. Enjoy the process.

More thoughts from Bokerah's collaborators:

From Kimberly A. Rogers: “Compromise is king. Setting realistic goals and also building in enough time to accommodate different schedules.”

From Julie C. Gilbert: “Good communication. Flexibility (don't get attached to things one way). Responsibility (meeting deadlines). Fun (enjoy the journey). Hard work (be willing to help out where you can...you don't have to volunteer to do everything, but if you can do something, offer your services).”

From C.L. Wells: “Looking back, I think it would have been fun to start off with an icebreaker of sorts to help everyone get to know each other a little bit quicker. Some short light activities that not related to the project at hand.”

From Faith Blum: “Be flexible, willing to help wherever you can, and don't be afraid to share unusual ideas.” She adds, “I like C.L. Well's idea, too!”


About their collaborative work, Where Light May Lead




Available Now for FREE

Six authors, six genres, six bite-sized stories of women living out their faith in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. When the heart is willing to follow, where does the light lead?
Sample Old West justice. Watch a romance unfold over light years. Laugh as an introvert finagles her way out of a bridal shower. Agonize with an FBI agent as she negotiates for a child’s life. Imagine a shape-shifting cat who tracks down a kidnapper. And peek behind the scenes as a guardian angel argues with a double-talking auto mechanic. Learn again that the light of faith can lead you anywhere.
That’s How She Rolls by C.L. Wells
Tessa, a self-conscious introvert, attempts to avoid a party and everything goes wrong. When a handsome stranger offers to lend a helping hand, she isn’t sure things will ever be right again.
Leopard’s Find by Kimberly A. Rogers
Ever wonder what your favorite characters were doing before you read about them for the first time? Sparks fly whenever Raina and Baran from The Therian Way are together. But what exactly was she doing before she met him?
Whatever Raina’s up to, it’s never boring.
Upsie-Daisy by Jane Lebak
Did you know guardian angels have a sharp sense of humor? It’s a requirement for the job, otherwise they’d run screaming instead of dealing with us. If you’re new to the Lee and Bucky stories, welcome to the world of sarcastic mechanics and pun-slinging angels. This story takes place about four months before any of the full-length novels, that way you can dive right in.
Circular Horizon by Bokerah Brumley
As a speculative fiction writer, I’m forever intrigued with the ‘what if.’ For instance, what if there was real-world science fiction featuring a God-fearing astronaut? This brain-wandering led to a story, and I briefly explore this idea with Mae McNair and Abel Onizuka in Circular Horizon.
‘Tis So Sweet by Faith Blum
Eleanor Miller has always loved her younger brother, even through all the bad things he has done. But when he almost kills a man, she needs to let him go and trust God to draw him to Himself. Will she find out how sweet it is to trust Jesus in everything, no matter what happens?
The Quinn Case by Julie C. Gilbert
Law enforcement’s a tough career to make it in both physically and emotionally. The Quinn Case takes place several years before the events in Heartfelt Cases Book 1: The Collins Case. Herein, you’ll meet a young FBI Special Agent named Ann Davidson who must find a missing child even as she struggles to put another case behind her.
Immerse yourself in six clean, sweet, Christian novelettes in this awesome multi-author anthology fiction box set….and maybe encounter your next favorite author!

You're invited to our Facebook party!
The Light Leads to Peace (and Prizes)
6:30 - 8:30 PM CST on Saturday, May 14, 2016.
About the Authors

C.L. Wells CL-Wells-Head-Shot

C.L. Wells is a JANE-OF-ALL-TRADES, with a passion for writing and animals. She lives in Kansas with her family, which includes a fat doggie who is not named Toto and a cat who moonlights as an escape artist. Feel free to ask her about the ‘escape artist.’ She plans to write about it someday. She would love hearing from you.

Kimberly A. Rogers

Kimberly_2011_2
Kimberly A. Rogers writes urban fantasy with a Christian twist. She lives in Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains add inspiration to an overactive imagination originally fueled by fantasy classics such as the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Jane Lebak

headshottiny
Jane Lebak has been publishing since 1994, with several novels in print as well as over seventy-five shorter pieces in magazines, newspapers, and journals. She is one of the bloggers for QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents. She lives in The Swamp, reading books and knitting socks with her husband, children, cats, and fishtanks.

Bokerah Brumley

IMG_3935a (2)
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. She lives on ten acres with five home-educated children, four peacocks, three dogs, two cats, and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired publicity officer for the Cisco Writers Club.

Faith Blum

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped
Faith Blum is a historical fiction author who also loves to do pretty much any right-brained activity, especially if it involves crafting. She lives with her family on a small family farm in Wisconsin.

Julie C. Gilbert 

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)
Julie C. Gilbert writes in several genres including Christian mystery, YA science fiction, and mystery/thriller. Regardless of category, she writes about people who face hardship and right wrongs because they have an innate need to do so. In other news, she is obsessed with Star Wars and has a day job teaching high school chemistry in New Jersey.
Have you ever participated in an anthology? Any tips to share or questions for my guests?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I am busily preparing to release my new novel Almost There, thus it's been difficult to find the brain space for my usual meaty tips posts. I hope to get back to them in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I've been lining up some great guests to share their stories and tips with you. Tomorrow, a group of awesome ladies will be sharing their tips on collaboration and creating collaborative works. If you've ever wanted to team up with others on a writing project, please come back and check it out!

