Archive for March, 2016





Rebirth: Book One of the Reluctant Warrior Chronicles
Amy Brock McNew

Release Date: May 24, 2016
Paperback: $16.99, eBook: $4.99 (Pre-order Price of $2.99)
Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, LLC
Genre: Urban Fantasy, ISBN: 978-1-943788-06-4

Back Cover Copy:
Liz Brantley has a gift she wants to return. Able to see and fight demonic forces, she has
spent her life alone, battling the minions of hell bent on her destruction, running from the
God who gave her this curse. Drawn to her abilities, the demon Markus unleashes havoc on
her hometown and pulls Liz further into the throes of battle.
Desperate for a normal life, she’s intrigued by a mysterious man who seems to know
nothing of the mystical realm that haunts her. But her slice of normal slips from her grasp
when an old flame, Ryland Vaughn, reappears with secrets of his own. Secrets that affect
Torn between two worlds, Liz is caught in an ancient war between good and evil. And she
isn’t sure which side to choose. Will Liz be able to defeat her personal demons? Or will she
embrace them?


Amy Brock McNew doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it.
Exploring the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird, Amy pours her guts
onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is
off-limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our
sheltered and controlled realities. Visit AmyBrockMcNew.com to learn more about this
intriguing author.
Social Media Links:
Website: http://amybrockmcnew.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyBrockMcNewAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyBrockMcNew
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26955721-amy-mcnew
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/AmyBrockMcNew/
Purchase Links: (Coming Soon)
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo

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Please give a big welcome to—





rem:  Thank you, Robin for being on my blog this week.

Robin: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

rem: Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Robin: About me. I’m eclectic, I’m a singer and actress and artist, as well as a writer. I have three grown children and two precious grand girls. I was born at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, we moved around a lot—I went from coast to coast and back again before I was even born!—lived sixteen years in Colorado, and now live in the upstate of South Carolina. I’ve been here for 28 years.

rem: Tell us three things about yourself.

Robin: 1) I love all things British and Irish, and I do a pretty good British and Irish accent; my favourite thing to say in accent, is, “I’m born in Mississippi.” 2) I have a twisted sense of humour. But I’m really fun to be with! 3) I had knee replacement seven weeks ago and I couldn’t be more satisfied or excited! (I’ve needed it since, well, forever really.)


rem: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

Robin: Ice cream: chocolate mint, close second, cinnamon swirl. Cookie: snicker doodle, close second, mint chocolate chip.

rem: If you could have any super power what would it be?

Robin: The way Samantha Stevens could speed herself up. I always have so much to do and not enough time to do it. There are two reasons for this: not the best at time management but also I get really tired really easily. (which is changing since my surgery!)

rem: Which Muppet do you most resemble? Why?

Robin: Big Bird? ‘cause,  you know, Robin, bird…  (I’m kind of out of the Muppet loop these days)

rem: Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

Robin: Yes. I drink coffee in the mornings, then tea the rest of the time (my blood type is A-tea-positive…..) Definitely not sweetened, coffee or tea. And coffee is cinnamon hazelnut, tea is Pekoe and green tea, no flavors.

rem: Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer? What are the names of your pets?

Robin: I think I’m part cat. I like dogs okay, but I’ a cat lover. They are, Shadow (the Mama), Trinity Juniper Star, Jasper Jupiter Mars, Jacob Jeremiah, and Princess Penelope Primrose.


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rem: Superman or Batman?

Robin: Batman. Hello? Robin here….. #sorryhadto

rem: Vacation: beach or mountains?

Robin: Give me my mountains. #rockymountainhigh

rem: What is your most treasured possession?

Robin: Of things it would be my birthstone ring. It’s a pink amethyst, which is a rare color variation. My mother’s father bought it in 1919, forty years before I was born.

rem: What is your greatest fear?

Robin: Oddly enough, my fear used to be success not failure. Failure I knew, success terrified me.

rem: What is your greatest regret?

Robin: Being afraid of success for so many years.

rem: What is your favourite quotation and why?

Robin: There are so many that I identify with but given my aforementioned fear of success, this one speaks to me deeply: “What if I fail? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?” attributed to Erin Hanson (see greatest fear and regret)



rem: What do you do as a hobby?

Robin: Does research count? LOL When I’m not writing or reading, I like to paint and draw, I love to be outdoors and go for long walks. (which I’ll be able to do without pain as recovery from surgery progresses!) I also love to cook and bake.

rem: What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

Robin: Genuineness. Don’t play games with me, be real. Qualities that make a man or woman are integrity, honesty, compassion. Oh, and a sense of humour!

rem: When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

Robin: The story has to be real, plausible even fantasy and sci fi. And it has to be well told.

rem: Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

Robin: Ummmm…. let me get back to you on that one…. I read few more than once.

rem: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Robin: Too cliché to say Robin Hood?

rem: If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?

