Our guest today needs no introduction. Instead, I'm going to turn the spotlight on and let Kara take over....
Our guest today needs no introduction. Instead, I'm going to turn the spotlight on and let Kara take over....
It is always a pleasure to introduce to you a brand new-to-me author so please give Cara North a huge, SWLA W-E-L-C-O-M-E as she talks to us about Holiday Prep.....
It’s that time of the year when the Halloween decorations start to go on sale and all the bright lights and ornaments begin to appear. My decorating timeline is probably a bit earlier than most. I take Halloween down (mostly) and put Christmas up at the start of November. I’ve considered leaving the tree up year-round and just decorating it for the various holidays. I’m a bargain shopper. This means if you get a holiday card from me, it is from last year’s batch when they went on clearance. You see how my holiday planning is not as much before the holiday as it will be for after the holidays, all holidays. Right now, October 25th, I have my eye on a Zero decoration. I will be stalking the Halloween section at that store in hopes I will get it when it goes 50-75% off, whichever they do the day after. If I miss it, that is totally fine. I don’t NEED it. I just WANT it, which is why I will not pay full price for it.
My personal planning is simple, I usually mail out cookies to the various households since most of my nieces and nephews are of an age they just want a gift card anyway and the ones who are younger are already going to get too many toys and such, so I tend to send a hat, glove, scarf combo for them.
My author planning is far from simple. The first week in December, I send out my Patreon supporter 4th quarter mailings. Because it is the holiday season, it is what I call “the big mailing” because other authors send me goodies to ship out to them. My high tier patrons get a box, low tier get an envelop but they are both filled with a variety of stuff. In addition to the Patreon mailer, I send out cards every year and not just to my family. I have been mailing cards every year for a while, so I have about a hundred people I send cards to. I will continue to do that because I never know who isn’t getting anything for the holidays, especially in these crazy times. This is the link to sing up for my snail mail mailing list: https://forms.gle/Vn729gAqTbYM7Xhc6
Essentially, for author holiday planning it looks like this:
1. August, put the call out to all authors I know if they would like to get their promo and books in front of my Patrons, to send that before the end of Nov. as I mail 1st week in Dec.
2. Keep an eye out ALL year long for great sales in low quantities. Journals, pens, adult coloring books, and more. Pick those up and save them for the 4th Q mailing.
3. Use Cricut to customize some things for them. (This can take 8-16 hours, so I space it out starting in November. 1 day cutting, 1 day weeding, 2 days ironing or transferring)
4. Add new addresses to the label list
5. About 15 November, begin batching cards for mailing: signing, adding stickers (holiday and my promo ones). Once all the cards are signed and sealed, I put the labels on them and then drop them in the mail either the last week in Nov or 1st week in Dec.
Look for Cara North in the upcoming Limited Edition Box Set: Holly Jolly Rom Com this 2021 Christmas! Available at Amazon in Kindle Unlimited or only pick it up for only $2.99!
Find out more about Cara’s other books by visiting her Amazon Author Page
One more week and October is over. Can you believe it? We're already seeing Christmas commercials and movies and decorations out with urgings to buy now and PRAY we get our purchases before then!
When did everything become such a mess?
We could discuss that for a lifetime LOL! But we're not going to! We are going to welcome fellow Pelican Book Group author, Barbara Britton back to our spotlight. Take it away Barb.....
As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.
Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.
Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.
Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal an enemy commander.
(A story similar to Naaman’s in II Kings 5)
“Alabaster, beads, bangles,” a merchant shouted.
Leave it to a salesman to find opportunity behind the rump of a slow donkey. His father had taught him well.
The chants of the merchant grew louder, came closer. “Men, trinkets for the fair and lovely.”
Hannah believed the heckler was upon her. Did he mistake her for a man? She had no free hand to test his wares.
The address was too close to ignore. Her elbow rose to ward off his seller’s assault. Her heart rapped against her chest anticipating a run home.
“Ah, but your arm is bare. Can I not interest you in—”
She whipped her head his direction.
At her bracelet. The rubies sparkled in the sunlight they captured.
At Gil. And his radiant smile.
“You do have interest.” He herded her without a touch toward a narrow side street. “Your father has coin, no doubt.”
She matched his pace not knowing where he was guiding her and not caring. Gil had found her, and she would follow him out of the crowd, out of the city, out to Mahanaim. “You came.”
