Posts Tagged ‘blogwords’


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A big city detective. A lowcountry murder.

Peace, safety, a place to grieve and heal. After her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan comes home to her family’s cottage in South Carolina. There, she can keep their teenage son, Jeb, away from further threats.

But the day they arrive in Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Taunted by the killer, who repeatedly violates her home and threatens others in the community, Callie finds her new sanctuary has become her old nightmare. Despite warnings from the town’s handsome police chief, Callie plunges back into detective work, pursuing a sinister stranger who may have ties to her past. He’s turning a quiet paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody’s safe. She’ll do whatever it takes to stop him.


51513565_10161380467195593_5519430045086515200_nHope Clark is the award-winning author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, also set in her home state of South Carolina. In her previous life, she performed administrative investigations for the federal government and married an agent she met on a bribery investigation. She can be found either on the banks of Lake Murray or Edisto Beach with one or two dachshunds in her lap. Clark is also editor of the award-winning fundsforwriters.com. Find out more about her at chopeclark.com



NOTE: For my followers who read only clean Christian fiction, there are several instances of swear language, and one scene in particular that gets pretty steamy. 

Having started reading this series with Book #3 or 4, it’s fun to go back and see how it all started. I mean, I knew Callie had issues, but to witness how they started—I just wanna give her a great big HUG! I felt for Callie, with attacks—and not just physical—coming from every side, even within her own mind as memories torment.

NOTE: The books in this series are stand-alone, but I appreciate getting to know Callie and her cohorts better.

Nobody tells a story like C. Hope Clark! Taut story, crisp writing, in-your-face dialogue! And real, believable characters. And the tension she builds from the first page had my heart racing!

In a new place where there are more unknown than familiar faces, Callie teeters between civilian life—foreign to her—and taking this crime spree head on. Especially since it seems aimed at her.

As she ticks through possible suspects—and no one is exempt, it seems—the clues get stranger and stranger.

Ms. Clark builds the suspense with each page, holding my attention in a tight grip to the unexpected twist at the end.






This book was given to me as a gift. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Murder on Edisto, C. Hope Clark, Edisto Island Mysteries

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NOTE: I originally had this review scheduled for 16 May, but following my father’s death the week prior, I was too unfocused to keep up my reading pace, and deferred my post till I could get caught up. And though the tour is long over, I wanted to give credit where credit is due—after all, it is through Celebrate Lit that I came to read this little gem!

 Volition Banner



Book:  Volition

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian fiction, futuristic

Release Date: December 31, 2019



“I should have made that left turn at Tucumcari.”

It’s Doctor Who meets mail-order brides when “rescuers” from the future arrive to save Andi Flanders from a happy life with her loving family and fiancé.

Okay, so they meant to get her suicidal roommate, but hey. Mistakes happen, right?

And as far as Andi’s concerned, they can fix them—by sending her home.

However, when she learns what happens when she disappears from home, Andi has an impossible choice. Stay in the government-controlled futuristic world she despises and never see her family again or return to the twenty-first century and doom an innocent person to death.

Volition— Life and death decisions are so overrated.


Click here to get your copy!




Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.




What Happens When You Explore Logical Progressions?

She used chopsticks. Me? I’m a fork kind of gal. But over plates of sesame chicken and fried rice, we hashed out what our NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) books would be. Every year, I challenged myself.  Once by writing drippy romance (Discovering Hope).  Once by turning a sermon into a story that wasn’t preachy (Argosy Junction). (psst… links are affiliate links—they provide a small commission at no extra expense to you!)

This time, I’d decided the challenge would include writing in the first person.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I don’t like the first-person perspective. As we tried to figure out what our plots would be, my friend added another challenge. “Do science fiction.”

I’ll be honest. I almost laughed her out of the restaurant. But then an idea hit me.  Why shouldn’t I?  I could kill two dislikes in one book.  Bam! Done!

That kicked off a book I probably never would have written otherwise.

I knew doing major techno-science stuff wouldn’t be conducive to trying to write 50,000 words in thirty days, so I immediately chose futuristic over space travel.  The decision to go with a form of time travel was probably inspired by Doctor Who, now that I think of it. I didn’t back then. I just went with what I thought I might be able to make interesting—to write, if not to read.

That kicked off an idea that sent my brain spinning.

What would happen if you got kidnapped and taken to the future, but returning to your former life means someone’s soul will never be redeemed?

Of course, it would take a really strong, amazing character to pull off that kind of thing. Not everyone could do it. But who… who give up her life for someone else?