Robin: Too cliché to say Maid Marian?

rem: Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

Robin: Favorite genre, easy, historical fiction, Biblical fiction in particular. Favorite authors include Tessa Afshar, Marian Merritt, Kristen Heitzmann, Valerie Comer, newcomer Connilyn Cossette—it’s a long list…

rem: Which is more important: plot or characters?

Robin: Yes. According to DiAnn Mills, “They are inseparable.” (from my interview with her on 28 January) The way I see it, one feeds the other.


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rem: What would you do if you weren’t writing?

Robin: Wishing I was. I’ve my BFA in Interior Design and I love doing it. But writing fits me like nothing ever has.


rem: Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Robin: I started writing in 1995 as a self-prescribed therapy; I was going through some pretty intense self-examination at the time, going to counseling and on anti-depressant. The writing “came” to me, naturally, and turned into something so much more. I started with my story (which will never see publication) and over the years, have written dozens of poems. In July of 2008, the opening of Tessa, my debut novel, came to me. I made a bit of a start, then lost a chunk (digital malfunction) and I abandoned it. I also went back to school, started with the 2009 spring semester, and that didn’t leave much time for writing (I was also diagnosed with RA during this time.) After graduation, and the anticipated illustrious career in Interior Design did not manifest, I set back to my writing; I got serious about it somewhere around September of that year, and by end of January 2014, Tessa was complete. The rest, as they say, is history.

rem: What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

Robin: Routine, not so much. Although, the muse seems strongest in the afternoon and evening. (In fact, I just set myself an alarm for 5:00—I feed the fur babies at about 5:30 and was so into writing I missed it. Looked up and it was after six! Of course, this also means my supper is later rather than earlier…)

In preparation for surgery, I had to rearrange my living room (technically, two wonderful friend did this for me, and wouldn’t even let me help!) I now have a niche with my writing accoutrements at hand—I “nest” as I write and need everything within easy reach—and it works very well for me. Almost officey looking even.


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rem: What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Robin: Discipline? Focus? Staying off of Facebook….  (yeeps) Once I get into my storyline, at whatever point that might be, it’s pretty golden, and words flow. It’s just that “jump” over that hurdle; I think all writers struggle with this at one time or another.

rem: Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

Robin: Yes. Like plot and character, they are, for me, inseparable. There is the school of thought that you write the first draft without so much as glancing back over it at all, at all. I can’t do that, I need to review, see where I’ve been to get the feel for where it’s going. And yes, I edit as I go. Same principle.

rem: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Robin: The stories. As a plantzer  I don’t know [most of] the story until I write it. I know the general arc, and where the story needs to go to resolution, but how it gets there—no clue until the characters tell me!



rem: What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

Robin: The hardest? I had no clue what I was doing. The easiest? I had a friend who did!

rem: What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

Robin: DO: 1) Keep writing. 2) Network. Get involved in writing communities, both live and online. Be involved in the writing journey of other writers. 3) Never give up. 4) Don’t compare yourself – your writing or your journey – to another writer. What works, or fits, for one will and necessarily be the best plan for you. 5) One more nugget, which most writers accept as par for the course. Read. Read. And read some more. I have read some that were not what I would have otherwise read, and found that I quite enjoyed them. Like any other field, we are ever learning and growing, and honing our craft. (okay that was more than three… )
DON’T: 1) Ever give up. 2) Forego the value of editing! Or professioinal cover design. No one person can do it all. As an artist, it was hard to let go of my concept for my cover, but in the end I’m very happy with my covers! (designed by Victorine Lieske, by the way) 3) (don’t) take criticism personally. A good critique will have issues that may or may not hurt our feelings, but to produce the best we can produce, we must have more than our own eyes on our work.

rem: Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Robin: Yes. Anywhere and everywhere. The most random thing can trigger a new story, a name, a concept…

rem: What do you like most about being a writer?
Robin: The creative process, which really isn’t much of a process at all. It’s amorphic, fluid, ever changing. While I know I need the [ahem] discipline, as a creative, this flexibility serves me well. I really love being able to tell a story that others enjoy reading. And as I’ve cast my networking net, I am thriving on the community of writers I am now part of!
rem: Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

Robin: Third book in, and I could no more pick a favorite than I could choose a favorite between my children!

rem: Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

Robin: Cassie. She didn’t know her own amazing talent and ability. She didn’t loathe herself as I did, but neither did she know her worth, or really who she was; she felt invisible, and I very much relate to that.

rem: Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

Robin: Tessa, Clara Bess, and Cissy are all part of the unsavory heritage series. When I wrote Tessa, I had no idea of a sequel, let alone a series. Father God, however, had a plan. Cissy is the culmination of the generational story. It is where the “unsavory” begins, and loops back and forth between the 1860’s and current day; it is also the resolution of the unsavory heritage.

