Archive for February, 2019

BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 13 February 2019 – rem @ COVER TO COVER CAFE with BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY




“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules [of grammar] and I know how to break them.”



Seven books in and I’m finally getting organized before I’m swamped in scribbled notes, scattered hither and yon, and scrambling to find that detail—are his eyes blue? Or brown? Did I say he has curly hair? Or not? You know, the write-it-down-on-anything-handy method?


I’m a pantzer, and my organization comes as I write, especially my characters. I ‘meet’ them along the way, much like meeting a new neighbor or a new coworker. Appearance first, then name, then as you become more acquainted you move on to details like family members and favorite food and sports teams.


I’m always looking for ways to improve, and streamline the process. I now, therefore, give you my (ahem) process. And as a picture is worth a thousand words, brace yourself for all.the.pics!



The story chooses it for me. But I do locate the area on google maps and “borrow” (a) town(s) for my purposes. Well, for my previous stories anyway.

I’m a visual person, and have to see the setting where my characters live. When I started writing Tessa, I knew she lived in western New York State—don’t know why (I’ve never been there) but that’s where she lived. So I visited the area via Google maps, and found the spot!

In Tessa, I had mentioned her mother’s family was from Durbin, WV, so when the third book, Cissy, came about, I had to create the town for the story:

I repeated the process for my last series, Seasons.

With my new series, FourSquare, I’m starting from scratch. I tried to put my characters in the city where I live—but it was not working! Thus, I totally invented my own town.

I have an Excel spreadsheet with all the places the characters go—business name (or their home), the street, and a key to locate it on the map.

I also draw floor plans for some of the key places, like homes, or the office where Bethy and Mere work. (The opening scene takes place there.)

I have other plans, but do not draw a floor plan for every house or building in the story. I mean, a coffee house is a coffee house, right? Pretty basic.



Again, my process has evolved since those first words of Tessa. For the most part, once I “meet” a character, I can remember details. Not so unlike making a new friend in life.

That said, it’s a good idea to keep track of specifics, like favorite flower, nervous habits, and what car your character drives. Cue reams and scraps of notes. Last time around, I did at least create a Word doc so I had a list of names and places… and pets and who-what-where-when-why.

On the same spreadsheet that holds the map key, I have four (so far) other tabs—people (MC’s), family, friends, and timeline.

So far I have: birthday, best friend, social cause, birthdate, hair color, eyes, height, favorite color, favorite snack, favorite meal, favorite flower, car / vehicle, nervous habits, phrases, hobbies, sports, traits, job / career, and pet(s).

FourSquare family tree still in process.



Like most of my “brilliant inspirations,” I stumbled on this fanTAStic website, https://www.timeanddate.com/.

I haven’t checked to see how far back (or how far into the future) it goes, but it was INVALUABLE to me while writing Seasons. I went from 150 years and seven generations in my unsavory heritage series, to four books in ONE year in Seasons. I had to track each event. Otherwise my timeline ran away from me and was WAYYYY off.

Some events overlapped from one book to the next; each book is keyed with a different color.


FourSquare is not so condensed a time frame, as you can see:

I did discover, though, that I had breezed right past Bethy and Mere’s birthday! And, thanks to my timeline, I corrected that egregious oversight!

Although relatively obscure, I like to know and make accurate reference to day of the week a date falls on.



I don’t know about you, but all my files are digital. With ridiculous amount of pen-n-paper back up. And as I’ve already mentioned, this is not my first rodeo. With each book, and especially moving to a new series, I have quantified my process (sort-of) and organized it (sort of.)

NOTE: I am Indie, and the FINAL files include front and back matter, each saved as a separate document: Title Page, Copyright and Credits, Dedication, Request for Reviews, Thanks and Appreciation, Preview of my Next Book, and About Me.

Like everything else, the process has finessed through each series.

NOTE: I am an artist, and have done all of my own covers. To that end, I have files set up for that purpose. To maintain a uniform look for all books in a series I first create a mock-up to place the text and images. (I work in PowerPoint, because that’s what I’m familiar with.) By doing this at the beginning of the series, I saved myself no small degree of frustration—the title fourth book in my Seasons series is longer than the others, specifically the word, “Whispering.” Had I not blocked the covers for the whole series, that cover would not have been consistent to the first three—and I would have been pretty darn agitated. (cue my OCD!) Also, that’s another post for another time. #winkwink


Like the whole of my writing journey, promotion has been trial and error. With the release of my fourth book, The Long Shadows of Summer, in August of 2017, I enlisted the help of Sydney Anderson of Singing Librarian Tours; when JustRead Publicity (Carrie Schmidt and Annie JC) launched last spring, I snagged them to help after the launch of The Whispering Winds of Spring, to promote the whole series. Prior to their help, I was doing my own promotion, with a book signing and virtual party on FaceBook.

