Favorite Book Covers of ALL TIME

If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel then there is a very good chance that you didn’t see my latest book series, called “Favorite Book Covers.” The idea is pretty self-explanatory. A list of my favorite book covers. Although, I didn’t come up with this video series idea on my own. Alas, I have to thank Alysha from the blog For the Love of Christian Fiction, who is a both gifted genius of a blogger and a glittering gem of a friend!

I shared the first part of this series on my blog but I never got around to sharing the others. Since I didn’t have a blog post yesterday (Sorry! So far I’ve only been able to maintain my blogging schedule every other week, without problems! Moving to CA has definitely caused my life to go a little bit crazy…), I thought I’d remind you that I’ve got this content on my YouTube channel for you to enjoy instead.

  1. Favorite Book Covers in HISTORICAL FICTION:
  2. Favorite Book Covers in BIBLICAL FICTION:
  3. Favorite Book Covers in CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN FICTION:

Y’all. I love book covers. So much.

REMINDER: I’m SOOOOoooooOOOOO close to reaching TWO. HUNDRED. SUBSCRIBERS. on my YouTube channel, so if you could make sure that you’re subscribed if you haven’t already, that would seriously help me out. Thanks in advance! I plan on doing something special when I finally reach that goal 😉 😉 😉

Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

How to Write a Book: My First Writing Series

img_8517

WOW! First of all, a humongous thank you to all of you who have shared such wonderful responses to my first writing “series” on my YouTube Channel. For those of you who DON’T know, I started a new posting schedule. I post new book reviews here on my blog on Mondays, book-fun videos on my channel on Fridays, and writing videos to my channel on Wednesdays (Get it? Writing? Wednesdays? WRITING WEDNESDAYS? Ok. Enough fun with alliteration).

For my first few writing videos, I did a series on how to write your book. That is, how to plan to write your book. You know I’m a big outliner. I need all the details planned out! Lot’s of you guys ask me about my process, because you’re interested in outlining as well.

I finally shared it with you! The first three major steps of how I’ve outlined my book and book series, PLUS FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATES available for YOUR use! Just head on over to the RESOURCES page here on my website and you’ll find downloads for character profiles, outlines, and more!

Here’s the series all in one place, just in case you’d like to get started now, as you’re reading this:

  1. How I outline my books (video + template):
    1. Video:
    2. Template Download: Click HERE to download the FREE template for outlining your novel.
  2. How I profile my characters (video + template):
    1. Video:
    2. Template Download: Click HERE to download the FREE character profile template.
  3. How I created my series “bible” (video + template):
    1. Video:
    2. Template Download: Click HERE to download the FREE template for creating a series bible.

I hope these resources help you all, and if you have any requests for future content, please let me know. Until then, happy writing!

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

Review: True by S. E. Clancy

0974AD0C-FB9A-4E7B-B519-9BDEEA86469C

You all know about my *near* obsession with Biblical fiction. Let’s face it, the genre dominates my blog! No shame in that, everybody has their favorite books, tropes, genres, character types… You name it!

Now, you also know that I struggle with the contemporary genre. Like, a lot. I know a lot of AMAZING contemporary authors, I’ve read and loved some truly inspired works of contemporary fiction, but it’s not my go to. It’s also not the genre I immediately gravitate towards, so I’m very picky when it comes to which contemporary stories I will and won’t pull off the shelves.

So why this contemporary? Well, when S.E. Clancy reached out to me on Instagram and asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing her contemporary retelling of Rahab’s story, True, I was intrigued! I’ve only ever read one other contemporary retelling of a Biblical story, and I LOVED it. Ever since I’ve been trying to figure out why more of this unique sub-genre doesn’t exist! When I heard the plot of the novella, how could I refuse? It was exactly what I was looking for!

And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. Even in only a hundred pages, the redemptive power of God is abundantly clear. The symbolism, the characters, the message of faith and the grace of God are found all throughout.

Like others have said, the limited number of pages is anything but a weakness for Clancy. The author gives each page – no, each paragraph – a purpose. Even though it’s a story you know, I guarantee you’ll be flipping the pages waiting to see what happens next.

Interested in exploring this genre for yourself? Pre-order True today!

Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

 

 

*Disclaimer – I received a copy from the author, for the purpose of reviewing. This has in no way affected my opinions. Also, this book is a contemporary retelling of Rahab, the prostitute from the Bible whose faith in God saved her during the battle of Jericho. Readers should be advised that this book deals with and alludes to heavy topics and thematic elements that have to do with prostitution and war.

