Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Coloring Page for March

Here's this month's FREE COLORING PAGE FOR READERS, just as a thank-you for visiting my blog. Feel free to print, download, share, and duplicate as desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Quote of the Month for March

I love this quote from Michael W. Twitty, culinary historian and author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South:

I so get it! My grandmother was the most amazing cook I've ever known, and I'd give anything to cook like she did.  (She was also an awesome Grandma and one of my favorite people in the whole world. I miss her!)

MMM Good

At least I have many of her old recipe cards, written in her own hand, a few of which I decided to share here today.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March 2019 Christian Fiction Releases

Here's a bunch of fun new releases for March. Enjoy!
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog by Daphne Self -- Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing. Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton? Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog. (Children’s from Ambassador International)


When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin -- With his career and faith in tatters, a disillusioned baseball player falls for an optimistic single mom secretly battling cervical cancer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  His Secret Daughter by Lisa Carter -- He just found out he’s a father… But is he ready to be a dad? When veteran Jake McAbee learns he has a daughter, he’s determined to raise the adorable toddler. But Maisie’s foster mom, Callie Jackson, insists Jake stay at her orchard until he’s prepared for fatherhood. While Jake and Maisie bond, the trio begins to feel like family. Could the best home for Maisie be the one Jake and Callie create together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

  Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington by Annette M. Irby -- Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable. Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

  Whatever is True by Pamela S. Meyers -- Bullfighter and ranch hand Clint Palmer yearns for a family of his own and desires a relationship with barrel racer Lacy Roberts, a fellow ranch employee. But what would she want in a guy who was abandoned by his father and has a mother who is an alcoholic? If he’s ever going to be seen in a different light by Lacy, he needs greater financial security than what a ranch-hand position provides. Lacy’s parents have scorned her ever since she opted for ranch life rather than pursuing a business career. She’s attracted to Clint, who has shown enough interest in her that she reveals a secret about her past—only to be rejected by him. She’s about to move on when Clint learns a secret related to his own life that changes everything. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Her Colorado Cowboy by Mindy Obenhaus -- Lily Davis agrees to take her children riding…despite her fear of horses. But now widowed cowboy Noah Stephens is determined to help her get comfortable in the saddle. And, at her children’s insistence, Lily finds herself promoting his rodeo school. As Noah and Lily work together, will Noah continue to shield his heart…or can they discover a love that conquers both their fears? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])  

Her Last Chance Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe -- When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  Buried Mountain Secrets by Terri Reed -- Desperate to find her missing teenage brother, Maya Gallo ventures into the Colorado Rockies expecting rough terrain--not deadly treasure hunters. But when she's caught in their crosshairs, rudely handsome mounted patrolman Alex Trevino come to her aid. The deputy sheriff knows what these bandits are capable of, so getting Maya--and her brother--home safely may be his hardest mission yet. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Like a Tree by Danny & Wanda Pelfrey -- The movie making industry spreading across Georgia has finally made its way to the little foothill village of Adairsville. Bookseller and police chaplain Davis Morgan along with a young female clerk discover the body of a member of the movie company on a historic site at the foot of a large oak tree. Davis despite his promise to his wife cannot resist investigating the mystery. He and his young friend, policeman Charley Nelson, quietly dig into the case even though it is officially under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. There is no shortage of suspects: the mysterious red headed man, sister of the victim, the fiancée and others. During the investigation an already troubled Charley is framed for a drug crime, and Davis receives word that an old enemy is on his way to Georgia after escaping from prison to make good a threat against him. Late one afternoon it comes to an astounding conclusion beneath the same sprawling oak where it all started. (Cozy Mystery from CrossLink)


Within This Circle by Deborah Raney -- After a tumultuous courtship, John and Julia Brighton have a second chance at happiness! With tragedy behind them and their children grown, they're looking forward to a new and promising era in their lives. Only, such a promise is never guaranteed. And life can change in a moment. The Brightons' lives are turned upside down when John's daughter Jana abandons her husband, Mark, and three-year-old daughter. John and Julia reach out to young Ellie, to give the young couple time to heal, but how can they help this child, so confused and longing for Mommy? And how much sorrow and stress can both fledgling marriages endure? (General Contemporary from Raney Day Press)