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rem: Why do you write Christian fiction?
: For me it’s an opportunity to express my faith without being “preachy.” There’s a time and place for traditional witnessing, but to me the greater value and effect is being real in what I believe and living my life accordingly; indeed, this opens the door for direct ministry. For me to be able to write the way I write – which I cannot market as Christian Fiction because of a few “no-no” words – and yet I am a Christian and I am an author, so my faith is in every word I write (yes, even “those” words) and my story conveys what I believe. In the grander scheme, Christian fiction is a platform that readers hold in their hands, and they may confront a Truth they never realized or understood before. If something I write gives a reader pause, plants a seed, or waters a seed planted, then my story is a success.
rem: What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

Robin: Know who you are, and why you were created. Identity is from Father God, and He will bring us to our purpose.

rem: How do you hope your readers react to your stories?
: Like any other author, I hope readers fall in love with my characters. I hope they find some truth, something that speaks to them in the words I write. I hope some facet of my story rings true with my readers.


rem:  Thanks for joining us today, Robin. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!


#robinemason, #authorinterview, #interivewselfie, #unsavoryheritageseries, #tessa, #larabess, #cissy

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What happens when something so devastating drives a young girl from home? Around the globe, even. And defines her life from that moment forward.

And what happens when that life that has kept her as far away from home crumbles around her.

She returns home, even if only to regain her bearings and leave again.

Liz Nemesek’s world caved in on her when she was seventeen. And now, eleven years later, her lifestyle has left her with no place to go but home. To Galena Landing, Idaho. A far cry and miles from her years in Thailand.


Mason Waterman was the cool-dude-bad-boy in high school. Years of partying have left him with five-year-old twins to raise on his own. And he, too, has returned to Galena Landing, to reclaim his footing and bearing in life.


The difference is, Mason has changed, and repented before God. He is a new man, set to live life by the straight and narrow.


And when Liz and Mason’s paths cross? Sparks fly. Liz is more determined than ever to leave Galena Landing, and sooner than later. Is her heart so cold, even to God, that she can never open herself up to love again? Can she bide her time with Mason around until a job offer comes through? Or will she run again, and fall further down the depths of despair?


Or can she forgive Mason, after all? Are the feeling stirring for him just another train wreck waiting to happen? Or will Liz’s life get back on track after all?


Ms. Comer has written a delightful story with very real characters and situations that echo life all too well. Her style is witty and enchanting, enticing me back for more. I did not read these stories in order, but was not lost without that established sequence; each story stands well on its own, and yet, weaves beautifully with each of the others. Each subsequent book adds layers to the story Ms. Comer has established, and I look forward to reading many more from this author.


Be sure to read the first five in the Farm Fresh series. See my reviews on these books at





I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.





valerie comer

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her debut novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance, won the 2014 Word Guild Award for best contemporary romance by a Canadian author. She injects experience laced with humor into her tales of farm living in this farm lit series that includes Wild Mint Tea, Sweetened with Honey and Dandelions for Dinner. Valerie also writes fantasy as Valerie R Comer.

Find out where food meets faith and fiction at http://valeriecomer.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.


Connect with Valerie at:








#berryontop, #valeriecomer, #framfreshromance, #raspberriesandvinegar, #wildminttea, #sweetenedwithhoney, #dandelionsfordinner, #plumupsidedown

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032816 - dori devries - new week new face - banner


 Hiring an Editor Gives Authors Bragging Writes (Pun Intended)


As a freelance writer and former journalist, I’ve written more than a thousand articles—and been edited more than a thousand times. Now I edit books full time, and I write part time—and even though I’m an editor, I have two professional editors of my own. Why would an editor have her own editors?


  • Because I love my writing, the charming turn of phrase, the amazing simile that came out of nowhere (which I first wrote as know where. I’m thankful I caught that before turning this post in!).
  • Because I cannot maintain objectivity about my own words.
  • Because what I think is perfect, another can spot the flaws and inconsistencies immediately.
  • Because many times, even though I know the difference, I write hoard rather than horde and affect when I mean effect.
  • Because when I read my writing, I read it as I meant to write it, not what it actually says.


I’m no different than any other writer, so I hire professional editors to make sure I look good and sound great. And as an editor, I practice what I preach. I’ve set a standard for myself—I will not publish without first being edited. The first question I ask when a blogger approaches me about writing a guest blog post is, “Will my article be edited?” If not, either I won’t write the post, or I’ll pay my own editor to edit it. (rem: yes, I edited it.)


Editors bring value to a writer’s words beyond what a writer can accomplish on his or her own. When writers hire professional editors, they are no longer just writers—they become authors who make sure they deliver the highest-quality reading experience.


