Tag: Self-Published

Author Interview - Christine Dillon

Author Interview | Introducing Christine Dillon and Grace in the Shadows

Today I’m interviewing author (and editing client) Christine Dillon. Christine has recently released her second novel, Grace in the Shadows, and is currently working on the sequel.

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

This is always a tricky question for me. I’m Australian but I grew up in Asia, as my parents were missionaries. Since 1999 I’ve also spent 80% of my time in Taiwan working with the same organisation as my parents. To my delight, I recently discovered that I’m also a New Zealand citizen.

Yay! It’s always good to meet and interview a fellow Kiwi, no matter how remote the connection.

About Your Books

What kind of books do you write? Where and when are they set?

I have three published non-fiction books on discipleship (2009) and Bible storytelling (2012, 2017) and two contemporary Christian fiction novels. The stories are set in the mid to late 1990’s in Sydney, Australia.

What was your motivation for writing Grace in Strange Disguise and Grace in the Shadows?

As I discipled people in Taiwan and Australia I saw a widespread problem. So many people want to follow a God who blesses us on our own terms. But what if we feel disappointed with Him? What if we can’t see the blessing? I wanted to write about this whole issue of what is God there for?

I also saw some ‘lacks’ in Christian fiction. One was that there were too many ‘happily ever after stories’. I wanted to write fiction that was about obedience and submission to Jesus no matter what happened. I also wanted stories that were thoroughly Christian in the way that characters not only thought about issues but also shared Jesus with others. I don’t want to read books that tack the Christianity on top. I’d prefer those kind of books to not mention Christianity at all.

Lastly, I wanted to write fiction that was life changing. Fiction that spurred readers on to follow Jesus with more and more passion. Fiction that made a difference. Having seen the power of Bible stories, I knew that fiction was important. It’s another medium to impact lives.

I think a lot of people start writing novels because they want to read fiction with more “x” or less “y”. We’re all individuals, so fiction speaks to us all in different ways. As you say, it’s another medium to impact lives.

Where did the characters and story come from? What were your influences?

I never planned to write fiction as I was aware that it would be well beyond my abilities. But God seems to have had other ideas and thankfully it is not beyond his. The main idea for the story ‘downloaded’ (this is what it felt like) into my mind during a prayer day as far back as 2007. I put it on hold saying, “You’re going to have to push me to do this and give me the ability.”

Never say anything is beyond our abilities!

The push came in 2012 when I was reading a Francine Rivers set of novellas called ‘Sons of Encouragement’. Again the idea was clear in my head, “You’re a Bible storyteller. Write a biblical novel to practice writing fiction.” So I started immediately. The two practice stories I wrote are ones I hope to get back to soon. In 2013, I started on the ‘real thing’. Initially I thought it was a stand alone novel until told, “This isn’t one story, its one and a half.” When I recovered from the shock, I decided I’d be writing a trilogy. But it’s grown again. I can now see six stories.

Francine Rivers has been a big influence because she tackles issues. I wanted my books to make a difference in people’s lives like hers have.

Two other influences have been C S Lewis (how many people have his books influenced?) especially the Narnia series and The Screwtape Letters, and Randy Alcorn. They write in different genres but they’re life changing. Their stories teach deep truths but wrapped in fiction. They move our emotions and change our worldview. That is what I’m aiming for.

I agree—the best fiction is the kind that makes us reconsider our worldview and bring us closer to Christ.

Who is your favourite character, and why? Do you have anything in common with him/her?

I have quite a few favourites. Joy, who is a major secondary characters. The only thing we have in common is that we both speak Chinese. Naomi is also a favourite.

Josh and Dirk in book two. The only things we have in common is that we love Jesus and I’ve worked in a plant nursery before. Dirk is modelled on two men I admire – one was the boss of a plant nursery. I’ve also started to have fun naming people after various friends or names that my readers have chosen.

The character most like myself is Esther. We both like hiking and she’s a physiotherapist because that was something I felt confident writing about. The timing of the stories is quite deliberate because I wasn’t confident to write about physiotherapy after the date that I worked in hospitals. The hospital in my mind for her workplace is where I worked (although bits of it are made up). I prefer to work with real locations and then adapt from there.