  Grace & Lavender by Heather Norman Smith -- Recently retired Colleen Hill is always busy, constantly on a quest to make life more interesting. When the ladies’ group at her church partners with the local children’s home, Colleen jumps in as usual, volunteering to share her passion for cooking with a troubled teenager named Grace. Colleen must balance the new project with her pursuit of becoming a contestant on a television game show, along with all the other ideas her brain continually spins out. Colleen’s daughter Melody is quite different. She lives a calm, simple life and is content with who she is. That is, until an unexpected opportunity to work with Grace, too, pushes her to reevaluate life and dare to take on bigger dreams. The path starts with a newly-found interest in soap-making and leads her to responsibilities she didn't even know she wanted. (General Contemporary from Ambassador International)


The Erie Canal Brides Collection by Johnnie Alexander, Lauralee Bliss, Ramona K. Cecil, Rita Gerlach, Sherri Wilson Johnson, Rose Allen McCauley, Christina Miller -- Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, and soon other states like Ohio created canals linking Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Suddenly the Midwest was open to migration, the harvesting of resources, and even tourism. Join seven couples who live through the rise of the canals and the problems the waterways brought to each community, including land grabs, disease, tourists, racism, and competition. Can these couples hang on to their faith and develop love during times of intense change? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  This Daring Journey by Misty M. Beller -- The only hope to keep her newborn baby alive is to reach the safety of her Indian people… This mountain man is the last person she should trust to get her there. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

  The Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin -- In spring of 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries at the front, receives an unexpected message by carrier pigeon: it is an urgent summons from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life—a woman he believed to be dead. Leaving Britain’s shores to return into war-torn France, he hopes his reunion with her will ease his guilt and this mission restore the courage he lost on the battlefield. Colin is stunned when he arrives in Paris to discover the message came not from Jewel, but from a stranger who claims to be her half sister, Johanna. Johanna works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence; having found Jewel's diary, she believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them. When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, however, that trust is at stake, as danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

  A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot -- As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it's time for a change. Her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek's midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn't sure her heart can take it. Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn't concerned only with the baby's welfare. He's been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated -- and that he'll need Thea's help if he's ever to find the justice he seeks. (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy -- City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons' supposedly lost grandson. But now that he's out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She's not like any woman he's ever met--comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun. When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don't have, both realize they've stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape. When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won't stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

  To Win Her Heart by Candee Fick -- Despite Emma Richards' fanciful dreams growing up in the shadow of King Arthur’s castle and the manor on the cliff, the orphan is now trapped inland serving her wealthy cousins with no hope for her own future. Sir Grayson Wentworth spent his years at Cambridge dreaming of the Cornwall coast and wishing he could return to the happy days of his youth. Called home to his father’s deathbed, the young baron soon learns he has inherited a title, a neglected estate, and a betrothal agreement he knew nothing about. When the new Lord Danvers travels to execute the last matters of his father’s will, he finds himself promised to one woman and falling for another. Can he keep his vow to find a wife and win her heart? Or will honor be sacrificed in the name of love? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The White City by Grace Hitchcock -- While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Ian Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard. Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  The Highest of Hopes by Susan Anne Mason -- After her beloved grandfather's death, Emmaline Moore is shocked to discover that her "deceased" father is actually living in Canada. Having no other family, Emma decides she must find him, and so embarks on a journey across the ocean, accompanied by her best friend, Jonathan. Unfortunately, Randall Moore and his well-to-do family aren't thrilled by her arrival, fearing her sudden appearance will hinder his chance at becoming mayor of Toronto in 1919. Despite everything, Emma remains determined to earn their affection. Jonathan Rowe has secretly loved Emma for years and hopes that during their trip he can win her heart. Concerned that Randall might reject her, Jonathan is ready to console Emma and bring her home. When she informs him that she has no intention of returning to England, Jonathan begins to despair. Can he convince Emma to find value within herself rather than seeking it from a virtual stranger? And will she ever come to see that Jonathan is her true home? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Katelyn’s Choice by Susan G Mathis -- Katelyn Kavanagh serves the famous George Pullman and President Grant in the enchanting Thousand Islands. Yet the transition proves anything but easy when she falls in love and can’t tame her gossiping tongue. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh by Carolyn Miller -- Can a very proper young lady of noble birth find love with a mysterious, fossil-hunting scientist in the smuggler-plagued coasts of Devon, England? (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications)

  Sand Creek Serenade by Jennifer Uhlarik -- Dr. Sadie Hoppner is called upon to nurse the gunshot wound of Cheyenne brave Five Kills after tensions erupt between the braves and the soldiers at Fort Lyon. Even as Sadie and Five Kills form an unlikely bond, danger threatens the fragile treaty that ensures peace for both their people…and their hearts. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Your Questions, Answered

This Friday, March 8th, I’ll be joining a small group of local writers at the Tredyffrin Library in Strafford, PA, to answer questions about writing, publishing, books, and more. Called Ask An Author, the event is not a program or a panel, it’s simply a casual drop-in for aspiring authors and interested readers who’d like information from experienced professionals in the field. Ask An Author runs from 10am to 5pm (I’ll be there from noon to 2pm myself) and no registration is required.