Many of us have read books (and articles and blogs) with little to no editing. Even a tense and well-plotted story line gets buried beneath poor sentence structure, errors, lack of continuity, unfamiliar style, repetitive words and phrases, and slow pacing.


Writers who care about their readers’ expectations hire professional editors, even if it means saving money for months to pay editorial fees.


What do I mean by a professional editor? I mean someone who’s skilled in the use of style manuals; has developed methods to catch errors and other inconsistencies in authors’ texts (which a sample edit will reveal); has a published portfolio of editing projects; has multiple author testimonials; and whose income depends, in large part, on editing. (Yes, some editors are just starting out and aren’t as skilled as established editors. Most are up front [as they should be] about this, and oftentimes they work for discounted rates in order to build their businesses and establish their portfolios.)




If you want to brag about your book, article, or blog post, hire an editor to increase the value of your product. Here’s what editors do, in part:


  1. Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. An editor will use a main dictionary and backup dictionaries to ensure accurate and consistent spelling. And editors are especially alert for homophones and typos, which plague all writers.
  2. Apply style guides. The publishing industry applies certain style guides to writing projects. For example, book publishers usually follow the Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) and Merriam-Webster. Newspapers and magazines typically use the Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World Dictionary. Christian publications often follow the Christian Writers Manual of Style. A professional editor knows which style guide to apply to your project—and knows when to make an exception to the style guide too.


What’s an example of style? Numbers. CMoS spells out numbers below one hundred (AP spells out numbers below ten). CMoS prefers italics for emphasis and book titles (AP uses no italics, and puts quotation marks around books). For hyphens, CMoS (and AP too, for the most part) prefers compound adjectives be hyphenated before a noun (the bluish-green dress) but not after (the dress was bluish green), in most cases. The CMoS hyphenation guide is eight pages long. My advice to authors regarding hyphenating words? Hyphenate where you think it works, and let your editor take it from there.


Applying the proper style guide helps keep your writing consistent with publishing-industry standards and means it will look familiar to readers, which is vital to a book’s or an article’s success. If a reader has to wonder why periods and commas are outside the quotation marks in your book but not in any other books they read, that’s a signal to them the book wasn’t edited.


  1. Offer rewording and restructuring options. When the true intent of a sentence or paragraph is lost in awkward phrasing, an editor will offer suggestions for clarity, keeping in mind the author’s voice and writing style.
  2. Note story inconsistencies. It takes vigilance and sharp-eyed attention to the story to note that on page 7 (with CMoS style, page numbers are typically numerals) a cabin in the woods in Washington state is the same cabin mentioned on page 250—but is now in Oregon on the coast. Or a story takes place in a year in which smartphones weren’t used yet, but characters are busy swiping cell phone screens and asking Siri for directions.
  3. Separate the wheat from the chaff. An editor spots unnecessary redundancies in wording and the story, and recommends deleting these elements to allow the story and writing to shine through.
  4. Point out the gems. An editor will comment on writing and story strengths so that an author can clearly see what he or she is doing well, which helps bring focus to the revision process and to future writing projects.


What author doesn’t want the privilege of bragging about his or her writing? Hiring a professional editor builds authors’ confidence by making them look and sound their best. So if you’re writing a book or article or blog post, reach out to a trusted writing friend or adviser for a referral to a professional editor—and then start bragging about hiring one.


By the way, this article was edited using CMoS, with a little AP exception. Can you spot the exception (it’s minor)?




Dori Harrell edits full time, and as an editor, she releases more than twenty-five books annually. Her client list includes indie authors, best-selling writers, and publishers. An award-winning writer, she’s published more than 1,000 articles between her journalism career and freelance writing. She can be contacted at www.doriharrell.wix.com/breakoutediting or doriharrell@gmail.com.



#doriharrell, ##newweeknewface, #NWNF, #braggingwrites, #grammar, #punctuation, #spelling, #chicagomanualofstyle

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sharing a powerful post by my friend, Michelle Griep.




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Winds blow and seasons change. Spring is a time of rebirth, and autumn of dying off. Right? We tend to think of the seasons in order: spring, summer, autumn, and winter (and phooey to whoever said …

Source: AUTUMN

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Author Interview – HARRIET MICHAEL







Harriet is a Christian writer and speaker. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, magazines, anthologies, and devotionals including, Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, David C Cook Company, Lifeway, Celebrate Life, and many others. She has written two e-books about prayer,

When the Psalmist penned the verse quoted at the top of my homepage, he penned one of the most beautiful verses in scripture. The verse is addressed to “all who fear God”. They are the ones who will be able to truly appreciate what God has done for a soul, because they have a story too – God has done something for their soul too. This blog is my story of what God has done for my soul and like the Psalmist, I invite all who fear God to come and hear (or in this case, read) what God has done for my soul.


