Archive for the ‘blogwords’ Category




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!





Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.



One step into the massive glass-walled waiting area was all it took.



Pepper Basham has been a favorite author since I read her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer three years ago. With her signature Britallachian style, and her quirky and sincere characters, I was instantly smitten with Wes and Eisley’s story.




     Five stars, definitely five stars.


#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Just the Way You Are, Pepper Basham


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“I had both my brothers and my sister back. I had wept and prayed that Luc should be restored to me. Jacksy and Thierry I hadn’t cared so much. And now, here they were, all jolly and pleasant with me, as though I were a dear friend.”


“Luc had always been tenderhearted, kind to everyone, even notre mère. He enjoyed a cigar with Papá, even at his young age, and made friends with everyone he met. Unlike me.”

rem:  Bonjour, Monsieur, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

LUC:  Swell of you to ask me, dear lady.

rem:  You’ve been away for a long while. Can you tell us why?

LUC:  I was doing top secret work.

rem:  That assignment has ended, correct?

LUC:  It has, yes.

rem:  And before you took on that assignment, where were you then? What were you doing?

LUC:  I worked this assignment these past ten years. And as it’s classified, I can say nothing further about it.

rem:  When you left Saisons, how old were you?

LUC:  Thirteen.

rem:  And why did you leave? Where did you go?

LUC:  Dear Lady, I had to leave.

rem:  Because…

LUC:  Because I had learned… things. Things a man knows, things I didn’t understand.

rem:  My apologies, Sir. I know this is difficult for you. Tell us where you went.

LUC:  Sage. It’s a small town, not ten miles from home.

rem:  I suspect you kept an eye on your sister.

LUC:  Indeed I did! I knew what mon père was like. And that Lissette—I’d have killed her with my bare hands if she had dragged Lucy into her debauchery.

rem:  I can well imagine. And I think I speak for both of us when I say I’m exceeding glad she did not.

LUC:  It is well for her she never did, yes.

rem:  Let me clarify for our readers, Lucy is your pet name for your sister, n’est-ce-pas?

LUC:  nods and smiles  Oui.

rem:   How did you live when you went to Sage? You were a boy when you left.

LUC:  Hardly, dear lady. I was more man than boy. To answer you, I took odd jobs, picking cotton, toting bales. I made deliveries, took goods to folk others shied away from.

rem:  Sounds like you were a brave lad.

LUC:  Not brave so much, ma’am, as necessity.

rem:  Bravo to you.

LUC:  nods

rem:  You’ve had quite a fortunate turn of events.

LUC:  Indeed. My darling is with me again.

rem:  And you’re recently wed, correct.

LUC:  And happily so.

rem:  Congratulations to you both.

LUC:  nods

rem:  You are reunited with your sister, as well, correct?

LUC:  nods  I missed her dearly. We always were quite close, even though that horrible woman did her best to keep us apart.

rem:  Seems you two always made a way to meet.

LUC:  Indeed we did. Pearl is my sister, my twin, and I’ll not let anyone take her from me.

rem:  Yours is a most special bond, Monsieur. What was it like when you were little?

LUC:   smiles  We were inseparable when we were small. We played on the swing and when we were older, I walked with her when she’d push her dollies about, and she would watch me when I played ball. When Papá installed the maze for her, we spent our afternoons in the gazebo.

rem:  And now, you’re reunited.

LUC:  And glad of it, too.

rem:  You’re to settle in Saisons, I believe. Is that correct?

LUC:  You are, dear lady, most correct.

rem:  Monsieur, I thank you for visiting with me today.

LUC:  I thank you, dear lady. It has been my great pleasure.










““Luc was no longer lost to me and he had a new bride. And Thierry was no longer lost to us all, and was about to take a bride. At five and twenty years, the estate now was his birthright and he had granted Luc full privilege and management over Ashley Santee.””