I deliberately made Esther unlike myself in key areas so that people wouldn’t think she was me. I think she likes swing dancing and coffee. Too uncoordinated for one and not a fan of the other.

Will there be a sequel? When can readers expect to see this?

I am working on the third novel now and hope that it will be out by August 2019. There may be three more stories in this series. After that, I would love to write something different and am thinking of biblical fiction which would tie in nicely with my Bible storytelling ministry.

I know a few readers who will be glad to hear that!

About Your Writing

How long did it take between starting to write Grace in Strange Disguise and publishing it? What about Grace in the Shadows?

The first novel took four and a half years. That’s not unusual. I first had to learn to plot and then to write. Along the way I had huge numbers of things to learn in terms of marketing, setting up a website … it felt like doing several university degrees concurrently.

The second book only took about ten months. That was both because I already had material left over from the first book (although it had to be rewritten) and because I’d improved so much. I also had my team in place in terms of editors, beta readers and proofreaders. Everything ran more smoothly and I’m beginning to find my rhythm.

What is the hardest part of getting a book written, edited and published?

Everything is hard! A novelist has to have huge courage (to cope with the inevitable criticism) and determination to simply keep going. If I have to choose, I think the first draft is the most difficult. There are parts in the latter part of editing that I enjoy. The parts where I’m reading it out loud to catch errors and poor rhythms. That part is satisfying because it is taking something good and polishing it to high gloss.

What made you choose to self-publish?

Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted or lazy. There is a HUGE amount to master especially in the areas of writing and finding good editors (I was blessed to find my ‘perfect matches’ the first time around but that was the result of prayer), marketing (an area most authors find difficult), and business.

Having been twice traditionally published I had some experience of the book industry. I wanted the freedom to set prices, give away books if I wanted … most of the time I’m loving it. Yes, I’ve probably sacrificed in sales at the beginning but the reviews have been good and word of mouth recommendation is spreading.

I have no time pressures except the ones I set myself. I’m someone with plenty of initiative and discipline and self-publishing suits me. I would not enjoy the pressure of a three book contract. My daily life is too busy for that and I regard the rest of my ministry/work as more important than writing.

I also love being able to choose the kind of stories I write and not be forced to stick to one genre.

What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?

  • Find a community who can help and support you. You’ll need it. I found mine with various Facebook groups – Australasian Christian Writers, Christian Writers Downunder and also Christian Indie Authors (much broader in terms of where authors are from). I also have a group of three other authors who can kick me or hug me (in my case virtually via the internet).
  • Work on your humility and also become confident about who you are in Christ. You must be able to cope with people tearing your work apart. Most of them do it out of love for you and it is much better to let them do it before you send your baby out into the big wide world. Make sure your motivations are for the glory of Jesus. Poor and selfish motives will only cause loads of pain.
  • Take things much more slower than your heart wants. The worst thing you can do is to publish too early and release an inferior product. I don’t want to run ahead of God’s speed. This is another reason I prefer to self-publish, so I can pray about the timing.
Great tips—thank you!

About Marketing

You have created your own book trailers. How hard was this? Was it worth doing?

It was impossible until someone on the Christian Indie authors group directed me to a free online company called Lumen 5. After that it was a matter of drag and drop as all the copyright images and music are already there. You can also add your own photos and music.

I hear you’re currently in the process of recording audiobook versions of both your novels. What made you decide to produce an audiobook, and record it yourself? How is the process going?

I am literally in the first week of attempting this. I’ve recorded and edited two chapters. Only forty something to go for book one. Then book two.

Audiobooks are a hugely expanding market. It makes sense to have books available in as many formats as possible to suit different kinds of buyers – digital books, print and now audio.

I was praying for someone to help me get started as I don’t have much confidence with technology and it was yet another new thing for me to learn. God has provided someone with a studio and the equipment a five-minute walk away. I can go there in the afternoons and do a few hours recording.

