Tag: Self-Published

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 106 | An Agent for Kitty by Nerys Leigh

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 An Agent for Kitty by Nerys Leigh, one of the Pinkerton Matchmakers series:

First Line from An Agent for Kitty: She'd lost her mind. That was the only explanation.

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

About An Agent for Kitty

To find her happiness, she’ll first have to find her courage.

Kitty is the first to admit that she is far from brave, and applying to the Pinkerton Detective Agency to become one of their new female agents is the most daring thing she’s ever done.

Her fragile resolve almost fails her when she discovers she must marry her training agent for the duration of her first case, but Ben Riley turns out to be caring and fun, and outrageously flirtatious. And even though she knows he’s not serious, she can’t help enjoying his attention.

On the case of a stolen dinosaur skull in the Utah wilderness, her confidence grows. But so do her feelings for Ben.

And Kitty begins to wonder if what she should really be afraid of is a broken heart.

You can find An Agent for Kitty 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 78 | Maybe It’s You by Christy Hayes

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 Maybe It’s You by Christy Hayes:

First line from Maybe It's You by Christy Hayes - Reagan Bellamy picked the wrong night to wear the right boots.

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

About Maybe It’s You

Reagan Bellamy’s neighbor is everything she never wanted. Despite her best efforts to ignore him and fly under his radar, Dash Carter refuses to wither under her stare and leave her alone. So what if he’s totally hot? Who cares if her roommates think he’s adorable? Reagan’s too busy to waste time on a loser with musical pipe dreams. Between classes, studies, and her need to stay ahead of the game, she’s got too much on her plate to give him the time of day.

Dash Carter is a man on a mission. He’s done a total 180 and for the first time in a long time feels optimistic about the future. He’s clean, he’s on a good path, and he’s surrounded himself with people who make life better, not worse. Unfortunately, his neighbor—the one girl who’s always piqued his interest—still thinks he’s a slacker, bothering Dash more than it should.

Acting on an opportunity to show Reagan he’s a changed man, Dash inadvertently puts her in a difficult position with her new boss and sends her down a path she hasn’t the time or inclination to pursue. Desperate to make things right, Dash becomes more invested in her life despite warnings from his mentor to not get involved with someone whose beliefs don’t match his own.

Reagan’s not sure what it says about her that she’d rather deal with Dash the deadbeat than Dash the Bible thumper. The more she digs her heels in against the religious freaks she’s forced to interact with, the more she begins to question everything she’s built her life upon. When the tide begins to turn in Reagan’s heart and her worldview flips upside down, trusting God means putting everything on the line, including her heart.

You can find Maybe It’s You online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | 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 77 | Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen

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 Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen:

Quote from Beauty in Flight by Robin Patchen: Two years out should have been enough. Harper Cloud was free. Except she didn't believe it.

 

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

About Beauty in Flight

Her beauty once opened doors, but the felony conviction slams them shut.

Harper Cloud used to love the gilded glamour of Las Vegas, but on the far side of prison, she sees the cracks in the veneer. These days, she keeps her head down and focuses on the elderly patients in her care. Even her new wealthy east-coast boyfriend, Derrick, can’t entice her away. She’s trusted men before, and look where that got her.

She tries to brush off the feeling that she’s being watched. But when she’s followed home one night and her pursuer gets within a hair’s breadth of grabbing her, she knows it’s time to get away from Las Vegas.

Maybe Derrick can be trusted. Maybe his job offer—to care for his aging grandfather in Maryland—will be the second chance she needs.

But Derrick has secrets of his own, secrets that could take him down–and take Harper with him.

Can there be a second chance for someone like her?

You can find Beauty in Flight online at

Amazon US | Amazon AU | 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!

Quote from More than Gold: He couldn't be set in his ways yet. He was only thirty-four. He didn't plan on being set in his ways for at least another ten years.

Book Review | More Than Gold (Escape to the West #6) by Nerys Leigh

Gabriel Silversmith is the gold miner we first met in The Truth About Love, where his mail order bride left him for another man. Not that we blamed her—Gabriel is rough around the edges, to put it politely.

Now he’s married to Grace Myers, and married life isn’t exactly going as planned.

Grace has opinions of her own and isn’t afraid to express them. And she’s refined … perhaps too refined for a gold miner living in a one-room shack with no running water. Will Grace stay, or will this be another disaster?

Grace chose to become a mail order bride to get away from her jealous and selfish stepmother.

She’d thought anything would be better than marrying Felicia’s choice for her, the ancient Mr Howard who has hair growing out both ears. Gabriel is younger and probably more attractive … if she can get him to shave off that awful beard and stop chewing the tobacco that makes him smell like an outhouse.