He drew her into a doorway. The bustle of the city was but a memory. “Jewels are my business,” he said in a loud voice. And lower, “My mother spoke of a sad girl in need. I know very few who wear such wealth.” He held up her gold and ruby bracelet.
Setting her jar out of the way, she met his gaze. He grinned as if she had bought all his trinkets.
She let him take her arm and slip the bracelet on her wrist. His calloused fingers slid over her skin like a silk ribbon.
“It is a perfect fit,” he said, eyeing a passerby. His fingers cocooned her hand and wrist.
“We are in public,” she whispered.
“Did I not say it was lovely?” He winked and dared her with his just-made-a-sale eyes.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical Fiction and loves bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Her WWI Historical Until June released in 2020. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website at www.barbarambritton.com.
THANKS so much, Barbara for sharing your story and a peek into your novel with us! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings moving forward in life and in your writing.
Hope you enjoyed Barbara's visit friends and that you'll check back each week for Saturday Spotlight and Wednesday Words with Friends.
Until next time, take care and God Bless.
It's the time for me to share my heart with you this month. If only I had a powerful and meaningful message. Those will come. God is working in me every day. The holiday season is right around the corner and I encourage you to think of all God has done for you. The Bible talks about God having a "book of remembrance" - We should have one too!
A gratitude journal or if you're not a writer or feel you don't have time to write down your blessings and miracles, then have an attitude of gratitude. A mind to remember all the good and a voice to speak those things out loud. Even in the privacy of your home or car but especially in public.
Never be ashamed of the blessings God has bestowed on your or to give Him honor for them!
I have a new FREE story up for my newsletter subscribers this month, so if you haven't subscribed, do so now using the signup feature in the sidebar or on my FB Author Page.
Lori's Redemption is now available in Audio! I have some codes for a FREE audio book to anyone willing to post a review. Respond to this post OR email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll get that over to you ASAHP.
Tempered Truth has been recorded and approved and is awaiting release through ACX. I'll keep you posted on that. AND, Keri's Christmas Wish is in production after which, Love is a Rose devotional will be next. Circles of Fate and The Visionary are scheduled for 2022.
That's about it on the writing front. I haven't written in a while, been busy with updating platforms and getting books at Ingram Spark and other things, but once completed, I should be able to write more steadily. I know, I know....you can't find time to write, you have to make it. It's a matter of priority and I need to practice what I preach LOL!
I will....I will. But until then, I pray for your patience and hope you'll drop by the blog each week for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time, take care and God bless.
Good Morning and Welcome!
The weather has turned nice here in SW Louisiana as a cold front moved in last night with another to follow this coming Wednesday or Thursday. Other than a few showers to usher them in, we're expecting sunny days, lower humidity and cooler temps. Guess Fall has finally arrived ~ praise God! You know I'm a Summer person but 90-100 degrees with 100% humidity is just too hot, especially the older I get LOL!
But enough about me!
Our guest today has visited twice before, so please give a huge W-E-L-C-O-M-E to Izzy James as she shares her newest release with us, The Dollmaker's Daughter. Take it away, Izzy....
On Saturday our guest shared a peek into her new release, No Longer Captive. Today we get some inspiration behind the story!
Learning a Lesson
Have you ever run away? I remember when I was about eight years old, I decided I would run away from home. I had a good homelife and loving and supportive parents. But for some reason, something (I don’t even remember what it was) had happened, and my eight-year-old self wanted to “teach them a lesson.” If I ran away, they would be sorry they had wronged me, and they’d never do it again.
In No Longer a Captive, the heroine, Ethne, is running away from her past. But as far and as fast as she goes, she can’t escape the pain. It haunts her, follows her. She blames God for allowing her to be treated as she was and runs from Him, also. She’s like the proverbial hamster in the wheel. Running, running, running, always moving but never making progress.
The story of the Prodigal Son has always been one of my favorites. Filled with pride, the son leaves home. He wastes his inheritance, and in fear and shame decides to return home to face his father’s wrath. But the Father welcomes him home in love. The Bible tells us we cannot hide or run away from God. Wherever we might run, He is there. He is quietly waiting for us. Not in anger, but in love.
As I child I understood the part of the story about sinning and asking forgiveness. What I missed was that the Father had been watching and waiting for the son to return, and when he neared his home, the Father didn’t simply wait for him to arrive, but the Father ran to meet him and celebrated his return.
