Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Compelling Women's Fiction ~ The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate ~ Review

One generation should teach the next. Sometimes that teaching isn’t done in the traditional form of speaking and sometimes those words come to us in the form of letters never immediately intended to affect our lives.
        
    Words are so powerful. I’m constantly in awe of the potency they can have echoing down through the ages. Tandi has so much growing up to do in “The Prayer Box”. I couldn’t help but be a bit frustrated with her at times, but to watch her mature and change into the woman she is called to be was a great part of the story. Done with subtlety and yet depth so you couldn’t help but watch her blossom and deepen.
            
I really loved the letters shared throughout the entire book. It was the strong reason I choose to review the book and they didn’t disappoint. They add a dimension to the story that takes the reader from the past to the present and back again.
           
Characters are compelling and interesting and the story flows with a sense of interest for this reader. If anything, the story itself might have been a bit drawn out and overlong, but the telling in and of itself is enjoyable and fulfilling.

         
   This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

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More about the novel...

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, th
e struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oops! Giveaway One Day Late. ;-)

The guest I planned on yesterday is under a tight deadline creating another great book for us starving readers (*wink*), so my giveaway comes one day late and it's an IMPROV. I'm making this up as I go along people...so be scared. ;-) Not really, hopefully you'll find it fun.

WHERE did the first half of the year go?? I was shopping for plane tickets for a trip later this year and the website reminded me my Indianapolis trip to ACFW is SEVENTEEN days away! Sure, I'm excited, but talk about heart palpitations! 

I've read a lot of good 2013 books so far this year and super excited for the release of new fall books coming out. Like titles by Melissa Tagg, Laura Frantz, Dani Pettrey, Jody Hedlund, Anne Mateer, Rene Gutteridge, oh I'm going to be busy!

I thought it would be fun to share a few recommendations from books that should definitely be on your "must-read" list. At the end of the post, share what YOU'VE loved about the novels released so far this year and I'll draw one winner to take the pick out of my new novel bin. I've Tamera Alexander, Becky Wade, Julie Lessman, Katie Ganshert and more in this box! Definitely worth commenting with your favorite title(s).

You really didn't think I would have a post like this and NOT include Beth Vogt's latest book, did you?? This book is hitting my best of 2013 list EASY. I read the ARC late last year, but have the paperback on my TBR shelf. Definitely is worth multiple readings!

Katie Ganshert's sophomore novel is a true pleasure to read! More romance than her first one, but oh my...one of the best apology scenes I've EVER read in a romance (I think I swooned)...EVER. And have you seen the cover for her third novel? She's only going to keep getting better. Grab both of her releases if you haven't already!

A Noble Groom is by far my favorite Jody Hedlund book to date, and I've loved her other books, but boy-howdy has she stepped up her game. It's gonna be hard to top this in my mind, but I'm still eager for the next release no matter. :-)
This one took me by surprise the most. Not that I didn't expect to like it, but I haven't loved a LYI title in quite some time and this is no shabby, cliche romance. I've recommended it several times and other readers are agreeing, Goyer and Fleiss write a terrific sweet romance. Good combo of authors, for sure! 5 star read.

Okay, your turn. Leave a comment with your favorite title(s) so far this year and I'll enter you to win a novel (maybe another favorite!). And if it happens that I don't have anything in my bin you want, I'll send an Amazon gift card your way to let you pick out your own new read!

Readers, enter here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on September 6th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Special Interview with Amber Stokes (and a giveaway!)


Amber is a great blogging friend of mine I’ve even had the opportunity to meet a couple of times! So to say I’m excited for her debut novel release is a wee bit of an understatement. ;-) So, Amber tell me…what led you to decide on self publishing?

Aw, Casey – thank you so much for sharing my excitement! I’m thrilled to be here. :-)

I think self-publishing became “real” to me earlier this year, when I had the chance to beta read for author Lena Goldfinch and watch her go through the finalizing process for self-publishing Aire (YA fantasy romance). I’d been discovering some fun self-published books for Kindle, and then seeing how it worked for an author friend must have hit some sort of switch in my mind. So when I finished Bleeding Heart in March, I felt ready to take the steps necessary to get the book out there. (Plus, I enjoyed the thought of being in charge of every detail – who would edit the book, what the cover design would be, how the book promotion would go, etc. Self-publishing allows me to make my own brand and implement my own plan.)