#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Silent Song of Winter, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Luc Marchand


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#WreadingWednedsay is now dedicated to ‘wreading’ bits and excepts from my books—there’s five now! Book 3 in my Seasons series, The Silent Song of Winter, releases this month.




“I never did like wearing those things.”

“I would have thought you had one for every day of the week.” Polly stared straight ahead. She had never spoken to me so severely

Tears stung my eyes but I refused to let them loose.

“I’m sorry, Pearl.” She reached for my hand, but quickly grabbed the steering wheel as the car jostled upon a deep puddle.

“I know what people think of me.” She had apologized, and I accepted. But her words still stung; they had hit the mark. I had owned a dozen corsets once.

“No, Pearl, I don’t think you do.” Polly maneuvered the car from the lane and onto a smoother roadway.

“People think I’m superficial and flighty and silly.”

“I don’t.”

“You’re the only one.”

“I’d wager your husband doesn’t, either.”

“Yes, well…”

“And any number of mothers whose babies you’ve helped bring into the world.”

Polly’s words pressed on my thoughts and feelings of poor self-worth, ironing them into unwrinkled submission, to be folded and put away, out of sight.

“I did, didn’t I?”

We didn’t speak again until we were back at her house, cleaning instruments and restocking our supplies in our bags.

“What were you saying about corsets?” I finally ventured to ask.

“I had another young mother, several years ago, Lara Sullivan.” Polly sank onto a kitchen chair. “She was like Mrs. Eddington, insisted on wearing her corset. Even after she was pregnant. She refused to stop wearing it…”

I had not seen tears in Polly’s eyes before. Now her blue eyes puddled, and a tear trickled down her rosy cheeks. I put my hand on her arm and led her to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

“She lost the baby. She pulled that damn thing so tight, she lost the baby.”

“Oh, Polly.” I tried to kneel in front of her, but had to pull a chair over instead. I embraced her across the chairs, and rocked her, singing lullaby words just as I’d heard her do so many times.




#Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book Except, The Long Shadows of Summer, Seasons, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, The Silent Song of Winter, The Whispering Winds of Spring

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Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies—and unexpected allies—she will encounter on her way.


Series:  #1 Cities of Refuge
Genre:  Biblical Fiction
Release date:  6 February 2018
Pages:  313
Publisher:  Bethany House


Grief caught in my throat. “Is there no hope at all?”

She shrugged one humped shoulder. “I am a healer and have gathered many medicines and spells from many lands, but what this man needs is a skilled physician.”

Hope flickered. “Where can we find someone like this?”

She scratched her chin and wrinkled her frown again. “Aside from Egypt, where men are trained in such arts, the only hope would be Megiddo. But I doubt he will last until we arrive.”

“You are going to Megiddo?”

She nodded. “We’d be there already if it hadn’t been for that storm last night.” She turned to peer at the carving of Ba’al. “You let all your fury loose did you not, my friend?” Again she muttered unintelligible words as if speaking to the wooden idol like one spoke to another person. She turned a cloudy eye on me and froze, her attention honed in on me like a serpent sighting a mouse. “You must leave.”


“My friends do not want you here.” She jabbed a long-nailed finger at me. “You bear the mark of my Lord and Lady but you do not serve them. Go. Leave.”


rem:   Hullo Conni, and CONGRATULATIONS on your new book!! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

CONNILYNOh goodness, I think I am too spoiled to want to actually live in another time period. I need my wifi and my Kindle just too much. But I really would really love to visit the 20’s if I could meet my grandma Ruth when she was young. She was a beautiful singer when she was young but by the time I knew her that operatic voice had deteriorated so much. I would so love to experience what life was like for her then, it was such an interesting time in our country with cool architecture and art and fashion but stay there for good? No thanks. I’ll be here in my air conditioning, writing books on my laptop and drinking a latte!

rem:   I know right!! Gimme a time machine and I’ll visit all kinds of times and places!! But there’s no place like home! Where did you find this story idea?

