Archive for May, 2016

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By Julie Garmon


Have you ever found the answer to a problem in a bizarre way? That happened to me this weekend. Saturday morning, I was stumped.

My problem just so happened to be about writing, but it could’ve been about anything.

Thinking too hard and drinking way too much coffee, I sat in my office staring at dozens of sticky notes. I couldn’t figure out how to fix the plot in my novel.


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By 10 a.m., my brain already felt like this.

A knotted-up mess. 

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*picture from www.pixaby.com


Ever so gently, my word for 2016 came to me.

DANCE. Why don’t you dance?


I can’t dance. 

I have to fix this problem.

Take a break. Dance. Let it go. 

I can’t. 

Work comes before play.


Those are the rules. 

Then four words came to me. Four one-syllable words.

Do you trust Me? 

Yes, of course but…

Then dance–the gentle thought brushed against my heart.

Don’t laugh, y’all, but I did.

I got out my chair, twirled around in my office (no one was home but me), and I boogied my way downstairs–

Like I was the room monitor, slacking off on my duty.

Then I did something really wild and crazy. I hopped into the car. Drove to the YMCA.

For 30 minutes, I played solitaire on the treadmill as though I had absolutely nothing better to do. 

I acted like a kid during recess and danced–mentally and physically. 

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Guess what?


The best thing happened–

When I forgot about my problem, the answer came. I knew what to do! How crazy is that?


Back at home, I moved a few sticky notes around on my whiteboard and fixed my plotting issue. 

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*picture from www.pixaby.com


Sometimes trusting God means we let go, take a break, and dance. Click to Tweet


Is this an aha moment for you too? Or have you always known about the dancing secret? I bet you have! 


P.S. If you have a minute, watch this video from 1978. “Dancing Queen” used to be my fave song back in the day.

If you can’t see the video, click here. It’s impossible to watch it without dancing!



Julie–the Dancing Queen 




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With the tagline, “Southern Stories of Grit and Grace,” hope and humor shine through Julie Garmon’s writing. She’s been a regular contributor to Daily Guideposts since 2003 and writes on assignment for Guideposts magazine. Julie won a coveted spot to the Guideposts’ writers contest in 2004 and is invited to annual workshops. She’s published with Sweet 16, PLUS, Angels on Earth, Homelife, Today’s Christian, Today’s Christian Woman, www.sober24.com, www.crosswalk.com, and www.urbanministries.com. She blogs every other Wednesday from her website, www.juliegarmon.com.


Julie’s been married to her high school sweetheart for 37 years. They have three grown children, a yellow Lab, a morkie, and a calico cat. Her husband raises chickens in the backyard and has outdoor atrium full of parakeets.


She’s working hard to become a novelist who drinks sweet tea while she writes from the rocking chair on her front porch.




Julie Garmon, New Week New Face, NWNF, Dancing Queen, Southern Stories of Grit and Grace, Sticky Notes, Aha Moment

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Long story, for another time, but this blogger is fading even as I write this post…..


friday feature post - debut banner




Hullo, All, and welcome!


I’m a rebel. I break all the rules. Or not. See, I know the rules, and I know what I can get away with! Hey, that’s kind of dangerous, isn’t it?




I can’t recall ever seeing anyone endorsing editing as you go; rather, what I do see all the time is, write the first draft, and rein in your inner editor.




Imagine if you will, adopting this concept to building a house. I’m not talking about paint colors or hardware options like doorknobs and drawer pulls. But things like which way the door swings—and yes, that can make a huge difference—have to be correct before a designer can move forward. Or wall thickness. If a designer drafts an entire floor plan (which is technically beyond the scope of an interior designer’s responsibility, although this designer enjoys that part of the process) but if a designer drafts a floor plan with the wrong wall thickness, then the whole thing is off. Room measurements won’t add up, a bathtub might not fit in the space indicated on the plan. Take stairs, for instance. The rise and run of the stairs takes up a specified amount of space. Standard is an 11” tread and a 7” riser. But what if the drawing indicates a 9” tread and an 8” riser? How many stairs to get to the second level? Or the basement? How much space does each stairwell take up in the plan? Because it could obstruct a door or take away from precious square footage in, say, a small kitchen.




