Thursday, October 2, 2014

So You Want to Write a Contemporary – Seven Questions with Amanda Cabot

Happy birthday, Seekerville!  I’m delighted to be part of your seventh birthday celebration, and in honor of that, I thought I’d pose seven questions I think everyone who wants to write a contemporary novel should ask.  Let’s get started.

1.  Are you planning to use a real or a fictional location?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  Real locations engage readers immediately, but if you choose one, be certain you’ve got all the details right.  The last thing you need is a reader telling you there’s no bakery at the corner of Fifth and Main.  Fictional locations, of course, give you more flexibility.  You decide what building is on which corner.  The downside is that you have to do more work to create a fictional location.  If you a choose a fictional location, I strongly recommend creating a map of it.

2.  Will your story be set in a specific year or in what is sometimes called the ‘timeless present’?  This is a key question and one that will play an important role in your answers to the next couple questions.  The advantage to using a specific timeframe is similar to that or choosing a real location – reader identification.  The disadvantage is that, depending on how many details you include that are date-specific, your book may feel outdated within a couple years. 

3.  How much technology will you include?  If you’ve chosen a specific date for your story, there is no reason not to include references to all the current technology.  Readers who pick up the book twenty years from now may be amused by what seems antiquated to them but was state-of-the-art in 2014, but they’ll know that they’re reading a period piece.  On the other hand, if your goal is to create an evergreen story, you’d be better served by minimizing references to things that will likely be dated.  The same advice applies to pop culture references.

4.  How much slang are you planning to use?  Although our goal as authors should always be to create realistic dialogue, I’d recommend minimizing the use of currently trendy words.  Not only will they date a book quickly, but five or ten – not to mention twenty or thirty – years from now, they may create confusion for readers.  Unlike references to outdated technology, antiquated phrases could actually make dialogue difficult to understand.  Consider the word ‘rad,’ which the online slang dictionary says dates from the eighties.  How often do you hear it now?  How would you react if you read, “Those are rad shoes.”?  Would you think it was a typo and should have been ‘red’?

5.  Are you sure you’re not violating any intellectual property rights?  While I’m sure no one who’s reading this would willingly plagiarize another work, there are other opportunities to unwittingly be in violation of the law, one of which is trademarks.  Before you name your heroine’s dress shop, you should be certain that the name you’ve chosen isn’t trademarked.  Although a trademark is often a logo, it can also be a name set in a specific type font.  While it’s unlikely you’d be sued for unknowing use of a trademark, we live in a litigious society.  My advice is to do a trademark search for each establishment you name.  If there’s a match or a close match, change your name.  I feel so strongly about this that I’ve included a link to the trademark electronic search system (TESS). Use it.

6.  Do you think there’s less research required for a contemporary than an historical?  When aspiring authors tell me they’re writing contemporaries because it’s easier with no research needed, I do my best not to laugh.  The reality is, all writing requires research.  It’s true that research for contemporaries is different from historicals, but it’s still essential that your details are correct.  If anything, readers are more critical of contemporary authors who get their facts wrong because it’s so easy to get them right.  Do you have a scene involving a fire investigation?  Interview a fire chief to make sure you’ve used the correct terminology and have properly described the procedures the investigators use.  Is your story set in a real location you’ve never visited?  Besides studying the related web sites, you might call the Chamber of Commerce to learn little known facts that will give your story added authenticity.  Research, research, research.  Yes, it takes time, but your readers will thank you.

7.  Why do you want to write a contemporary?  If your sole reason is that you’ve been told contemporaries are selling better than historicals, I’d suggest reconsidering.  I know some authors are very successful in writing to the trends, but they’re in the minority.  The single most important reason for writing any story should be that you love the story, that it haunts your thoughts and wakes you in the middle of the night.  If that story just happens to be set in modern times, congratulations – you’re meant to write a contemporary.  But if you dream of times gone by, if the characters that demand to have their stories told wear high-button shoes or subdue unruly hair with Macassar oil, think again.  Contemporary stories may not be right for you.

Since I promised Audra seven questions, I’m not going to number this last one, but there’s one more I want to ask.  If you were considering switching from writing historicals to contemporaries, has this post changed your mind? 

Hi Everyone, Audra here. I'm always excited to have Amanda Cabot as my guest in Seekerville. Amanda has been an historical author for many books. At Bluebonnet Lake is her first contemporary romance for the inspirational market. Leave a comment and check the Weekend Edition on Saturday to discover the winner of a signed copy of At Bluebonnet Lake.

