just write life · writing

Still Waters Wins Selah Awards!

My writing career launched in 2014 through the connections I made at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. So last week, when I was double nominated as a Selah Award finalist for First Novel and a fiction finalist for the Director’s Choice Award, I felt like I’d come full circle.

Four years ago I sat in that crowd and wondered if I’d ever cross that stage to accept a plaque with with mine and my book’s name on it.

Last week I accepted three.

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My oldest daughter, Madelynne and my husband Joshua came with me. Joshua, to be a my support. Madelynne, to fangirl over fellow writer, Kristen Hogrefe, whose book The Revisionary was also a double winner for Speculative and YA.

Still Waters won the Selah Award for First Novel and to my everlasting surprise, I also won Selah Fiction Book of the Year.

Eva Marie Everson is the contest director, but she wears many hats, and one of those is as my editor. She’s a great secret keeper.

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Then, conference directors, Edie Melson and DiAnn Mills, talented and accomplished women who trusted me enough to name me a member of their prestigious faculty in 2017, announced the Director’s Choice Award for Fiction.

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And I received another decoration for a wall I didn’t know I needed.

I’m deeply honored and humbled to have my story recognized for its merit in the very place where I first believed I could write and sell a novel.

As Cora Anne learns, there’s nothing like coming home.

Photo credits: Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and friends.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

writing

Spring Fever Promo :: Day 9 with Stacy Monso

Welcome to Day 9 of the Spring Fever Promo! Only one day left to enter to win!

Stacy Monson is the author of the Chain of Lakes series. Her stories show an

extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the Twin Cities, she’s the wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma.

Some notes from Stacy about her books….

SHATTERED IMAGE (Book 1): Just a small-town Iowa boy, Peter is living his dream of music, fame, and the celebrity life but secretly wonders why it’s not what he expected. Fired from the only job she knows how to do, smiling pretty for the camera, Kiera struggles to make sense of life outside the spotlight.

DANCE OF GRACE (Book 2): Vanessa has lost everything and is angry at everyone, including God. Especially God. Kurt leaps at the chance to live his dream but finds it may be easier to build a house of cards than a safe haven for troubled kids.

THE COLOR OF TRUTH (Book 3): Sam managed to pull his life together after some rocky teen years, only to have his new life blown to bits. Marti believes the lies she’s lived under her whole life; she’s never known anything different. A better life seems unattainable to both of them.

These true to life characters struggle with issues just like anyone else—identity, forgiveness, redemption, grief. Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing? Is there a way out of the chaos of my life? All of them learn lessons they never expected, truths that seemed impossible to believe, and discover forgiveness, joy, and love along the way.

My next book, Open Circle, will release later this spring, and I couldn’t be more excited! Here’s a bit about the story and a peek at the cover. I have a very special place in my heart for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and especially those working in the aging industry. This book is my simple way of recognizing those lovely, hard-working, underpaid people!

Mindy Lee “Minnie” Carlson’s dream job has dropped into her hands, but there’s a catch. She has four months to revive Open Circle, the town’s only Senior Adult Day Center, or the doors will close, leaving her beloved seniors stranded, and eliminating the only job she’s ever wanted.
Globe-trotting photographer Jackson Young documents the forgotten people of the world, focusing on the poor and elderly. After decades on the road, he’s stunned to learn his beloved Grandma Em is still alive in the small town he’d had to leave decades earlier.
Overjoyed, Jackson sweeps back into town to reconnect with her and discovers she’s been Minnie’s adopted grandma for the past twenty years. When Grandma Em has a stroke, his ideas about her care pit him against Minnie’s determination and expertise. For Grandma Em’s sake, and the future of Open Circle, they’ll need to do the impossible—find a way to work together.

If you’d like to know more about the books, be the first to know when books release, get yummy recipes, and discover new authors, sign up for Stacy’s newsletter at stacymonson.com. As thanks for joining the fun, you’ll receive a FREE ebook version of Shattered Image.

The Color of Truth is on sale right now for only $.99!! Get it HERE before the sale ends!

Here’s the link for today’s chance to win!
And today’s Word of the Day is: extraordinary

Come back tomorrow to meet our last featured author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter!

writing

Spring Fever Promo :: Day 8 with Regina Mudd Merrick

Wow – we’re at Day 8 of the 10 Day Spring Fever Promo already! It’s been great getting to focus on such fabulous authors – Barbara Ellen Brink, Brenda S. Anderson, Johnnie Alexander, Lindsey P. Brackett, Joy DeKok, Dawn Ford, and Kimberly Rose Johnson. If you missed any of those posts, click on their name and get caught up! (And remember, each author provided a secret Word of the Day to give you additional chances to win.)

Today we’re featuring Regina Rudd Merrick. Regina is a writer, church musician, wife, mother, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Having lived most of her life in Western Kentucky, she dreams of the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. Married to her husband of 30-plus years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY.