That’s when I knew. That soul saved would have to belong to someone my character didn’t even like. Gotta raise the stakes, you know?

That’s also when I discovered that I wouldn’t like her—not at first.

Andi Flanders jumped onto the page with hands on hips and eyes flashing. She was livid that people in the future had interfered with her life. Then she’s broken when she realizes she can’t go back.

Fiercely independent, Andi enters futuristic Rockland with a critical eye and condemning spirit.  Since most sci-fi stuff I’ve seen focuses on sleek, pristine futures full of glass and steel, I wanted to go a different direction.  But how?

That’s when my solution came to me.

I’d take today’s world and push everything to logical exaggerated conclusions.

  • Environmentalism? We’ll have a world that tries not to encroach on nature any more than necessary
  • Population? I took China’s “one child” policy and made it worldwide… and then let the future deal with the fallout.
  • Globalism? I let them have their one-world government that protects everyone from themselves.
  • Apathetic faith? I didn’t persecute Christians. I just let their faith die a slow, natural death.

And then I threw in a character with a love for Jesus and a minor obsession with Ayn Rand’s objectivism.  Yes, I’m aware that those two things can be mutually exclusive. That was the fun of it.

This Rand-spouting, Jesus loving, freckle-faced, fiery redhead had to deal with all if this stuff in a world as opposite from her freedom-loving self as can stand.

Ninety-thousand words later, I was done.  And then I shelved the book.

For ten years.

On December 27, 2019, I got a message from my son.

He’d found a book cover design contest and wondered if he should enter.  And if so, with what book?  We hashed out ideas when I remembered Volition.  It wasn’t edited.  Done, but not edited.  Could I possibly get the whole thing cleaned up before December 31 rolled over into January 1?

I decided to try.

Nolan got to work on a cover while I began editing like nobody’s business.

With the help of my amazing launch team, an incredible editor, and no sleep, the book was live on New Year’s Eve with three hours to spare.

Then my son decided not to worry about entering this year.

He lives. This is a testimony to God’s grace and control over my life.  And my hands.

Or maybe it’s because he lives three hours south of me, and I’ve only seen him once since then. You don’t kill your son at your daughter’s wedding reception. Just sayin’.

But let’s go with the first reason. It makes me sound more spiritual or something. 😉



I don’t even know where to begin!! Amazing seems to small a word for this story!

A fan of stories written in first person (if done well,) I was immediately drawn into Andi’s dilemma. And the situation with her roomie.

But then the story felt off-putting, and I didn’t think the futuristic aspects would hold my attention. Boy was I wrong!

Now, having finished the book, I think I was feeling some of Andi’s confusion and frustration—and disbelief! (that first person point of view!) Then the choice she had to make—would I be that strong? How many of us could do that? Make that much of a sacrifice?

James was likeable enough, easy going, non-condemning. But frustrated and confused, too. After all, it was his [SPOILER] that was mixed up. He was just as bewildered with Andi’s previous life experience as she was with his. And yet, made great allowances for her, and defended her time and again.

The progression of this story, the incredible character arcs, were a thing of beauty. Little by little, two steps forward, one step back, dancing around feelings that at first weren’t there, Andi and James came to know and understand one another. Both thrust into a situation neither asked for, their first days were more than a little rough. Abrasive better describes it.

Ms. Havig created not only a plausible if tragically lost future world but wrapped a plausible and victorious story into it. With each page, each chapter, some new revelation unfolds, another rough edge of conflict was made smooth. As the story progressed and the characters evolved, so too did their marriage—from an arrangement to a friendship to something more.

A page-turner and tear-jerker, Ms. Havig’s story kept me captive to the last page. The last, lovely, tear inducing page.





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-Friday, #TRD, Book Review, Volition, Chautona Havig, Celebrate Lit Publicity

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The Green Dress

Book:  The Green Dress

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release Date: June 2020



Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 6 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

Click here to get your copy!



LizTolsmaLiz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.


We’ve all been there—started a letter or an email or even a list, didn’t like what we had, crossed it out or hit the delete button, and tried again. Now imagine that happening when you’re writing a novel.

That’s what occurred with The Green Dress. Finding the perfect place to start a novel can be tricky, but when you’re trying to balance fact with fiction, it’s even harder. I needed the fictional heroine, Harriet Peters, to have a good reason to come into contact with and become close to the factual Robinson family. And I needed for the hero, Michael Wheaton, to meet Harriet early on. So I dove into the story. Five chapters later, the hero and heroine hadn’t yet met. The book wasn’t working.