A simple Bible story that most of us know, but often forget to apply to our lives. What situation, person, failure are you running from? Turn and run toward the One who can handle it. He’ll meet you more than half-way.
And my running away episode? With my bags packed, at the last minute, I changed my mind. I realized how sad my parents would be and didn’t want to hurt them. I was the one who was “taught the lesson.”
Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She loves creating Redemptive Romance. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell Terrier, Zoe.
Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she'd been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, was an Amazon number one best-seller. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter to be the first to learn about new releases: www.carol-james.com
Just recently, Carol allowed Zoe to start an instagram page with two of her dog friends. Follow them at to learn the behind the scenes info about being a writer.
Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.
Connect with Carol at the following locations....
No Longer a Captive purchase links:
Read Carol's previous posts HERE
What a sweet story, Carol! I believe we've all run away, or considered doing so, at some point in our lives. Thanks for sharing.
Hope you enjoyed Carol's post friends and that you'll check back each week for Saturday Spotlight and Wednesday Words with Friends.
Until next time, take care and God Bless.
It's been a busy few days since I drove home from my son's house in Nacogdoches, TX Wednesday. The weather is beautiful. Still hot days but cooler nights and dry for a change. There's a lot going on but I'll wait to catch up with you a little later in the month. Meanwhile, our guest today is not new. Carol James has visited many times but please WELCOME her back with her new release, No Longer Captive. Take it away, Carol.....
When Ethne O'Connor's brother, Sean, tells her of father's unexpected death, he asks her to do something she promised herself she'd never do. Come back home.
A victim of childhood abuse, Ethne left her father and the small Texas town of Crescent Bluff ten years ago on the night of her high school graduation. She's determined to end the cycle of abuse and believes the only way to do that is remain single. If she has no husband, she'll never have children that can be abused.
Then she meets Daniel Spenser, a handsome doctor with chocolate-kiss eyes. Daniel understands her past in a way no one else does. He's lived it.
Will Daniel be able to help Ethne break the chains of captivity around her heart?
And will God release her from her past, to be free to trust the man she comes to love?
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
The gravel crunched beneath the tires as Ethne O’Connor steered the box truck onto the shoulder of the narrow country road. Today would be a scorcher. The clock hadn’t yet reached nine in the morning, and already the numbers on her dashboard read ninety-two. The birth of another lovely summer day in Central Texas.
The heat waves rising from the pavement in front of her mirrored the waves of nausea that had steadily intensified since she’d left Fort Worth. She shifted the truck into park, flipped on the emergency flashers, and turned the air conditioning on high. Closing her eyes, she pushed her head back against the seat and begged the cold air to rush across her face and relieve her churning stomach.
She couldn’t believe she was doing this. One May evening ten years ago, with her suitcase already packed in the trunk of her car, she walked across the stage in the high school auditorium, received her diploma, and made a promise to herself, a vow that had never been broken…until today. Sean’s pleading phone call on Monday had changed everything. She was returning home.
The nausea somewhat under control, she shifted the truck into drive, pulled back onto the roadway, and turned off the emergency flashers. One last mile to go. Anticipation was a funny thing. When she wanted something to happen, it took forever to come. If she dreaded an event, it arrived before she knew it. These last several days had gone by way too fast.
Slowing the truck, she turned left and began the journey down a meandering river of asphalt. As she rounded the final curve and her childhood home came into view, she gasped. In the ten years she’d been gone, absolutely nothing had changed. The two-story farm house was still painted white with black shutters. Large Boston ferns hung from under the edges of the front porch and swayed in the ever-present Texas wind. Even the flowers waving in the pots beneath them were the same—purple petunias.
Nine o’clock and no Sean, but she wasn't surprised. Punctuality had never been expected of him. On the other hand, Vaughn had always demanded she be on time. Even early. That requirement had served her well over the years, birthing in her the organizational skills that helped her successfully start and run her business.
She parked the truck at the top of the circular drive, and despite the heat, slipped on her sweater, and inched across the pavement and up onto the porch. She grasped the doorknob. As she expected, it was locked, and she didn’t have a key. Years ago, she’d thrown hers away because she would never need it again. If she’d kept it, she could have at least gone inside and escaped the heat.
She turned and walked toward one of the rocking chairs. A forgotten green turtle with a chipped front leg smiled at her from underneath one of the pots of flowers. She picked it up and slid back the door on its belly. A key fell out into her hand. When she was a little girl, she always believed the key was there for Sean and her—in case they got locked out and Vaughn was still at the office. That was certainly one of the reasons, but when she was eleven, she’d discovered another.