Moving forward with FourSquare, I will finesse my process even further. Now, I know more what I need: prizes and winners, cover reveals, and my own month-long blog blitz.


Finally, in the vein of keeping it simple, and keeping oft-used bits at hand, I have a doc entitled rem links (rem are my initials, also abbreviation for Rapid Eye Movement.) In this doc, I have quotes I like, my social media URL links, my bio—which changes and updates periodically—and the blurbs for each book in the series I’m currently writing.

I also have an Excel spreadsheet that I use as my calendar. Primarily for my blog, I make note of EVERYTHING I have going on: blog posts, doctor appointments, word count for my current WIP, and of course it’s all coded. Each month is a different color, as is each feature on my blog.

PS – I do not, DO NOT, like to work online. With the exception of comments, I create and work from ALL my docs strictly OFF-line, and then upload to my blog or website.



In honor of my birthday yesterday, I am offering one winner a signed print copy of one of my books, winner’s choice.


Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.


Giveaway will begin at 12:oo A.M. on Wednesday 13 February and end at 12:oo A.M. on Wednesday 19 February. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.








#Blogwords, rem @ Cover to Cover Café, Organizing Your Fiction World, Setting, People, Timeline, Files, Promotion, Giveaway

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The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.




I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write–except for that graffiti phase I went through as teenager.








The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Her first encounter with him was a gloved hand over her mouth. His first encounter was a knee to his nether regions. What chance for romance could possibly emerge from such beginnings?

Ms. Griep deftly peals back layers of Isaac Seaton’s true nature, that of a gentleman, and a kind and generous one at that. As each layer falls away, Helen Fletcher is first intrigued, then enamored of his charm and generosity.

The Doctor’s Woman

Emmy Nelson may very well be the feistiest female character I’ve read. Skill and wit and the will to survive in challenging circumstances. Ms. Griep tosses the disgruntled Dr. James Clark into the mix of disheveled soldiers and unruly captive Sioux Indians. Fort Snelling is not where either of them wished to be, but it is where they both needed to be. And Ms. Griep brings them both to their individual moment of truth, and to each other’s arms.

A House of Secrets
This reviewer can well relate to Amanda Carston’s need to prove herself, to feel some worth in her father’s eyes. This reviewer can also relate to Joseph Blake, her fiancé’s, drive to rescue those in need.  When their individual projects come to cross purposes, conflict comes between them and threatens them both.

With no small degree of angst and heartbreak, Ms. Griep skillfully parlays the conflict into resolution, uniting Amanda and Joseph on a single course.



I am always exited to read a Michelle Griep story; I know I will encounter fascinating characters who are authentic and relatable, and these three stories are no exception!







I received a complimentary copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Ladies of Intrigue, Michelle Griep

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Congratulations to


Susan will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!




Susan Thogerson Maas has been a part-time freelance writer for over 35 years. She has published dozens of articles, children’s stories, and devotionals in publications such as Hopscotch, Clubhouse, Jr., Homeschooling TodayEvangel, Live!, The Upper Room, and Pathways. Susan’s first book, Picture Imperfect, is a novel for middle grade children. It began life as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel. To pay the bills, Susan writes passages and questions in science and social studies for standardized tests.

Susan earned her first $5.00 as an author when her sixth grade teacher submitted her story “The Wonderful Woods” to The Horn Book—and she still loves writing about nature. Her WordPress blog, Sparrow Thoughts, uses words and photographs to explore the spiritual side of nature and everyday experiences. When not writing, she may be found pulling weeds from her vegetable garden, hiking in green Pacific Northwest forests, or snapping photos of anything beautiful—from mountains to flowers to her amazing grandsons.









Susan is offering a print copy of her book, Picture Imperfect.




#Blogwords, New Week New Face, Guest Post, Susan Maas, Giveaway Winners, #WINNERS

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The Value of Reading for Writers: 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing from the Novels You Read


Do you remember this line from the movie version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?