Okay, back to writing. What if I write a bit, and talk about the pink roses. Then later, I forget about the pink roses and all of a sudden my main character’s favorite flower is daisies, and she hates the color pink! Which by the way, is the case with the lineage of characters in my unsavory heritage series; they all like daisies, the pretty white Shasta ones, and they all can’t stand the color pink. Or, as was the case recently in my current WIP, I discovered I had named three different people Hugh. And while that’s a violation of character naming 101, and while I do break the rules, this is not one I wanted to even bend, not in this instance; it was just too confusing. So, two fellas suddenly had a name change! (Norman and Horace) See what I mean?




One of my pet peeves as a reader is when an author mentions a trait or characteristic or detail, a street name or pet for that matter, then down the road, chapters later, it’s different. (not casting stones, I’ve done it; see above) [confession: I also take a degree of wicked glee in knowing other authors are subject to the same foibles as this relative newbie!]


I’m fairly OCD, which works to my advantage in design, and in writing, for this reason. Works against me in a lot of ways, too… LOL


For me, though, my brain won’t move forward without those niggling little details lined up like ducks in a row. And Yes, I take a plethora of notes.




This is not the same as what I call “go backs.” Also called by other terms, this is my designation for it, and it is what it says it is: it’s a note I make for myself, [IN CAPS & IN BRACKETS] to indicate something I need to go back to, something that needs attention, bit of research, or decision making, like city or street (research) or naming a pet or style of car (pondering.) There are other specifics that can’t wait, especially when writing historical fiction, which I’m now dabbling in. Like what healing herbs were used in 1867 to help with pain? And when I was writing my own story (sorry, not publishing it) I said my mother was playing with her baby dolls and her Barbies. BLARING BUZZER SOUND! Barbies weren’t around when my mom was a little girl. I know this because Barbie and I are the same age.




As a plantzer, I’m constantly reading back through what I have written, to get my head into the flow of the story, to pick up where I last left off. And I cannot keep going when I see a little—or colossal—faux pas; reference the “Hugh” debacle above. And although the experts all seem to chant, don’t do it, I just can’t help myself!






What about you, as a writer, do you edit as you go? Or do you shovel all the sand into the sandbox first and then go back and build your castle?









“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”


Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.


Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own.  She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.


Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.   Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.





Edit as you go, Stories by Design, Editing, Pantser, #coffeecoffeecoffee, Rebel, Break the Rules, OCD, Go Backs, Ducks in a Row, Original Barbie, Sandcastles

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Author Interview – ELIZABETH MADDREY


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Chat Thursday – Elizabeth Maddrey


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I’d like to give a big welcome to Elizabeth Maddrey to my blog.  Elizabeth, pull up a chair and let’s have a spot of tea, shall we.


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

ELIZABETH:  Let’s see, I’m a wife and mom. We homeschool, which either makes us cool or crazy, depending on who you ask (I think we fall somewhere in between on most days.) I was raised in Northern New Mexico and Northern Virginia and, after some detours for college and hubby’s brief stint in the Army, we’re back in Northern Virginia right now.

rem:  Seems I have an inordinate number of friends in Virginia and West Virginia! LOL Tell us three things about yourself.


  1. I love archery (and I’m good at it.) (But I don’t kill living things.)
  2. I have a PhD in computer science that I finished just in time to quit my day job, stay home with kids, and write books. But I still love computers.
  3. Growing up, all the growth projections said I’d end up around 5’10” or 5’11. I’m 5’4”. But I really wish I was tall.


rem:  I’m fascinated with archery; I’ve built computers and I’m aces on used end, but never quite got the techie stuff; and I’ve got the opposite problem—I’m 5’8”! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

ELIZABETH:  Jamoca Almond Fudge (it’s at Baskin Robbins, I realize that’s a very specific flavor.) Cookies are easier – chocolate chip.

rem:  I know that flavor, Baskin Robbins was my first job! Superman or Batman?