Regina began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to Gone With the Wind. That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a school librarian and then a public librarian, where she served as a director for thirteen years. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after.

Her first novel, Carolina Dream, is book one in the Southern Breeze Series. Carolina Mercy, book two in the series, will be released in July 2018 by Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC.

Learn more about Regina, and the Southern Breeze series on her website. Sign up for her newsletter HERE and receive a PDF document, “Special Features From Carolina Dream,” which includes the inspiration for the story as well as pictures of the places that inspired the location.

You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Here’s a bit about Carolina Dream:


Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town. When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream.


But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?

Carolina Dream is available in paperback and Kindle.

Here’s the Spring Fever Promo contest and Regina’s secret Word of the Day is BEACH.

 

giveaways · writing

Spring Fever :: Day 7 with Kimberly Rose Johnson

Welcome to Day 7 of the Spring Fever Promo! I hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to meet a few Christian fiction authors you may not have known.

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Today I’d like you to meet Kimberly Rose Johnson who married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. She holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a Faith Hope and Love Reader’s Choice Finalist.

Here’s what Kimberly’s has to say about her featured book, The Reluctant Groom:

The Reluctant Groom is a modern day marriage of convenience story that takes place in Seattle, Washington. Because I went to college in the Seattle area I felt like I had a pretty good feel for the area. I discovered I was wrong last spring when my husband and I went to visit our son who attends college in the same area.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the Seattle I remembered had changed in the past twenty-five years. For starters, it was louder and dirtier than I remembered. I noticed the smells, sounds, and energy of the city on this trip, and guess what? I needed to do some re-writing. I’m glad I held off on publishing this book since I needed to change a few things to make believable.

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The Reluctant Groom:
When everything goes wrong, can two friends discover true love?
When Ray O’Brien’s world is turned upside down, Katie Fairchild wants to help, but the personal cost is high. Neither desires a marriage of convenience, but when Katie blurts the first thing that comes to her mind Ray can’t dismiss her offer of marriage. It would solve all his problems except for one thing—they aren’t in love.
Can these two friends team up for the greater good and perhaps find love along the way, or are their expectations impossible?

You can grab The Reluctant Groom right now for only $1.99, but the price will rise to the regular price of $3.49 sometime in the next thirty days. Buy it HERE.

For news about Kimberly’s books, sign up for her newsletter on her website . And you can connect with Kimberly on the following:
Facebook
Bookbub
Pinterest

Here’s the link to the Spring Fever Promo contest and your chance to win a Kindle pre-loaded with all the books!

And don’t forget to add another chance to win in the Spring Fever Promotion by entering today’s secret Word of the Day: Seattle

Stop by tomorrow to meet Regina Rudd Merrick!

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writing

Spring Fever Giveaway :: Johnnie Alexander, Joy Dekok, and Dawn Ford

I took the weekend off from my computer so today we’re catching up with the Spring Promo posts. This is a great lineup–and I’m not just saying that because a couple of these ladies are personal friends of mine and have said nice things about my book 🙂 I hope you’ve taken every chance to get your name in the running for the Kindle Fire, or one of 5 Amazon gift cards.

Johnnie Alexander imagines heart-tugging stories in multiple genres. Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a CBA bestseller. She’s also the author of the popular Misty Willow Series: Where She Belongs, When Hope Arrives, and What Hope Remembers. Since talking about writing is so much fun, Johnnie hosts Novelists Unwind, which features videotaped interviews with inspirational authors. Sharing Johnnie’s vagabond life are Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her on her website or on her Facebook Author Page.

Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family’s ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she’ll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He’s glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn’t possible when he can’t get the young widow Shelby off his mind. Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants.

The Misty Willow story continues in When Love Arrives and What Hope Remembers.

Sign up for Johnnie’s newsletter on her website and receive the first chapter to Where She Belongs.


I’m delighted to also introduce author and photographer, Joy DeKok.image

Whether Joy is writing fiction or non, she writes from the heart. She lives with her husband Jon just outside of Pine Island MN on thirty-five acres of field and forest with their dogs Sophie and Tucker. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s roaming their land taking nature photos.

Here’s a little bit about Joy’s books:

Rain Dance
What happens when a Christian woman facing a childless future and a woman seeking an abortion are waiting to see the same doctor? And what if after that “chance” encounter they are unable to forget each other?

Between the Lies
Everything was going just fine for Olivia Morgan. Until the dead guy in the elevator, her lover’s dismissal of her, the loss of her dream job, and an FBI agent who is looking into the past she’s worked so hard to hide. What’s a woman to do when she’s suddenly un-kept, a murder suspect, and has her own personal stalker? Olivia uses her artistic talent to remember and reveal what she knows. Will it save or convict her?