But there was also another reason besides the plan’s viability. Self-publishing seemed like a good option because Bleeding Heart is not a traditional story. It’s short (for a novel), for one thing. And the plot takes some twists that deviate from the formula for Christian romance. I had it in mind to self-publish be
fore I sent the book to my editor, but seeing her voice the concern in her comments that I would have a difficult time getting a publisher to accept it as it was – that sort of clinched it for me! I think making it more “formulaic” would make it a different story than the one I wanted to tell… So, self-publishing it was, then. *wink*

What was your favorite part of the process in publishing your book?

Not formatting, LOL! I think the most fun part was working on the cover design with Lena Goldfinch. She did all of the work, but I loved brainstorming with her. And having a beautiful cover made the project really come to life for me! It even inspired a scene I added during the editing phase.

To be honest, while I dreaded editing, I actually ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would! It felt great to see the story shine a little more. It really is a privilege to have a “second chance” to make a story better!

Is this your first book? What makes you love this story?

This is my first published book, but it’s actually the second book I wrote (the first being Forget Me Not, the prequel to Bleeding Heart). The interesting thing, I suppose, is that I’m publishing a sequel before its predecessor – although each book is a stand-alone. I guess it was just a matter of timing and what I was ready to face and to share first… (Kind of fits with the name I gave my “publisher” – Seasons of a Story.)

As for Bleeding Heart, I love it because the journey of writing it helped me to define some of my beliefs about love – or at least wrestle with them. I love it because it’s set in places that capture my imagination and peopled with characters that have become so dear to me. I love it because it was a chance to take what I learned from the first book and apply it to a new story, and because it is a story that makes me want to write more.

Do you have certain books or authors you might compare it too?

This is one of those questions where I feel I need to start my response with, “If I may be so bold…” The authors I’m about to mention are ones I admire so much, and I hope it’s not too presumptuous to compare my writing with theirs! They inspire me. J

I’d say my writing is in a similar style as that of Laura Frantz, Tamera Alexander, Elizabeth Camden, Serena Miller, Jody Hedlund, and Joanne Bischof – or at least it aspires to be! It’s a little hard to compare, because many of these authors’ books are history-heavy (in a good way!) and certainly longer than mine. I hope Bleeding Heart carries echoes of Laura, Tamera, and Elizabeth’s serious but beautiful prose. The story itself references a logging town, which brings to mind The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller and Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund (although the logging town in Bleeding Heart is in the redwoods of Northern California, not in Michigan). And Bleeding Heart is very emotionally focused, kind of darker (but hopeful) like Joanne Bischof’s “The Cadence of Grace” series.

Are you planning on self publishing another title in the near future?

Yes! The next two projects I want to focus on are a companion short story, along with the prequel to Bleeding Heart. I plan to write the short story soon and enter it in a contest, so we’ll see how that goes! And I hope to publish Forget Me Not Winter 2014. After that, I do have a title and a main character in mind for another sequel… Maybe to be released Summer 2014? I might be overly optimistic in my writing goals, but it’s fun to embrace this season of ideas swimming through my mind!

What do you hope people are going to love and/or appreciate about Bleeding Heart?

I hope they love the journey. I hope they are challenged or encouraged in even some small way by it – by the things it might make them ponder, or remember, or feel.

Congratulations, Amber! So thrilled you are taking this next step!! :- )


Thank you so much, my friend! I appreciate this chance to share about Bleeding Heart with your readers.


Click to enter THIS prize pack!


Leave a comment HERE today for a chance to win Amber's novel for Kindle! One entry per comment. Open internationally (and standard giveaway rules apply. ;-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yummy! ~ The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson ~ Review

Dab a bit of icing on that cake…it’s done! The loveable Rossi family can’t get any bigger or more loveable…or can they? Maybe they need to add another lovely member for one of their long-time single young men, hmmm?

            For all the fans of the “Bella books”, we’ve ALL been waiting for Armamdo’s love story. The bad boy of the Rossi clan? Oh yeah. I won’t say too much for fear of giving away the entire plot of the story, but know this: for old and new fans of Thompson’s loveable clan they are sure to find the perfect match in Scarlett and Armando’s love story.

            I love surrounding a fun, first-person book around food. Probably because anything Italian and then sweet involved with more than a dollop of romance just makes for a yummy, enjoyable escape. The novel is perfect on all these counts. It’s sweet and tender with Thompson’s brand of humor that keeps the pages flippin’ beneath the fingers.

            I giggled and sighed through the story, more than a bit glad I got to spend so much time with Bella and her family and get to know Scarlett – and oh Scarlett has a story to tell, a sure favorite for contemporary romantic comedy readers. Talk about beloved characters!

            This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.


            **Available August 2013 from Revell, a division of Baker publishers**

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More about the novel...