Her life is set to warp speed. His is slowing to a crawl. But love has its own timing.

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago. There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort’s unassuming handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye—billions more, in fact.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow’s End.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins--They are all EMOTIONS

The Seven Deadly Sins

Part Three of my series on Emotion

And now today, in part three I want to talk about the power of emotions and how God made us a list of the things that can either provide a motive for your bad guy in your books or it can challenge your good characters, because we all wrestle with sin.

It’s what keeps your romance from settling in easily.

It’s what haunts your characters in their backstory.

It’s what drives the plot.

We don’t have to go digging for these emotional hot spots. God has done the work for you.

What I want to comment on is that all seven of these sins, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride can be used in different degrees.

Lust is a sin but desiring your spouse or even desiring your beloved isn’t a sin. It’s what you do with it, it’s when it tips over from perfectly God-blessed desire to lust. Usually for someone you’re not in an honorable relationship with.

Do you remember the movie Wall Street when Michael Douglas says, “Greed is good.”

Well, that’s a little disturbing to us because greed is one of the seven deadly sins. But think of it another way. Not Greed is Good, but rather, it’s human nature to try and better yourself, provide for your family, earn enough to create a good life. That’s why capitalism works because it’s so basic, so normal to work for your own betterment.

Don’t call that greed.

And envy, where is that line, where you see something and want it, or something sinful awakens in your heart because they have something you don’t.

You can see how each of these sins can be used in a powerful blatant way, or in a subtle way…driving your hero and heroine in a certain direction or keeping them apart.

I remember once, early on in my writing, telling one of my daughters I needed a crime.

I had the story and the characters and it was flowing along but I needed a bad guy and a crime. My daughter sat there and gave it some thought and said, “How about cattle rustling?”

For some reason that makes me laugh. It was a great idea and I used it. It might have been Montana Rose.

But note that my CRIME is an actual physical act. Stealing, like in the Ten Commandments. What we're talking about with the seven deadly sins ... did you notice that they are all EMOTIONS. They are all INTERNAL. After all Murder didn't make the list. Lying. Stealing. Even sexual sin isn't there. It's the emotional life that is all listed...separate from what you do about it. My rustlers no doubt suffered with greed, probably sloth, envy, maybe pride in some twisted version. But those are all internal. That they followed up with stealing is separate from their sinful internal life.

Sometimes we need a crime, a motivation, a barrier to love. So use this list. Use the seven deadly sins and slap one on your hero and heroine in a mild way, or onto your villains in a powerful version.

Come back to the list God already made for you. The Seven Deadly Sins. 

Tell me about the conflict in your book and whether it fits into the Seven Deadly Sins.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a drawing. Today, because it’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!!! We have THREE giveaways. (It should have been seven, I apologize!)

A signed copy of Tried and True (if you have another book of mine you’d prefer, let me know and we can substitute it)

And a $25 Amazon gift card.

Three prizes, three winners, seven sins. My whole post is about numbers, huh?


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT Or, How to rock the novella, the epic-length novel, and everything in between.

With guest Lisa Phillips.

We hear it all the time. One author is working on the next book in her series, another is writing a novella. Someone else is publishing a book as four episodes—a “serial” novel. At some point in your writing career, chances are you’re going to do most—if not all—of these. 

But how?

That’s what we’ll be talking about today. So grab your morning cup of Joe, and join me in dissecting the many lengths your story can be.

My latest book, Star Witness, is a Love Inspired Suspense.  These books range from the 55 to 60 thousand word mark. They typically have two points of view—the hero and heroine—and maybe some layers, but NO subplot. With that kind of word count, you don’t want to waste any page time on stuff that’s not vitally important to the danger, and the love.

Let’s do a glossary first.

Plot – what’s happening in the book.

Layer – an element of the story that directly relates to character growth and so plot also. It would not stand alone as a story (it lacks a three act structure).

Sub-plot – a story within the story. A sub-plot has all the elements of your main plot (inciting incident, rising conflict and climax) but it’s not the actual story. It simply runs concurrently.

With a long novel—seventy-five thousand words plus—you have the luxury of time to spend in other character’s heads. Maybe you choose not to do this, but you CAN in a full-length novel. Your main character could just as easily be aware her sister is having relationship struggles, and the reader can see that as a sub-plot through the main character’s eyes. But we could also see those struggles through the sister’s own eyes while the reader takes a break from the other main characters every few chapters. Later, the two plots could collide at the climax so that your story benefits from the character’s ability to help solve each other’s problems. Or, maybe they realize it was one problem all along, and they team up.