There are excellent resources online to teach you how to do it (which I’ve added onto my ‘self publishing’ board on Pinterest). Pinterest is my filing system for articles related to writing/marketing …

Please feel free to add some information about yourself (e.g. website, purchasing links, book trailer links) to the end of the post.

Thank you for joining us today, Christine! Readers, if you want to find out more about Christine, check her out online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest

And click here to check out Grace in Strange Disguise, Grace in the Shadows, and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon shop!

 

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 67 | Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears:

First line from Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears: Annie Gephart pressed her lips together to keep from begging Tom Passey—the greasiest, most foul-mouthed cowpuncher she'd ever met—to stay on.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Romancing the Bride

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

You can find Romancing the Bride online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 66 | Pathway to Peace by Elizabeth Maddrey

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from Pathway to Peace by Elizabeth Maddrey:

First line from Pathway to Peace by Elizabeth Maddrey: Overly chipper instrumental versions of Christmas music played through the speakers, just loud enough to be heard over the customers who wandered the aisles of the Bullseye discount department store looking for the first of the season’s bargains.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Pathway to Peace

All she wants is to leave her past behind.

Lindsey Bowers has spent five years hiding from her mistakes. She’s created a life, such as it is, where few people know about her past. If that means she has to keep people at arm’s length, so be it.

Gavin Harder is ready to tackle the future. Newly relocated to the D.C. area, he plans to spend Christmas with his grandmother and get settled before attending the Police Academy in January. He’s can’t wait to protect and serve with his new brothers in blue.

When Gavin’s grandmother invites Lindsey to share Thanksgiving dinner with them, Gavin makes it clear he’s not looking for a relationship. But the instant attraction he feels has him rethinking that decision. Before long, attraction turns to friendship with the hope of something more.

If they can move beyond the secrets they’re both keeping.

Pathway to Peace is the final installment of the Grant Us Grace series and touches base with now-grown Lindsey, the pregnant teenager who appeared in Courage to Change (Grant Us Grace Book 2). Revisit old friends in this Christmas novella by grabbing your copy today!

You can find Pathway to Peace online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 59 | All Made Up by Kara Isaac

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from All Made Up by Kiwi author Kara Isaac, which is currently on pre-order special for $3.99.

If you’ve read and enjoyed Kara’s earlier books, you’ll want to read this one—especially if you’re a fan of “reality” TV shows like The Bachelor. Here’s the first line:

First Line from All Made Up: Reality TV. A misnomer if there ever was one. Katriona McLeod studied the sheet of paper the production assistant had just delivered to her dressing room. On it were the names and pictures of five women who were to be given extra attention in her makeup chair.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About All Made Up:

Everyone thinks Katriona McLeod is living the dream. Her professional career as a make up artist sees her traveling the world working with the stars and she’s got no shortage of men wanting her affection. Only problem is she’s never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she’s ever loved. When she accepts a job on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she’s cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it.

Caleb Murphy couldn’t care less about C-Class celebrity fame or reality TV and he certainly doesn’t believe it could lead him to love. The one thing he does care about is fulfilling his mother’s last wish. Kat’s presence on the show seems to offer up a solution that will make both the network and his mother happy. It might have been almost ten years since they split but he knows he can trust her with his plan. Just as long as he doesn’t fall in love all over again with the woman who will never stay.

You can find All Made Up online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

Quote from Unknown Enemy by Janet Sketchley: Your gift is to see the best in people. What they can be, not necessarily what they are.

Book Review | Unknown Enemy (Green Dory Inn 1) by Janet Sketchley

Today I’m reviewing Unknown Enemy, the first book in Janet Sketchley’s new Green Dory Inn Mystery series, which is set in the town of Lunenburg in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. (For those who are interested, Janet recently took readers on a virtual tour of Lunenburg in a guest post at International Christian Fiction Writers. Click here to read that post.)

Landon Smith has returned to her hometown of Lunenburg for the first time in years, and she doesn’t want to be here now. But Anna, family friend, surrogate mother, mentor, and confidante, needs her. Strange things are afoot at the Green Dory Inn, and the neighbours aren’t sure if Anna’s reports are real or signs of a grief-induced breakdown.