CONNILYN:   I wanted to follow the natural progression of the story after the Exodus because I wanted to write Moryiah’s story (from Wings of the Wind) and once I read Joshua 20 about the Cities of Refuge my imagination was stirred.

rem:   Conni, I gotta say I love the progression of your stories! Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

CONNILYNMoriyah was very easy because I know her so well and so I was able to slip into her skin. Because of her appearance she deals with a lot of the insecurities that all modern women face, so that also contributed to the ease with which she flowed onto the page. The most difficult was probably Yuval because it took me a while to determine his motives for his actions, but once I did he became one of my favorites and actually his original fate changed drastically.

rem:   Oh! I loved Yuval! What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

CONNILYN: I try to avoid munching when I am writing because otherwise I end up at the bottom of bags without realizing how much I’ve stuffed in my mouth, but I do drink lots of coffee and tea at night.

  rem:   Oh yeah, I’m a 24/7 tea-drinking kinda gal! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

CONNILYNOnce I turn in a manuscript I take an entire month off of writing so I can recharge my brain and so I can have completely fresh inspiration when I dig into the next story.

rem:   So.Smart. I think most readers don’t know what it takes of how much work it is to write our stories. Especially yours, with such cultural detail. Congratulations again on your latest lovely story!



Connilyn Cossette is the Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There’s not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com


1 – “Perhaps it is the vineyard he desires now, my beautiful daughter. But no one could resist loving you, if they give it a chance. I believe that Yahweh is providing a man who will see beyond the veil, past the mark, and into your heart.”


2 – Throughout the long, restless night on my bed, I conjured up all manner of doubts, trying to imagine what sort of man my father had chosen for me, what he might look like, and what he would think of me. Had he heard rumors like the ones that market girl had flung at me? And when he did, would he change his mind or ignore them? I was not sure which outcome I feared more.


3 – All the years between Jericho and now seemed to be charred beyond redemption, as though the brand had sunk deep into my soul, burning away even the roots of hope I’d once clung to, and leaving behind only a patch of ashy dust.


4 – Could I dare hope that Darek could look past such shame? Unbidden hope curled around my heart, squeezing it in ways I’d not entertained for a very long time.


5 – “You have experienced something that no one should ever have to, and yet you handled it with dignity. Instead of railing against your lot, you endure it with quiet grace.”


6 – His attention lost among the glowing embers, Darek tapped a steady rhythm against his knee. The minute gesture caused my thoughts to revisit the festival, when a relentless drumbeat and the flicker of brazier flames had encircled that brief moment when he’d smiled at me and taken a step in my direction.


7 – The longer the rain pelted down, the slicker the trail became. Rivulets of water began to wash down the side of the slope as we climbed, dragging mud and pebbles with them in their mad rush into the valley… The drop-off next to the trail made my stomach wobble—one wrong move and I’d tumble to the rocks below. Perhaps a fitting end for a murderer.


8­ – Fear was a living, breathing thing stretched along my shoulders, weighing me down…


9 – How had I allowed myself to be so thoroughly chained inside a prison of my own making? I’d not only hidden behind the veil, I’d hidden inside my house, and eventually curled up on the inside, too, letting the barrier grow thicker and thicker as the years went on… And perhaps it was not Yahweh who had stopped whispering to my heart… but me who had built a wall between us.


10 – None of this was mine to control. My life had always been in the hands of Yahweh; even before I was born and my grandparents had chosen to walk away from Egypt, my path had always been His to determine.


Connilyn Cossette immediately became one of my favorite authors when I read her first book, Counted With the Stars two years ago. Her research and knowledge of the culture, and her skill at weaving that into her story is now much anticipated with each new story; she does not disappoint in A Light on the Hill.


There is such depth and so many layers to this story, I’m not even sure where to begin… Moriyah has hidden behind a secret from her past—and I think that’s true for so many of us. Her journey to freedom is not easy, and I felt her struggle every step of the way. I felt, nay, I know, her resistance to letting others in, letting others love her.