I have to admit that while I wanted Gabriel to get his happy-ever-after after the way Jo treated him, I also see Grace’s point. She’s a lady, and Gabriel is certainly not a gentleman. Or an angel. And is he really a successful gold miner? If so, wouldn’t he live somewhere nicer that a one-room shack?
But Grace and Gabriel are both determined to make the marriage work, and that’s a great starting point for an enjoyable marriage of convenience story with a touch of suspense.

The first five books in Nerys Leigh’s Escape to the West series can be read in any order, because they all take place simultaneously. More than Gold is the exception—it’s best to read The Truth About Love first, because that covers some of Gabriel’s history, and shows why Grace arrives alone, after the other brides.

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

About Nerys Leigh

Nerys LeighNerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want.

She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it.

No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

You can find Nerys Leigh online relaxing and generally enjoying the view at:

 Website | Facebook

About More Than Gold

Does “second time lucky” apply to mail order brides?

Let’s just say that Gabriel’s first attempt at marriage didn’t go well. But his new bride, Grace, she has curves he can’t keep his eyes from, and he’s determined this time will be different. Until he ends up sleeping in the barn.

Why are women so difficult to figure out? All he wants is someone to cook, clean, and warm his bed. But Grace wants more. She wants respect and someone to care about her. She wants love.

So now Gabriel has to learn how to court his wife just so he can sleep in his own bed again. As for falling in love, though, he just isn’t the type.

But he’s been wrong before.

You can find More Than Gold online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to More Than Gold below:

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

Author Interview - Erin Unger

Author Interview | Introducing Erin Unger and Desolate Paths

Today I’m interviewing Christian romantic suspense author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. Welcome, Erin!

About You

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

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m from the hills of Virginia, where farms flourish and people are kind.

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?

My favorite genre does happen to be the genre I write. There’s nothing like a great romantic suspense. And I love to read. My favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Irene Hannon, and Erynn Newman.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

I just finished Julie B Cosgrove’s book called Dumpster Dicing and it was such a fun cozy mystery. I would most definitely recommend it to others because it was well-written and had a neat perspective. The main characters were Bunco partners who lived in a retirement community. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I see Bunco mentioned often in novels, but had to look up what it is.

About your book

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

I write contemporary romantic suspense for the Christian market. Some of my novels are set in the Virginia mountains while others are in tight-knit urban communities.

Tell us about your latest book. Who will enjoy it?

My book, Desolate Paths, which is coming out on January 11, 2019, is for women who love suspense driven by real life issues, with a love story wrapped in too.

What was your motivation for writing Desolate Paths?

When I was growing up, a wagon caravan of teens came through my small town every summer. These teens were troubled and working through hard life issues most people never have to face. They had to survive the whole summer in tents with no electricity and no running water as they received counselling. I always wondered what it would be like to live the way they did. This spurred my imagination into action for years and led to the creation of Desolate Paths.

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

One summer, our church had a singing group from a rehab center visit. Once again, the same kind of treatment that the wagon caravan used was put into action with these girls. I began talking to one of them and I just knew she was meant to be my main character. I wish I could see how she’s doing today. And I hope I did her justice in my story.

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

My favorite character is Kyle Reston. He is such a complex character who is still working his way through rehab. If only he could do right when he should… I’m not sure I have much in common with him but I do love the depth he adds to the story.

What are you working on at the moment? What other books do you plan to write?

I’m glad you asked! I am getting ready to start the second book in a series about a tight-knit urban community. This is an eight-book series where all of the characters will win my readers over, and they’ll have the hardest time deciding who’s their favorite.

I love a great series!

About your writing

What motivated you to start writing?

I’ve always had a story brewing in the back of my mind. But it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties before I actually started a writing. It’s been years of learning and waiting, but I’m so glad to finally be on the cusp of seeing my dreams of being a published author a reality.

What made you choose to write for the Christian market?

I’d never consider doing it any other way. I know this gift God gave me is meant to glorify Him and help others through my stories.

Amen! It’s important that some Christians write for the general market—but it’s even more important that we all use our gifts as God would have us use them.

Do your novels have an overt faith element?

Yes. My faith and how I can show God’s unfathomable love is most important to me.

About your publishing journey

This book is self-published, but you also have a book coming out from Pelican Book Group in March next year. What made you choose to self-publish this title and seek traditional publication for this next novel?

Pelican is such a great house to publish through, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to work with them, but I like the autonomy of self-publishing also. I think I get the best of both worlds by going both ways.

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

An author should take the time to learn how to write first! Be willing to make changes and be easy to work with. Seek the help of other writers and take their advice.

I agree! We can’t learn to write in a vacuum, and the best stories are brought to life by great writing. Thanks for joining us today, Erin!

About Erin Unger

Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Desolate Paths, releases January 11, 2019.