“The Times has asked me to write an article about reading,

and I’d like very much to write an article about you.”


Reading fiction is about pleasure, but for writers it is also about inspiration. In short, it’s about you, or at the very least, it’s about what you do.  While we all look forward to that time in our day when we can sink into a good book and escape for a bit, it is nearly impossible to ignore writing technique while we read. The more we write, the more we become aware of the way others excel—or sometimes don’t— in the craft.


Now if you’re reading this piece thinking, I hardly ever read anymore, I don’t mean to shame you but rather to encourage you to get back on track. We always talk about how important it is to read books on craft and to grow in our work. Reading a big, juicy novel in whatever genre you love to write is just like reading a book on craft. If it’s a well written story, you’ll learn from it, as long as you keep your writer’s eyes open and ears tuned.


I like to mark up the fiction I read, just like non-fiction, underlining the things I want to focus on and making notes in the margins. Even the novels on my Kindle are full of highlights and notes.


Here are 10 things I mark for study when I read a great novel (in no particular order).


Emotional Impact. We’ve been taught that the main reason anyone reads a novel is because they are seeking a powerful emotional experience. As writers, of course we want to provide that. When reading great fiction, some scenes will provide such a powerful emotional impact, I have to go back and read them again. I can’t help but be drawn into how the writer accomplished it. First, of course, I wallow in the joy, fear, or whatever emotion the character feels. Then I pull in a breath and go back. What words did the author use to convey the emotion by telling without showing? What internal or external body responses were the characters demonstrating? How were their thoughts conveyed? Study those and reel in what makes the emotion work.


Deep POV. I’m just going to camp on this one for a minute. There are further times beyond those emotionally charged moments when we can learn how body language and internal thought affects the story. Pay attention to the subtleties of deep point of view in masterful writing. Also note how internal thought isn’t tagged with phrases like “he thought”, she hoped”, or “he realized”. It’s integrated through the senses of the point of view character whose shoes we’re in. The study of deep point of view is on-going for me and probably for you too. We slip out of it easily. How does the author you’re reading now manage it? The more you read current novels written in deep POV, the easier it is upon reading an older book, to figure out why we left the old way of writing behind. We love being placed firmly inside a character’s head, living in and breathing out their thoughts.


Conflict and Pacing. Most stories engage conflicts that are pretty obvious. I like to observe the manner in which the author introduces each disturbance and ramps it up. Put a sticky note or comment where you see this happening, and you might learn something about pacing and conflict as your write.


Well-chosen verbs. Verbiage that dances and sings, creating vivid imagery by showing without telling, is worth highlighting and remembering. When I discover excellent use of a verb in a novel, it makes me ponder whether or not the verbs I’ve chosen in my own writing for any given action are as succinct as they can be.


Picturesque prose. We don’t go to the lengths of prose in fiction nowadays that they used to back when. Readers are impatient (sigh). Therefore, when there is a stitch or two of prose in the lovely fabric of our novels, it should appear like a cleverly woven, golden thread in the tapestry. I highlight prose that is evocative without being purple when I read.


Transitions. Did you ever wonder how to get your character from point A to point B in a story without belaboring the mundane movements? I know I have my characters turning way too often. I sometimes get locked into a timing problem, when I really want to move my story forward. Chapter breaks and scene breaks often beg the question of when and how to position the next scene. There are also choice words to use in making transitions, even if time is merely transitioning from night to the following morning. When I notice a transition while I’m reading, I try to note how it was done and whether or not it was done smoothly.


Dialogue. Did you just read through a page or two of dialogue that sizzled with reality and uncontrived emotion, filled with both verbal and non-verbal communication and cues? Read it again. How did that happen? Why did it feel so natural and real? How did the author avoid stilted use of language (unless they are doing so intentionally to convey discomfort or dialect)? How did they use action beats instead of he said/she said to tell us who is speaking? Examine good dialogue in light of a scene you’re working on if you think your fiction is weak in this area.


Research. Does the author get time and place right without seeming to try too hard? Even excellent writers struggle with knowing how much of their research to put into a story. They’ve learned so much, and they want to share it. Been there? I have. I love historical fiction above all the other genres. When I’m enjoying a novel that gives me a sense of time and a place while I’m reading, or helps me understand the tools and know-how of the characters’ daily lives without feeling like I’m being taught a history lesson, then that means the writer did his or her job. I want to do mine like that, so I take note on how much the author actually included to make me feel grounded in time and place. Was it a little? Was it a lot? There’s a fine line between too much (which the reader will skip over) and not enough (which will leave the reader with an unclear picture).