Thinking about this event, I’ve been wondering what sorts of questions folks might be asking, so two days ago I posted this to my Facebook page:

If you could sit down with an author and ask any question about writing or publishing, what would that question be?

I got some great responses—thanks to all who commented!—and decided to address some of those questions here on my blog. Today I’ll focus on a handful that I can answer quickly and easily (the questions themselves have been merged as needed and paraphrased for simplicity). In coming weeks, I’ll address some of the other questions as well, ones that are a bit more complicated and require more lengthy explanations.

Where do you get your ideas? 

This is probably the most-frequently-asked question every writer hears, but unfortunately, it’s hard to explain. Book ideas can come from almost anywhere, sparked by almost anything, from a comment we hear to an article we read to a photograph we see and much more. 

The best example I’ve found for how this happens is in the movie Finding Neverland, which is about J.M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. In one scene Barrie is watching some kids jump around on their beds. Then his imagination takes over and suddenly in his mind's eye the kids float up and fly out of the window—just as Peter and Wendy and her brothers eventually do when he writes Peter Pan.

Finding Neverland (4/10) Movie CLIP - Taking Flight (2004) HD

That's sort of how it works: In the midst of a perfectly normal situation, a writer's imagination will suddenly take over. Once that happens, we begin asking ourselves questions (How can children fly? Why are they going out of the window? etc.) and slowly we sort of brainstorm with ourselves, assembling our answers into a bigger picture until a story begins to form.

What motivates or inspires you to write? 

Again, hard to explain. Contracts and deadlines are of course all the motivation a published writer needs to keep going, haha. But speaking in more general terms, my best answer is that nothing really motivates or inspires me, it’s more like a need I have that rises up from inside of myself. Much like an athlete who simply has to be active or a compassionate person who simply must help a neighbor in need. There’s a drive to share the stories that are constantly swirling around inside my head, and that, more than anything, compels me to put fingers to keyboard and write.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

According to my parents, I was reading by two and writing by five or six. Once I was old enough to realize that published books were simply the product of a person’s imagination, manifested on the page and sent out into the world, I decided that that’s what I wanted to do too. So maybe around age seven or eight? I’m not quite sure, but I know it was early on in elementary school, probably during library hour. :) 

That dream came and went over the years, but it once again solidified near the end of high school, when I had to make some decisions about college and the future. I ended up majoring in English with a specialization in creative writing, with the goal of becoming a novelist. And though I was successful with various types of writing after graduation—selling plays and musicals, working as a technical writer, etc.—it ended up being another 20 years before my first novel would be accepted for publication!

How long does it take to finish a book?

Ideally, I’d love to do one book about every two years. In reality, the market simply isn’t willing to wait that long. Thus, my average seems to be about nine months per book—just like having a baby! J

Who or what do you read when you get the chance, and how do you make the time?

When I’m working hard on a book, I don’t read at all except for research. It’s just too distracting. In less focused times, however, I enjoy a wide cross-section of genres and authors, as you can see by some of my top pick lists from previous years as well as my Goodreads page.

Because of eye issues, I don’t actually read books with my eyes anymore at all but instead with my ears, so my choices are limited to those that are available in an audio format. Thus, most of the books I read I either checked out from my library’s digital audiobook app or purchased with a credit or as a “Daily Deal” from It’s limiting but doable–and more books are coming out on audio all the time. (In fact, you can get my latest audiobook, Whispers of the Bayou, for FREE by using this link to join!)

Do you switch between several writing projects at a time or focus on one from start to finish?

I’ve tried to work on multiple projects at once, but I just can’t seem to do it. When I’m in the very early stages of plotting and planning and researching, I can juggle several ideas simultaneously. But when the time comes to buckle down and get serious about one of those ideas, I have to put everything else aside and focus on writing that book only.

What is your favorite part of the story to write? Beginning, middle, or end?

Adore the beginning, really enjoy the end, tolerate the middle. Unfortunately, all three parts are equally important, so I give equal energy to all three. But by far my favorite is at the start, when it’s all still in my head and fluid and my brain is busy playing with the many possibilities of where the story can go. To me, that’s heaven!

More to Come

That's it for today, but be sure to come back soon for more questions and answers. In the meantime, hope to see you at the library on Friday!