Brainstorm it out: Maybe Julie and Sam don’t have enough of a story to warrant a book of their own. In that case, their story can be a sub-plot within Julie’s sister’s book. The more books you write, the easier it’ll be to tell how much story potential your idea has.

Shorter works like novellas can range in word count. It could be almost a short story, or anywhere up to forty thousand words—if not longer. Typically in this business we get told how long it should be, rather than asked how long it’s going to be. Unless you’re a self-publishing rebel (hi) and then you can make your work as long as you like, call it what you want, publish it when you feel like it, and even take it off Amazon just because you’ve decided you don’t like it anymore because you wrote it two years ago and you’re a WAY better writer now…


As I was saying… Novellas. Right.

Love Inspired type novels stick with the hero and heroine’s POV. You can, as the writer, choose to show what’s happening with a secondary character, but it would act more like a layer than a sub-plot. Be very careful it doesn’t detract from the main plot. Any layer or sub-plot should not take away from the main character’s page time—it should add to it. Tension, character arc, theme. It should reinforce all that stuff, making the main plot stronger.

Novellas are weird. Let’s just get that out there right now. Readers aren’t sure if they like them, I don’t know if I want to write one… It just might be a match made in heaven, if not for the fact books which are 99 cents sell better on Amazon. So—face it—you might have to suck it up and write one.

I just called mine a “prequel” story instead. You know—to make myself feel better.

Novellas are your novel distilled down to its purest elements. There’s just no room for rambling, or stuff the reader won’t care about anyway. 

Man, woman, Jesus, love. Danger. Explosion. Death-defying rescue. Swoon-worthy kiss.

The end.

That’s all. Whether it’s 15 or 50 thousand words—make them good.

If you want to learn more about sub-plots and layers, I would recommend you read Deep and Wide by Susan May Warren. I’d lend you mine, but it’s falling apart. She does a great job of explaining how to brainstorm layers, and weave in sub-plots. She takes you through each major plot point of the three acts, and shows you how the character grows through it all. In short, it’s everything you ever wanted to know about plot and character (which is pretty much all of writing). 

It’s good to learn these things. That’s probably why you’re here—to get a pep-talk. As writers, we have to face the changing market, pitching woes, reader expectations, pressure to market, pressure to produce more, and better.

I’ve discovered—particularly in switching from writing a Love Inspired Suspense to writing a full length novel—that this job really is hard. A hundred thousand words is a LOT, and you have to sit there and type ALL OF THEM. Every single word. But I love this story, and I believe my readers will love it too.

I’m going to say this again, because it bears repeating. 

It’s hard. Sometimes I don’t want to do it. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you’re burned out. A lot of us are. Let’s purpose to pray for Christian writers, Christian publishers and Christian readers. We all need His strength in us.

A British ex-pat who grew up an hour outside of London, Lisa Phillips attended Calvary Chapel Bible College where she met her husband. He’s from California, but nobody’s perfect. She’s taken the Apprentice and Journeyman writing courses with the Christian Writers Guild, and discovered a penchant for high-stakes stories of mayhem and disaster where you can find made-for-each-other love that always ends in happily ever after. Lisa can be found in Idaho wearing either flip-flops or cowgirl boots, depending on the season. Find out what’s COMING NEXT


Check out Lisa’s latest novel: Star Witness.

Mackenzie Winters spent years building a life in Witness Protection, but when someone shoots at her, she fears her cover has been blown. Could the brother of the drug lord she put away be here for revenge? Mackenzie must rely on her handler’s twin, world-weary Delta Force soldier Aaron Hanning, to protect her. Aaron doesn’t want to be anyone’s hero, but he can’t let this brave woman die. Now, with danger stalking them, they’ll have to make a daring choice that means life or death—for them both.

Question: Have you tackled different length novels? Which is your favorite? Are you a purist, or a “try anything once” author?  Tell us about your struggles with length, or your idea for a short story and get entered to win one of TWO copies of Star Witness!! (Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.)

And in honor of her visit to Seekerville, I am putting my two indie novels, BAIT and SANCTUARY LOST on sale at 99 cents, today only, for Seekers to enjoy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Open Your Book with a BANG

with guest Laura Scott.

Good morning Seekerville! Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and hang out for a while. I hope you're ready to have fun today as we talk about writing good romantic suspense by starting your book with a BANG. 

Literally. A Bang! As in guns, bombs, tear gas, bad guys with get my drift.