Grammar and usage. I am determined to figure out the correct way to use English form in everything from placing commas and em dashes to arranging word order and capitalization. There is often room for disagreement, and I love to follow the Editor’s Blog. In all that, I note the way the answers to my usage questions work out in popular novels. Each publisher has their own style sheet for certain things, but there are other parts of grammar and usage that answer to universal rules. I think it’s wise to take heed while you read, if you find this area of writing overwhelming at times.


Plotting. This is a big one. Without fail, I note what is happening at the 50% mark through any novel I read. That should be a turning point in the story at some level. It’s a stimulating and transitional moment for the main character that may make a reader go “uh-oh” or maybe even moan aloud or cheer. If the writer understands what makes a story really work (and my attention will have remained riveted to this point if they have) then that turning point will show. If they haven’t done that, then there is a good chance I will let the story go (if I haven’t already). I also key in to other turning points while I read—the ¼ mark where there’s a subtle change and sometimes an increasing danger or secondary plot line brought in, the ¾ mark, where we hit the black moment, as well as what builds tension along the way to each. This helps me to learn to plot build better in my own fiction.


Themes. Did the author strike on a theme that resonates without spelling it out oh-too-clearly? I highlight themes if I see them (without prying too deeply). Sometimes a theme might be a bit more declarative than subtle, which is okay in some novels, but not so much in others. I may have a varying purpose with themes in my own writing. Some are “out there” and easy to see. Some themes hide among the layers. I like to observe how other writers do it, so I watch for themes peeking out of the stories I read. ***As an aside, I always plot with theme in mind and occasionally smaller, sub-themes as well.


I hope these ten insights to consider help you glean more from your reading. It may sound like looking for all these things weighs down the pleasure of reading, but it really doesn’t. When I’m reading for pleasure, usually something about a scene will jump out so I can’t help but stop and ponder it. Within moments, I realize it was because the writer did one or several of these things really well. Happy reading and wonderful writing! ~Naomi




After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long. 

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country.

Purchase Link




Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues, her great love is historical fiction. Naomi would love to connect with you around the web. Visit her at:








Monthly Newsletter: News of the Northwoods


#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Naomi Musch

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I WANT IT! AND I WANT IT NOW!” Sounds like a small child, throwing a tantrum, doesn’t it?


But in this age of instant everything, don’t we as adults still do the same thing? We bring our petitions to God, blink, then ask, “Where is it?”


That’s not how faith works. God is not a genie in a golden lamp, and our prayers are not wishes cast upon his whim or mood.


Prayer is communication with Him, both speaking and listening. And in this noisy world it can be hard to hear His still small voice.


Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  I Kings 19:10-12


But what about those prayers that are heart deep, soul-born? Prayers that are birthed from communion with Holy Spirit?


Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4


Several years ago Father God showed me that verse is talking about desires He has placed in our hearts in the first place, and when we truly delight in Him, our desires are His desire. Of course, then, it is His delight and will to give them to us.


Why, then, if we are in line with Father’s will, do we have to wait. So long. For some of those dreams and desires?


I wish I could answer that, I truly do. Lessons to learn, human stubbornness and interference, timing.


I see memes about God’s timing all.the.time. And it doesn’t make the waiting any easier. Not one little bit. What I do know is to lean on Him in the waiting. It doesn’t make time go faster, but it does make the wait more bearable.


For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6


Even in that no man’s land of Waiting.


The problem is, the bit that makes the “heart sick,” is when we take our eyes from Father God. When we focus on the problem, or the dream, and not on Him.


But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Matthew 6:33


This is a basic “first and then” equation. But in our urgent, hurry everything lives, we try to rush to the “then” part, and it doesn’t work. What it does do, is create the “heart sick.” Anxiety, worry, angst, pressure to make a thing happen—a thing that’s not in our power to make happen. We take on what was never ours to bear, and are crushed beneath the weight of it.


And yet, He is always there, waiting for us to turn to Him, to release what was never ours to perform back into His hand.


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13


… is not a command to “do all the things.” Rather, it is a promise of Him enabling us to do “all things” He asks of us.