rem: Welcome Harriet! So glad to have you on my blog. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

HARRIET: I was born in the jungles of Africa. Really. My parents served as missionaries in the country of Nigeria and the year I was born, they happened to be relieving in the very remote jungle village of Joinkrama. A year after my birth, they transferred to a less remote area for language school and eventually to the city of Ogbomoso. All of my childhood memories are from Ogbomoso, but we did visit Joinkrama once, so I have some memory of it. There really were monkeys swinging in the trees and elephants walking around in Joinkrama. I tasted elephant meat when we visited. One had been killed by a villager, so of course there was plenty of meat to share. J

My parents moved back to the US during the Nigerian- Biafran War. I lived my high school days in Bluefield, WV. After marrying, almost 37 years ago, my husband and I moved to Louisville, KY and still live here today.

rem: Not just to be cliché, but I’d love to visit Africa someday! Tell us three things about yourself.


  • I have four grown children, three sons and a daughter.
  • I have only one grandchild (my daughter’s child). But one of my sons and his wife are in the process of adopting, so I will soon have two grandchildren.
  • Aside from writing, I work part time as a substitute teacher.

rem: Nothing like them grandbabies is there! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

HARRIET: Cotton Candy. I have a serious sweet tooth.

rem: I’d say so! If you could have any super power what would it be?

HARRIET: I’d like to beam myself places, like the people on Star Trek could. Remember that? I was a big Star Trek fan as a teen and always thought it would be nice to be able to be beamed where you want to go, instead of having to spend long hours traveling.

rem: I know right! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

HARRIET: Diet Coke. Haha! But I like coffee and tea too, though I do not consume them often. But when I do, they are always sweetened.

rem: Haha! Ya got me! Vacation: beach or mountains?

HARRIET: Beach, for sure! I love the beach. My family went there every summer when I was a teenager. I don’t get to go as often now as I would like.

rem: I don’t guess so from Kentucky! If you come visit me, we’ll scoot right on over though! What is your favorite quotation and why?

HARRIET: “I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen –not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” –C.S. Lewis

rem: That’s beautiful What do you do as a hobby?

HARRIET: I love to garden, though I don’t have a real green thumb. Plants don’t always grow for me, but I sure do enjoy digging in the dirt and hoping they will grow. I also enjoy pencil drawing and do that on occasion.

rem: Oh! We are kindred spirit—digging in the dirt; I never outgrew that! And I love to draw, too. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

HARRIET: I don’t like sad or terrifying stories. I know they sell but personally I don’t care for them. To quote my sister when she was talking about movies once, “I don’t pay to be made sad or scared. I can feel those ways all on my own without paying anything.”

rem: Good point. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

HARRIET: John Ridd of Lorna Doone. Actually, Lorna Doone is my all-time favorite fiction book too.

rem: Sad to say, if I ever read it, I don’t remember it… Which is more important: plot or characters?

HARRIET: Characters, for sure. If the characters are real to me, I enjoy the book, even if the plot is not particularly riveting.

rem: What would you do if you weren’t writing?

HARRIET: I only started writing a few years ago. I suppose if I were not writing now, I’d do much the same as I used to do—busy myself with hobbies, part time work, and being a wife, mother, and grandmother. But I am so glad God gave me the gift of writing and opened the doors to it. I love it so much. I feel like a kid who loves to play with the gift her Father gave her. I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

rem: I feel the same way! Only ‘cept I’m not growing up! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

HARRIET: Writing is a new work God is doing in my old age. It’s a huge blessing to me and I can only hope it will bless others along the way too. I thank Him daily for opening these doors, even though as is often the case, it was born out of a difficult and even dark time in my life. Through these difficult days, I longed to understand prayer better, searched the scriptures for anything about prayer, and journaled. At the end of four years, I had a manuscript written.


Then in 2009, I attended a writer’s conference, hoping to learn how to get my manuscript published. I came home thinking that goal was unachievable. I had learned three things: 1) I knew very little about the publishing world, even after the conference, 2) I have editing issues. 3) I didn’t have a platform.


Writing still intrigued me. Actually, it did more than that; it pulled like a magnet. I had words I wanted to share and had spent the previous four years honing my ability to put them down on paper. (Learning to write on a computer came later. My 60,000+ word manuscript and my first few articles and devotions were all hand-written and transcribed onto a computer.)


My wheels started turning. If I could start getting small pieces published, then I would be scratching that writing itch while building a platform too. A platform, for those of you who are not writers, was defined to me as the number of people who would read something simply because it was written by you. For me at the time that number was a big zero. Well, my mom and dad would probably read it, so maybe that number was more like two. J


So, I shared my thoughts with my daughter, shortly after returning from the writer’s conference. I sheepishly told her about the workshop on freelancing small pieces and confessed my desire to try it. But who did I think I was fooling? I was not a writer.