In preparation for my release, I've begun publishing sneak peek scenes from the opening chapters on Wattpad HERE. It's free to read there. You simply have to sign up for a free account. Please stop by and take a look, and if you'd be so kind, give it a vote. Thanks!

Second, I am running a giveaway of three paperbacks through Goodreads. Simply click the link on the sidebar on the right to get to the entry page.

What's new with you?

Thursday, May 12, 2016 Laurel Garver
I am busily preparing to release my new novel Almost There, thus it's been difficult to find the brain space for my usual meaty tips posts. I hope to get back to them in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I've been lining up some great guests to share their stories and tips with you. Tomorrow, a group of awesome ladies will be sharing their tips on collaboration and creating collaborative works. If you've ever wanted to team up with others on a writing project, please come back and check it out!

In preparation for my release, I've begun publishing sneak peek scenes from the opening chapters on Wattpad HERE. It's free to read there. You simply have to sign up for a free account. Please stop by and take a look, and if you'd be so kind, give it a vote. Thanks!

Second, I am running a giveaway of three paperbacks through Goodreads. Simply click the link on the sidebar on the right to get to the entry page.

What's new with you?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

By guest author Sarahbeth Caplin

My experience with writing nonfiction has not been what I expected. I never expected to be a nonfiction author, particularly a nonfiction religious author, but writing about religion is when I am most authentic. I would not have nearly the same number of blog and Twitter followers I do if not for my willingness to admit “I don’t know” when writing about theology. Some of my favorite religious writers are people who dare to ask the questions I’m afraid to acknowledge even in my own head. I like to imagine that’s what attracts new readers, and keeps old ones coming back to my blog and my first book, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter.

Photo by pedrojperez at morguefile.com
A second memoir was just inevitable not because I’ve lived such a unique life, but because the questions kept on growing, and they are hard to find addressed in mainstream Christian books. For converts like myself who still carry baggage from the faith of their childhood, that pool of books has even fewer options. In my case, perhaps books by Jews who converted to Christianity are still too controversial.

At any rate, the person you are when you publish a memoir becomes frozen in time. I’m not that person anymore.

This book is my response to Christians who condemn or otherwise fear the word “skepticism.” It’s a book for anyone, not just converted Jews, who embraced a new tradition as an adult, but cannot for the life of them fit in with the surrounding cultural norms of that new faith. It’s a book for anyone who grapples with doubt on a regular basis.

My story of wading through evangelical waters has been, and continues to be, a fish-out-of-water experience. In Evangelical World, I have met some truly amazing people, but have also experienced a lot of damage, which I think my Jewish upbringing made me particularly vulnerable to.

This is a book about questioning faith and fighting to keep it. This book doesn’t offer any answers, but it has been therapeutic for me to write. I have a love/hate relationship with my unusual testimony, but I don’t think it’s so “out there” that no “cradle Christian” can possibly relate. I come from a tradition that is known for asking questions, and I want this book to be encouraging for Christians bred with the idea that questions are not okay.

Much has changed since the first edition of Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter was published. For starters, I got married. My father died of cancer. The honeymoon phase of my relationship with Jesus has long faded. Restlessness has moved in. Frustration and irreconcilable differences are daily battles.

At the time I started writing Prodigal Daughter’s first draft, I was an opinion columnist for my college newspaper. I wanted the job because I was tired of the pervasive liberal attitudes that permeated the editorial section. It didn’t take long for me to develop a reputation as “that Christian columnist,” only the title was not used favorably. I can see now that my tone was obnoxious in many of my columns. I was writing as someone who thought she had found indisputable Truth. But the biggest mistake I made as a columnist was adopting the assumption that I was disliked by so many because I happened to be Christian, which could not have been further from the truth. As a Jew raised in a small, conservative Christian town, shouldn’t I have known better than to play the persecution card? Why would I have done that?

I know why now, though I wouldn’t have admitted it then. It’s very much a cultural Christian trend to take on a persecution complex, no matter how outrageous it seems compared to Christians across the world being jailed or losing their lives for their faith. More than anything, I just wanted to be included. I wanted to know what being part of the religious in-crowd felt like. If that meant pretending that the obvious Christian majority was actually in danger of extinction, so be it.

Thankfully, the mindset didn’t last. I could only pretend for so long that being the odd Jew out (an actual minority) for most of my life wouldn’t catch up to me at some point. Sure enough, during my year-long stint at a Christian seminary after college, it did.

Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic is the story of what happened to my faith when I confronted my inner Jew, who was buried for a time but never actually went away. Perhaps she was never meant to.

About the author


Sarahbeth Caplin has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Kent State University, and is currently at work on a master’s degree in creative nonfiction at Colorado State. Her memoir, Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic, is set to release this spring. Her work has appeared in xoJane, Feminine Collective, The Stigma Fighters Anthology, and Christians for Biblical Equality. Follow her blog at www.sbethcaplin.com or on Twitter @SbethCaplin.