ELIZABETH:  Batman (though I’m more of a Marvel girl at heart, so I’m not super invested either way.)

rem:  Vacation: beach or mountains?

ELIZABETH:  Depends on the time of year. Mountains in the summer, beach in the fall.

rem:  That’s a good plan. What is your greatest fear?


rem:  You are not alone in that! What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

ELIZABETH:  Loyalty. To me if someone is loyal, it sets the stage for everything else.

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

ELIZABETH:  I’m such an easy reader, it’s really REALLY hard to break a story, but I do get annoyed with heroines (it’s always the women) who keep doing stupid things and I have to wonder when it’s going to catch up with them because they are clearly too stupid to live. You see this most in thrillers and cozy mysteries. If it’s too bad, I’ll finish the book but not go back to the series.

rem:  LOL Which is more important: plot or characters?

ELIZABETH:  I guess I lean toward plot. I love well written, well rounded characters, but if they’re not doing something interesting…that kind of makes the book a flop to me.

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

ELIZABETH:  Read even more. (Since I’m home raising kids, writing is my bonus time activity, so replacing it would be with another bonus time activity. And for me, that default is always going to be reading.)

rem:  I hear ya! Can’t ever get enough time to read, “bonus” activity or not! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ELIZABETH:  I can’t think of when I didn’t write. Maybe not in a disciplined, every day manner, but there were always stories and I would type them up and they’d live on my hard drive. About four years ago, I finished a book and thought…you know, that’s not so bad. Maybe I should look into getting it published. So I did what every aspiring author does, I started querying agents and I went to a writer’s conference. At the conference, I had a paid critique and the woman absolutely HATED my book. So that was disheartening. But I also talked to a small press and they were interested in it. Writer’s conferences are kind of a merry-go-round of emotional upheaval. Anyway, I decided to give the small press a chance and the rest is history.

rem:  And a classic example of not every book is going to appeal to all readers—or critique-rs! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ELIZABETH: My routine. That’s funny. My process is fairly ad hoc – I work in writing in between herding my cats, er, kids and doing all those mom/wife things that simply don’t do themselves. Generally speaking, I write at the dining room table or in a recliner in the basement theater. My most consistent writing time is at night, after the kids are in bed. But I can also sometimes squeeze in an hour or two in the afternoon during quiet/nap time. (But sometimes I need that quiet/nap time for myself!)

rem:  I do NOT envy moms of kids who are still at home trying to write! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ELIZABETH:  Honestly, I think my biggest struggle is with self-doubt. Are my books really worth reading? Why would people want to read them? That sort of thing. I’m not completely sure I handle it all that well, but I do a lot of praying. That at least gives me the peace I need to push through and finish what I’m working on.

rem:  Peace sure goes a long way, doesn’t it.(by the way, I’ve read Hope Deferred, and you tell the story quite well!)  Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ELIZABETH:  Creating. When I’m creating I can let the words fly and the story kind of just flows. Editing is so…critical. It really ramps up my already huge quantity of self-doubt. (Though the end result is certainly better than the pre-edited draft, but it’s hard, hard work.)

rem:  No doubt about that! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ELIZABETH:  I love putting down the stories living in my head and sharing them with others. Because there are always a handful of people who end up enjoying my books. And it makes me happy that the words I write mean something to someone other than me.

rem:  Well said, and I would tend to agree. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

ELIZABETH:  Now that I’m an indie, the hardest thing for me is balancing all the hats that go into being author and publisher. Marketing, in particular, is probably my biggest Achilles Heel. Easiest is coming up with stories. I usually have three or four story nuggets rattling around in my head, percolating, and waiting for their chance to be written.

rem:  (again) No doubt about that! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ELIZABETH:  Top three are easy: keep writing and perfecting your craft, read (I contend you can’t be the best writer you can be if you’re not reading), don’t panic (remember that God’s got this and you only need to do the things you can control and then leave the rest to Him.)