I scrapped those chapters and started at a different point. At first, it seemed to be going better. I was happy. Until I got to the fifth chapter, when I realized again that the book wasn’t working. Frankly, it was boring. So those ended up in the virtual trash bin. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on my deadline. I was desperate to find the right starting point, at a place with high tension. Finally, I had an “aha” moment, and the story flowed from there. That’s how the first five chapters (and the rest of The Green Dress) came to be.


—Liz Tolsma



This series!! What horrific tales!!! The depravity of man exposed in a “palatable” fashion—fiction, with fictional characters woven deftly through the fabric of the story.

Ms. Tolsma opens her story with a chilling scene, dousing the reader immediately with high drama and tension. As Lizzie fades away and Harriet struggles with the loss, Mrs. Robinson stands out as either a suffering mother and victim herself—or a sinister and wicked woman.

I was fond of Harriet and appreciated her devotion to the Robinson family. But I questioned her willingness to be manipulated; it happens of course, but Harriet was clever and quite tenacious at times, too.

While the story was gripping—who was the guilty party and why—I felt that it rather dragged on somewhat. The dialogue was, for this reader, dry and bland. And though Mrs. Robinson was a seamstress, there was (if memory serves) only one vague reference to a green dress with a subtle implication that it presaged Harriet’s death, which begged the question of the purpose of the title.

Still, as the story built, and more people died, the more I kept turning the pages to find out the answers.





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.


amazon gift card

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.




The Power of Words, June 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 26

deb’s Book Review, June 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 26

A Reader’s Brain, June 27

Rebecca Tews, June 27

For Him and My Family, June 27

Texas Book-aholic, June 28

Back Porch Reads, June 28

Inklings and notions, June 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Genesis 5020, June 29

Emily Yager, June 29

Christian Bookaholic, June 30

Robin’s Nest, June 30

To Everything There is A Season, June 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 30

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Bigreadersite, July 1

Read Review Rejoice, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Life of Literature, July 2

Connie’s History Classroom, July 2

Betti Mace, July 3

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Stories By Gina, July 3

For the Love of Literature, July 4

Remembrancy, July 4

Reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

Godly Book Reviews, July 5

Splashes of Joy, July 5

Vicky Sluiter, July 5

Older & Smarter?, July 6

Through the Fire Blogs, July 6

Daysong Reflections, July 6

amandainpa, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Pause for Tales , July 7

Just the Write Escape, July 7

Hallie Reads, July 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, July 8

Blossoms and Blessings, July 8

Spoken from the Heart, July 9

With a Joyful Noise, July 9

Artistic Nobody, July 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Green Dress, Liz Tolsma, Celebrate Lit Publicity

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Two wrongs don’t make a right . . . except when they do.

For con artist Chaney Rose, life hasn’t been easy. In desperate need of cash, she readily agrees to find Mischief, a stolen racehorse. Hunting for clues, she breaks into the suspected horse thief’s home only to be caught—with a few pilfered items in her pockets—by the police detective who’s tailing her.
By-the-book Adam Thorne was fired from his church because of his father’s involvement with the valuable thoroughbred. In a burst of Les Miserables-inspired grace, Adam tells the detective that he gave Chaney the stolen items.
Adam wants Chaney to find his missing father. When Chaney learns that Mischief’s owner intends to kill the racehorse, she needs Adam’s help expose the cruel plan before it’s too late.
Will a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry risk imprisonment to do the wrong thing for the right reason?


46218_479173815438304_1361086574_nJohnnie Alexander is a wannabe vagabond with a heart for making memories. Whether at home or on the road, she creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget.
Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a CBA bestseller and has been translated into Dutch and Norwegian. She also writes contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and historical novellas. The Mischief Thief is her first suspense novel.
Johnnie is on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for her Novelists Unwind program. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.
A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, Johnnie shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon.



What a wonderful story!

We all have them. Life circumstances that we never thought we’d have to face. Perhaps not so overt or drastic as to steal to keep from going hungry. Perhaps more subtle, more “excusable,” more hidden. Sometimes, though, it’s simply all we have ever known. Like Chaney Rose.

And sometimes, we think we’re above all that. Like Adam Thorne. After all, he was a minister. A man of God. How would he have undesirable character traits?

Ms. Alexander poses not only these questions, but she mixes the two—Chaney and Adam—in a tale of mixed emotions. And perhaps some mixed ethics.