My daughter looked up from her orange juice and said, “You know mom, the average American reader only reads at a sixth grade level.”


I burst out laughing and replied, “I can write at that level!”


And I sat down immediately and began transcribing a devotion I had hand-written in my journal onto my computer to send to The Upper Room. That devotion, titled, “The Day of Small Things” based on Zechariah 4:10, became the first piece I ever submitted. It was not the first piece I ever had published, because it takes a long time from submission to publication with some devotional magazines. It was published a year and a half later in the February, 2011 issue of The Upper Room.


Today I have well over a hundred published credits—devotions, articles, non-fiction short stories, online newsletters and magazines, and others.


rem: What an amazing and wonderful journey. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy

HARRIET: I write anywhere and everywhere. I have a writing desk in my bedroom that faces a window. This is my favorite place to write, but sometimes I take my computer downstairs to the kitchen and sit at the table, and other times, I write while I am at work, during the period that the teacher I am subbing for would be planning. I never substitute on Mondays and set that day aside for writing, though sometimes life interferes.

rem: What makes you struggle as a writer? How do you handle it?

HARRIET: So far, I have not suffered writer’s block. Instead I have too many things rolling around in my head that I want to get down in written form. So, more than anything, I struggle with not having enough time to get it all done. How do I handle this? I just plow ahead and keep writing every chance I find.

rem: Me too, never enough time, translated, too much to do. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

HARRIET: Creating, definitely! I actually have editing issues (trouble with spelling and punctuation). I benefit greatly from an outside editor. I have found that my strength is content and publishers often like what I have to say and send me contracts but then their editors go back over the piece—thank goodness!

rem: Even editing inclined people benefit from having their work edited. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

HARRIET: Writing feels like playing to me. I think it’s my first language. I write better than I speak. And fiction writing, especially, feels like I’m a little girl again, playing pretend.

rem: Again with the kindred spirit! How incredible to play and get to call it work! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer?


  • Be persistent
  • Try freelancing some small pieces, especially nonfiction. Having contracts on small pieces is so encouraging. It brings in a little income while it also builds a platform.
  • Network—join groups, attend conferences, get to know other writers.

rem: Numbers one and three, check; number two not so much… Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

HARRIET: Real life. For the most part I am a nonfiction writer and even the few fiction pieces I have written have been fiction based on fact.

rem: Tell us a little about your devotional books.

HARRIET: Among other things, I am a devotional, scripture-based writer. I have had numerous devotions and expository type articles published in magazines—The Upper Room, The Secret Place (Judson Press), Open Windows (Lifeway), SEEK (Standard Publishing), to name a few.

Recently I co-wrote a seasonal devotional book with childhood friend and fellow missionary kid, Shirley Crowder. That book is titled, ‘Glimpses of the Savior”. It contains six weeks of devotions from mid-November- the end of December. Many of the devotions share insights from our childhoods in Africa.

I also have another book coming out very soon from Pix N Pens Publishing. I consider that book, titled “Prayer: It’s Not About You” as my opus. That book took me four years to write and longer than that to get published. It is an in depth look at prayer from a Biblical perspective.

rem: What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

HARRIET: God’s word is the only reliable source for answers to life’s questions. Both of these books, bring the readers back to scripture and helps the reader gain greater insights into what God’s word has to say on certain topics, such as prayer.

rem: If we can point others to Father and His Word, then we have been successful, whatever field we’re in! Thanks for joining us today, Harriet. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!







#harrietmichael, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #glimpsesoftheSavior, #theupperroom

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A young woman who doesn’t fit the mold—but tries to conform to please her family. Disaster in the making. And Penny Ackerman has tried, truly tried, to be what’s expected of her.

Now, she stands in the Chapel-O-Love, waiting for William to arrive. To finally meet him face to face. Their two year online relationship is love, she just knows it is.


Harrison Williams’ brother has found a debutante who has agreed to marry Harrison—for a price of course—and Harrison goes along. It’s the only way he can have his trust fund money.


Only there’s a mix-up. William is a no-show, and Harrison winds up in his place.

And Penny and Harrison end up married.


How, oh how, is Penny going to explain this to her family? Harrison is ready to bail as soon as he realizes the mistake—but he can’t if he wants his trust fund money.


What happens when two people who have never met, who weren’t supposed to get married in the first place, find that they are married to their soul mate? But Penny doesn’t fit in Harrison’s elitist world, nor does he exactly fit in her homey upbringing. And yet…


This is my first read by Ms. Lieske, and I found it to be quite entertaining. The characters are well written, and real, even in the unlikely circumstance. The emotions are strong, and Ms. Lieske has conveyed these on the page. I felt Penny’s frustration as her affection for Harrison grew, I longed for her to tell him her feelings. And yet I understood her hesitation. I connected with the characters, and in the most curious of circumstances, they were real. I was drawn into the story and thoroughly enjoyed this book.