She returned the oblivious little turtle to his home and then inserted the key into the lock. Taking a deep breath, she turned the key and pushed the door open. Cool, silent darkness greeted her as she stepped into the spotless—Vaughn would have it no other way— foyer.
She set the key on the console table beside the door and then tiptoed, for some unexplainable reason, further in. She paused and glanced first toward the living room to her right and then toward Vaughn’s home office to her left. There was only one choice to make. She headed right and walked to the wingback chair next to the fireplace. Sitting, she nestled into the cushions. She pressed her nose against the fabric. Even after all these years, she could imagine the soft fragrance of Mother’s perfume lingering in the ivory brocade.
Heavy draperies hung closed over the living room windows. A shaft of light shot out from the middle space where the panels failed to meet completely and illuminated a flock of dust motes as they floated in the bright morning sun. When she was five, Mother told her the particles were tiny fairies dancing in the sunshine, but they were usually invisible. Only the magic of the sun unveiled them.
One day, Ethne had asked Vaughn if she could borrow his magnifying glass to see the fairies, but he’d refused, saying Mother had filled her head with nonsense. Fairies weren’t real.
Turns out, that was one of the few truthful statements he’d ever made to her. She now knew the ‘fairies’ were nothing more than a combination of dead skin cells, fabric fibers, pollen, and dirt. He was right. Nothing magical about that.
As she walked over to the window and threw open the curtains, the fairies disappeared.
“So, the prodigal sister hath returned.”
She jumped and spun to face the foyer. Her little brother spanned the doorway. He had grown up. The last time she’d seen him at his college graduation three years ago, he was at that stage where the calendar said he was a man, but his body was trying to catch up. He had certainly filled out, and he now sported a short, precisely-trimmed, chestnut beard. His hair, unlike hers, had deepened from bright copper to rich auburn.
“Sean. You’re late,” she snipped. This was not the way she’d envisioned their first meeting after all this time. She took a deep breath, reined in her emotions, and smiled. “Or maybe I’m a little early. I have a reputation for that.” She pulled him into a sisterly hug.
His grin answered hers. “Early, late, whatever. I’m just glad you came. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see you again.”
“The road runs both ways, you know.”
“Yeah. Sorry.” He held up the key she’d placed on the console table. “I see you remembered the turtle. I figured I’d find you sitting on the porch in one of the rockers.”
He set a small, black gym bag on the floor. “Where’s your suitcase? Need me to get it out of the truck?”
“I’m not staying here. I’ve got a room in town.”
“Eth, I can see how hard this must be for you.” Tears filled his eyes. “Believe me. I know.”
He really had no idea. The man he knew as Dad was not the same one she knew as Vaughn.
Links to the Book:
No Longer Captive sounds like another great book, doesn't it, Friends?
Thank you, Carol for sharing with us. We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings.
Until next time take care and God Bless, Everyone!
Well after several days of rain last week we're back to cooler temps at night and sunshiny days! Last month Kristen was in our spotlight with two rom-com books about chickens. Let's see what she has to share with us today....
How Pet Chickens and Homemade Traps Inspired a RomCom
Long summer days were wiled away training chickens to do tricks. Yes, a chicken will do just about anything for snacks. Although I had stern rules about chickens in the house, the boys smuggled those hens inside, onto bunk beds, into blanket forts. They built tree forts for their chickens and could be spotted high up in the branches with a blanket, a book, and a chicken cuddled close. They begged for weird gifts such as chicken diapers and chicken sweaters. Not sweaters for themselves, nope, sweaters for their chickens to wear. Thankfully, their grandmother is a talented knitter and all three received sweaters and leashes for their chickens one Christmas. The chickens visited the boys’ school for show-n-tell. The boys even played chicken games at recess and a variety of children could be spotted running around the playground clucking and flapping enthusiastically.
I started imagining what might happen if some beloved pet chickens got loose in a dangerous location. How would book characters figure out how to catch them? So, I dreamed up a dangerous place: a mountain highway. Both a deadly road and vast acres of forest were there, just waiting to menace innocent barnyard fowl! Then I imagined a reason to be hauling a trailer full of chickens over a mountain pass in the first place: moving to a new town. Then I put in a ticking clock: the most special hen has to be back in time for the talent show at her boy’s new school on Monday!