Scarlet Lindsey’s aunt Wilhelmina may be Texas’s most popular cake baker extraordinaire, but she’s
also getting on in years. When Scarlet decides to take on the role of cake decorator at her cranky aunt’s bidding, it’s just the beginning of a series of misunderstandings and mishaps that will lead her to compete in a cake challenge on national television-and might even lead her to finding true love.

Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what her readers love best-bridal business drama. Bella and the gang are all here and readers will fall in love with the newest quirky characters straight from the creative mind of a fantastic storyteller.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Giveaway! The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson!

Welcome back to Writing for Christ Janice Thompson, I am excited to have you here for a second time. :-)

What has changed in your writing life since you were last here?

Where do I start? So many things have happened in my personal life and writing life. Over the past six months I’ve welcomed two new granddaughters into the fold and said goodbye to be my best friend, who was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer on Valentine’s Day. It’s been a season of traumatic ups and downs. In the middle of it all, I kept writing, of course. That’s what writers do. In my case, I did my best to keep my funny bone oiled, (though it seemed impossible at times). God graced me through. I can honestly say that the book I just turned in was the funniest I’ve written in years!

What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?

I loved Anita Higman’s upcoming book, Marriage in Middlebury. Here’s my endorsement of the story: “An exquisite love story! Marriage in Middlebury offers rea
ders the perfect blend of sweet and savory with a variety of humorous twists and intriguing turns throughout. This beautifully written tale touched me in deep places while lifting my spirits every step of the way. Highly recommended!”

Do you have favorite authors?

I love the lightweights (funny girls) like Kristin Billerbeck and Robin Jones Gunn, but I also love a novel with depth. One of my favorites is Linda Nichols At the Scent of Water. Wow…just…wow. What an amazing story.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of writing or connecting with readers?

I love hearing from my readers. Most of them stay connected with me on facebook. I have an author page there (Janice Hanna Thompson Readers Page) and I also have a private group that I call my “Dream Team.” “Dreamers” are folks who hang out with me on a more personal/regular basis. I go to them with prayer requests and they’re the first to hear when I need help naming characters, etc. What a precious group!

What do you find the most ideal atmosphere for writing? Do you ever get those surroundings? :-)

Ideally, I would be sitting at the water’s edge writing, writing, writing. I’m reminded of a time when our family went on vacation in Laguna Beach, CA. The house we stayed in was located at the top of the cliffs. When our bedroom window opened we could hear the waters of the Pacific rush against the cliffs below. Wow! I’ve never experienced such a remarkable writing environment. I could revisit that place every day and have spectacular results, I believe! Unfortunately, I don’t live in California, so that’s not realistic. I have created a lovely office in my home where I sit to write. I also seem to write well in public places (Starbuck’s, Panera’s, etc.) Maybe it’s the smell of food. :-)

Okay, something fun for those writers out there: In what point of your writing career did you surprise yourself by writing the most words ever in the shortest amount of time?

Back in 2010 I was given the opportunity to write Love Finds You in Poetry Texas for Summerside. Only one problem—they needed it ASAP. I’d already written the first few chapters, but the crux of the book was written in a ten-day period. (You just haven’t lived until you’ve spilled out 10 – 15,000 words in a day! I still love that story and am so grateful that it unveiled itself to me in such a miraculous way. My most recent book for Revell came at a rapid pace, too. 

Thanks for being here again! It has been a joy and we wish the very best with your novels.

Thanks for having me! Always a pleasure! 

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win Janice's book!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 30th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, August 16, 2013

One of Sundin's Best! ~ On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin ~ Review

I fell in love with this story. From the sweeping Italian countryside, to the romance blooming in the hearts of the main characters, to the brilliance of a World War II backdrop, “On Distant Shores” is one of those sagas that reads like a movie: bright and vibrant in the mind’s eye.
           
While a tumultuous time of war and horror, I have always enjoyed a well-written WWII novel. There is something about the era, the romance and the driving force behind the character’s action, while romanticized, is also incredibly compelling. Descriptions take you smack-dab into the middle of a WWII pharmacists’ world. I understood the thrills and frustrations and fears of being a nurse aboard an aircraft in the middle of enemy air. When done right, it is so spectacular; and this book was definitely done right!
           
I loved how I was truly taken into the heart of these characters. You know their fears, joys and struggles and visibly watch them change upon the page. Everything that is a part of who they are affects their daily lives in a symbiotic dance that is so much fun for a reader.
            
I loved every bit of reading this book and it didn’t last nearly long enough. A perfect summer historical that took me across the ocean and through the air into the beautiful Italian countryside and even more compelling main characters.