Iron sharpens iron as circumstance repeatedly throws Chaney and Adam together, smoothing the rough edges of their initial meeting.

A peculiar mix of near childlike guile and innocence and a sharp wit and cunning mind, Chaney rambles through her life, and into Adam’s. With no real conviction, save for concern for others—and especially for Mischief—the niggling guilt of her lifestyle and profession press against her. The kindness—the Les Miserable twist—that Adam shows her imprints on her heart, begging questions she’d not dared ask before.

Ms. Alexander builds the adventure, teasing the reader with every word, every page, pushing to the end, and [SPOILER] outcome.





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.


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#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review Triple Header #3, The Mischief Thief, Johnnie Alexander, JustRead Publicity Tour

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Victoria grace the jerk face



Victoria Grace front

Book:  Victoria Grace: The Jerkface

Author: S.E. Clancy

Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary

Release Date: June 15, 2020


Ever since Tori Weston and MamaBear were abandoned by her dad, finances have been tighter than a new pair of skinny jeans. As if keeping her grades up for scholarships and working every spare moment weren’t enough, Tori gets suckered into visiting a retirement home and paired with ancient resident Marigold Williams. After learning she’s the only one to visit Marigold in decades, Tori becomes a regular at Willow Springs. Besides, someone has to help with her history homework.

Corbin Dallas barges into Tori’s life with a prosthetic leg and a dimple, working his way into her hectic schedule. Though she tries to deny it, there’s something beyond his Texan drawl that gets Tori hoping she’s more than his sidekick. Together, they race to find Marigold’s missing family before she fades away. Tori ditches her soul-sucking job, along with her dreams of having a paint-peeled clunker to call her own, in order to help her friend one last time.

Click here to get your copy!


SE Clancy 260

S.E. Clancy (aka Sarah) is a bit of a sci-fi nerd, geek, and self-proclaimed dork. There isn’t much she won’t try at least once…unless it involves mayonnaise, because that stuff is just gross. You can learn more about her at seclancy.com.




Victoria Grace the Jerkface started as a short story after I’d listened to my favorite song by Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song. I’d overheard a teenager say, “I don’t even know what a chestnut is.” I typed that into a note on my phone because it struck a chord. Within days, a photographer named Tom Hussey issued a series called “Reflections” that featured elderly people gazing into mirrors and seeing their younger selves. That same night, one of my children asked for a project to earn school credits. Like flint to tinder, the idea of this teenager who didn’t know what a chestnut was having to visit an older person left in a care home began to grow.

To add in a bit of my mom and myself to the story, I had my main character Tori (Victoria Grace) love her mom’s meatloaf. It’s a recipe that my mom used from her grandma, an amazing woman we called Grandma Ted.

Ted’s Meatloaf

  • 1 pound thawed ground beef or turkey
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 – 2 heels of bread torn into dime-sized pieces (1 for turkey, 2 for beef)
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a single bowl. Works best if you use your hands, but mix really well if you use a spoon to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Do not use parchment paper—no one wants a soggy bottom. Plop the entire mixture into the pan and place into the middle of the oven. Cook for an hour.

This recipe doubles easily, just change the cooking time to 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours and check the internal temp with a thermostat.



Ms. Clancy has shoved some very real and very deep issues into a quirky and entertaining. Told in first person—this reader’s favorite point of view—Jerkface is a discovery of one teen’s wretched existence. Wretched being Tori’s own perception.

The dialogue is simply delightful—a make it or break it for this reader—and Ms. Clancy has written winning dialogue, crackling with humor and very real evasive non-answers and almost slapstick flirting.

Marigold is just a delightful old lady, full of sparkle if not vim and vigor. Tori’s connection to her is quick, and deep, an old soul leading and schooling a young whippersnapper.

And Corbin! Can I just say, oh my! And swoon for a minute!!! The epitome of friendly Southern kindness.

An enjoyable story with lessons none of us are ever too old to learn (or revisit) that kept me turning the pages!






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.


Victoria Grace giveaway

To celebrate her tour, S.E. is giving away the grand prize package of signed book, origami bookmark, marigold seeds, & $10 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.




Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 15

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 16

Books, Life, and Christ, June 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 18

Texas Book-aholic, June 19

Inklings and notions, June 20

Robin’s Nest, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 21

Nancy E Wood , June 21

For Him and My Family, June 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 23

deb’s Book Review, June 24

Batya’s Bits, June 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 26

CarpeDiem, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 27

Artistic Nobody, June 28 (Guest Review from Kelsey Barela)



#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day-on-Saturday, #TRD, Book Review Triple Header #2, Victoria Grace: The Jerkface, S.E. Clancy, Celebrate Lit

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He ripped back the zip, his heart pounding as red dust trickled in and landed on his face. He stood, brushing the dust from his eyes, a sense of vertigo launching itself up his spine. One step from the swag and his eyes snapped open. He started to lean into a void. Over a cliff. 

Fifteen years after college graduation, four friends reconnect to keep a long-ago promise and go on a trip of a lifetime in the Australian Outback.

Eliza needs to disconnect from her high-powered fashion job to consider the CEO position she’s just been offered. Lincoln hopes to rekindle a past relationship and escape from another one. Bree looks forward to a fun getaway from home and her deeply buried disappointments. Andy wants to disappear from the mess he’s made of his life—possibly forever.

Dropped at a campsite in the middle of nowhere, the friends quickly discover they aren’t the same people they once were, and they begin to confront hard truths about one another—and themselves. Then a bizarre storm sweeps across their camp, scattering them across the desert. Wondering if they are part of some strange escape game, each of the friends meets a guide to help them find exactly what they need: purpose, healing, courage, and redemption.

But they’ve already traveled far down the road of life and course-correcting to become the people they were meant to be won’t be easy.




David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.



Mr. Rawlings sure knows how to dig deep into the souls of his characters, weaving powerful and poignant and heart wrenching stories around them, weaving the tattered threads of each character’s story into a single compelling tapestry.

Four friends stuck in their journey in life. A reunion that, when planned, was to have been a joyous celebration of their successes and happiness in life. The reality that all were hiding their own truths and none were prepared to reveal their failures, both real and perceived.

Just as God uses dreams and visions and “strangers unaware,” so, too, does Mr. Rawlings take his characters—and his readers—behind the veil, to witness the deeply personal and spiritual moments of truth and revelation.

What once had been a tight friendship between the four, Eliza and Bree and Lincoln and Andy, was changed, morphed into an unrecognizable discomfort. As they journeyed to the depths of the Outback of Australia—an adventure and much-appreciated bonus for this reader—the four friends each stepped into a journey into the depths of their own soul.

The imagery, both of the Outback and of the inward visitations, was vivid and riveting, keeping this reader turning pages well into the wee hours.





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 Triple Header #1, Where the Road Bends, David Rawlings

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The Blue cloak FB Banner 



Book:  The Blue  Cloak

Author: Shannon McNear

Genre:  Christian Historical/Suspense

Release Date: March, 2020



Evil Incarnate Leaves a Trail of Destruction across the Frontier

Book 5 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence in 1797 at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend Sally Rice’s wedding only to watch the marriage dissolve into horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin Micajah become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims.

How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?


Click here for your copy.


ShannonMcNearTransplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.



How dark is too dark for a Christian to write?

That was the question I wrestled with when deciding whether or not to take on the story of the Harpes. The histories in Scripture itself aren’t rated G, but writing fiction requires a level of detail and depth of emotion I wasn’t sure would be wise, or helpful, to explore in this case. But as I prayed and sought the counsel of those whose discernment I trust, the answer came back, overwhelmingly …

Is God stronger than the darkness, or not?

Well, of course He is. And nothing in human history has ever escaped His notice, or taken Him by surprise.

So, was there something redeeming to be found in the tale of the Harpes?

For the first few weeks of research, I walked around in a state of shock at the horror of the historical accounts, but details surfaced that helped me shape my fictional characters Rachel and Ben. With Rachel working in her family’s trading post near the wild frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ben a lawyer who recently passed the bar, the real-life Hugh Lawson White provided a handy connection point between them. Many other details fell together in ways I had not foreseen when I began developing the story. Sally Rice Harpe, however, rose to the forefront. This was more her story than anyone’s, but realizing I couldn’t properly write the book without using her point of view? That was scary. I knew the moments I’d have to visit, some of them in real-time.

Despite the tragedy, however, I could see an overarching story of spiritual warfare. Felt a growing conviction that prayer must have played a vital role in bringing the Harpes’ reign of terror to an end. So it is my hope that against the backdrop of one of the most chilling episodes of our country’s early history, the hand of God shows clearly, and that yes, the reader finds it redemptive.



It’s one thing to fabricate facts and events to fit a fictional narrative, but it takes a special skill and finesse to extract historical facts into a readable fictionalized story. Ms. McNear possesses this skill, weaving a taut story with ribbons of fiction entwined in cords of history.