You can find Erin online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Do you enjoy Christian romantic suspense? If so, check out this interview with author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. #ChristianFiction Click To Tweet

About Desolate Paths

When rehab is Brooke Hollen’s only chance at redemption, she runs straight to it. But can she survive the serial killer who hides amongst the damaged and healing? And can she trust Kyle Reston, another rehab resident, who wants to take her under his wing? Or is he responsible for the residents who keep disappearing?

You can buy Desolate Paths at Amazon.

Quote from Emergency Case: Jack, come here. There's a dead man in our driveway.

Book Review | Emergency Case by Richard L Mabry

You know your day is off to a bad start when you back over a body in your driveway.

The only thing that’s worse? When your wife backs over a body in your driveway … and you’re a lawyer who recognises the victim as a shady client. The kind who pays in cash, doesn’t want a receipt, and chats about the illegal gun deal he has going down.

So Jack Harbaugh day doesn’t start well, and it doesn’t get better. His handgun is missing, and it fires the same kind of bullets that killed the dead guy. He didn’t do it, so who is setting him up? How can he persuade the police he’s innocent? And what’s he going to tell his wife?

Emergency Case is a strong thriller that’s a mix of Richard L Mabry’s traditional medical thriller, and another personal favourite: the legal thriller. It also has a touch of marriage guidance—another of Mabry’s trademarks. He prefers to write about married couples rather than write romances. That’s good.

There are precious few Christian novels that feature married couples, whether happily married or otherwise. Mabry’s couples—including Leah and Jack—are what I call realistically married. There are good days and bad days (although I’m glad my bad days don’t include backing over a dead body in my driveway).

Emergency Case is a short novella, recommended for medical suspense fans.

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

About Richard Mabry

I’m a retired physician who, in addition to writing, is a husband and grandfather, plays (and enjoys) golf, and does the hundred-and-one other things that retired people do.

I got into non-medical writing after the death of my first wife with my book, THE TENDER SCAR: LIFE AFTER THE DEATH OF A SPOUSE. I’m gratified that it continues to help those who have lost a loved one.

Now I’m writing what I call “medical suspense with heart.” My novels have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, Romantic Times’ Best Inspirational Novel and their Reviewer’s Choice Award, have won the Selah award, and been named by Christian Retailing as the best in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. My latest novel is CARDIAC EVENT, which has been given a 4 1/2 star rating and a “Top Pick” by Romantic Times. I’ve also published three novellas, the latest one DOCTOR’S DILEMMA.

You can find Dr Richard Mabry online at:

Website Facebook Twitter

About Emergency Case

Killer or Target?

Dr. Kelly Irving knew her husband, attorney Jack Harbaugh, was acting strangely, but figured they’d get through it. When she backed out of her garage that morning, she thought her car hit a bump. Instead, its progress was stopped by the body of a man her husband recently represented. Not only that, the dead man had been shot by her husband’s gun. The police who investigated made it clear that Jack was a primary suspect.

Kelly couldn’t decide if Jack was a murderer or marked as the next victim. As things continued to escalate, they were forced to put their marital differences aside and concentrate on keeping Jack alive while discovering who was behind the whole thing.

Find Emergency Case online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads

Read the introduction to Emergency Case below:

Quote from No One's Bride: "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened." That was the traditional opening line after a feigned swoon, and she didn't see any need to change it now.

#Throwback Thursday | No One’s Bride by Nerys Leigh

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of No One’s Bride by Nerys Leigh, the first in the unique Escape to the West series. This review originally appeared at Australasian Christian Writers.

Orphan Amy Watts lies when she agrees to become a mail order bride.

She has no intention of marrying Adam Emerson, the bank and post office clerk from a tiny town in Northern California. She only knows she wants to go to San Francisco—as far away as possible from her rich, influential and lecherous New York employer.

Adam has prayed for God to bring him a wife, and he is overjoyed at his first sight of Amy—she is beautiful. He’s also pleased to find out she’s a likeable person—until she confesses that she doesn’t want to marry him. But she’s going to do the honourable thing and stay in town long enough to pay him back the money he spent in bringing her here.

While Amy was a great character and I fully understood her motive for her inappropriate behaviour, it was Adam who caught my attention. He’s the perfect gentleman, the perfect romance hero (if he has a fault, it is perhaps that he has no faults. Hey, it’s 1870 and the guy can cook and do laundry!).

I very much liked the Christian content.

Adam and Amy each had a strong Christian faith, and this showed consistently throughout the book. I thought the writing was strong, especially for a debut author, and I especially liked the humour sprinkled throughout.

Amy was one of five mail order brides delivered to the tiny town of Green Hill Creek, and I think the remaining novels in the Escape to the West series will be the stories of the other four women.