I must confess that any time I’ve ever read the Old Testament, I never picked up on the Levitical cities of refuge. Ms. Cossette brings to life an invaluable analogy of God’s care and provision for us. Moriyah’s very flight to safety was fraught with danger; so, too, sometimes is our way to the arms of God.

That God used the very thing that scarred her to bring her to the city of refuge is also very true of His touch on our lives. As the song says, nothing is wasted.


Ms. Cossette tells Moriyah’s story so beautifully, her fears real and tangible, her will to survive curious to her. The love story mingled in with the history and the terror of their journey brought tears to my eyes more than once. And always, always, God’s heart and His redemptive power.



I received a free 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, New Release Event, A Light on the Hill, Connilyn Cossette, Cities of Refuge

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Fictional Careers

I must confess that I have ventured away from “write what I know.” My first novels were from a church secretary’s viewpoint—that which I knew and was—and have since featured characters of wide and varying strengths and weaknesses based in large part on what they did. My people are teachers, engineers, inventors, various medical professionals, priests, pastors, shop owners, foreign politicians, and attorneys. One of my favorite characters is a religious Brother hospice chaplain in Requiem for the Innocents. I try to find someone who is actively practicing a profession I can get a handle on to recreate for a character.

Ever since my second novel, Healing Grace, was published, I have been fascinated by medical issues. Having nursing and other medical professionals of all levels among my close friends and family members, I have been able to draw on their rich knowledge base to help me round out characters and situations. That comes with a cautionary tale I’ll share later. I feel drawn to use medical scenarios in my stories either as a plot or pivot point, or a theme because so often the human condition drives story.

Miracles are endlessly amazing. Healing Grace was supposed to the first of a series of novels featuring the gifts of the Holy Spirit—that is, what those gifts might look like when practiced today. Faith healing can be obvious or subtle, if it exists. I unfortunately discovered there is a great divide among believers about how the Holy Spirit operates, and I have yet to work on other books in the series. The main character, Grace, has the gift of healing with a touch. However, she covers her bases with a medical degree as a nurse practitioner. If her patients tend to get well more quickly and easily than other medical experts experience, who’s going to complain? Knowledge of the human body and treatment does not dilute the miracle of healing in any circumstance. Two special friends in the medical field consented to interviews and responded to my requests for factual help, as well as checking my work afterward to make sure I didn’t leave any gaping holes.

When researching your fictional character’s career, always make sure you use both primary and secondary sources for information. Primary sources are personal experience or talking directly with someone who currently practices a particular career. Secondary sources include reading books or articles about a career or reading biographies or manuals.

You, the author, will not be able to satisfy everyone who reads your story. No matter how carefully you research, new regulations and laws, treatment options, recommendations, and discoveries will change the way any career is practiced. Methods and interpretations will vary even between hospitals and clinics, offices, police departments, school districts, or farms. When I was working on my novel Requiem for the Innocents, I wanted to show the female protagonist making a token attempt to deal with her cancer. She agreed to enroll in a medical treatment trial. Now I used an impeccable source for how this study should look and how my character would react. My primary source was a director of an internationally-renown university medical trial department. However, one reader who had worked with cancer patients going through drug trials refused to accept my scenario. Note, this was only a sidelight of my entire story arc, but because I didn’t specify that my character was enrolled in was a Phase I study, and the reader knew what Phase II and III trials were like, she simply couldn’t connect and the story was ruined for her. That experience taught me to be more aware of how my readers may respond to a fictional setting with which they are familiar in the real world. It also shows you how much readers will invest in your attempts to entertain with fiction.