But an intruder might not be Anna’s only problem. There is the challenge of keeping the inn running single-handed, and the rumours … It’s an excellent story, and the start of what promises to be an even better series. I especially liked the author’s note at the end which promised answers to some of the loose ends. Don’t worry—it wasn’t a cliffhanger ending (which I loathe), in that the main plot question was answered. But there were other unanswered questions, not least being thiswhat happened to Landon to drive her away from Lunenburg?

Unknown Enemy is a quick and easy read, and I finished it in under two hours. But it packs a lot of punch—strong characters with plenty of secrets, and enough humour to lighten the writing without destroying the building tension. Landon is an intriguing character—understated, yet with plenty of secrets hinting at hidden depths. The Green Dory Inn also has secrets, and I look forward to finding out more in future books in the series.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer who likes her fiction with a splash of mystery or adventure and a dash of Christianity. Why leave faith out of our stories if it’s part of our lives? Her Green Dory Inn series is set near the picturesque town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Janet’s other books include the Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series and the devotional collection, A Year of Tenacity.

Find Janet Sketchley online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter

About Unknown Enemy

Landon Smith vowed never to return to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Despite her faith, the memories might undo her.

But a shadowy figure has been skulking around the Green Dory Inn—seen only by her friend Anna.

Loyalty demands she stand by this woman who’s been a second mother to her. No matter the cost.

With the police unable to find solid clues, and the incidents escalating, Landon must help Anna discover the truth about the prowler and stop him. Before he turns violent.

Find Unknown Enemy online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Read the introduction to Unknown Enemy below:

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 55 | Know You More by Jan Thompson

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from Know You More by Jan Thompson, the first book in her multicultural Savannah Secrets series. Here’s the first line:

"You can't be in grad school forever." Aidan Ming Wei flipped the salmon burger on his Weber grill.

Do you want to read more? If so, you’re in luck because Know You More is currently free on Kindle (until Sunday). Click here to download Know You More.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About Know You More

He loves her… He loves her not…
She’s waiting for him to decide.
A young pastor of a growing church in a thriving community, Diego Flores has to come to grips with God’s will for his church and his personal life.

From USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson come 10 clean and wholesome, sweet and inspirational contemporary Christian romances set on the beaches of Tybee Island and in the city of Savannah, Georgia, two of the most romantic coastal towns in the world.

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, in the multicultural new south! Meet a group of multiracial and multiethnic churchgoing Christians who love the Lord, work hard in their careers, and seek God’s will for their love lives. Against a backdrop of ocean, sand, and sun, these inspirational romances showcase aspects of the human need for God and for one another.

These sweet and wholesome Christian beach romances begin with KNOW YOU MORE, the story of Diego Flores and Heidi Wei living in the city of Savannah and on the sunny beaches of Tybee Island.

Diego’s Disquiet…

Diego Flores has been interested in his best friend’s younger sister since their college days, but his calling to grow Riverside Chapel takes up most of his time.

When Heidi Wei becomes his strongest supporter in his church-planting ministry, how does Diego show his feelings for her without giving her the wrong idea?

Does she see him as potential husband material or just the pastor of their church?

You can find Know You More online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

Papa doesn't need buildings and potlucks and crowds. He just needs us and our ability to love on him.

#Throwback Thursday | Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay. This review was originally posted in May 2017.

There are not many novels that manage to grip me from the very first line, but this was one:

“Lillian. Lillian? Can you hear me, Lillian?” My therapist’s voice grates on my. I’d say like nails on a chalkboard, but that wouldn’t accurately describe just how much I hate her voice.

By the end of the first page, we know Lillian is in court-ordered therapy. By the end of the second page, we know why:

“Help me understand why you stabbed your dad with a knife in the middle of the grocery store, and then went home and smashed everything.”
“Some people deserve a little knifing every once in a while and his furniture was a hundred years past vintage. I’d say I did him a favor.”

So Lillian is stuck in her home town for six months until she can explain why … which isn’t so easy. As the novel progresses, we see more and more glimpses of Lillian’s broken past as she opens herself up to her teenage crush, to her therapist, and to Jesus—who she refers to as Papa. The title implies we’re going to see a broken person, and we do, but we also strength and character.