More perils were needed!!! I looked through our chicken books (we have several) and discovered that skunks will sometimes eat chickens. Perfect! Skunks could menace both chickens and humans. I had attempted to tell the boys’ chickens apart from their cousins’ birds without much success and so I added some look-a-like hens. But why would there be a chicken coop in the forest? I added a spooky mountain cabin surrounded by NO TRESPASSING signs. Now, I grew up in a mountain home surrounded by NO TRESPASSING signs (my grandfather went a little wild with them) and one of the things my brother and I did when we were bored was to build traps! We had watched “Home Alone” one too many times and it seemed like a great idea. We had a log and a boulder attached to trip wires that were supposed to roll down the hill. Our mother was horrified and made us dismantle them for fear that a forest service worker would be maimed. So, I made up some bored mountain children to build traps around my spooky cabin and its chicken coop.
So so fun!!!
Finally, the finale. In my misspent youth, my brother and cousins and I dug a snake pit. Yes, a snake pit. We had recently watched “Indiana Jones” and thought that a snake pit was just the best idea ever! It took a long time as the dirt is like concrete in Eastern Washington, but finally, our pit was complete. Then, four excited children spent all day catching gardener snakes. I think we ended up with twenty-one disgruntled serpents for our pit. Then, we carefully crafted a tripod out of logs so that each of us could have the chance of being dangled over our pit. I volunteered to go first! Only, I was too tall. My head touched the bottom and the snakes were crawling through my hair and it wasn’t as scary as we had hoped. Sadly, we discovered that almost touching the snakes if far more terrifying than having them in your hair and realizing that they really aren’t doing anything particularly menacing there. So, my shorter cousin stole my place as the damsel in distress and it was all very fun and terrifying.
Of course, I had to menace my poor heroine with exactly the kind of creative children that we were back in the day! Shelby is not nearly as blasé about snakes either.
So, if you find the plotlines of Chicken Crossing and Dandelion Floofums to be unrealistic, well you simply didn’t know the right kind of crazy kids growing up. We were a bit rowdy but it certainly comes in handy when creating insane situations for RomComs!
What is the weirdest pet/project you had as a child?
How funny, Kristen! My son is a duck lover but chickens? I think I've heard it all now!
I hope you enjoyed Kristen's post as much as I did, friends and that you'll check out her books and that you'll stop by weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time, take care and God Bless.
Good Morning from Nacogdoches, TX!
I drove up yesterday to house/dog/duck sit for my son this weekend and then next week we'll finish up his tax return. The weather here is about the same as home....soggy with a 100% chance of humidity and more rain. Alas, it's starting to cool down which is a welcome relief from ninety-something-degrees. My prayer is that we have a drier Fall than Spring and Summer have been. SWLA is already more than 20" above average rainfall so we need dry and sunshine!
Today's guest is not new to our blog. Last month DiAnn compared writing to cooking. Very interesting information to say the least. Today we get a sneak peek into her latest novel, Trace of Doubt. But first, she has a question for all us writers. Take it away DiAnn....
What is a Professional Writing Attitude?
A writer longed to develop a professional attitude and build a brand. She contracted for a polished website and learned ways to discover her audience. She established a presence on social media where her audience hung out, asked open-ended questions to encourage interaction, and wrote a weekly blog post that showed her expertise and passion to help others. She followed the experts and generally prioritized readers by focusing on their needs.
She believed as her platform grew, she’d reach more people and eventually her sales would increase. Relationships always came first.
This writer belonged to a writer’s group whose membership ranged from beginning writers to those with NYT bestseller status. At the close of a meeting, a new writer posed a question to all in attendance about how to begin the process of branding.
1. The NYT bestselling writer immediately left the meeting, walking past the new writer who had a question. The NYT writer clearly had things to do of more value than wasting time with a new writer.
2. A published writer who often taught at writer conferences soon left the meeting and didn’t give the new writer a second glance. The published writer must have been on deadline.
3. Our hard-working writer, who was busy building her own platform, texted her husband and let him know she’d be later than expected. Her goal was to help the new writer as best she could. She understood the attitude of paying it forward. The writing and publishing business wasn’t all about her.
What about you? Do you look at other writers as rivals? Or are you filled with compassion for those who might struggle with what you already know? Is your writing attitude packed with paying it forward to the next generation of writers?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and Mountainside Retreats with social media specialist Edie Melson. DiAnn speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.