Tina James, my fabulous editor from the Love Inspired Suspense line, has apparently been using my newest book, Down To The Wire (SWAT: Top Cops - Love In The Line of Duty) as an example of how to start off suspense books in a way that sends the hero and heroine right into danger and action.  Who knew? 

So when Tina Radcliffe graciously offered me a spot here to party and celebrate with all of you, I was honored. And then came the moment of panic when I thought, what am I going to talk about? All of you wonderful readers and writers in Seekerville know everything there is to know about reading and writing good books already, don't you? 

Of course you do. You are an amazing and super talented group of people! 

But since I'm here, and you're pretty much stuck with me, I figured I'd talk about the one of the few things I supposedly do fairly well. And that is starting my books with danger and action. Immediately pulling the hero and heroine into danger and forcing them to work together to get away safe.

How many times have we heard from readers, "I read the first few pages and lost interest and never picked up the book again."

Too many. We are far from the days of starting our stories with, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Take a few minutes to think about your suspense plot and your characters. How do your hero and heroine first meet? How can you get them into the heart of danger right away? In my first book in the SWAT series, Wrongly Accused I open the story with my poor hero who was picking up his daughter from her foster mother after being released from jail where he'd been sitting for over a year after being wrongly accused of murdering his wife. All Caleb wants to do is to pick up the pieces of his life and to start over. 

But five-year-old Kaitlin is afraid of her father and drops her stuffed giraffe "Griffy" to wrap her arms around Noelle's neck. When Caleb bends down to pick it up, a bullet hits the doorframe where his head had been.

Instantly he barrels into the house, pulling Noelle and Kaitlin with him away from the door and to the back of the house for safety. 

This all happens within the first three pages. And from there, Caleb and Noelle are on the run with Caleb's daughter trying to stay one step ahead of the killer.

In Down To The Wire, my second SWAT book, my hero Declan is the SWAT team expert at diffusing bombs. As I thought of ways to start this story, I decided to plant the bomb under the schoolteacher's desk. And Tess, my heroine who is the teacher, is trapped there until Declan can get her free. Declan believes Tess is a personal target and when a second bomb goes off a short time later, the two of them are forced to work together to find the bomber.

Take a few minutes to think about your suspense plot. What is the threat or danger? Is there any way to plug your characters into danger right from the beginning? If so, see if you can find a way to put your character's first meeting right in the center of that danger. Using short sentences can really help set up a fast pace.

In addition to danger, there also has to be tension and conflict between your hero and heroine. That conflict needs to be in the forefront of their minds as they are thrust together by danger. In Wrongly Accused, Noelle doesn't know for sure that Kaitlin's father is truly innocent of the crime he was originally arrested for. But she's also not willing to leave Kaitlin alone with her father, either. Noelle is forced to accept help from one dangerous man to avoid a separate danger. All of this helps grab the reader and bring them along, into the story.

Once you have your dangerous situation figured out, then take a few minutes to think about your characters conflicts. Do they know each other? Or are they complete strangers? Do they trust each other? All of these facets of your characters can help create tension which will again draw the reader into the story. 

Starting books isn't easy (although I confess, it's my favorite part). There's always the tendency to set the scene a bit, or to give some history of our characters. Because we know them and love them so well. We've all been told to avoid too much backstory especially in the opening pages. However, we are expected to weave in a bit of the backstory, enough so that the reader knows and understands what's going on. And if you can find a way to create a dangerous situation, right at the beginning of the story while weaving in the core of their conflict, you'll have a winner. 

 I challenge each of you, okay maybe at least the ones writing suspense, to think of a way to get the hero and heroine together and in danger right from the beginning of the story. It's really not as hard as you might think.

I hope this talk about guns and bombs didn't put anyone off their breakfast, lunch or dinner.  As many of you know, I'm a nurse by day and an author by night, so nothing puts me off food for long. 

I'm happy to give away two copies of Down To The Wire today. (Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.)  

And thanks so much for having me! I've enjoyed being here very much.


Who placed the bomb under schoolteacher Tess Collins's classroom desk—and why? There's only one man who can save Tess—SWAT cop Declan Shaw. Her survival depends on him defusing the bomb and protecting her from an unknown enemy. He can't afford to be distracted by the alluring beauty who was his onetime high school crush. But keeping her safe soon becomes more than just a job for the highly trained explosives expert. And it'll take all his professional skills to catch the madman targeting Tess before it's too late.