The more I spend time in Scripture, the more I meditate on His Word, the more I seek His face—the more I realize it is all about relationship with Him. That is where true peace is found. No matter the circumstance. And no matter the wait. He holds us in the palm of His hand—how, then, can our heart be sick?


Our hope is in Him. What He has promised, He will do.


… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…  Philippians 1:6


He is our hope, and our all.




And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28



#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Hope Deferred, I Kings 19:10-11, Psalm 37:4, Hebrews 13:5-6, Philippians 4:13, Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:28,

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I like to cook. And I like to invent my own recipes. And I like to try other people’s recipes. And now I’m going to share them with you.


In honor of my birthday is this week—Tuesday the 12th—I thought I’d share something chocolatey and gooey and scrumptious! I’ve seen a couple of versions of this recipe, and adapted to my taste for dark chocolate! ENJOY!


            FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 package Devil’s Food cake mix (reserve a spoon for “flouring” the pans before baking)
  • 1 package instant dark chocolate or chocolate fudge pudding mix (3.9 oz.)
  • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. water



  • 1 pt. heavy cream
  • 24 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate chips



  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of three 8″ round cake pans.
  3. Mix all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl and divide batter evenly between the pans.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes back with just a few crumbs (no gooey batter), 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.


While the cake is baking, make the ganache:

  1. Pour heavy cream into a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring the heavy cream to a slow simmer; when tiny bubbles form around the edges, remove from heat.
  3. Add chocolate chips, blend with whisk until melted.
  4. Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.


To frost cake:

  1. Loosen each layer from pan and invert first layer on serving platter.
  2. Top first layer with ganache frosting.
  3. Place the second layer on top of it and frost; repeat with third layer.
  4. Frost the top and sides of the cake.



  • Use or add Andes mint chips to the ganache frosting.
  • Use white chocolate chips in place of semisweet or dark chocolate.
  • Add ½ cup peanut butter to half of the ganache filling to use between layers.
  • Use raspberry preserves for filling in place of chocolate ganache.
  • Add ¼ cup instant coffee to the ganache filling.



If you’ve a recipe you’d like to share leave a comment below or email me at robinemason212@gmail.com

NOTE: All recipes and images must be original or used with permission.


#Blogwords, What’s Cookin’ in Your Kitchen, Robin’s Fudge Cake, #RandomRecipes, #AuthorsEat #AuthorsCook, #ItsMyBirthdayWeek

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Welcome to First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books!!!


Tell us your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating!





She never wants to get married. He does. To her.

The day Alessandra Rossi was born, her mammà died, and a loveless life with the father who blamed the newborn for her mother’s death followed. With the help of her oldest brother, Rafaele, Alessa moved away from home the moment she finished school—just like her other siblings had. Now sporting a degree in Architectural History and Archaeology, Alessa loves her job as a tour guide in the city of Rome—a place where she never fails to draw the attention of men. Not that Alessa cares. Fear that the man she weds would be anything like her recently deceased father has Alessa vowing to remain single.
American missionary Michael Young has moved to Rome on a two-year mission trip. His temporary future in the country doesn’t stop him from spontaneously joining Alessa’s tour after spotting her outside the Colosseum. And being bold enough to tell her afterward that one day she’d be his wife. God had told him. And he believed Him. But Alessa shows no sign of interest in Michael.
Can anything sway the beautiful and headstrong Italian to fall in love? Can anyone convince her to put her faith and hope in a Heavenly father, despite being raised by an earthly one who never loved her? Will her sister’s prompting, or a mysterious painting, or Michael himself change Alessa’s mind? About love. And about God.



Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest’s no longer so empty.

Visit Marion at www.marionueckermann.net



Perspiration beaded Michael Young’s brow as he left the indoor court and headed for the showers.



#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Ti Amo: I Love You, Marion Ueckermann, Tuscan Legacy Book 4

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and the winning interviewee was


Congrats to both winners!



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Who’s Your Favorite Winners Take 2

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“Swoony heroes and heartfelt romance”




“It is my goal to enrich the life of my reader. To reach into their eternity, grab them by the hand, and give them something to hold onto that is solid and sure.”




Congratulations to


Kari will be in touch with you to send your gift!

Thanks to everyone who entered!





I am an author of Christian Historical Romance novels. My first series, Western Vows is comprised of a prequel Forsaking All Others, then To Honor and Cherish, For Richer or Poorer, and To Love and Comfort. The settings are Kansas and northern Minnesota/Canadian border. If you are a lover of historical romance, especially clean historical romance, please follow my newsletter to be updated on what’s coming!

Kari Trumbo is one of four authors in the best-selling Cutter’s Creek series. She writes Christian Historical Romance and is a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. When she isn’t writing, or editing, she home schools her children and pretends to keep up with them. Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing when no one’s listening, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of almost twenty years, two daughters, two sons, three cats, and one hungry wood stove.








Kari is offering a free e-copy of the first three books in her Brothers of Belle Fourche Series.




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Kari Trumbo, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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Writing … is an inherent ability. God planted the seed, but left it in my hands to embrace it and discover how to make it sprout and flourish.”


“The quality in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”


Please welcome Pat Nichols to my little nest.



Cake or Cookies: Cake with buttercream frosting

Call or Text: Depends on the situation.

Dogs or Cats: Dogs

Eggs or Pancakes: Eggs

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook

Paperback or Kindle: Paperback, but I’m inching toward Kindle

Thornton or Darcy: Thorton

Yoga Pants or Jeans: Jeans


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

PAT:  My family moved from Illinois to Orlando, Florida when I was in third grade. It’s where I grew up, met my high-school-sweetheart husband and had two children. In 1982 my company moved our family to Georgia. Tim and I live in Duluth, a northern Atlanta suburb.

rem:  Hullo neighbor. Sorta. Not so terribly far from me. Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

PAT: 1. I was the editor of my high-school newspaper. 2. I bought a piano twenty-five years ago thinking I could teach myself how to play. I quickly found out I have no talent and should have chosen a player piano. 3. My husband and I love to dance. Our favorites are swing and rhumba.

rem:  What fun! I love swing dancing, too! What is your favourite quotation and why?

PAT:  Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. I began my second career as an author after I was eligible for social security. Now I’m proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. How long will I write? Until God takes me home or I wake up one day and forget how to use my computer. I’m counting on the first happening before the second.

rem:  I love that about you, Pat! That’s powerful testimony right there! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

PAT:  A battery and tiny screwdriver in my purse in case the battery in my key dies.

rem:  Well, now, that’s just plain smart, right there. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

PAT:  To the first century and experience what it was like to see Jesus after he was resurrected. It would also be fascinating to talk to the Apostle Paul.

rem:  Oh my, yes! Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

PAT:  John 14: 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” This verse and the following three speak of God’s will for us to live our lives trusting in him and the eternity he has planned for us.

rem:  When we let go and let Him hold it all, there really is nothing to worry about! If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

PAT:  Scarlet O’Hara, because she is a fascinating, complicated woman whose strength, determination, and passion brought her success and failure.


rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

PAT:  I’m a fan of subtle Christian fiction that has the potential to touch readers who aren’t grounded in the faith. I have come to a fuller understanding that Christ seeks us where we are and if we listen will set our feet on the path He wants us to take.

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

PAT:  The first chapter has to grab me and hold my interest. I like action and engaging dialogue. My pet peeve is slow moving stories.

rem:  Which is more important: plot or characters?

PAT:  It depends on the genre. My novels are more character driven, with lots of plot twists.

rem:  That makes sense. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

PAT:  Since I’m retired, I’d be doing a lot of volunteer work.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

PAT: Current books in line are: In Her Footsteps by Sherri Stewart, The Waiting by Carol James, Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock, Above the Fog by Karen Lynn Nolan, and David Baldacci’s latest book.

rem:  That’s an impressive list! What do you munch on while you write?

PAT:  For breakfast, toast and peanut butter.


rem:  Writing is a second career for you. What prompted the switch?

PAT:  The tragic death of a special young woman who had drifted in and out of our lives for more than thirty years prompted me to write a novel based on her life but with a happy ending.

rem:  Pat, I’m so sorry about your loss. I admire your dedication to honor her in your story. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

PAT:  Although that first book was filled with every mistake new writers make, it awakened a passion God had planted in my heart years ago. So, I got to work studying the craft, going to conferences, seeking feedback, and connecting with other authors. I rewrote the first book, implementing what I’d learned. While writing a second novel based on our daughter’s vision to revitalize poor neighborhoods, an idea for a series began to take shape. A story about two women, strangers drawn together by tragedy and a long-held secret. Emily, an aspiring writer who lives in Willow Falls, a town struggling to survive and Atlanta resident Rachel who abandoned her acting dream to follow in her father’s footsteps. My first two books were rejected by seven agents and publishers. Four years after first typing the words Chapter One, I was blessed with a contract from Guiding Light, a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint for book number three.

rem:  A rather jagged journey—but then again, so is it for most authors! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

PAT:  I begin working on my goal to write 1000 words a day early in the morning after a few sips of coffee and quiet prayer time. My writing spot is a comfortable recliner in my living room with my computer on a laptop desk.

rem:  I don’t have a recliner, but I kick back in my living room, too, in what I call my “nest.” What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

PAT:  The biggest struggle is learning online technology. In my day, slide rules were still used, although I never got the hang of it. I handle it one of two ways. First, I dig in and try to figure things out. When that fails, I call my grandchildren.

rem:  Ah, yes, I remember those days… What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

PAT:  Two things; creating the story and interacting with other authors and readers.

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

PAT:  Waiting a year for the novel to release was the hardest. The easiest was working with Jennifer Slattery, my amazing editor.

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

PAT:  1. Write every day. 2. Study the craft. 3. Find dedicated beta readers who will provide honest feedback during the creative process. Not to do: 1. Become defensive over constructive feedback. 2. Let rejections discourage you. 3. Stop studying the craft.

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

PAT:  First, I research names that were popular in the character’s birth years. Second, I select names that seem to fit their personalities and background. Third, I choose names that are easy to remember.

rem:  Ah, yes, hard to write a story if we can’t remember the characters’ names! LOL  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

PAT:  I write a chapter by chapter synopsis as a guide, yet remain flexible to let the story take me where it wants to go.

rem:  OY! That word scares me!! #synopsis  #pantseralltheway  Your debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, released January 10.


What was your inspiration for your story?

PAT:  During my twenty-seven-year corporate career, I worked with hundreds of women from all walks of life. Those experiences inspired me to write about strong women who face challenges and victories as they pursue their dreams.

rem:  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

PAT:  Two favorite parts are when Emily and Rachel meet for the first time and when the secret is revealed. Instead of me trying to say why people should read it, I’ll quote some reader comments.

  • “Well written with quite a story to tell.”
  • “Lot’s of different personalities, hurts, secrets, loss and love.”
  • “A story of longing, heart wrenching sorrow, forgiveness and restoration, all set in a small town you will love.”
  • “The story unfolds in a captivating manner and the surprises are most enjoyable.”

rem:  Readers say it best!! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

PAT:  I was motivated by Jan Karon’s Mitford series and Ane Mulligan’s Chapel Springs series to write an ongoing series.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.


As far back as Emily Hayes could remember, her heart yearned for a sister. She directed her earliest requests to Santa Claus, which made Christmas mornings a confusing blend of excitement and disenchantment. Later she bargained with God. He disappointed her too. When she learned where babies came from, she petitioned her mom with promises to keep her room clean and be the best sister in the whole-wide world. Nothing worked. At some point the pleas stopped, but the lingering desire left a hole in her heart.


Thursday morning, she stepped outside the white-columned-home converted to a hospital and traced her ultrasound image with her finger. It wasn’t at all what she’d expected. She pressed her hand to her chest to ease the fluttering sensation, slipped the photo in her jeans pocket, and texted her husband. Have results. Meet me in the park in five.

A cool breeze nipped her cheeks and rustled the new crop of leaves on the mature willow-oaks lining Main Street. She dropped her phone in her purse, pulled her sweater tight, and crossed the two-lane road to the sidewalk fronting a grand estate. White columns extending from a railing supported the roof over the wide, front porch. The home was weeks away from final transformation to the Willow Inn, thanks to her parents’ first effort to save their town from a slow, painful death.

The second stood next door—an abandoned four-story brick hotel. All they needed to


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

PAT:  It’s not what happens to us that matters, but how we respond.

rem:  So true. So many people forget that. Tell us a little about your next book? What is your current project?

PAT:  My next novel due to release January, 2020 is book two in the Willow Falls series. My current WIP is book three in the series.

rem:  Can’t wait to read them! Anything you’d like to add?

PAT:  I am humbled and appreciative when readers take the time to comment after reading an author’s book. Those comments are the best gift a reader can give to an author.

rem:  Oh yes, they surely are! Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!



Pat Nichols is proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams.









“Sometimes we have to stop and listen to hear God guide our thumbprints.”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Pat Nichols

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