Review: My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley – Lily’s Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar

img_8527First of all, allow me to apologize for my tardiness this week in posting. Having a regular blogging and reviewing schedule is a very difficult commitment, but one that I think is important to make! As you know, I’m in the process of moving and working on getting all of the things that go along with moving (jobs, schooling, packing) in order. So this past week, it definitely threw my reading schedule off!

However, there’s nothing like a charming book to take your mind away from the stressors of life. My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily’s Dilemma was just that for me!

Here’s the synopsis, so that you have a good idea as to the plot of this book:

Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright has purchased land in the Shenandoah Valley. However, the land belongs to Lillyanna Laughlin—or so she erroneously thinks. Mac sets her straight and despite a poor start, the two become friends. . .if only he were financially stable to offer her more.

When Lily’s life is threatened and his whole future goes up in flames, Mac truly becomes a man without means, and Lily is forced to make the impossible choice between a loveless marriage with a man twice her age or the man who has shown her what true love could be. How can she choose between love and economic security? Her family is depending on her. Is her heart destined to break?

Journey into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of 1816 where a woman’s dreams and future happiness are on the line.

I loved the spiritual content in this book, first and foremost! Major themes in this book are faith, trust, and surrendering your life to God completely. That being said, another great part of this book was the love story. As the two main characters grew closer to God, they grew closer to each other, and that is always one of my favorite stories to read about! It’s timeless, in my opinion. Of course, for Lilyanna Laughlin and Captain McAlister “Mac” Albright, such a love story does not come without its fair share of ups, downs, sinister schemes, heartbreaks, and misunderstandings.

I daresay that this book had more twists and turns in it than the Shenandoah River itself, but I loved every bit of it!

I enjoyed the Captain’s character immensely. You all know that if a book has anything nautical in it whatsoever, especially if the male lead happens to have a sea-faring background, I will quickly fall in love with the story. Mac was mischievous, funny, witty, and charming. Lily was equally amusing, and I liked reading about her prim and proper antics, as well as her devotion to her family and her strong conviction when it came to her faith.

For me, this book did have a bit of a slow start, but when the action did start to progress it quickly became a serious page turner. Honestly, there really is nothing like a classic historical fiction novel to brighten your days, and this one definitely brightened mine!

If historical fiction, sailors, and the early 1800s are your thing, this is a book you’ll want to have on your shelf!

Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

You Don’t Know Me At All

img_8529

“You don’t know me at all.”

That’s what my characters have been saying to me anyways. All day, every day.

Yes, I wrote almost 80,000 words of their deepest thoughts and feelings. I spent almost an entire year in their heads, outlining and writing, and outlining again. Then I started editing after completing the most difficult draft of my life, and I realized, I didn’t know these characters at all.

I had so many questions for them. Why did they take the actions that they chose to take? Why didn’t they fight sometimes? On the flip side, why did they choose to fight at other times? What made them the way they were, and what forces influenced their decisions? As I was going through my manuscript, it was clear my characters needed more. No, they deserved more. Their stories are powerful to me, and I want them to one day reach other people with just as much power and impact on their lives.

So, I created a series bible and a character profile worksheet in order to help me better understand my characters and what I needed to do in order to strengthen their story and message.

I am no stranger to outlining. I am a hardcore plotter! So much so that I spent MONTHS outlining before I even began drafting, because I was so determined on figuring everything – every last detail – out before I even began drafting. And yet, even a draft later, I still felt like I had nothing figured out.

So I went back to the drawing board. But that’s not always a bad thing! In fact, sometimes it is the best thing you can do for your story, no matter where you are in the process. Outlining, drafting, editing, or furiously punching at the wall of writer’s block that keeps your creative inspiration at bay. That’s why the templates for both of these resources are FREE to download in my RESOURCES page here on my website.

My current draft is just the beginning for my story! And filling out these worksheets and exercises has not only helped me understand my characters better, it’s also reignited the fire inside me that burns for this story. The passion I thought would die during the long, grueling editing phase. I highly recommend doing character profiling or writing exercises to get to know your characters, even if you don’t use my resources. It can only help you!

Anyways, that’s all I have for you today. I suppose it’s sort of a “writing update” as I don’t have any reviews to share with you. Just a little bit of the behind the scenes of what’s been going on, and to make sure you knew about my new resources if you didn’t already. Thanks so much for reading, if you did, and if you have any editing tips don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments!

Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

Favorite Book Covers: Historical

Today on my YouTube channel I’m starting a new SERIES. Yes, that’s a series of videos that I’m absolutely positive you book lovers will adore! I was inspired by my friend Alysha from the blog For The Love of Christian Fiction, who has done a similar series over on her YouTube channel, to share my favorite book covers of all time.

HOWEVER, I quickly realized that there were way too many for just one video. Like her, I’m going to be publishing several, separated by genre. All of them will be going up in this coming week. There are three parts, and as you know, I post to YouTube on Wednesdays and Fridays. One video went up today, another will go up on Friday, and the final video will be going up next Wednesday!

I can’t wait for you all to see them, but for now, here’s the first video in the series featuring my favorite HISTORICAL FICTION book covers!

Up next, Biblical fiction, followed by contemporary! I hope you all enjoy watching this series as much as I enjoyed filming them. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed the video, and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. It really does help a creator out and enables them to bring you more of the content you love! #SupportGoodContent #SupportGoodBlogs

Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

 

Review: 18 Days of Christmas by Audrey Bodine

I know, I know. I’ve been featuring a lot of Christmas-themed books on my blog lately, and it’s January. Time to move onto the next thing, right? While the me from a few years ago would have agreed with you, no Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving, the current me just has to celebrate the successes of my friends.

18doc cover done copy

Audrey Bodine has quickly become one of my best friends. We met on Instagram, and I think it was clear that we were meant to be more than just “likes” and “followers.” I have had the privilege of reading her writing on a couple of occasions now, and let me just say, it NEVER disappoints me.

And so, it is with great excitement (and some pride) that I announce to you all, her debut novel 18 Days of Christmas will be available to each of you on January 18, 2019. Make sure you’re following her on her instagram so that you see all the details about the release. This is one you’re going to NEED to add to your virtual shelves!

Before I get into my official review, let me share with you the synopsis:

She was ready for another predictable holiday season.  He was praying for an actual merry Christmas for his daughter.

Beckett Caden has one wish this year: that his daughter’s Christmas would be as magical as children’s holidays were supposed to be.

After two bittersweet December twenty-fifths without his wife, Beckett knows he needs to do something different this year, for his daughter.  Listening to his parents’ advice, he takes a break from his executive position at their family-run bookstore chain and books a trip for Holly and himself.  Beckett hopes that a few weeks in a charming lodge, with a laundry list of fun activities, will help to restore the smile that used to light up his little girl’s eyes.

Through snowman building, city sightseeing, and a constant theme of Christ through the season, Beck begins to think this was the right decision.  The only downside?   The sarcastic and irritating elf of a woman with hair as boisterous as Santa Clause, himself.

When an unexpected snow storms traps them all inside, it’s either work alongside the Elf or watch chaos overtake the understaffed inn.  Surviving with the aid of caffeine and prayer, Beckett has a feeling this Christmas will turn out to be one of the most memorable he’s had.

Elise McKenzie needs a social life.  At least, that’s been the constant mantra from her family for the past, oh, all her adult years.

With her freelancing graphic design work and the volunteering she does at her grandparents’ lodge, Elise seems to be the only one happy with her life.  Even if the male she most frequently has deep conversations with *is* her cat.

For Elise, this holiday season brings a flurry of unsanctioned blind dates, questions about the future, and a snowfall that will keep her toe-to-toe with the single father whose dimples remind her of the infuriating enjoyment he receives from pushing her buttons.

Elise’s Christmas wish?  Survive this season and try not to bonk the obnoxious guest over the head with a gingerbread house.

There are some great things I could mention about this book. The family aspect, the unique and well-developed characterization of each of the characters, the tender and yet still comically endearing approach to romance, the vivid descriptions of the town, all of the Christmas festivities… But I think my favorite part of about this book was the way it made me smile and giggle like a little girl!

1547504855927Audrey Bodine writes with a kind of laugh-out-loud humor that sneaks up on you and surprises you every time. 18 Days of Christmas is full of relatable dialogue and witty one-liners that come off as so natural, you’ll have a hard time believing this is fiction and not an actual transcript of conversations you’ve had with your friends at the coffee shop. It’s a style that is no doubt going to define her career and quickly become her trademarked “thing.”

But I think that the best part of that humor, is that you feel good after you read it. 18 Days of Christmas, although full of punchlines and shenanigans, still points back to the most important things in life: faith, love, and the grace of God.

I highly recommend that you add this book to your wish list, and add Audrey to your watch list! Even though this book hasn’t even been officially released yet, I can honestly say I’m already waiting anxiously for more!

Happy reading everyone! Until next time,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png