What not to do? Compare yourself and your writing journey to other people’s.  Dwell on your reviews – good or bad. And finally, don’t stop writing – when your book is finished, start the next, don’t wait.

rem:  All so true! Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ELIZABETH:  This is hard – I’m not sure I can consciously pin that down. They come to me while I’m doing my thing day to day. Sometimes it’s something I overhear or something I observe and it gets me asking “Hmmm…what if?” I think it boils down to that “what if.”

rem:  I think those are the best ideas. As authors we sometimes give our characters one or more of our personal traits. Have you ever taken on a trait of your character that you didn’t have before?

ELIZABETH:  Hmmm…I don’t think so. But I’ll keep an eye out in the future!

rem:  Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

ELIZABETH:  This is funny, I started to write down a title and then was like, “Oh, wait what about…” It’s hard to choose a favorite. I love them all for various reasons.

rem:  I know, kind of like which kids is your favorite… Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

ELIZABETH:  I think all of my characters have a tiny bit of me in them – a quirk here or there. But if I had to choose a character who was most like me, it’d probably be Jen from A Handful of Hope. Least like me? Lydia in Wisdom to Know.

rem:  So now I know what to look for when I read those… LOL I’ve read your story, Hope Deferred, from your Remnants series. I understand that’s drawn from personal struggle. What can you share about that?

ELIZABETH:  The Remnants series wasn’t one I planned to write, honestly. My husband and I went through more than ten years of infertility treatment before ultimately adopting. And it occurred to me that those struggles certainly weren’t unique to us, but they weren’t things that I saw addressed—at least not in a real, gritty way—in fiction. So I thought I’d play around with those experiences and struggles and see if I could also turn it into something that people might want to read. And that became the Remnants series.

rem:  I truly enjoy reading “real and gritty” in fiction! And your Grant Us Grace series is also based on your experiences serving at crisis pregnancy centers. Tell us about that.

ELIZABETH:  Working alongside my mom as she ran a crisis pregnancy center for twenty years opened my eyes to the fact that out of wedlock pregnancy, abortion, and so forth aren’t relegated to outside the church. But the church very often overlooks the folks in their congregation who are dealing with an unwed pregnancy or the aftermath of abortion. So I wanted to show a little of what the church ought to look like—how Christians should be looking at these issues and loving the people in their midst as they struggle—all cushioned in happily-ever-after romance.

rem:  Thank you for that! It is very much needed, especially in our world today! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ELIZABETH:  I released A Handful of Hope earlier this month. This is book 4 in my Taste of Romance series. It ended up being a completely different book than I intended when I started writing it, but I’m super happy with the direction it went (now, I wasn’t super excited when I was trying to get my story to conform to my original plan.) In addition to being a clean, inspiration romance, it takes a peek at the topic of depression (and I promise you, just because Jen struggles with depression, the book itself isn’t depressing.)

Now that A Handful of Hope is out in the world, I’m busily working away on Operation Fireworks, book three in my Operation Romance series. I hope to release it in early July.

rem:  Oh, depression is a topic I am well too familiar with. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ELIZABETH:  Overall, I hope readers see people who struggle with living out their faith in the face of the real world we live in – and who come out on top. Because if the characters in a book can work through a real-world challenge, then I hope readers will be encouraged to hang on and realize that they can, too.

rem:  That’s a wonderful thing to give to anyone! Anything else you’d like to add?

ELIZABETH:  Thanks so much for having me!

rem:  Delighted to have you join me today, Elizabeth! Please come again soon.


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Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.


Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey




Social Media:

Website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

Twitter: @elizabethmaddre

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emaddrey/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethMaddrey/posts




Elizabeth Maddrey, Author Interview, Chat Thursday, Faith Departed, Hope Deferred, Love Defined

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 Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.


Thank you for having me on, Robin! Glad to be your Monday Guest!