Lillian is a strong main character.

Some people won’t be able to related to the writing—first person present tense—but I thought it was the perfect choice. It gave us an insight into Lillian, and the present tense gave the story the necessary sense of immediacy.

Reading a first person story narrated by a character who has secrets and hides them from the reader can be frustrating. I always feel that if the character knows the truth about a matter, the reader should know that truth as well. And that’s why I think first person worked so well in Broken Like Glass, because Lillian didn’t know. Her secrets were so deep, she hid them from herself.

Broken Like Glass combined some of the freshest writing I’ve read in ages. The use of first person present tense was inspired. The plot was layered, complex, and never predictable (the couple of minor plot points I almost predicted were minor in comparison to the major twists I ever saw coming).

But the true triumph of Broken Like Glass is Lilly’s relationship with Papa, something her therapist, Chrissy, sees as Lilly’s strength:

“But this relationship you have. It’s so … tangible. I want that.”
“Then have it.”
Chrissy looks at me funny. “But how? How did you do it?”
“I clung to the only thing I could. He’s all I had. He’s all I ever had … my only friend was Papa.”

Lilly is the perfect embodiment of the Christian faith as a relationship with Jesus.

The scenes where Papa talks and Lilly listens remind me of God speaking in The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. The themes and writing reminded me of Christa Allen and Varina Denman and Amy Matayo, and other newer writers in Christian fiction. But the most important thing is that Broken Like Glass makes me want to know Papa in the way Lilly does. And shouldn’t that be the aim of Christian fiction?

Recommended.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About EJ McCay

EJ McCay grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and currently resides in Lubbock, Texas. She lives with her husband, two girls, and four cats.

Writing wasn’t always her dream. That came about when she was in her mid-twenties. Since then, it’s become more than a passion, it’s become part of what makes her tick. She writes in multiple genres from YA to Adult Romance.

When not writing, she’s a nerd-herding lover of Chuck, and enjoyer of good coffee. Some of her favorite books include Ender’s Game, The Percy Jackson Series, and the Alex Van Helsing trilogy–just to mention a few.

Find EJ McCay online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Broken Like Glass

How is Papa supposed to set me free when I don’t even know what I need to be freed from?

Lillian Louis James tried to live a good life but her father had a knack for bringing out the worst in her. When a quick weekend visit with him turned violent she found herself on the wrong end of the law. Stuck in the small town she would rather forget Lillian was forced to attend therapy and try to figure out where it all went wrong. Her high school crush showing up on the scene didn’t help either as unresolved feelings bubbled to the surface. Will Lillian let Jesus heal her broken past before her chance at love is gone?

Find Broken Like Glass online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Read the introduction to Broken Like Glass below:

Quote from Fort Point: Lending moral support to a depressed genius was exhausting. He had a pessimistic answer to everything.

Book Review | Fort Point (Maine Justice #2) by Susan Page Davis

Fort Point is the second book in the Maine Justice series.

I described Priority Unit, the first book in the series, as an almost-perfect blend of Christian fiction, romance, and suspense. Fort Point has a different feel.

We’ve already seen Detective Harvey Larson and Jennifer Wainthrop fall in love and become Christians in Priority Unit. Fort Point (and, I assume, the later books in the series) are more suspense. The romance and the faith aspects are still there, but they definitely take second place to the suspense plot.

And the suspense is excellent.

Fort Point is a police procedural mystery that begins with the discovery of the body of Maine’s most famous novelist. (Personally, I’ve read enough novels about people who write novels. Perhaps Davis has as well, given her novelist is the victim.)

Detective Larson is part of Maine’s Priority Unit, a special force, so is tasked with investigating the murder. But it’s not easy. The victim wasn’t just a novelist. He was also an investigative journalist, and Larson wonders if one of his investigations may have attracted attention from the wrong people. Soon a second body is discovered, and evidence that suggests corruption in high places …

I didn’t think the writing was as strong in Fort Point (although that could just be that it’s been about a year since I read Priority Unit, and I was so impressed by the three strands of the plot that I didn’t pay much attention to the writing). It wasn’t that the writing is poor. It’s more that it felt a little unpolished in comparison with Davis’s other books.