SWAT: TOP COPS—Love in the line of duty

Laura Scott is honored to write for the Love Inspired Suspense line, where a reader can find a heartwarming journey of faith amid the thrilling danger. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and has two children, a daughter and a son, who are both in college. She works as a critical-care nurse during the day at a large level-one trauma center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spends her spare time writing romance. Visit Laura at

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Julie Lessman

Today's Weekend Edition is a split event. We'll be sharing LIVE from ACFW #14 in St. Louis and later today and tomorrow sharing the gala pictures.

Don't forget that Tina Radcliffe will be tweeting live from the Saturday night gala at  Go  to the ACFW Conference web page for the live blog link to the gala here.    

 We also launch our 7th Birthday Celebration on Wednesday, October 1st. During the month of October we blog every single day. We will be giving away a $50 gift card from various online stores each Sunday in October. We will also be collecting names (not numbers of comments) for the drawing for our grand prize-an iPad mini. Winner announced on Saturday, November 1st. 

Psst! The  Sunday giveaway is a $50.00 Amazon gift card. 
Inside view of author's conference purse. (Thanks Melissa Endlich for motivating the purse cleaning)

We Have Winners

 Be sure to contact us if you are a winner (send an email to with your snail mail address unless email is specified). We don't have time to track you down. Do let us know if you don't receive your prize in 6-8 weeks. Rules are located here, on our legal page
Name those familiar faces. Left to right. Winner gets a surprise book from conference.

The ACFW conference week began on Monday and Stay-at-Home Ruthy Logan Herne was your hostess here to spur you in the right direction with her typical "Go Get 'Em, Tiger!!!" diatribe on how you should appreciate... and USE... this time. Winner a $25 Amazon gift card is Sally Shupe.Oopsie, I missed the Randomizer's other winner, due to the fact that I am TIRED and BUZZING WITH CONTEST ENERGY! Kav also won a $25 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, Harvest House Content Writer Amber Stokes joined Sandra Leesmith today to talk about Marketing Among Friends - a current wave of marketing philosophy with good old-fashioned values.  Winners of the five wonderful books are: Miranda A Uyeh wins a copy of Perfect Life.  Mary Hicks wins a copy of Choose Love. Edwina wins a copy of Amish Blacksmith. Walt Mussell wins a copy of Get Unstuck Be Unstoppable. And KC Frantzen wins a copy of Fortune Cookie.  Be sure and email the Seekerville address and give us your snail mail address. Thank you, Amber!

Wednesday, author Nancy Kimball was our guest. Nancy returns with "Behind the Scenes of Audiobook Production." Nancy shared a glimpse behind the curtain at how her debut novel Chasing the Lion was brought to life on audiobook.Winners of three downloads of her audiobook are Sally Bradley and Becke and Cindy W. CONGRATS and thanks, Nancy!

 Jane Choate returned to Seekerville Thursday to discuss the attributes of our characters and how we can delve deeper into their lives. Jane is a new Love Inspired Suspense author! Winner of her October release, Keeping Watch, is DebH. Thank you, Jane!

Seeker Tina Radcliffe was "Live from ACFW" in St. Louis where she is a 2014 Mentor of the Year Finalist and her release Mending the Doctor's Heart is a finalist in the short novel category. Tina shared shots of friends of Seekerville at conference. SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! We have stay at home winners! Winner of a $25 Amazon gift card is Courtney Phillips and the winner of Ruthy's (originally Tina's) box of chocolate are Lyndee and Jana.
Mary Connealy, Jan Drexler and Helen Gray
Debby Giusti and Terri Weldon

Tina Radcliffe, Jessica Nelson and Dana Lynn
Mary Connealy, Editor Charlene Patterson and  Lauraine Snelling
The Love Inspired Editors! Melissa Endlich, Emily Rodmell, and Shana Asaro
L to R, Mary, Debby, Linette Mullins, Janet, Tina, Julie and Jessica Nelson

Next Week in Seekerville

Monday: Today we welcome Love Inspired Suspense author Laura Scott. She'll be sharing with her post, "Open Your Book with a BANG!" And she's giving away two copies of her latest release, Down to the Wire!

Tuesday: We're thrilled to have Love Inspired Suspense and Indie author, Lisa Phillips back with us today. Join her for her post, “Lost in Translation or, How to rock the novella, the epic-length novel, and everything in between.” She's also got a giveaway to share-two copies of Star Witness!

Wednesday:It's Here!! Seekerville's 7TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION! Be sure to stop by as Mary Connealy kicks off a month full of fantastic blog posts, special guests, giveaways, and general fun! You don't want to miss it.