While the subject was deplorable, Ms. McNear makes the reading of it enjoyable. Or at least, keeps the reader turning the page. The characters were sadly believable, the story chilling.

It boggles the mind the actions of Harpes, and grips the reader to know they eluded capture for so long. This reader’s heart broke to read of Sally’s life, one moment a happy bride and the next a living nightmare. The faithfulness of her friend, Rachel, an anchor in the depths of despair; the intercession Sally’s lifeline.

I deeply appreciated Ms. McNear’s discernment to include the spiritual element. To write characters who continually prayed for Sally—and against the evil at hand.

I applaud Ms. McNear for braving this story, and appreciate the thoroughness of her research and authenticity in her telling.






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.



To celebrate her tour, Shannon is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of The Blue Cloak and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.



Just the Write Escape, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

Girls in White Dresses, March 25

Emily Yager, March 25

Godly Book Reviews, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Remembrancy, March 26

Among the Reads, March 27

Through the Fire Blogs, March 27

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 28

Christian Bookaholic, March 28

Inside the Wong Mind, March 28

For the Love of Literature, March 29

For Him and My Family, March 29

Betti Mace, March 30

Older & Smarter?, March 30

deb’s Book Review, March 30

Robin’s Nest, March 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 1


Stories By Gina, April 1

By The Book, April 2

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 2

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2

A Reader’s Brain, April 3

Connie’s History Classroom, April 3

Artistic Nobody, April 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 4

Back Porch Reads, April 4

Daysong Reflections, April 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 5

Pause for Tales, April 5

Britt Reads Fiction, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 6

Hallie Reads, April 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 6


#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Blue Cloak, Shannon McNear, True Colors, Celebrate Lit

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Does Every Writer Need a Street Team?

Authors write books because we have a passion for writing, not because we love marketing. But in today’s publishing world, no matter how talented the author or how large your traditional publisher—an author must learn to market. But who has time for marketing when we’re honing craft, writing books, and—oh yes, seeking first God’s Kingdom (i.e. ministering locally and abroad—Acts 1:8)?


A great STREET TEAM can become a fantastic partner in our writing journey.

What Is a Street Team?

Wiki says a street team is, “a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product.” In my experience, a street team is a group of people who love our writing so much that they’re excited to help us share it with as many of their friends as possible—in every way available.”


Street team members are “super fans” who are crazy about our books and don’t mind telling people so. They tell the store clerk, the dental hygienist, and their child’s teacher. When the store clerk, hygienist, and teacher become rabid fans, we can add them to our street team too!


Launch Team vs. Street Team

Launch Team

Though I’ve never heard an “official” distinction, in my experience, a street team is different than a launch team. My publisher gathers a launch team for a period of time to help market the launch of a single book. About three months before each book’s release, my publisher opens their own launch team applications (separate from my BFFs). Launch team members receive an advanced readers’ copy (ARC) of my book in exchange for an honest review on an online retailer of their choice. Since this is all done through the publisher, I often don’t even see the list of If you’d like to apply for a launch for one of Waterbrook Multnomah’s books, CLICK HERE.

Street Team

Distinctly different is my street team, some of whom have been helping me market biblical fiction (mine and others) since we released Love in a Broken Vessel in 2013. Many I’ve never met in person but have become close friends. The team is called, “Mesu’s BFFs”—BFFs short for Biblical Fiction Fans—and we promote the biblical fiction genre all year long.


Some BFFs have stepped off the team, allowing new members to apply and join. We’ll open applications for new members during the month of September 2019, and lock in our new team to begin Isaiah’s Legacy pre-release marketing by mid-October. My street team has been active for more than six years now, and their marketing power has become a crucial part of my marketing plan.

How Do You Build a Street Team?

I’m often asked, “How do you find people to join your street team?” I started with family and friends who loved my books. Then added their family and friends who became super fans too! But the goal is to reach outside our immediate circles of influence, which is the reason we require an application to join the street team. CLICK HERE TO VIEW 2018 BFF APPLICATION. We give existing members a chance to take a break and then fill their spots with new applicants to build a well-rounded team that reaches all four corners of the book-buying market.

  1. Book Bloggers/Reviewers (Individual or team blogs)
  2. Social Media (My main platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube)
  3. Online Book Communities (Goodreads, Litsy, LibraryThing, etc)
  4. Church/Community Influencers (On-site bookclub leaders, Librarians—public and church, Women’s ministry leaders, etc.)