Victorine enjoys commercial success through her writing, thanks in part to her ability to analyze and adapt to the constantly changing trends in today’s publishing environment. She self-published her first book, Not What She Seems, in April of 2010. In March of 2011, Not What She Seems began its 6 week run on The New York Times best selling eBook list. By May 2011 she had sold over 100,000 copies. Victorine’s first romantic comedy novel hit the USA Today Best selling books list in January 2015. Victorine has also helped countless other authors through her involvement and outreach. As immediate past president of the Nebraska Writers Guild, she helped modernize the 90-year-old organization and educated members about the changes occurring in the publishing industry due to the eBook revolution and ease of self-publishing. She is active in many writing groups and forums and has given dozens of interviews for TV, radio and print media and has been a panel member and keynote speaker at several major events, including The Business of Writing International Summit. Her candor as a blogger and guest has made her a favorite with audiences worldwide. Victorine also served as a judge for the 2015 Whitney Awards. Because of her selfless service to fellow authors through assistance with critiquing, beta reading and graphic design, she was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the CIR Strong Award, named for late Clean Indie Reads forum member Jessica Strong. Victorine and her husband have raised their four children in Nebraska. Along with Victorine’s writing and graphic design work for the publishing industry, she and her husband manufacture rubber stamps and wall vinyl for the craft industry. Victorine is represented by literary agent Jason Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group. Her book, How to Find Success Selling eBooks, details how she found success, and gives advice to other writers wanting to sell eBooks in the genre fiction market.


Victorine’s website: http://victorinelieske.com/





#victorinelieske, #mistakenlymarried, #accidentallymarried, #reluctantlymarried

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 On Grief and Authenticity


We’ve all had times of grief. Whether it was over a parent, a friend, a divorce, or the loss of a dearly loved pet… we’ve all sensed the utterly overwhelming pain associated with loss.


And yet, we all grieve in different ways. God created us in such ways that, depending on the makeup of personality, experience, family of origin, and a variety of other factors, we would go through the grieving process in our own way. Some stuff their feelings, others express them liberally, and yet others are unsure of what they’re feeling altogether and if it’s even appropriate.


Many of us are familiar with the work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross when it comes to staging grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. These have, since the 1969 publication of Kübler-Ross’s On Death and Dying, been expanded into seven steps: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, one form or another of depression in coexistence with reflection and loneliness, an upward turn, reconstruction and working through the pain, and finally, acceptance and hope. I don’t believe everyone will necessarily fit into every category along the way to healing, but most of us will at least nod our caps to each stage at some point along the way.


We don’t fit in neat boxes; our grief, like and of our feelings, are not limited to the lists of other people. God made each of us in such a way that, eventually, we would not only find joy again, but that He would make our joy complete. He made us in such a way, that we would remember there is “a time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” (Eccl. 3:4, NLT). We were created to experience the full spectrum of feelings, but to sin not in any of them.


“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” we read in John 16:20 (ASV). God knows that we will be in deep sadness and sorrow sometimes; He’s built us for it. He knows the world is, at times, a cruel and crazy place. We live in a fallen world, where loss is all around us. Sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it’s more corporate, and other times, on a national or global level… but loss is there. And Jesus is the way back from the verge of that chaos; that loss; that pain. If we will allow Him to be. Furthermore, we are admonished, as people of God, to “be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, (NLT). This is part of the healing process. I help you heal by crying with you; being with you in spirit over your pain and loss. You help me by being with me in spirit over my pain and loss. We remind one another of all the good God has done; we assure each other there’s a better tomorrow ahead, while allowing one another to grieve in the way we must.


In many, if not all cultures, bringing food for loved ones is one of the ways we help others cope. Sending cards; checking in with them. These are all good and wonderful things; thoughtful and caring. But we must still hold that shared, often uncomfortable space in order to allow the grief to come; to heal; for tears of mourning turn, in time, to tears of joy and thankfulness for what was; for who was; for how our lives have been blessed by the person or situation that has come and gone, touching our lives in myriad ways we don’t often realize until we can clearly see that, page turned, it’s a new day and we’re still here to write out the future. And we can be assured that we’re stronger for it, once the pain fades.


For some, it’s a very quick process, but I would venture to say that for most of us, grief takes much longer than the people around us often realize or remember from their own experiences. There are times it seems that, when it comes to someone else’s grief, we have amnesia regarding the reality of how long it takes to overcome the loss and truly see life through eyes of love and joy again.