Thursday: Welcome Amanda Cabot back to Seekerville as she poses seven questions everyone who wants to write a contemporary novel should ask. Amanda has a new book coming out in October! Join the fun and one commentor will receive a copy of At Bluebonnet Lake.

Friday:Join Audra Harders as she shares "7 Survival Tips for authors who try to balance family, friends and work  -- and stay sane!" Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

Saturday: Time for the October Contest Update. Stop by to meet the October Contest Diva/Divo. The prize vault is open.
Mary Connealy, Editor Charlene Patterson and  Lauraine Snelling and Julie Lessman

Irene Hannon and Julie Lessman

Seeker Sightings

Missy Tippens will be celebrating her new release from Love Inspired, The Guy Next Door, online and in person. Hope you can come for one or all!

Book Release Celebration and Signing! Sunday, September 28th, 12:15-1:30 pm at Winder First United Methodist Church, Winder, GA. Room #131.

October 1: Petit Fours & Hot Tamales Blog    
October 2: The Love Inspired Authors Blog  
October 6-10: Margaret Daley's blog  

Three Seekers in a Barbour historical collection!  Available for pre-order now,  The Homestead Brides Collection is 9 great stories of life... and love!.... on the American prairie. Join Mary Connealy, Ruthy Logan Herne, Pam Hillman and six other delightful authors as their characters fall in love while they settle the great American West. The Homestead Brides Collection: 9 Pioneering Couples Risk All for Love and Land.

Mary Connealy's Christmas novella, The Advent Bride, is available right now for pre-order in all ebook formats. It's on sale for $0.99. 

 The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas, a lonely school teacher and widower Henry O’Keeffe, the overworked, grieving father of her most troubled student. When Melanie challenges Henry’s negligent fathering, Henry, to avoid admitting any failing, challenges her to be a teacher and manage her school. Melanie finds a mysterious box in the cold, attic where she is boarding with a cruel old woman—the only house with an available room in the small Nebraska frontier town.

Hidden drawers give her an idea of how to wring good behavior out of Simon.
As Melanie and little Simon search the box for hidden gifts, Henry becomes involved and while searching for hidden gifts, he finds something far more important...the tender heart for his son that seemed to have died with his wife. And an awakening love for the young woman who is bringing his family back to life.

The three of them journey toward Christmas one secret at a time, learning about God, about each other and about how love can replace sadness with joy.

FREE THIS WEEKEND! 9/26-9/28 Safely Home, Ruth Logan Herne's beautiful independent novel of healing, hope and coming home is free on Amazon for your Kindle or device with a Kindle app... or use the free Amazon Whispernet download for your computer and start reading right away!  
Mary and Tom
Jessica Nelson and Mary Connealy

New Villager Jennifer White and our pal Hallee Bridgeman

Random News & Information


Remember, this is the last weekend to sign up for Self-Editing for Beginners. Evites go out on Monday. Details here.

Sandra Bishop has joined the Transatlantic Literary Agency as an agent. Earlier in her career she was a vice president at McGregor Literary, where she worked for six years before going out on her own as an independent agent, and she will continue to work out of Portland, OR. (Publishers Lunch)

Should You Be Using a Pen Name? (The Book Designer) 

10 Tips To Help Writers Stay Focused (The Book Baby Blog)

5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters (& Stories) Better (WD) 

Blessing Or Curse? The Modern Writer’s Dilemma (The Passive Voice)

Just added:

Diana Gabaldon: Busy Day. How to Write (Diana Gabaldon) 

Harlequin's SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE, now taking your entry!

Janet Dean, Debby Giusti and Meghan Carver

Sheryl (sister of Glynna) and Glynna Kaye

Jennifer ALlee, Lisa Karon Richardson and Mary Connealy

Cecilia Dowdy and Mary Connealy
The Gala
Mary Connealy & Melissa Jagears

Glynna Kaye, Janet Dean, Jan Drexler, Christine Johnson & Jackie Layton
Erica Vetsch, Mary Connealy, Patti Jo Moore and Glynna Kaye

Editors, Emily Rodemll and Shana Asaro from Harlequin Love Inspired

Tina Radcliffe, note the new pashmina-a gift from Seeker sisters Debby Giusti and Janet Dean

Author Kate Breslin and Tina Radcliffe

Tina Radcliffe and Sara Ella (Genesis winner YES)!!!

Genesis winner Candee Fick (YES!) and Tina Radcliffe!!!

 That's the end!