First of all, I’ll share that I was a psychologist for over twenty-five years, working with mostly children and teenagers as well as their families and teachers. I trained hard for my profession and I loved what I did. However, my Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease caught up with me and about six years ago I became disabled from my multiple arthritis diagnoses. But PTL, God gave me some other plans, too. While I couldn’t see clients randomly, in the middle of a pain-filled night, I could write!


I’d always wanted to be a writer since I was a child, growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (hence I can call myself a former “Yooper”) and many of my stories are set there. My national award in Historical Fiction from Family Fiction’s “The Story” was for my short story “The Quilting Contest” set in fictitious Northwoods, Michigan, which pretty much is Newberry, Michigan where I grew up. My Maggie unpublished manuscript finalist was also set in the Straits of Mackinac, on Mackinac Island, one of my favorite places in the world. That story will be published in 2017 by Barbour Publishing. All three of my Christy Lumber Camp books were finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year, all set in northern Michigan, and The Fruitcake Challenge (book one) was a Selah Award Finalist. My novella “Requilted with Love” which is set at the 1889 Michigan state fair releases in November, 2016 from Barbour, too! Seems like God is encouraging me to keep writing!


Although I grew up in Michigan, I live in the Historic Triangle of Virginia. What is cool about this is that many of my ancestors lived in Virginia, including Johan Adam Rousch, who inspired my upcoming release “Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter” which I am so excited about!  White Rose/Pelican Publishing gave me a gorgeous cover, wouldn’t you agree?


One Liner: Can an aristocratic girl escape those who pursue her for her Huguenot parents’ beliefs and will a German peasant need to save her?


Giveaway: I’m giving away an ebook copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter to one of the commenters.  Thanks for coming by!


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Links to purchase:

“Requilted with Love” in The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection (Barbour, November 2016)

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican Book Group, June 2016)

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2nd edition, January 2016)

The Steeplechase (Forget-Me-Not Romances, February 2016)

The Substitute Bride: A Novella (October 2015)

“The Fruitcake Challenge” in the Christmas Traditions Collection (Forget Me Not Romances, July 2015)

The Christy Lumber Camp Series: Lilacs for Juliana (August, 2016), The Lumberjacks’ Ball (April, 2015), The Fruitcake Challenge (2014)

“Snowed In”, in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, (Guidepost Books, 2013)

Contributor to God’s Provision in Tough Times (Lighthouse of the Carolinas, 2013)



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Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!


Website: www.carriefancettpagels.com

Blogs: Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Personal Page





Amazon author page




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Carrie Fancett Pagels, New Week New Face, NWNF, Guest Post, Saving the Marquise’s Daughter, The Lumberjack’s Ball

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friday feature post - debut banner

We interrupt our regularly scheduled featured post for the following:

Aussie Jargon


I had so much fun creating this post i decided to make it my Feature Post this week!

Aussie jargon, Aussie speak, Aussie accent, Farscape, Down Under, fair dinkum, yank talking aussie

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Let's Chat banner

Please give a big welcome to TOSCA LEE.


Author Tosca Lee


rem:  First things first—you were recently married. Give us the scoop! How did you meet? How long have you know him? How long did you date? Details please!

TOSCA:  I saw him across a crowded room… for real! I was out with friends, thought to myself, “That is the most handsome man I’ve ever seen,” and finagled a way to meet him. Best thing I’ve ever done. We dated a year and a half and he proposed at my Barnes & Noble booksigning for The Legend of Sheba! I wrote my latest novel, Firstborn (the sequel to The Progeny which comes out May 24) while planning a wedding, getting married, going on our honeymoon and becoming a new mom to four!

Tosca's Wedding


rem:  Comm c’est romantique! Tell us about suddenly becoming a mom! How are you adjusting / adapting? How old are they?