With our balanced team assembled, we start pre-release promotion at least five months before it hits bookstore shelves. Independently (indie) published authors usually begin pre-release promotion much later but should consider assembling their street teams with the same balanced approach.


Since a street team is a group that stays together long-term, personalization and rapport is essential. Each member wants to feel like they know the author personally. A Facebook Group Page is helpful for this kind of team building. Occasional and informal Facebook Lives or Google Hangouts are also fun. Members want more than just a free book. They want the author to know them!


A team member’s goal is to promote a book in all four of the categories. If they don’t have a personal blog or aren’t a member of a book club, ask if they’d consider starting one. Make it a team-only contest and offer a $20 Starbucks gift card if a minimum of five members participate. You’ll build team rapport, and one thriving new book club could pay for that team prize.

How Many People Should Be on My Team?

I’ve heard of street teams with as few as ten members and as many as several hundred. If we’re with a traditional publisher, our team number may be limited by the number of paperback ARCs they’re willing to offer. If, however, the publisher shares ARCs through digital files (NetGalley, Book Funnel, etc.), the number of members is limited only by our time and energy to manage the team. Volunteer coordinators can help select, organize, and brainstorm BFF team selection and activity. I have found two coordinators and fifty-five members are sort of a sweet spot for my teams rapport and efficiency.

When Should I Begin Building a Street Team?

If you dream of publishing a book someday, start building super fans now with family and friends who love your writing!


If you’re seeking an agent or looking for a traditional publisher, build a street team into the marketing section of your book proposal. Your members don’t have to be super organized yet, but this commitment to marketing will make a good impression.


If you’re indie/self-published(ing), build your street team DURING YOUR WRITING AND PUBLISHING PROCESS. Involve potential super fans in choosing character names, settings, and cover options. Notice people who comment most and ask them to join your team!


Those already published with a trad house should ask the marketing department how building a street team might help with the marketing department’s planned campaign. Today’s publishers tend to enter long-term relationships with authors who take marketing seriously. My publisher even mentions my BFFs in my author bio—that’s how much they appreciate my super fans!


And, believe me, I love them even more!

  • A great street team loves your writing so much that they share it with as many friends as possible in every way available. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing
  • The number of street team members is limited only by your time and energy to manage them. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing
  • First step to build a street team? Get your family and friends hooked on everything you write. @MesuAndrews #mesusbffs #streetteams #bookmarketing





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.

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






#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post and Giveaway, Mesu Andrews

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manly man blitz - giveaway winner banner



“What can you learn from a murderer? How one moment of your life can change it for the worst forever. How some mistakes can’t be corrected.”



“What I discover as I’m writing a given scene or chapter is that the first couple of drafts only descend so far into the emotional, dramatic, and experiential truth of the situation. I sometimes describe the process as working out a preliminary sketch then gradually, slowly, layering on the color.”




Congratulations to




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

Thanks to everyone who entered!



David Corbett is the award-winning author of the writing guides The Art of Character (“A writer’s bible” – Elizabeth Brundage) and The Compass of Character, which Writer’s Digest will publish in October 2019.  He has published six novels, including 2018’s The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday, nominated for the Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery. His short fiction has been selected twice for Best American Mystery Stories, and his non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Narrative, Bright Ideas, and Writer’s Digest, where he is a contributing editor. He has taught at the UCLA Writer’s Program, Litreactor, Book Passage, and at writing conferences across North America and Mexico, and is a monthly contributor to Writer Unboxed, an award-winning blog dedicated to the craft and business of fiction.









“Those of us who have made major changes in our lives can most likely point to a moment when death or mortality made an indelible, inescapable impression on how we thought about ourselves and our lives. Basically, we found ourselves saying, “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be this person anymore… whether you rise up or give up, it’s your choice.”




David is offering a print copy of The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday to two winners.


…what makes a journey truly memorable is defined largely if not entirely by what happens that wasn’t or couldn’t be planned.

071819 - david corbett - book images


#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, David Corbett, Giveaway Winner, #WINNER

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“Throwing a bash for the written word.”


“Even the dark isn’t darkness to Thee. The night is bright as the day.”

Please join me in giving a feathered welcome to Michael Cogdill.