De’ ‘Ja Brewed
Things are getting nasty in Nice, MN. Who really killed Judge Justice twenty-five years ago? Was the right person convicted? When things don’t add up and Vanessa starts to get weird messages, The Mississippi Queens, five life-long friends, set out to figure out who is behind the ominous messages and why. Can The Queens celebrate the fourth of July, help their princess plan a wedding, and protect one of their own from possible danger?

To receive updates from Joy about upcoming book releases, special prices, cool stuff from other authors, and other updates, sign up for her newsletter! As thanks, you’ll receive a FREE ebook copy of De’ ‘Ja Brewed.

 

 


 

Today’s featured author is the award-winning Dawn Ford. She’s a young adult fiction writer who looks beyond the lies we tell ourselves to reveal the truths we cannot face. Her debut novel, Knee-high Lies, is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Dawn lives nestled in the Loess Hills in Iowa with her husband, youngest son, and a wonder beagle. She works with Splickety Publishing Group in her spare time, and is often caught daydreaming about plots for new stories. (Dawn and I met working for Splickety together! Good times.)

A bit about KNEE-HIGH LIES:

What happens when the lies you tell grow so high you can’t see the truth?

To the outside world Avery Denton’s life looks happy, normal even. But it isn’t. Not even close. She believes nothing can make it worse. When her mother skips town with their banker, the small-town gossips focus on her.

Jaxson Stewart, Avery’s neighbor and friend, has had a crush on her for years. She makes his heart race, which is dangerous for a boy with a heart condition. Unlike their community, he refuses to hold her mother’s actions against her.

Avery’s summer heats up when Jaxson kisses her under a star lit sky. The rest of her life boils over, though, when Avery becomes the target of revenge, her alcoholic father’s anger escalates, and long-hidden family secrets come to light.

Dawn is currently working on a second book in the Knee-high series, and has just finished writing a middle grade twisted fairy tale novel. If you’d like to keep up with news about Dawn’s books, sign up for her newsletter HERE.

Don’t forget to come back each day for more chances to win in the Spring Fling Promotion!

And today’s secret Word of the Day is:  persimmon

Tomorrow we’ll meet Kimberly Rose Johnson!

writing

Spring Fever Giveaway :: Day 1 with Barbara Ellen Brink

A couple weeks ago I was invited to join several Christian fiction authors in a Spring Fever giveaway and it starts TODAY!For the next 10 days, discover great deals on books, and get to know amazing authors. Stories of redemption and grace, romance and mystery, and much more. There are tales that will take your mind off the bitter cold and long, dark days of winter until the thaw has begun and spring has finally sprung!

Unless you live in the South like me and you’re already experiencing a thaw and dreaming of hammock days. You’ll need a book or two for those.

With 10 Christian fiction authors involved, you have at least 10 chances to win awesome prizes! Plus, extra chances to win by entering the “Word of the Day” (found within each day’s posting), answering a simple poll, or tweeting about the promo!

First up on the Spring Fever docket is Barbara Ellen Brink.

An award-winning author, Barbara writes action-packed mysteries brimming with suspense and interwoven with a thread of romance. She grew up on a small fruit farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota. In her spare time, she likes to take her motorcycle for a spin, hang out with friends, or go hiking with her husband and their spoiled dog. She is currently working on the 4th book in her Double Barrel Mysteries series, and the 3rd in her Christian romantic suspense series, Second Chances.

Running Home is FREE at Amazon thru March 2nd (reg price 3.99)
Split Sense is on sale for .99¢ at Amazon (reg. price 4.99)

Here is a little about Barbara’s TWO book deals:

In Running Home, Ivy’s husband disappears in a cloud of suspicion and leaves her and the children to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on without him. Back in her hometown she dreams that everything will be better. She can start over and hopefully not make the same mistakes she made in the past. But her philandering husband left her with more than bills to pay and children to raise. He left her in a world of trouble. The FBI thinks she knows something and the bad guys think she has something.

When her husband is found murdered, special agent Samson Sinclair is assigned to keep an eye on her. He’s willing to take a bullet for her, but can she trust him with her heart? Ivy’s attempt to assemble the broken pieces of her life is proving harder than she anticipated. Will her husband’s secrets push her over the edge or into the arms of grace?

Split Sense is a Christian thriller that interweaves the lives of two families, twins separated at birth, and two different but unbelievable gifts that each child discovers which impacts their lives and others in startling ways.

Connect with Barbara online:
Facebook
Twitter
Bookbub Author Page
Webpage

The 3rd book in the Second Chances series will be (fingers crossed) coming soon! Barbara’s first grandbaby is due to arrive in a couple of weeks, so she won’t make any set-in-stone promises, but visit her webpage and/or sign up for her newsletter for all the newest updates!

***Sign up for Barbara’s newsletter on her webpage and get a FREE copy of Entangled!***

For another chance to win in the Spring Fever promo, enter the secret Word of the Day:  blatherskite

Here’s the Spring Fever giveaway link:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come by tomorrow to meet prolific author Brenda S. Anderson!