           
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through Litfuse publicity for my copy to review.  



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More about the novel...

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

"With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin pens another exciting tale in her series featuring WWII flight nurses. Fans new and old will find in On Distant Shores the perfect combination of emotion, action, and romance.



*~*~*CONTEST INFO!*~*~*

Sarah Sundin is celebrating the release of her latest novel, On Distant Shores, with a Romantic Weekend Getaway giveaway!
On-Distant-Shores-rafflecopter

  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (good for a perfect couple's getaway)
  • With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 2nd. Winner will be announced September 3rd at the "On Distant Shores" Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Weekend Getaway, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at the next book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.

So grab your copy of On Distant Shores and join Sarah on the evening of September 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 3rd!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giveaway! Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig!


Welcome to Writing for Christ Elizabeth Ludwig, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

Interesting? Well, here’s a fun one…sometimes, when I’m visualizing a scene in my head, I talk to myself so I can hear what the dialogue will sound like. It’s not usually a problem, unless I’m driving, in which case, I simply act like I’m on the phone. LOL!

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

Historicals are definitely my favorite to both read AND write. Favorite authors include Francine Rivers and Tamera Alexander, although sometimes, I’ll get on a YA kick and then I like to read Elisabeth Stengl or Jill Williamson.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

I have tried to learn something from every manuscript I’ve ever written, whether they were published or not. From my historicals, I’ve learned how important it is to research every detail of my story, from the fabrics women wore to the building materials that were in use.
With my mysteries, I learned the techniques for creating tension and planting clues. I guess the bottom line is this…never stop learning. No matter what genre you’re in, be teachable, because more than anything else, writing is a job. Only those who are willing to work the hardest will be successful.

5 things you love?

Number one is definitely my Lord. A close second is my family. Everything else follows in quick succession…dachshunds, chocolate, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, although not necessarily in that order. J

What novel have you recently read that has stood out to you that both teens and adults will find enjoyment in?

Let’s see…I just finished reading and reviewing The Blue Door by Christa Kinde which was very good. This was Christa’s debut novel, and I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed a new YA author so much. I also enjoyed Dani Pettrey’s book called Submerged. Both of these books had an element of suspense in them which I suppose is why I liked them! My favorite soon-to-be-released book, however, is a biblical fiction by Stephanie Landsem called The Well. A must read, in my humble opinion.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

I have a website at www.elizabethludwig.com and a blog at www.theborrowedbook.blogspot.com, but my favorite place to connect is still on facebook. I hope you’ll stop by!

Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks so much for having me, Casey.

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win Elizabeth's book!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 23rd
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Something Wonderfully Fun Has Happened!

Photo Credit
I was eagerly looking forward to this day.

Counting down, eyeing the numbers, subtracting, adding. Waiting, waiting for that moment...

It was a handful of posts away. I could feel it. That moment of realizing...

Then I (embarrassed)...forgot. 

I visited my blogger dashboard one morning and! Oh! Oh! 

The moment had not already passed, but I was already cruising down the road with this landmark in my rear view mirror.

But I couldn't let it completely slip away. So I'm sharing with you today. Grinning. Dancing. Can't BELIEVE I made it this far. 

It's blown me away.

Friday, July 26, 2013 marked my ONE THOUSANDTH blog post.

1,000 posts. 

ONE THOUSAND.

That's a LOT of words.

That's a lot of blog posts.

That's a lot you guys have read and commented and tweeted and pinned and loved on for over three years. 

That's something else.

I'm celebrating. And I want to share the celebration with you!

Do you have a favorite post of mine? I know to actually find the post might be a challenge, so if you'd leave a comment about the post, I'd LOVE, LOVE that! 

Regardless, leave a comment, 'cause I'm giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

ONE THOUSAND POSTS, people. I think I'm a little bit of insane. :D

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Darkly Mysterious and Romantic ~ Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig ~ Review

Something about a dark Irish rogue and his bonny lass on the streets of New York in the 19th century, had me turning pages in bulk in not much more than one sitting.
          
  Book two in the “Edge of Freedom” series had me as strongly captivated as the first title. Definitely a sequential series with strong and vibrant characters, I was literally sucked into the underworld of Irish mobs, cloak and dagger danger and a romance to patter the heartbeat.
            
Eoghan and Ana are strong characters on the page. Maybe it’s their Irish heritage. Or their determination to protect their own and their fierce devotion to what they believe to be right…it’s probably all three. Along with captivating dialogue and vivid descriptions that burn across the pages as brightly as Ana’s childhood nightmares.
           