About the Book: Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic


For the first time since converting to Christianity several years ago, I was forced to reconsider what Judaism meant to me after my failed attempt at seminary, and after my father died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. This is not a story about finding God, but about what happens when doubt threatens to break the faith of your own choosing – and how one seeker chooses to confront questions that don’t have easy answers, if any answers at all.

I feel safer by living on the fringes of faith, where grace and humility are clearer to me than ever before. For now, this is the safest place to be. It’s messy, it’s sloppy, it’s anything but organized. But I’m learning to make it a home.

Buy links:

Where have you felt like an outsider? Have you ever written from an "at the margins" perspective?

Thursday, May 05, 2016 Laurel Garver
By guest author Sarahbeth Caplin

My experience with writing nonfiction has not been what I expected. I never expected to be a nonfiction author, particularly a nonfiction religious author, but writing about religion is when I am most authentic. I would not have nearly the same number of blog and Twitter followers I do if not for my willingness to admit “I don’t know” when writing about theology. Some of my favorite religious writers are people who dare to ask the questions I’m afraid to acknowledge even in my own head. I like to imagine that’s what attracts new readers, and keeps old ones coming back to my blog and my first book, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter.

Photo by pedrojperez at morguefile.com
A second memoir was just inevitable not because I’ve lived such a unique life, but because the questions kept on growing, and they are hard to find addressed in mainstream Christian books. For converts like myself who still carry baggage from the faith of their childhood, that pool of books has even fewer options. In my case, perhaps books by Jews who converted to Christianity are still too controversial.

At any rate, the person you are when you publish a memoir becomes frozen in time. I’m not that person anymore.

This book is my response to Christians who condemn or otherwise fear the word “skepticism.” It’s a book for anyone, not just converted Jews, who embraced a new tradition as an adult, but cannot for the life of them fit in with the surrounding cultural norms of that new faith. It’s a book for anyone who grapples with doubt on a regular basis.

My story of wading through evangelical waters has been, and continues to be, a fish-out-of-water experience. In Evangelical World, I have met some truly amazing people, but have also experienced a lot of damage, which I think my Jewish upbringing made me particularly vulnerable to.

This is a book about questioning faith and fighting to keep it. This book doesn’t offer any answers, but it has been therapeutic for me to write. I have a love/hate relationship with my unusual testimony, but I don’t think it’s so “out there” that no “cradle Christian” can possibly relate. I come from a tradition that is known for asking questions, and I want this book to be encouraging for Christians bred with the idea that questions are not okay.

Much has changed since the first edition of Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter was published. For starters, I got married. My father died of cancer. The honeymoon phase of my relationship with Jesus has long faded. Restlessness has moved in. Frustration and irreconcilable differences are daily battles.

At the time I started writing Prodigal Daughter’s first draft, I was an opinion columnist for my college newspaper. I wanted the job because I was tired of the pervasive liberal attitudes that permeated the editorial section. It didn’t take long for me to develop a reputation as “that Christian columnist,” only the title was not used favorably. I can see now that my tone was obnoxious in many of my columns. I was writing as someone who thought she had found indisputable Truth. But the biggest mistake I made as a columnist was adopting the assumption that I was disliked by so many because I happened to be Christian, which could not have been further from the truth. As a Jew raised in a small, conservative Christian town, shouldn’t I have known better than to play the persecution card? Why would I have done that?

I know why now, though I wouldn’t have admitted it then. It’s very much a cultural Christian trend to take on a persecution complex, no matter how outrageous it seems compared to Christians across the world being jailed or losing their lives for their faith. More than anything, I just wanted to be included. I wanted to know what being part of the religious in-crowd felt like. If that meant pretending that the obvious Christian majority was actually in danger of extinction, so be it.

Thankfully, the mindset didn’t last. I could only pretend for so long that being the odd Jew out (an actual minority) for most of my life wouldn’t catch up to me at some point. Sure enough, during my year-long stint at a Christian seminary after college, it did.

Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic is the story of what happened to my faith when I confronted my inner Jew, who was buried for a time but never actually went away. Perhaps she was never meant to.

About the author


Sarahbeth Caplin has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Kent State University, and is currently at work on a master’s degree in creative nonfiction at Colorado State. Her memoir, Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic, is set to release this spring. Her work has appeared in xoJane, Feminine Collective, The Stigma Fighters Anthology, and Christians for Biblical Equality. Follow her blog at www.sbethcaplin.com or on Twitter @SbethCaplin.


About the Book: Confessions of a Jew-ish Skeptic


For the first time since converting to Christianity several years ago, I was forced to reconsider what Judaism meant to me after my failed attempt at seminary, and after my father died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. This is not a story about finding God, but about what happens when doubt threatens to break the faith of your own choosing – and how one seeker chooses to confront questions that don’t have easy answers, if any answers at all.

I feel safer by living on the fringes of faith, where grace and humility are clearer to me than ever before. For now, this is the safest place to be. It’s messy, it’s sloppy, it’s anything but organized. But I’m learning to make it a home.

Buy links:

Where have you felt like an outsider? Have you ever written from an "at the margins" perspective?