Overall, Fort Point is a solid suspense novel.

But does have a different flavour than Priority Unit and Susan Page Davis’s earlier romantic suspense novels. If you’re looking for a lightweight romantic suspense novel, Fort Point isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a well-plotted police procedural suspense with plenty of twists and strong characters, Fort Point might be just what you are looking for.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Susan Page Davis

Author Photo: Susan Page Davis

Susan Page Davis writes romantic suspense, historical romance, and mystery. She is a Maine native now living in Kentucky, and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and KenTen Writers. Her books have won several awards including the Carol Award for her novel The Prisoners Wife; the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for The Prisoner’s Wife and The Lumberjack’s Lady (Maine Brides series); and the Will Rogers Medallion Award for her novels Captive Trail (Texas Trails series, 2012) and The Outlaw Takes a Bride (2016).

You can find Susan Page Davis online at:

Website | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter

About Fort Point

An ill-fated class reunion at Fort Point. . .

Maine’s most famous author is murdered the night after the reunion. A classmate turns up dead a few days later, apparently drowned at Fort Point. What does a cold case burglary have to do with the deaths? And did a third classmate really commit suicide?

The Priority Unit solves its most challenging case, relying on wits, hard work, and faith. Meanwhile, Jennifer Wainthrop plans her wedding but manages to hand the detectives some important clues.

Detective Harvey Larson is offered a job he doesn’t want, until he learns the police chief has had a tragic accident. Captain Mike Browning is on vacation in Maine’s far north, and proves a difficult man to track down. Harvey and Jennifer continue their faith journey and romance while untangling the evidence.

Despite many obstacles, the Priority Unit is once again serving up Maine Justice.

You can find Fort Point online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to Fort Point below:

Take God out of the equation, and there is no meaning to what had happened with you.

#Throwback Thursday | Book Review | Lu by Beth Troy

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Lu by Beth Troy. Lu is a great example of what I’d like to see more of in Christian fiction: great characters wrestling with the big issues of God and faith and love.

About Lu

“There’s great hope where the road meets the sky – maybe even an answer. But this road leads home. Just home. I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened – the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves.”
Lu Sokolowski never planned to return to her small hometown of Dunlap’s Creek, but it’s the only place she can think of to go after her boyfriend cheats on her. Moving back in with her family lets her run away from her problems, but it also means suffering their attempts to reassemble her failed life, including arranging a job as the wedding beat writer at the local paper and setting her up with Jackson, the divorced pastor of her family’s church. Unexpected success and friendships restore Lu to the family and faith she’d left behind. But when the small-town life Lu never intended shakes up, will she run again?
Lu’s story is a journey of a woman back to her family, her faith, and herself. It’s about second chances and the unchosen circumstances that press the point of who we are and what we believe. Are we the sum of our successes and failures, or does our identity rest in a greater hope?

My Review

All the stories have been written, including mine.

It’s a great first line, because it’s a strong statement that sounds true, in the same way as the famous opening line to Pride and Prejudice sounds true … until you think about it. Because we’re all unique, so our stories are also unique.

Although our stories also have some common elements:

I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened—the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves. You could dress it up and call it a journey. But there was nothing new in the story about the girl who went home because she had nowhere else to go.

I know not everyone enjoys novels written in first person, but I do—especially when the character has a strong and interesting voice, as Lu (short for Louisa) does.

So Lu is home, with a car that barely runs, a 1970’s crockpot, and no money. She finds a job at the local newspaper, where she is asked to write wedding features. And she befriends the young preacher, back in town after his divorce. Lu isn’t sure if she believes in God and she certainly isn’t following him, despite having been raised in church.

Jackson challenges Lu to come to church, and she does. He’s preaching a series on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which brought him through his own tough time when his wife left him. These sermons start Lu on her own faith journey, reading the Bible and trying to understand what Jackson sees in Jesus. At the same time, she’s developing feelings for Jackson … all the while knowing nothing can come of those feelings if they don’t share a faith, and Jackson isn’t going to change.