I loved that I got to see into our villain’s mind - that the reader always knows he’s just around the counter, waiting, waiting…and the reader is trusted with the intelligence level of the story as much twists and writhes its way through the story making a bit of a complicated tapestry.
         
   The story definitely isn’t over yet and I’ll be waiting with baited breath for book number three; I can’t imagine it being anything less than stellar as “Dark Road Home” has proven to be.

            
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.



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More about the novel...

Ana Kavanagh’s only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor
of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen.

At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger–his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors–all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? 

As dark secrets from Ana’s past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow–and where to finally place his trust.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Giveaway! On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin!


Welcome to Writing for Christ Sarah Sundin, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

I took ballet lessons for ten years while growing up, including pointe-work (“on your toes”). My teacher was very traditional and didn’t allow us to use lamb’s wool or anything to cushion our toes—it “didn’t allow you to feel the floor.” I finally got rid of the scars on my toes from all the blisters. However, she was a fabulous teacher and taught us so much—not just ballet, but discipline and respect and perseverance.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

I love to write historical fiction, but I read other genres too. Historicals, women’s fiction, contemporary romance…I also like some thrillers and fantasy.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

The best writing advice I received early on was about truly writing from the character’s point of view. Learning to see what my character sees, hear what she hears, feel what she feels, think what she thinks—and to infuse every word with my character’s voice, even the narration and description. This revolutionized my writing.


5 things you love?

My kids’ laughter, crisp autumn days, gumdrops, the redwoods, and caffeine.

What novel have you recently read that has stood out to you that both teens and adults will find enjoyment in?

That’s the nice thing about Christian fiction—so much is appropriate for both teens and adults. My teen daughter and I fight over the new books as they come in. We don’t always share the same taste, but we enjoy many of the same authors. I’m currently reading Karen Barnett’s Mistaken, set in the 1920s, and I’m sure teens will like it too—romance, danger…two handsome men for the heroine to choose between.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

I love to visit with readers. You can find me at…
Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win Sarah's book!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 16th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, August 2, 2013

How are you preparing for your best marriage?

Photo credit
There aren’t very many young females out there that don’t have some kind of wedding dream. Pinterest has certainly fed this desire with the opportunities to pin elaborate wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, decorations and all the perfect photos we will want taken on our special day. I certainly can’t judge or deny anyone this privilege. Good grief, of my 1900 pins, 300 plus are wedding or romance related. We are created for romance after all by the great Romancer of our souls.

But how many of us actually think about the days beyond the white dress? I can raise my hand and be guilty of this myself. There is nothing wrong with these dreams, but would like to challenge you, while challenging myself, to dream beyond that “perfect day” and into the future you will be spending with the one person you have vowed to love and honor until “death do you part”.

Be proactive in your dreaming, learning to become the wife God is calling you to be. We are only single for a short period of time. A shorter period of time than we will be a wife. What are we doing right now? Are we being a good steward of this time of singleness? What is God wanting to teach us in this?

Are you learning to keep a good home? A home that honors God and your husband?

If you live alone, are you filling your home with the light of God? If you still live at home, how are you honoring those in authority over you? How you respect your father, mother, siblings, etc, will be your default for how you respect your own husband someday. Wow, what conviction this is to my spirit!

Are you experimenting with food? Learning how to cook?

The old adage is the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Hopefully we don’t find a man quite so shallow (wink), but food is a form of communication. It’s a love language on many levels, because it takes time. Time to prepare and time to present. Time to enjoy. A place of connection and bonding. Take the time now to have fun with food and share the fun with others!

Are you studying what it means to be pure in singleness and pure in marriage? Are you communicating with like-minded singles and long-married couples about the importance of your current role and your future one?

Being single is not a solitary time in life. I’m continually learning to find fun and joy in simple activities with other young people. But it can be so important to talk about your desires and dreams with other like-minded people. Search (and pray) for a strong Christian married woman (or man) as a mentor during your single years. Learn from these people and prepare yourself for a lifetime of commitment.

Understand the meaning of commitment. The value of waiting. And cultivate a desire to never “settle”.


Much as you would clean and prepare a home for selling, clean and prepare your heart for marriage. You might not have the timetable or the diamond, but now is the time regardless. Examine the soul of your intent and pray for God to continue the good work He has started in You, just as the scriptures promise. Don’t fall into the trap of yearning for marriage, just for the sake of being married. But yearn for today, for tomorrow and the good work God is doing to prepare you for your marriage. And pray your future husband cares the same for you as you do for him. 

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