Cookout—chicken or brats  BRATS

Dogs or Cats  DOGS

Eggs or Pancakes EGGS

Fishing or hunting  FISHING

Vacation: mountains or beach  BEACH


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

MICHAEL:  I’m a small-town boy, raised by working class parents in Weaverville, NC.  I live in Greenville, SC now, at the base of the mountains that were my family’s home.

rem:  Beautiful country up there. My mom was a North Carolina gal. Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

MICHAEL:  I love a good boat and the feel of water.  I adore hot weather.  I’m a pretty serious weight trainer.

rem:  I love a boat and the water—not so sure about hot weather, though! LOL Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

MICHAEL:  Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Loved by me for its sense of surrender and wait upon God.

rem:  A lifeline to cling to when going through difficult times. What is your favourite quotation and why?

MICHAEL:  So many come to mind.  One of my favorites is thich nhat hanh — “We are to love so that those we love feel free.”

rem:  I love that quote—it is the essence of Who God is, and who we are to strive to be.  What’s the most random thing in your car or on your desk?

MICHAEL:  Macha green tea

rem:  This tells me two things—your desk is quite tidy, and you are a healthy eater! If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would you choose?

MICHAEL:  Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird


rem:  You are the third person to choose a character from To Kill a Mockingbird!! Somebody tryin’ to tell me somethin’?  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

MICHAEL:  A sense of wonder is essential.  Turgid carrying on is a deal breaker.

rem:  Oh yes, a sense of wonder is magical—it’s what transports the reader into the story! What are you reading right now?

MICHAEL:  So We Read On (An examination of the Great Gatsby and why it still matters.


rem:  So much depth to that story. T’would be fascinating to see what Ms. Corrigan has to share. Which came first (in your life): journalism or story telling?

MICHAEL:  Storytelling, which is the essence of fine, readable journalism

rem:  As a storyteller myself, I must say I agree wholeheartedly. How is journalism different to writing a novel?

MICHAEL:  A novel is a fantasy of the heart.  Journalism is a practice of the heart and mind.

rem:  My favorite genre is historical fiction, rather a weaving of the two perhaps. What do you like best about being a news anchor? What is the hardest?

MICHAEL:  I love to bring copy to life, especially in a caring way.  The hard part is the death of a child.

rem:  Michael, you have a gift with words, your copy (and FaceBook posts) are prose in action. I can’t imagine having to report the death of a child. What’s the most memorable story you’ve reported?

MICHAEL:  Susan Smith ties with the Emmanuel Nine

rem:  I remember that story, and how horrific it was at the time. Still is today. Do you have a tale or anecdote on your coworkers?

MICHAEL:  Not for public consumption.  lol


rem:  Ah! Faithful coworker you are! Or afraid perhaps a story on you would be told?? LOL Tell us about the delightful Miss Polly.

MICHAEL:  Miss Polly is not steel magnolia.  She’s a platinum mountain laurel – a survivor, a vital spirit who loves deeply, and who is a living joy.  She’s struggling with dementia, but remains a light to all who know her

rem:  I adore your posts about her, sharing her light with the rest of us. And I admire your devotion to her. How did your book, She-Rain, come about?

MICHAEL:  I started it as a way of digging out of his early grave my grandfather, Ernest Keyes.  He died of opium addiction well before I was born.  The tale took the arc of a love triangle that rises to meet the best of humanity, rather than descending into the darkness of betrayal.  It’s a fictional adventure in the truth of grace, human capacity for evil, goodness and hilarity.

rem:  Deep and profound, indeed. You have shared much, both on Facebook and on your blog, about your father. What can you tell us of his journey?

MICHAEL:  My dad was born in deep poverty.  He suffered terrible shame as a child and turned to alcohol to numb the wounds.  He ultimately hit a low bottom, grasped the grace of God, and became the most beautiful man I will ever know.


rem:  Poverty can wreak such devastation. As can alcohol, something I am familiar enough with. Do you have another book project?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  A novel, The Sinners of Honeysuckle Road, a Vietnam-era story of loss and reclamation.

rem:  Oh, I do look forward to that! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

MICHAEL:  It’s human.  Everyone is flawed, yet worthy of love.

rem:  “God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” He makes us all worthy of His love. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

MICHAEL:  No human being is called to save or salvage a broken human being.  Enabling is death to both.  But mutuality of love is a miracle we get to live.

rem:  Oh, so very true. And so hard to stand against (enabling.)  So glad to have you here today, Michael. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!


“My television career has carried me into the wheelhouses of death.  And right there, in one of them, I found life.”







… reminds me never to fear writing what makes us human, even the suffering.  Perhaps especially the suffering.  It reminds me the night is no match for the moon. The sun still shows.”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Manly Man Blitz News Anchor Interview, Michael Cogdill

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