TOSCA:  Welcome to motherhood! I am dropping balls everywhere! LOL I seem to forget things every day, but I am having fun and feeling blessed every hour. That said, it’s definitely a change of pace for this formerly single gal to have five new people in her life! I had mad respect for moms before, but now I totally don’t know how they do it. The kids are 21—daughter, and three boys: 15 and 11 year-old twins. 🙂 We play a lot of football and video games and I cook a lot.

rem:  How well I remember all the cooking! (mine are grown now) And now, the regular stuff. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TOSCA:  I was born in Virginia where my dad (originally from Seoul, Korea) taught at Virginia Tech., and then we moved back to Nebraska when I was 6. I say “back to Nebraska” because my mom is a native Nebraskan. So I grew up in Nebraska, went to college in Massachusetts (at Smith) and then came back. I didn’t realize until much later how progressive our small family was at the time; when my parents initially tried to apply for a marriage license in 1968 in Athens, GA, they were denied because they were a mixed race couple.

rem:  Oh, that’s awful! Tell us three things about yourself.

TOSCA:  I love bacon. I text silly stuff to my husband when he’s sleeping. My kids crack me up.

rem:  I love bacon too, and my also crack me up. And when I have a husband to text silly stuff to, you better believe I will! If you could have any super power what would it be?

TOSCA:  Mind control. Or flying. I’m torn.

rem:  I’m on board with flying, I like flying. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TOSCA:  Coffee. With almond or coconut milk and a little almond flavor.

rem:  Gonna have to try some almond now. (I drink hazelnut) Superman or Batman?

TOSCA:  Batman. My husband thinks he’s Batman.

rem:  Ya, you kinda got no option on that one! What is your greatest fear?

TOSCA:  Of not being good enough.

rem:  Can I ever relate to that! That was the story of my life! What is your greatest regret?

TOSCA:  Not meeting my husband and kids earlier.

rem:  Awww.  Mushy, mushy. What is your favourite quotation and why?

TOSCA:  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I love this quote because of so many things. Read it and see what speaks to you.

rem:  One of my favorites as well. Speaks deeply and profoundly to me, and helped me really embrace my purpose. What do you do as a hobby?

TOSCA:  Kid stuff. Football. Trap shooting. Ballet (I used to be a classical ballerina). Pilates. Watch TV. Is sleep a hobby?

rem:  I can totally see you as a ballerina! (and yes, sleep is a hobby!) What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

TOSCA:  Loyalty, truthfulness, trust.

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

TOSCA:  Bad prose kills it for me.

rem:  I’ve put one or two down recently for that reason… Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

TOSCA:  The Mists of Avalon.

rem:  Love that story! Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

TOSCA: Dude, I have a lot of author friends. Are you trying to get me killed?

rem:  Just say me and we’re good! LOL Which is more important: plot or characters?

TOSCA:  Characters. In bad situations.

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

TOSCA:  Organizing closets. Seriously, I’m really good at it.

rem:  um, help? Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TOSCA:  I never thought I’d be a writer! I meant to be a news anchor for reasons lost on me—after I meant to be a ballerina but tore a groin. But I’d always been good at writing and one summer after my freshman year while I was talking about why I loved great books (because they take you on a roller coaster ride) my dad said he’d pay me what I would have made as a bank teller (which is what I was going to do ) if I’d spend the summer writing my first novel. Deal!

rem:  Nice! (and sorry about the groin injury) What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TOSCA: I write in the attic at the farm, and in my office at our other house. But I like the farm best because my husband and kids are around. I go to the office when I really have to be a hermit, for just a few days until I can’t stand it anymore.

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

TOSCA:  This is a hard question. I struggle with my OCD. It’s easy to let out when I’m on edits, but very hard to cage up during first drafts. I don’t like messy and first drafts are messy.

rem:  Ruh oh, I’m in trouble—I edit as I go! (topic of tomorrow’s post in fact) Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TOSCA:  Editing, for sure. That’s when I get to pick at stuff.

rem:  See previous comment—my OCD. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TOSCA:  Being with readers. Hearing their stories and what’s important to them. That matters way more than anything I have to say.

rem:  It’s why we do what we do, “write?” What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TOSCA: Learning that you just can’t please everyone. The easiest—daydreaming about the next story. Because when you’re in the early stages, it’s perfect. Until you get in there and start digging away at it.

rem:  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer?

TOSCA:  Keep writing. Read a lot. Write like no one will ever read it (my #1 rule of writing).

rem:  Your website says you’re known for “maligned characters.” What drew you to this kind of writing?

 TOSCA:  I just think they’re interesting. Most people only know the two-dimensional, short facts of a life story—and the truth is we like to villainize people. But there’s always more. I like the more.

rem:  Characters are more real that way. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

TOSCA:  From friends, from fans, and just from driving around on boring days.

rem:  They’re everywhere, aren’t they? You have partnered with Ted Dekker on a series. How did that come about?

TOSCA:  I wrote to him for an endorsement for the second edition of Demon and turned out, his team was already thinking of contacting me to co-author with him!

rem:  How cool is that! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

TOSCA: It’s really like trying to pick a favorite child. You’ve got the easy one, the trouble one, the one that cracks you up…

rem:  I know right! Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

TOSCA:  In the Progeny? Probably Audra. Since having four kids come into my life, I seriously struggle with remembering things!

rem:  I think that’s called parental memory dysplasia… Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

TOSCA:  The Progeny, which releases May 24. It’s the story of a 21 year old girl named Audra who has erased the last two years of her memory and started over in the North Woods of Maine. Through a quick series of events, she comes to learn she’s being hunted as one of the descendants of the “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory—and now everything she erased is what she needs to survive.


The Progeny, Tosca Lee


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

TOSCA:  You know, everyone takes something different away depending on what they brought to the story. But I hope they identify with the tenacity of the characters, and their drive to do their best, take the high road, and make the best decisions they can. Because that’s really all we can do.

rem:  Tosca, that is so true. In every situation or circumstance. Thank you so much for chatting today. I hope you’ll come back again soon.


Tosca's books

Tosca Lee is the multi award-winning, New York Times bestselling novelist of Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest with her husband and children.

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of ISCARIOT; THE LEGEND OF SHEBA; DEMON: A MEMOIR; HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.
website: www.toscalee.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorToscaLEe

Instagram: www.isnstagram.com/ToscaLee

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ToscaLee

Snapchat: @ToscaLee


The Books of Mortals Series, Tosca Lee, Ted Dekker


Tosca Lee, Author Interview, The Progeny, Ismeni, Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, Ted Dekker, The Books of Mortals Series


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beautiful pretender


Three regions in the kingdom, and the Duke of Geitbart intends to control them all. The Earl of Plimmwald will do what he must to ensure he maintain his earldom. Including sending a servant girl to pose as his daughter.


The king has ordered the Margrave of Thornbeck to  marry, and given him a list of prospective brides—and two weeks to make his choice.


Will the servant girl, Avelina, pass as the Duke’s daughter? Can a servant girl truly be believed to be a noble woman? Most importantly, can Avelina divert the Margrave’s attentions away from her? For regardless of what her heart begins to feel—or his—she knows a noble man can never marry her, a mere servant.



Ms. Dickerson has woven a masterful tapestry of Medieval intrigue. Secrets in the first chapter, obstacles, conflict. And wolves.

I felt for the Margrave as he struggled with his injury, doubly so as it was “suggested” he marry, and soon. I felt Avelina’s insignificance at her mistress’ harsh and critical words. And her dread when expected to deceive the Margrave.

I felt this was not Ms. Dickerson’s strongest writing, but the story speaks for itself, and I did enjoy it. One conflict after another, disaster after disaster, and people dying—this book keeps the reader turning the pages. I know I did.



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



melanie dickerson


Melanie Dickerson is the author of Historical Romances, and her two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her enduring love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.












melanie dickerson - book images



The Beautiful Pretender, Melanie Dickerson, Book Review, Tuesday Reviews-Day, Medieval Fairy Tales, The Captive Maiden, The Princess Spy, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

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