Even when a death is expected, or we’ve seen a loss coming a mile away, we are not necessarily as prepared as we believe we will be, when that day comes. And that’s alright. Please, if you’re grieving, allow yourself that space to be authentic in your grief; don’t hide the stage of life you’re in to suit the people around you. Allowing yourself that time to feel and release the overwhelming and sometimes utterly speechless feelings related to loss can be one of the best gifts you can give yourself right now.


There’s a fine balance, though. Addictions, fears, guilt, and doubts crowd around us when we’re at our lowest. These parasites are what send us into tailspins more often than the grief itself, and force us to take the long way around to find joy again. Sadly, some never come back from the brink; they allow parasites to take over. It feels easier; simpler. Maybe we lie to ourselves and say it’s alright because everyone around us either walks in the company of parasites or seem to have perfect lives. But I tell you this: the people who seem perfect to you have also gone through the fire and endured; they may walk with parasites you can’t see. Those whose issues are clearly seen may have been fighting harder than you realize to become free.

Grief is like an octopus; many legs to it, and they can all entangle if we let them. But Jesus came, that we would find joy again. We are the hands, feet, and mouthpieces of the Christ. And when we know people are suffering loss, it’s within the bounds of our calling to bring them back to our Heavenly Papa so that the grief doesn’t take over; that they can heal, and in doing so, bring ourselves closer to Him, as well.



The fear of God is the death of every other fear; like a mighty lion, it chases all other fears before it. ~ Charles Spurgeon

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. ~ Hebrews 4:12-16 MSG




*Harmony L. Courtney (1977- ) was born in Portland, Oregon and has been writing poetry and short stories from the time she was seven years old. She is the author of The Angels’ Mirror series, and the Brass Mermaid Mysteries.

Ms. Courtney earned her Bachelor of English and Master of Religion degrees from Warner Pacific College, and has a background in design and creative communication. She enjoys poetry, singing, listening to the neighborhood wildlife, and doing research for future books. She lives in the beautiful Pacific NW.


You can follow her writing updates here at her Facebook page.




#harmonycourtney, #newweeknewface, #NWNF, #griefandauthenticity

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rem: Welcome to my blog, Tammy. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TAMMY: I was raised in Ohio. First we lived in the city of Toledo, then my parents moved us to a small town. I live in Topeka, Kansas now.
rem: Tell us three things about yourself.

TAMMY: I love being a Grandma; My husband and I do foster care; I’m almost an empty nester
rem: Nothing like being a Grandma! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

TAMMY: Butter Pecan

rem: Superman or Batman?

TAMMY: Batman – he has all those cool gadgets
rem: I’m a Batman fan too—it’s a, er, Robin thing….. LOL What is your favourite quotation and why?

TAMMY: Live your life so that if anyone would say anything bad about you, no one would believe it.
rem: Oh, I love that. What do you do as a hobby?

TAMMY: Reading, writing, making jewelry
rem: I love reading but don’t have the patience for the jewelry making! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TAMMY: I have always wanted to write. In 2009 I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to fulfill a life long dream. I started out by going to a writer’s conference in Girard, Kansas; “Called to Write.” I wrote a story to the critique by a published author. I found out that I had made every mistake you could ever think of to make in a story. But, I had a place to start, and to learn. The next year I attended again and purposely had scheduled a critique with the same published author. I wrote a whole new beginning to a story after reading a few books on the craft of writing. Well, she told me that I had improved by leaps and bounds. I still had a lot to learn, but I was so encouraged.
rem: What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TAMMY: I usually write for an hour or two after I get home from my full time job. I have converted a small bedroom into an office.
rem: What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TAMMY: I am really insecure sometimes in my ability to write well. To combat that I try and read as much on the craft of writing as I can. Being part of writing on a blog has helped tremendously.
rem: I think every author who has ever written anything has as one time or another struggled with their ability to write well! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TAMMY: I prefer to write. I’m not good at editing. I don’t find my own mistakes well.
rem: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TAMMY: Meeting other writers.

rem: I’ve enjoyed that too! Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

TAMMY: I don’t know where my ideas come from, I have stuff in the back of my head that I would like to write about. Sometimes I will read an article online or in a magazine about a period of history that sparks an idea too.

rem: I understand you entered the “LIH” contest. Tell us about that; what does LIH stand for?

TAMMY: LIH stands for Love Inspired Historical
rem: Tell us about the story you entered in the contest.

TAMMY: My story takes place in 1885 Montana. It’s a romance between a U.S. Marshal doing undercover investigating of cattle rustling, who meets a cattle baron’s niece who is poor relation, so she is made to pay her way by taking care of her precocious cousins. She also has her own crusade to start a library in her frontier town.
rem: Romance, intrigue—sounds good to me. I understand you’ve moved to the second round! Congratulations! Tammy thank you so much for being on my blog today! I look forward to your book when it comes out.

rem: Thanks for joining us today, Tammy. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!



#tammytrail, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #LiveInspiredHistorical

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