Lu isn’t typical Christian fiction.

The characters drink alcohol and swear. Lu has been living with her boyfriend, and Jackson is divorced. Yet there is a lot more Christian content than in most Christian novels I read, and it feels natural, not forced. I liked the way the novel showed Lu’s faith journey warts and all, and that the focus was on finding Jesus for herself.

My one complaint about Lu was that it ended too soon. There was a clear ending to the main plot—Lu’s faith journey—but not to the main subplot. This annoyed me at first, but in hindsight it was the right decision. I only hope that dangling thread means there is a sequel in the works.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

You can find Beth Troy online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Find Lu online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UKGoodreads

Stacy Monson - Three Psalms for Busy Women

Guest Post | Stacy Monson shares Three Psalms for Busy Women (and a #Giveaway!)

Today I’m delighted to welcome Stacy Monson to the blog. Stacy’s latest book, Open Circle, releases this week, and it looks like an excellent read. And she has a giveaway! And it’s open internationally! One random commenter will be chosen.

Psalms for Busy Women

Life can be crazy busy. Rather than put your head down and power through each day, find those touchpoint moments when you can seek God’s calm and strength. They need only be long enough to remember who He is, and who you are in Him.

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

– Psalm 103:2

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of each busy day and forget to see where God is at work. He is at work, just rarely in big moments that involve fireworks, thunderous applause, and flashing lights (unless you count the miracle of nature all around us). He’s there in the smile of a child after a tantrum, the hug of a friend in the midst of bad news. The cry of a newborn, and the understanding tears of one who knows infertility.

It’s important to look back and recognize moments when we received exactly what we needed—a phone call, a hug, a job offer, unexpected good news. He surrounds us with people who know us and love us (anyway). He provides what we need to face each day.

Instead of focusing on what’s lacking, pause throughout your busy day to thank Him for all the blessings He showers over you, and praise Him with every fiber of your being.

Be still and know that I am God.

– Psalm 46:10

This isn’t a request—it’s a two-fold command. God knows there is little stillness in our high-tech lives. With calendars crammed full of activities, there’s no time to be still! So we must make the time. God tells us Be still. Only then can we know who He is. And this verse tells us He wants us to know Him. Amazing.

When we are still (in the car waiting for the kids, in the silence of early morning, or on a break at work), that’s when we can hear His voice, feel His presence, know He’s there. He is who He says He is: Creator of heaven and earth, lover of our soul, Lord over our calendars.

The God who created you knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you with a perfect, all-consuming love. When you take the time to be still, you can know who He is as well.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

– Psalm 143:10

One of a woman’s greatest strengths can also be her greatest weakness. We are do-ers. When something needs doing, we jump in with both feet. Wobbling on our heels, we race from this commitment to that, leaping over obstacles, praying we stay upright as we take on yet another request. The flip side of this is burnout, resentment, and exhaustion.

How often do we pause and ask God if this new “opportunity” is what He wants for us? Instead of seeking His will for our many options, we make decisions based on the warm, fuzzy feeling of being needed, then we ask Him to save us from the issues of our own making.

The next time an offer comes your way, pause and turn your attention to the One who wants only the very best for you. Let Him teach you to say yes or no, to live on the firm footing of His purpose for you.
Great thoughts, Stacy. Thanks for sharing!

About Stacy Monson

Author Photo Stacy MonsonStacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, she is 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 of 3 (and counting) grands.

You can find Stacy online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Her newest book, Open Circle, releases June 21 (available for pre-order HERE!). Here’s a bit about the story:

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 jobless, and the seniors she cares for stranded.

After decades traveling the globe and documenting the forgotten people of the world, Jackson Young discovers his beloved Grandma Em is still alive in Minnie’s small town. Overjoyed, he races back to his hometown to reconnect with her, only to discover she’s been Minnie’s surrogate grandmother 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.

To celebrate, Stacy is giving away a fun canvas tote bag with a paperback copy of Open Circle and other goodies!

(For a winner in the U.S. An international winner will receive an Amazon gift card of comparable value).

Stacy Monson Giveaway

Click below to enter the giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway