Archive for August, 2019






There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.
As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.



DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the following social media platforms or others listed at diannmills.com.




I’ve not read a DiAnn Mills book that I didn’t love, and Fatal Strike is no exception. The depth of research and knowledge of FBI procedure and protocol make this story zing with authentic details and scenarios.


Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert jump from a taut sniper situation straight into the Veneno Case with hardly a breath to spare.

Ms. Mills jerks the reader right into the action, the suspense, the mystery. Clues that don’t add up and dead end leads. One twist after another keeps the reader turning page after page.

Out of her natural element—New York—Leah struggles with her conflicted past, while a burden of guilt is bearing on Jon. Oh how I longed to come alongside Leah to walk with her as she faced her past. And encourage Jon to let that burden to.

The layers of this story, characters who aren’t as they seem, the crisp writing and snappy dialogue add up to a compelling story.






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-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review, Fatal Strike, DiAnn Mills

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“Faith. Fun. Forever.”


“When I was younger, I used to think that joy was all about feeling happy, having fun, and laughing a lot. It is that, but it’s more than that when we invite God into things.”


Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Mikal Dawn.


Cake or Cookies 

Oh…neither!! I don’t mind cake, so I guess I should answer that, but unless it has whipped cream icing, I’m not the biggest fan. And cookies? Well…the only ones I truly like are shortbread. DON’T HATE!

Call or Text 

Definitely text! It drives my husband nuts, which makes it that much more fun to be a text-only girl. Haha!

Dogs or Cats 

This one might get me in trouble, but CATS! I adore cats. You know the cartoon girl who is always, “I’m gonna love you and hug you and squish you”? Yep. That’s me with cats. Especially when they’re fluffy cats.

Eggs or Pancakes 

Now this one’s tough! Both! But if you’re going to make me choose (not fair, Robin!), then pancakes.

Facebook or Twitter

Oh, Facebook for sure. I talk too much to use Twitter.

Paperback or Kindle

Eep! Kindle. But if a book I’ve read is a favorite on Kindle, I buy the paperback!

Thornton or Darcy 

How about Fulke Wynland from Tamara Leigh’s Dreamspell? Hello.

Yoga Pants or Jeans 

Yoga pants!!!!!! And leggings. But no leggings in public. Yoga pants, however? ALL. DAY. LONG.


rem:  First of all, I love shortbread cookies…

Hullo, Mikal, and welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

MIKAL :  I was actually born in a small city a half-hour from downtown Vancouver called Maple Ridge, in British Columbia. I lived there until I married my husband when I was 30. From there I immigrated to the US (Georgia) and have since lived in Virginia, Nebraska, and now live in Central Oklahoma. I got my degree in Business Administration from Liberty University, and work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a part-time Admin. I actually worked for the local field office while living in Omaha, and we couldn’t bear to part ways, so I now work for them remotely. I love it! I also volunteer as an admin for our church, serve on the Board for my daughter’s figure skating club, and am hoping to start volunteering for a crisis pregnancy center soon.

My husband and I have been married for 13.5 years and have three kids: Ethan, who married his wife, Ashlyn, in 2018, Van, and Elliette, both of whom are in grade 5. And of course, His Royal Fluffiness, our cat, Leo Tolstoy.

rem:  Love the kitty name! (I, too, have a fondness for felines.) Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

MIKAL :  Hoh boy! Ha!
1. I write rom-com, but when I’m stuck, I find writing a murder scene shakes things up and I can write humour again. (It sounds way worse than it is, I promise!)

  1. I can impersonate Goofy’s laugh pretty well. I don’t know why, but I can.
  2. You may or may not find me binging on Judge Judy. Hey! She’s funny!

rem:  Judge Judy is a HOOT!!! And I would not want to appear before her in court!  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

MIKAL :  I have several, but two of my favourites are Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.and Psalm 107:13-14 – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.  I’d write them out, but it’s more fun for you to go search them out. ❤

rem:  Romans is probably my favorite book of the Bible—I keep going back to it over and over, and it is heavily highlighted!  What is your favourite quotation and why?

MIKAL :  Oh, come on! (rem: muwahahahah)  That’s a hard choice!!! So I’ll give you a few: “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” (Charles Dickens), “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson), “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” (Abraham Lincoln), and finally, “You can’t make footprints in the sands of time by just sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?” (Bob Moawad).

rem:  Those are all gems! But (see what I did there???) I especially like the one with the buttprints! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

MIKAL : I have kids. There have been SO many random things! LOL! Just yesterday, I had a towel in my purse (to dry skate blades so they don’t rust) and an aerosol can of silver glitter hair spray. What can I say? It was competition day. 😉 Other times, I’ve found gross items kids will stick somewhere so they don’t litter. I won’t go into detail. *shudder*

rem:  Um, yeah, EWWWW…. (I have kids, all grown now, but I know. I know.)  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

MIKAL :  Oh good gravy! This is another tough one. There are so many. Definitely Fulke Wynland. Because, well, Fulke. And then definitely Cole “Tox” Russell from Ronie Kendig’s The Tox Files series. It would be an action-packed evening!


rem:  Seriously, I’mma have to check this Fulke guy out! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

MIKAL :  Christian fiction has had a major impact on me in so many ways, both as a reader and a writer. Besides being clean and trustworthy fiction you can read, it allows you to examine yourself and others through the eyes of characters similar to you, or experiencing the same things you are. You gain a different, often eternal, perspective on what you may be going through. It has also taught me empathy and how to respond to different situations that the people around me might be facing.

As for my relationship with Christ, well…writing isn’t easy. It requires a lot of trust in Christ, to be honest. I often feel like an imposter in the writing world, (rem: me too!)  so I need to trust that He gave me a calling and has equipped me to fulfill that calling. He’s drawing me closer to Him through His Word and prayer, both in my personal walk and every time I sit down to write. He’s so gracious and loving!

rem:  It’s amazing, isn’t it, how our writing intertwines with our faith, each making the other stronger.  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

MIKAL :  I’m very much a dialogue-driven person, so flowery prose, description that is too detailed, all of that will take me out of a story. If the pacing is slow, I have a very hard time finishing a book, whether I’m reading it or listening to it (big fan of audiobooks here!). I don’t know if I actually have a fiction pet peeve, though, as much as I just have genres I don’t enjoy.

rem:  Oh yes!!! I cannot stand hokey dialogue!!! (ps – I’m aces with dialogue!! #winkwink) What are you reading right now?

MIKAL :  I’m reading the Summer of Suspense novella collection. So far, it’s great! I’ve been on a suspense kick for many months now, so I’m hoping once I’m finished with this collection, I’ll be ready to dive into something else…I actually have time travel up on my Kindle Unlimited, ready to go. When I’m doing housework or driving in the car by myself, I’m listening to Fearless by Tamara Leigh. She’s the QUEEN of medieval!!


rem:  I can’t do audio books—my mind wanders too much… BUT I have recently discovered Tamara Leigh!!! #hangsheadinshame  She instantly became a favorite author! Your blog is like mine—I see a lot of reviews! I won’t ask your favorite… so I’ll ask if you’ve ever read one ya just can’t! Without naming names, can you tell us how did you handle the review?

MIKAL :  Eep! Um, yes. I definitely have. There are two that come to mind. One was sent to me in the mail with no warning. (rem: YIKES! I’d never heard of the author before, but the book was labeled as Christian fiction according to the publisher note included with it. When I started reading it…um…no. No, it wasn’t Christian. Yikes! I reached out to a dear friend and asked her about it. She’d also received the book to review and confirmed it definitely wasn’t Christian. Because I hadn’t agreed to review it, I just set it aside and never finished it.

Another book I agreed to review but didn’t like, I contacted the publisher. I’ll go ahead and leave negative reviews on bookseller sites, but when it comes to my actual blog, I typically only post reviews of books I’ve enjoyed, or can at least find something in there I know others will enjoy.

rem:  That’s wise. It’s so so hard to write a negative review, isn’t it?  Let’s go for it—I dare ya to tell us your favorite book(s) / author(s) that you’ve reviewed.

MIKAL :  Ha!!! This is actually no secret! I have author crushes on Ronie Kendig, Tamara Leigh, Sarah Monzon, Jennifer Rodewald, Ted Dekker, and Tosca Lee! There are so many others I love, but these authors have, in one way or another, really impacted me.

rem:  Or, as Tosca said when I interviewed her, “Are you trying to get me killed?”  LOL Those are some stellar names you chose!  You juggle a lot of plates—admin assistant, Tae Kwon Do mom, football mom, figure skating mom, assistant to authors near and far AND author of adorable stories (and answering interview questions)—what’s the hardest role? And how do you balance them all?

MIKAL :  Well thankfully the TKD and football mum in me has left the field and turned into a rock climbing mum. J The hardest role is definitely being a mum (and wife!) and fitting everything into a schedule. I’ll be honest and say that the first thing to suffer is writing—my family will always be my priority. (rem: as it should be.)It’s why it’s taking so long to get my next full-length novel out into the world! (That, and the characters just haven’t been cooperating until recently!) As for balancing it all…I burn a lot of dinners, but I give (and get!) a lot of hugs. And my boss is very understanding of the writing call on my life, so we just last week rearranged my work schedule so I only work four days a week and have one full day to write while the kids are in school. It’s amazing!

rem:  Amazing indeed! Such a blessing to have people in your life who support the calling to write! What made you decide to go Indie?

MIKAL :  Honestly, part of it was fear. Fear that a publisher would think I was terrible! But when it really came down to it, I just wanted to be able to write what I wanted, when I wanted to. I don’t love the marketing part of it, but having complete creative control of the story, covers, schedule, etc., really makes it all worth it.

rem:  As an Indie from the beginning, I have to agree. I have days I struggle to function at all, and would really stress if I was facing a deadline I couldn’t meet… Dat marketing doh… OY!  What is one thing you wish readers understood about authors?

MIKAL :  Both indie and traditionally published authors really don’t make much money. Especially when you consider how long it takes to write a book, and the investment that goes into editing, cover design, marketing, etc. Most authors I know work outside of writing, whether it’s for a company, or they do editing or cover design on their own for clients. But for most of us, writing isn’t a job—it’s a ministry and passion. The money just helps us to keep writing.


rem:  Ain’t it the truth!  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

MIKAL :  It all started one December evening after Christmas in 1974 when I was born. Ha!! (rem: Oh, I do love the way you think! #kindredspirits)  But seriously, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote little stories as a young child, poetry in high school and Bible college, then I took a break for several years. And I mean several. It wasn’t until 2015/16 that I really got serious about writing when I was in a writing class and a story idea came to mind that someone said she’d read. Count Me In was born! Since then, I slowly plug away at writing, often dreaming of retiring (after just one book and now two novellas—one is released and one is about to release in October). LOL! I know, I know. Thankfully, I have family and friends who slap me upside the head every time I mention that “r” word.

rem:  It’s good to dream, though! Isn’t it? What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

MIKAL :  1. Get into a critique group!! When I first started, I had a crit group of three other ladies. One was already a published author, and the other three of us were in different stages of starting out. We learned a lot not just from having our own work critiqued, but from critiquing the works of the others. It’s critical to get that feedback!

  1. Read stories in the genre you want to write! Study those authors who are successful to see what they’re doing when it comes to pacing, characterization, story arc, etc. Don’t read just to read, read to learn the mechanics.
  2. Attend writing conferences. That’s where networking will really go deep. You’ll want to network with other authors online, reading their stories and interacting with them on their social media sites, but going to a conference and meeting in person, along with attending classes at those conferences, is invaluable.

Three things to not do? Connect with an author you don’t know well and immediately invite them to like your social media pages. That’s just…please don’t. Don’t submit your stories to a contest without first having feedback from honest and talented critique partners. And don’t submit your stories to a publisher without investing in an editor!!

rem:  Such wisdom. How do you choose your characters’ names?

MIKAL :  Oh, fun question! For Count Me In, I chose Allegra’s name by how I wanted her to grow and what I wanted her to be like by the end of the story. Allegra means “joyful, lively.” She sure wasn’t that way in the beginning of the story. 😉 For Tyler, it really was more of a name that just seemed to fit with Allegra. The rest of my characters have been along that same line. I look at the meaning, though, and if I don’t like the meaning, it ruins the name for me.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

MIKAL :  Oh, how I WISH!!! No. No, I don’t. I often know the beginning (but not always), rarely do I know the middle, but I do always know the end. Sometimes the end will adjust some based on what comes out during the story, but no. I’m a pantser—there’s little to no plotting involved.

rem:  Again with the kindred spirit…  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

MIKAL :  I actually just finished it! It’s a Christmas novella based on the story of Mulan. I don’t think it’s as “laugh out loud” as my other stories, but I hope the reader still finds it amusing and charming. As for my current project, I’m picking back up with Bo and Story, side characters from Count Me In. They should have had their story out two years ago, but they’re stubborn, prideful characters. For a while, they were so troublesome, I switched over to Caprice’s story (Allegra’s sister), but Bo and Story are starting to share more with me, so I’m hoping to stick to my original plan and have their story out next.

rem:  I loved Count Me In, and can’t wait for the next book!  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

MIKAL :  I’ve always loved the story of Mulan and her quiet strength. Retelling it to fit my brand wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, though, and I think that makes it that much more special to me. That, and I love Christmas! As for why you should read it, well…it’s in a collection with four other Christmas novellas that are fairy tale retellings, and I think you’ll love them all!

rem:  Collections are so much fun! Please give us the first page of the book.


Huang Li Na peered out the window that exchanged Denver snow with Seattle drizzle and eyed the worker bees on the ground, driving around their carts, pushing planes, and waving those glow stick things like they were doing the Macarena. There was no going back now.

“Welcome to Seattle, where it’s a depressing thirty-three degrees Fahrenheit and no snow to show for it. As our Captain James putspedal to the metal to get you to our gate in record-time, please remember to check the overhead bins for your belongings. If you forget anything, please make sure it’s something of value that we’ll be happy to take home or sell for a tidy profit. As always, thank you for flying Northwest Airlines, where we’re happy to take you for a ride.”

Laughter rang throughout the plane, but Li wasn’t having it. She couldn’t believe she was actually doing this. And she could only imagine what her father was thinking right now. She glanced at the silver watch on her left wrist. Yep, he was likely awake and beside himself.

She was beside herself. While she was prepared for this by taking the uniform bar exam as her father had, enabling her to practice law in both Colorado and Washington, impersonating another lawyer could ruin any chance of a career she might have imagined.

Psh. Could? It would, if she was found out. And as her mother always said, “Concealing the truth is like wearing embroidered clothes and traveling by night.”

Yeah. She had no idea what that meant, but she loved remembering her mother’s voice. Let’s just hope she wouldn’t also have to work to remember her father’s voice just yet.

Cancer. She shuddered as she unbuckled the seat belt and stood.

Her chest rose as she swallowed a deep breath. No sense in dwelling on what might happen when she had a big job ahead of her.


rem:  I’m not crying, you’re crying…  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

MIKAL :  We all have struggles, we’ve all been dishonest. My prayer is that we would find the forgiveness we need to heal from that.

rem:  Why is it harder to forgive ourselves than the rest of the world?  Anything you’d like to add?

MIKAL :  I just want to thank you so much for having me here again, Robin!! It’s always such a pleasure to pop in, and your interviews are some of the most in-depth and enjoyable ones!

rem:  Mikal, thank you so much! Your words mean the world to me! Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today—and pop back any time!



Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and proud military wife. By day, she works as an administrative assistant for an international ministry, serves in her church’s library, runs her kids to all their sports, and drinks lots of coffee. By night, she talks to figments of her imagination as she attempts to write while dinner is burning. And drinks lots of coffee. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Mikal now lives in Oklahoma with her husband, two of their three children, and one ferocious feline.










Mikal is offering an e-copy of Once Upon a Christmas Collection.

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 Thursday 29 August and end at 12:oo A.M  on Thursday 5 September. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.



“Enter the Psalms. They refocus me, give me hope, peace. They give me joy. I think more on the Lord. I speak with Him more. I’m more relaxed and less irritable.”


#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview and Giveaway, Mikal Dawn

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How far would YOU go to avenge the murder of a daughter?

Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter from the hands of her religious group, The Children of Righteous Cain. When her husband suffers a sudden heart attack, she does nothing to help him. In her eyes someone needs to pay, and if that means all of the men in the group, then so be it.

Dayne MacFarland is sent away to college by the senior elder of the group to learn ministry. When he returns after finding salvation, determined to bring the truth to the people he’s known all his life, he rediscovers Cara and realizes the love he once felt for her is still deeply embedded within his heart.

Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings.

Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divides the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secrets prove too high a price for her redemption?

Purchase link:  https://amzn.to/2IQk3i2





Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?














Well, that’s two books in a row dealing with topics not often found in fictional stories.

Cults are taboo, accursed, the ultimate in anti-society. But once you are in one, you’re trapped. And when you’re in one, you’re brainwashed and don’t even know it.

Ms. Brown launches the reader smack into the midst of a Caralynne’s torment, and the death of her abusive husband. My mind screamed at her to take her daughters and run, far away from the community that held her captive—but I knew she couldn’t. I knew she was trapped. The more I read the more appalled I became; and yet, this is what cults do, trap their followers with false truth—and threats.

I understood Caralynne’s drive to seek revenge for her daughter’s death, especially once I learned more of what caused her death. I urged her to forgive, though, the only true freedom.

Dayne had a different battle to fight—Truth against the lies of the enemy. The Word of God against the word of the cult leader.

As is spiritual battle, what looked to be overwhelming odds and a lost cause, God’s Word always wins. Always. Not without cost, not without sacrifice, but God’s Word cannot be defeated.

Ms. Brown writes a taut story, gripping and chilling, that held my attention to the end.






I purchased this book, and offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Carole Brown

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Congratulations to


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

Thanks to everyone who entered!





Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter whose deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Andrews lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.











Mesu is offering an e-copy of Isaiah’s Daughter, or a print copy to a U.S. address.



#Blogwords, New Week New Face, Guest Post, Mesu Andrews, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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You want me to talk about Street Teams?




Because, my team is just super duper and I don’t know what I’d do without them sharing this writing journey with me.


I’ve had people ask me what works, but to be honest, I think the dynamics of each street team is different based on the members and the author. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all.

I’m a naturally engaged person. I LOVE chatting with my team and sharing information with them. That may sound exhausting for other people, but it’s just how I roll.

So, here are some questions I’ve had asked about street teams and I’ll give MY answers, but remember, those are just one perspective on a varying spectrum of possibilities for a team.


Why a street team?

Street teams, sometimes called influencer teams, are groups of people who help support you and your stories They can be set up as a team for each book OR as a team for you, as the author. Mine is set up more long-term than over each book, though they have to sign up within the team for each book release.


First of all my street team provides a great deal of encouragement to me. That might be the most IMPORTANT personal bonus of a street team – or it is for me, anyway. They are such great people. So kind and fun! And when I share sneek peaks or cover or ask their opinions, they are all so willing to share and celebrate. This writing journey can feel solo lots of the time AND it comes with natural insecurity, so having a team can be a real boost to the heart.


Secondly, and the main reason they were created, is for ‘influence’. Street teams help spread the word about your books. They share on social media, write early reviews, some create fun graphics to share, others offer opportunities to be a part of their blogs. It’s just a great networking opportunity…and did I mention I LOVE MY STREET TEAM!!!


How do I start one?

My street team came about fairly organically, if I remember. I’d been writing and involved in ACFW for a while before my first book debuted, so I had some nice relationships throughout the industry, but when my first book came out, I started paying attention to the bloggers who seemed to like it. Dawn Crandall, Julie Lessman, and Laura Frantz, who all read my first book, quickly spread the word about it. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.


I started a private group on Facebook, and eventually approached bloggers and reviewers who seemed to like my writing style and asked them if they’d like to be on my team. Dawn announced on her team that I was looking, so that brought some too. I had NO script for how it all worked, I just wanted to have some fun sharing stories with people who liked stories…and that began my group. It started with about five people (Carrie Schmidt being one of those early guinea pigs…poor thing. And she still stuck around 😉 We kept things conversational and positive. That’s been my desire ever since.


Since my team has gotten so large, I do have a bit of a vetting process now, but I’m always looking for positive, book savvy people to include on the team.


What do I share?

Lots of things.

I share sneak peeks from my WIPs, graphics (and get their opinions), early book cover ideas, character pic inspiration, setting stuff…oh just lots. I usually ask their opinions on things too.

I love finding out what they’re reading – and sometimes we’ll chat about fictional crushes.

I also share life stuff and ask them life stuff too. Fun memes are always welcome 😉


What makes it work well?

If I had to list three things that seem to work for my team it’s:

  1. Engagement – Since they’re so willing to invest their time/energy into me and my books, I want to invest some of my time into them. Now, there has to be a balance with this, because there are 70-ish of them and only 1 of me, but it’s important to me that they know I’m grateful for them and their involvement in my writing journey. Time shows that, since I usually don’t have as much fun free stuff to send their way (or the $$ to do it). Time, consistency, and gratitude goes a long way, IMO.
  2. Positivity – It’s very important to me to keep the team positive and hopeful. That’s another reason why I make sure the people I invite match that ideal. It creates a much more enjoyable environment when people respect one another, bring joy, and spill that joy out on others around them.
  3. Secrets – I LOVE sharing behind-the-scenes stuff about writing, life, etc, that I don’t regularly share on social media. I can’t tell you more because…well…it’s a secret 😉


There you have it!

Bottom line!

I am SO GRATEFUL for my street team and just love them!

Authors really do appreciate readers! Your words and support matter so much to us!

Thank you for all you do to join us in our journeys and encourage us along the way!!



P.S. Though I’m not accepting new members into my street team at this time, I DO have a Reader’s group on FB called Blame it On A Basham Book Reader’s Group. If you’re interested in learning more about me and my books, this is a great way…and there are some super people involved in this group.




As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.











Pepper is offering a print copy of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge (U.S. address only) OR an e-copy of winner’s choice of Pepper’s books.

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 12:00 A.M. on Monday 26 August and end at 12:00 A.M. on Monday 2 September. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.





#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Pepper Basham, #GIVEAWAY

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In 1824, Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village—especially the doctor she gas assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive.
After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal—Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission—posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement.
At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.

What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?




Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in England. Now living in the U.S. heartland, she’s a member of ACFW, sharing about author life with her fellow Alley Cats on The Writer’s Alley blog and Facebook page. Besides writing, she is a busy mom of four and works in Adult Ministry. Angie enjoys eclectic new restaurants, authentic conversation with friends, and date nights with her Texas Aggie husband. Connect with her online at www.angiedicken.com





A jarring opening scene, discomfiting, unnerving.

The reader is immediately thrust into Josie’s mind—and her belief that she is dead. It can only get better from there, right?

A morbid practice that this reviewer hasn’t seen broached in fiction before. A tale wrapped around fear and darkness and desperation, this story kept me reading. The twists kept me guessing. The attraction between Josie and Braham blossomed in the face of darkness, in spite of the resistance they both tried valiantly to put up. The times they were alone together, however, seemed unfitting to the era, a time when even the most innocent discourse was chaperoned. But the circumstances superseded society and protocol.

This reviewer certainly felt the conflict Josie bore—secrets to hide barring her from accepting even the friendship of her coworkers; her angst and dread weighed her every moment.

Braham, too, strives against his past, and I could identify all too well with the damage to his self-esteem.

In Josie and Braham, Ms. Dicken has given each exactly what the other needs, and has crafted a poignant love story in the midst of a despicable practice and an evil plot.






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-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review, The Yellow Lantern, Angie Dicken, True Colors Series—Fiction Based on Strange-But-True History, #TrueColorsSeries

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“Trading guilt and misery for God’s grace and mercy.”


“I don’t present the Gospel message in my books, but God is evident throughout the stories. My characters struggle with everyday problems, pray to and receive strength and wisdom from a loving God.”




Congratulations to


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

Thanks to everyone who entered!





Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her publications include three novels, Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising, and Rescued Hearts as well as nonfiction articles. A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons. Visit her at hopetolerdougherty.com.












“Sometimes the writer’s life borders on the lonely side–unless you count spending time with imaginary characters, that is…   Spending time with other writers, especially Christian writers, is always such an encouragement, and spending that time at a beach (with lots of chocolate)? All the better!”



Hope is offering an e-copy of Rescued Hearts, or a print copy to a U.S. reader.

“Can I worship in jeans or shorts or pajamas? Yes.

Have I done it? Yes—beside Niagara Falls, around a campfire, at my desk. The Red Rock State Park in Arizona brought me to tears contemplating our Creator.”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Hope Toler Dougherty, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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“I really love story. Especially from people overlooked or undervalued by the world.”

“Prayer is amazingly powerful, and I’m a serious prayer warrior.”


Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Joanna Davidson Politano.



Cake or Cookies ALL OF THE ABOVE

Dogs or Cats  I am an equal opportunity stray adopter ❤

Yoga Pants or Jeans  I’ve always been a jeans girl, but yoga pants are becoming a staple in the homeschooling days at home!


rem:  Hullo Joanna, and welcome to my little nest! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

JOANNA:  I’ve always lived in the Chicago area, from the northern suburbs to the city itself. Now I live over the border in Indiana, and I LOVE the country! Especially living in the woods with so much nature around us. I worked as a medical writer for years, then in nonfiction publishing, and now I’m pursuing homeschool teaching with writing novels as a side hobby.

rem:  I love being in the woods, surrounded by nature—not so sure about living way out in the country…  Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

JOANNA:  1. I gave birth twice without medication, with the help of some Scripture (see upcoming question!) and I’m a pain wimp.

  1. I own (and often refer back to) over 4,000 books, and 1,800 on Kindle
  2. I once dove off a 40 foot cliff while white water rafting—and bellyflopped.

rem:  1.  Yeeps / Awsome! 2. Holy Moly Batman, that’s a LOTTA books! And 3. Ouch, just ouch!  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

JOANNA:  I really like the book of Isaiah for the full picture it gives us of God’s character—all sides of it. (rem: too many people, I think, dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant… )  Favorite verse—either Matthew 6:33, which is my life verse, (But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you) or the verses in Isaiah 43 that talk about God being with us through the fire and flood. I recited those when having both my kids, and they are precious verses to me.

rem:  It’s so subtle, isn’t it? Such a “simple” thing to do, and yet so overlooked—to seek Him first, to walk in His ways and will… What is your favourite quotation and why?

JOANNA:  I think you’ll find my heart somewhere between “Not all who wander are lost” and “be kind, for everyone you meet is facing some kind of battle.”  Also, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” There are so many quotes I adore—Especially from Mother Teresa. I could make a quote board just from her.

rem:  Hmmm… mayhap, we wander to meet someone who is facing some kind of battle for a reason—to do some small thing with great love… What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

JOANNA:  Probably a half-finished sucker that I wrapped up and was ordered not to throw away… because I promised to return it to the owner when she finished some vegetables. That has not yet happened.

rem:  Such a mom-of-small-kids thing!! ha!  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

JOANNA:  Emily of New Moon! I feel like we’re kindred spirits. Or…. Maybe Aslan.


rem:  Haven’t met Emily of New Moon, but I’d adore the chance to spend a day (or longer) with Aslan!  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

JOANNA:  Oh goodness, this is a huge question, and a great one to ask. Christian fiction has the ability to, like Jesus’ stories, convey truth in a deeper, more memorable way than simply stating it. Stories trigger and excite something in our brains, and we interact with the truth in a much bigger way. How as it impacted my relationship? Well, that could take hours. To be honest, it’s become a sacred time of connection with God that is more personal to me than any other way almost. I ask Him questions, and we untangle the answer together as I write, and I come away with a lovely duet to remember our time together.

rem:  Oohhh! I love that—lovely duet!! And yes, it does become a sacred time, when it’s just us and Him, collaborating to create a story. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

JOANNA:  I think all my favorites in a story can be encapsulated in one word—authenticity. This applies to the characters, and to the layers the writer was willing to peel back while writing. I love when someone enters vulnerably into a story to discover, rather than setting out to give a lesson.

rem:  So true. Stories that aren’t authentic are like a balloon—they might bob in the wind for a short while, but in the test of time they don’t hold up. What are you reading right now?

JOANNA:  A Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie and Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin (one electronic, one hard copy)


rem:  And both sound quite intriguing. I particularly loved a post on your blog from April of this year, Going Deeper—A Vineyard Study. Tell us about that.

JOANNA:  This came about from some readers who enjoyed “A Rumored Fortune,” my second book, and asked me to walk readers through the vineyard research I did that had such spiritual depth. That research completely changed me during the writing of the most stubborn novel to date. I had such a rough go of it with that novel, but God used that desperation to draw me to him. (rem: THIS right here gives me such hope for my current WIP! I have not had such a struggle with any of my other stories!)And it was glorious. He gently taught me, through vineyard research, what it meant to connect to the True Vine, and just how vital it was for life—despite how healthy an unconnected branch might appear.

rem:  And now I must dig deeper into this myself. You have such a powerful ministry of hope. What inspired your post (May 2016) on Broken Glass?

JOANNA:  Thank you! I am glad to offer the hope I was given myself. I’m not sure there’s a specific incident that inspired that blog post, but as my own life story has unfolded, I’ve watched God take shattered pieces of me that I didn’t even know how to get rid of, or what to do with, and he redeemed them the way a friend of mine remakes old furniture into something chic and modern. He took broken shards, infused them with color, and put them together into a stunning piece of art that actually formed an entire picture when you stepped back to look—then He shone through it Himself, and you realize everything you are, even the broken pieces, are redeemed and affixed into a story… for HIS glory. And it’s stunning.

rem:  Yes and Amen! There’s just not any other fitting response! You also have a powerful prayer ministry. Can you share with us one of the most inspiring results or miracles you’ve seen?

JOANNA:  Honestly, I seldom hear the result of my prayers, because most of the people I pray for are strangers who have requested prayer through my site. One of the small but memorable ones in my personal life was when I went apple picking once with a guy I’d been dating. This was the hugest orchard in the state, and we were out there picking for hours. When we came into the store to pay, I realized I’d dropped my car key, which wasn’t even on a ring, somewhere out in the orchard. It was now dark. I had no other key, and I needed my car to get to work the next day—not to mention getting home that night. I talked to God about it, and I walked out through the orchard, through the rows, and directly to the key under a tree that looked like all the rest. To this day, I have no idea how it happened, but I do know the guy I was dating, who had been wrestling with his faith, turned a huge corner that day. And now I’m married to him.

rem:  I love love love those seeming “random” moments, moments that might seem like coincidence—but are truly a Divine touch or whisper!  I love how you equate everyday life to stories, and how they help “untangle and understand” the world. How does this show up in your stories?

JOANNA:  Oh this is my favorite thing about writing. So many simple moments have deep undercurrents that all point back to Scripture. I often ask God big questions when I sit down to write, and they play out in very simple character arcs or actions within the book. For example, the heroine in my first book had such trouble fitting into the family she’d just discovered. She tried so many ways and couldn’t understand why she didn’t, until she realized they were broken and unhappy people—and it was perfectly ok to not fit in with them. In the same way, we often feel at odds in this world when we really follow Jesus, and that’s perfectly all right too—because this is a sinful world and we’re not meant to stay forever. The vineyard symbolism in my second book was amazing to me—the heroine has to learn about how vineyards work and it underscores everything the Bible says about connecting to God—connection had been a longing of her heart, and understanding the vines helped her understand the larger questions about connecting.

rem:  Oh my goodness!!! Not fitting in has been my personal agony—and delight—for as long as I can remember. Only now I know why I don’t fit in…  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

JOANNA:  I’ve been writing for years, and when I started writing novels and actually submitting them, I got nothing but rejections or silence. I was discouraged, but then babies came into the picture. I decided to set aside writing and raise my family, maybe going back to it later. That was about when I realized I hadn’t even asked God. When I did, I found out He had other ideas. I said ok, and took a redeye flight to a conference, stayed about 24 hours, and took another redeye back to my baby. On that trip, I received three offers from agents, and when I chose an agent we got three offers from publishers. What a stark difference from my timing and God’s! The biggest, coolest part of my writing journey, though, is simply the practice of connecting with God. It’s the language we speak, and the way I untangle things I don’t understand.


rem:  Oh how we, as humans, fight and buck His timing—only to discover how truly He does know best! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?


Top three recommendations:

  1. If you’re not getting traction, or you’re stuck, write a novel purely for fun—every little thing you enjoy in a story, whatever length or mix of genres. No rules, no expectations. That’s more likely to be your success story than endless striving! Rules are important—learn them, but don’t be tied to them so much that you forget the joy of writing.
  2. Trust God. Seriously, it sounds simple, but those two words are really hard to live out at times. Keep in mind, though, that the same God who parted the sea can do anything He wants in your story—and He delights in the impossible.
  3. Connect with friends of the heart. Get to know some other writers, or just people who love books, and have lots of conversations. Show them your work. Respect their feedback, but not above God’s.

Top three things not to do:

  1. Strive—or write anything in your own strength
  2. Compare—If God wants you writing, there’s a hole out there the exact shape of your story.
  3. Lose yourself—fictional worlds are wonderful and mind-expanding, but don’t ever lose sight of the real people for the imaginary ones.


rem:  Such wisdom, Joanna. How do you choose your characters’ names?

JOANNA:  After reading lots of Victorian literature over the years, I have a sense of what names were used then, and I go hunting through baby name books! Often I narrow down the choices by a name’s meaning, because meanings are important.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

JOANNA:  Oh sure, but then it changes! I never plot out an entire book before starting, but I have some general ideas. Those always change, though.

rem:  So much yes!! My non-writer friends just don’t get it when I say, “They [my characters] told me thus and such!” LOL  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

JOANNA:  My newly released book, Finding Lady Enderly, is a rags-to-riches story about a lost countess, and the rag woman who temporarily steps in to take her place. There’s a great romance thread that weaves classic literature through it, which was so fun to write! My current project is a novel about a lost love letter that’s discovered years after it was written, and the impact it has on the finder and an entire household.

rem:  Shameful confession: I have not yet read your books… #hangshead  They sound so wonderful and intriguing, though, and they definitely are on my TBR list…  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

JOANNA:  Oh, the love story! It was so wonderfully unique and fun to create. It was a challenge, but it ended up becoming one of my favorites. There isn’t the usual will they/won’t they or things like that keeping them apart, and the hurdles they face are fun to play with. The way they overcome their hurdles, though is just so fun. The romance wove perfectly into the twists of the story—which were the most twisty I’ve written to date.

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


Chapter 1

I do not truly wish for all my dreams to come true. After all, nightmares are one type of dream.

~Diary of a Countess


Spitalfields, London’s East End, 1871

For one blessed moment I was actually beautiful. I rested one smudged hand on the bodice of the luscious gown given to me by Mrs. J. B. Hollingsworth and waltzed like a princess down Church Street, the little jeweled shoes twinkling in the moonlight as I lifted my hem and spun on the broken cobblestones. Gowns had a sort of magic hemmed into their cloth, enough to change a girl’s heart just by the wearing of them.

I paused under the flickering gaslights to glimpse my reflection in a window, gasping at the vision of loveliness framed on the grimy pane of Bryn and Saunders Textiles. I twirled my hair up and looked with wonder at the whole of me—shapely, trim, and utterly feminine. For the first time in my life, my willowy body was fitted in a garment with shape and form.

Mercy gracious, I looked like a normal girl.

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

JOANNA:  It’s so easy to become defined by circumstances, or changeable elements, and we often never understand the core of who we are. So much can be changed—our friends, our job, our economic status or marital status. Yet there’s something in our nature that makes us uniquely who we are—and it points to our purpose. What defines us, and why do we let it? What is truly at the core of us? The heroine wrestles with her identity as she peels back and discards many layers of who she was to become someone else, realizing much about herself and her Creator.

rem:  Oh, Joanna, you have hit on exactly what my life used to be! But God… Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

JOANNA:  It was my pleasure!




Joanna Davidson Politano writes historical novels of mystery and romance, including her debut Lady Jayne Disappears. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and you can find her at










 “[Stories] are not an escape from the world, but a way to untangle and understand it.”

“Because in truth, no one wants their life to be invisible or forgotten.”

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Joanna Politano

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Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for the Mended Hearts series by Patricia Lee, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!



Title: An Anchor on Her Heart
Series: Mended Hearts #1
Author: Patricia Lee
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink
Release Date:
August 1, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance



Can they keep their friendship pure when their hearts long for more?
McKenna Nichols, a young wife abandoned by her husband in favor of his work, is left alone to raise their autistic child. She promised to love him until death parted them. But when circumstances drive a wedge into their marriage and Dane chooses to escape what life has dealt them, how long can she be strong? Can she remain faithful to her marriage vows when tempted by the friendship of an unlikely stranger?
Rudy Taylor, who senses McKenna’s loneliness and understands the difficulty of raising her daughter, struggles to keep his concern for the young woman biblical.  Will McKenna’s faith in God and Rudy’s commitment to his Lord be enough to keep their relationship simple until McKenna’s husband one day returns?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook



As teenage sweethearts, she and Dane used to race down this street toward the ocean. She’d hold his hand at the top of the berm separating the beach from the town, letting the turbulent air tangle her hair around her face and neck. Dane would lead her to the sand, and they’d sit, his fingers straightening the unruly locks, his kisses tickling her ears. Nothing separated them, all of life waiting like a well-written fairytale.


Until Sydney changed the story for Dane.




Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon. Articles to her credit have appeared in Moody Monthly, Power for Living, Expecting and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse as well as in two anthologies— Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and In the Company of Angels. She is part of a team of bloggers who submit short devotionals for FaithHappenings.com.

Patricia is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats.

CONNECT WITH PATRICIA:  Website | Facebook | Twitter





This story pulled me in like a riptide and tossed me like waves on the ocean. The emotions are raw, the issues very real, and Ms. Lee does not make light of them, or downplay the reality of a child with special needs.

That Dane chose to leave rather than stay when his daughter was born gutted me. McKenna’s devotion to him was admirable—but maddening. That she honored her marriage vows was beyond honorable.

The setting—the Pacific Northwest and Alaska—were as much a part of this story as the characters. I was fascinated with the aspects of the fishing industry, and have a new appreciation for the men who make their living.

The attraction between McKenna and Rudy was as tumultuous as a storm on the Bering Sea—and as treacherous. As a reader, I wanted to see them get together. As a Christian I applauded them both for honoring God’s Word. The tension was taut and sometimes unbearable.

I did not raise a child with special needs, but I was a single mom and I could identify with McKenna too well in some of her deepest struggles. I appreciated Ms. Lee for portraying  McKenna in such a realistic light.

I cheered, I scolded, I cried. And I surely adored Sydney





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.



(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card!

Be sure to check out each stop on these tours for more chances to win. Full tour schedule on this tour shown below. Giveaway begins at midnight August 19, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 24, 2019. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses valid.  For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day and Giveaway, #TRD, Book Review, An Anchor on Her Heart, Patricia Lee, Mended Hearts Series

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Congratulations to


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

Thanks to everyone who entered!




Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.









Edie is offering a Kindle or print copy of Soul Care for Writers.




#Blogwords, New Week New Face, Guest Post, Edie Melson, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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