Overall, No One’s Bride is an excellent debut novel, and I’m now looking forward to the next book in the series—Sara’s story. And waiting for Jo’s story because of what wasn’t said …

Recommended for fans of Christian historical romance from authors such as Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox, Jen Turano and Lucy Thompson.

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

About Nerys Leigh

Nerys LeighNerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want.

She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it.

No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

You can find Nerys Leigh online relaxing and generally enjoying the view at:

 Website | Facebook

About No One’s Bride

Small town romance meets the Wild West!

The last thing Amy wants is a husband, but her only hope of escape from a dangerous situation is to answer postmaster Adam Emerson’s advertisement for a mail order bride.

When her desperate plan to trick Adam into paying her way across the country goes awry, her guilty conscience compels her to stay in the small Californian town of Green Hill Creek to find a way to repay him the cost of the train fare before she moves on. The trouble is, she’s completely unprepared for the effect of his kindness, charm, wit, and ridiculously blue eyes.

As her dream of a new life in San Francisco falters and her past catches up with her, can Amy hold onto the one thing she never thought she’d want but now can’t bear to lose?

Five mail order brides, one small Californian town, a lot of romance! The Escape to the West series tells the stories of five young women in 1870 who travel across the country to find love. These uplifting Christian historical romances will transport you to a time of courageous women longing for a better life and the strong men dedicated to winning their hearts. Each novel can be read on its own or as part of the series.

You can find No One’s Bride online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to No One’s Bride below:

Quote from Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith: This house was supposed to be a place of rest for weary travelers, not a long-term destination for boorish horse breeders.

Book Review | Uncharted Journey by Keely Brooke Keith

Eva Vestal is struggling to run the family inn, given her brother has left home, her mother has abandoned the family, her father is suffering from dementia, and she’s left to manage the inn and raise her son alone. Solomon “Solo” Cotter has come to the inn for forty days to try and write the children’s books he’s always dreamed of, but finds himself getting distracted by Eva and her son. Meanwhile, Bailey Colburn is en route to the Land, hoping to connect with her distant relatives, and find a new life.

This was not my favourite novel in the Uncharted saga.

I didn’t find the central romance plot—Eva and Solo—as strong as some of the other romances in the Uncharted series. Yes, they are both perfectly nice people and they both deserve happiness, but I didn’t feel the emotion or the angst coming through the way I did in some of the other stories (and I’m not a fan of the ‘conflict that could be fixed by a simple adult conversation’ trope).

And I kept waiting for the Eva/Solo plot to link up with the Bailey Colburn plot. I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer. Never fear: apparently Uncharted Destiny will be available “soon”—which is good, because Bailey was definitely the character I want to know more about.

However, don’t let these complaints stop you reading Uncharted Journey.

If you’ve been following the Uncharted series from either the first book published (Land Uncharted) or the book that starts the origin story (Aboard Providence), then you’ll want to read Uncharted Journey and make your own decision.

If you haven’t read any of the earlier books, then I suggest you begin with Aboard Providence (if you’re a Christian historical romance fan), and The Land Uncharted (if you’re more of a speculative fiction fan). Yes, this series includes aspects of both.

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

About Keely Brooke Keith

Keely Keely Brooke KeithBrooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers such as The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools.  When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Find Keely Brooke Keith online at:

Website | Facebook

About Uncharted Journey

Eva and Solo find love at The Inn at Falls Creek, while Bailey’s quest to reach the Land costs her everything.

Young widow Eva Vestal assumes loneliness is God’s permanent plan for her life. She keeps busy by raising her son and co-managing the Inn at Falls Creek with her elderly father, but her heart yearns for more.
Solomon “Solo” Cotter has spent his life working with horses, but he secretly wants to write a book of the children’s stories his grandfather told him as a boy. He barters with Eva’s father for a 40-night stay at the inn, a needed respite from work to get his stories on paper.

Once Eva discovers the barter, she believes Solo is taking advantage of her father’s failing memory. But when tragedy strikes and Solo works hard to save the inn, Eva sees his true nature. As her heart stirs with feelings for Solo, she wrestles with the guilt of loving someone new.

Meanwhile, outside the Land…

Bailey Colburn arrives at the coordinates of the Land on the autumn equinox and finds nothing but ocean. The sun sets, ending Bailey’s dream of a safe and simple life with the family she’s never known. Just when she decides Justin Mercer lied about visiting a hidden land in the South Atlantic Ocean and meeting Bailey’s distant relatives, the atmosphere around the boat changes and ushers her into an uncharted world, but her entrance into the Land comes at a devastating price.

Uncharted Journey weaves past and future in this inspirational story of life in a hidden land.

You can find Uncharted Journey online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Goodreads

 

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!