Readers want to invest in your story and your people. Your fictional people should be relatable no matter the era, setting, or genre. They may be sagacious reptilians living on a swampy planet, or telephone switchboard operators in 1900 Milwaukee—it doesn’t matter. Their careers define who they are and predict how they will most likely react to the peril in which we plunge them. The special skillsets we give them drive the story and should contain at least a kernel of truth. Spending hours interviewing or researching for the one perfect little fact, such as what frostbite looks like after a couple of days, will go far to create trust with readers and give them a memorable experience they’ll want to share. Resisting the urge to share every detail we’ve worked hard to uncover will leave room for your readers to fill in the gaps with their own interpretations of what should or could happen allows them to participate in the story and make it a well-loved journey.


Random commenter can choose choice of e-book Healing Grace or Requiem for the Innocents.


Healing Grace: Grace could heal anyone with a touch until her husband got cancer. Nearly destroyed by his death she runs—straight into the lives of another man desperate for her healing touch.







Requiem for the Innocents: When Libby’s cancer resurfaces, she unwittingly becomes involved in an unethical stem cell treatment. The time has come for chaplain Brother Able to continue to stand by or break the bondage of secrets and lies.










Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A multi-published, award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and occasional contest judge. She is part of Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the US, and a member of Chicago Writers Association.












#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lisa Lickel, Fictional Careers

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As I was considering what to write about today, this song came to mind. The name of this feature comes from this concept. I launched Front Porch Fellowship in August of 2016.




“No great theological discourse. No lamenting prayers—or maybe there are. Not hours of reading the Bible. No singing and dancing and praising Him, even. Just abiding.”


All of these have their place and time. But none of these are requirements to “have church.”


This springs from a few different sources. One of those took place twenty-something years ago when my best friend was living with us. I can’t recall now why, but there were times we couldn’t make it to the Wednesday evening service at church, and we’d go for a walk instead. We realized, in our conversations, that we were, in fact, having church. The fellowship of two friends, spending time with our heavenly Father.


“Because He is a friend. And friends do stuff. And sometimes they just sits. Quietly. Being friends.”


“We walk and talk, as good friends should and do.” I heard that years ago, and I have come to a place in my life where that defines my relationship with Father, friendship.


Being a Christian is not about following a religion. A set of rules. A list of do’s and don’ts.


Being a Christian is about a relationship with our heavenly Father. And there’s only one rule, “Love Him with all your heart, and love others as we love ourselves.” As I’ve learned how He loves me, I’ve been able to love myself in the same way.


Interacting with our Father doesn’t have to—nor should it—be a formality. While we are not little “mini gods” running around, we are created in His image, and as we seek Him and grow in the knowledge of Him, we are transformed to be like Him.


He is our friend. Someone to laugh with. Someone to talk to, to turn to when we’re lost or lonely, or broken hearted. A shoulder to cry on.


Like all friendships, it’s not all one sided—it’s not all just me talking. I have to have ears to hear His voice. I have to dedicate my time and my self to grow the relationship. I have to put in if I expect to get anything out of the relationship.


Have you walked with Him lately? Talked with him? Have you spent time just being with Him? No words, no expectations. Just being the friend He says you are?


There’s nothing so precious.



#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, I am a Friend of God

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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!





When a young woman stumbles out of the Hanalei Mountains on the island of Kauai with no memory of who she is or how she got there, Cameron Pierce reluctantly agrees to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding her arrival. As pieces begin to fall into place, he suspects her injuries were no accident, but he’s far from convinced she’s an innocent victim. And there’s that nagging feeling he’s seen her somewhere before….
Now known as Jade, the woman begins to recall fragments of what led her to this place, and she realizes the danger isn’t over. Jade and the cynical Hawaiian investigator attempt to reconstruct the threads of her identity, but the stakes are far higher than either expected.



The blow came like the torrent below, hard and swift and unexpected.



This is one of only a few books I’ve read twice. #stateoftheTBR…  It’s also the first book I ever read by Kristen Heitzmann, making her one of my favorite authors. The story is compelling, and the telling is captivating.




     Five stars, definitely five stars.


#Blogwords, First Line Friday, #FLF, Freefall, Kristen Heitzmann

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