$200 B&B Weekend Getaway Giveaway & 9/9 Facebook Party with Deborah Raney!

Home to Chicory Lane Deborah Raney

The first book in Deborah Raney‘s new Chicory Inn series, Home to Chicory Lane, introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.

Deborah is celebrating the release of her new series with a $200 B&B Weekend Getaway and a Facebook author chat party.

One winner will receive:

  • A B&B Weekend Getaway (via a $200 Visa cash card)
  • Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 9th. Winner will be announced at the Home to Chicory Lane Author Chat Party on 9/9. Deborah will be hosting a heartfelt book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at the next book in the Chicory Inn series!

So grab your copy of Home to Chicory Lane and join Deborah on the evening of September 9th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

My Review

This was a lovely story about empty nesters who are following their dreams after the children have left the roost…but then one of them returns. Funny, sad and complex. Raney tells the complicated story of the Whitman family with skill and and grace. I was really sympathetic to each of the characters, even when they were in conflict with one another. This was an all around emotionally satisfying read!


Love at First Sight? Let’s Talk About It.

Let’s Talk About It…

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I don’t.

Sorry if that sounds like a splash of cold water on your happily ever after, but I don’t. (And I write romance!)

Source: krmn777

Source: krmn777

When I first met my husband in Negril, Jamaica, it wasn’t love at first sight. He seemed like a cool guy. We talked. We danced. Then I lost my friends at the party…and he was the perfect gentleman. He gave me $40 to get a cab ride back to my hotel, and we parted ways.

That act of kindness piqued my interest, but it wasn’t love at first sight. When I returned to the States a week later, I wrote a check for the forty bucks, and mailed it to him with a card thanking him for the gesture. Afterwards, we talked on the phone and instant messaged each other. (Yes, this was when AOL had instant messaging. The olden days.) At the time he was attending college in Annapolis, and I was attending college in NYC so when he traveled to see me for our first date, I was flattered.

Ladies, so far this guy has scored points with me on two fronts. First, he shells out cash for my cab ride when I’m stranded. Second, he travels a long distance to see me.

But it wasn’t love at first sight.

I clearly remember that first date. We were riding an escalator at a mall, and I got a God Nudge. A God Nudge is one of those moments when the Holy Spirit in me says: “Pay attention. This one is special.” And so I paid attention and waited to see how all this would play out. Patience is a big part of this whole love thing. “Love is patient…Love is kind…”

But it wasn’t love at first sight.

The love grew over time. As we got to know one another, I started to like his laid back nature, his straight shooter ways. I was the hurricane and he was the calm sea, always steady, always unmoved.

It’s been like that for most of our marriage. I guess that’s why I’m the creative type and he’s the engineer type.

Still, I didn’t know I was in love until he got military orders to San Diego after he graduated.

This was our conversation:

Him: “I’ve got orders to go to San Diego. How about you move there with me and we live together?”

Me…the formerly backsliding but now on the straight and narrow path Christian: (I’m thinking: Live together?! As in shack up? No way. You ain’t getting any free milk over here, buddy.) So I said, “Can’t do that. If you want to live with me, then we have to be married.”

Him: Let’s do that then.

I dropped the phone.

I eventually picked the phone back up and said ‘yes’, but it wasn’t until I created a boundary that I learned about love. I grew up thinking love meant you have to have your boundaries invaded whether those boundaries were mental, emotional or physical.

True love respects the boundaries of the other person. True love creates healthy boundaries based on one’s personal values and beliefs. (I, for example, didn’t believe in shacking.  That was my boundary. That was my deal breaker.) And it’s worked out so far. We’ve been married for a good while now.

If he hadn’t proposed after I drew the line, I would have balled and squalled, but then I would have eventually picked myself off the floor and moved on. Because that’s love too- learning to love me.

Let’s talk about it: Do you believe in love at first sight? Leave a comment. I’d love to chat.





How to Access Your Natural Writer

Writing is all about babbling on the page. Really.

Photo Credit: alvaspappa

This notion changed the way I write. In order to access my natural writer, I have to approach the writing process in the same way a baby approaches learning a new language. Since I’m around children a lot,  this concept was a lightbulb moment for me.

My children didn’t start off speaking the King’s English, and as a mom, I didn’t expect them to do so. Yet when it came to writing, I was super-hard on myself. I wanted to write perfectly from the start. Writing this way is contrary to becoming a natural writer. My formal education had a lot to do with this. How many of us wrote papers, handed them over to the English teacher, and received our papers doused with red ink?

When my children were babies, they gurgled and cooed all day, and I never put them in time out for incomprehensible speech. Instead, I cheered them on.  After receiving my encouragement, they grinned and  “goo-gooed” even more. As writers, we need to turn off that internal editor and “goo-goo” on the page. Now when I sit down to write, I make a conscious effort to be a child again. If I don’t, perfectionism will paralyze me and, quite frankly, perfect sucks. So what principles can we take from how children acquire language that are similar to accessing our natural writer?

Children learn language by first hearing language. Likewise, natural writers read a lot of writing to get a feel for how language works.

With my busy lifestyle, it can be a challenge for me to carve out time to read, but I try to set aside a couple of evenings a week. Reading widely keeps me from getting lost in my own head. It exposes me to different literary voices and styles. Each story I read sharpens my literary ear and helps me become a more natural writer.

Babies gurgle and coo a lot. In a similar respect, natural writers gurgle and coo by free writing.

Once I got rid of the notion that I had to be the “most perfectest writer that ever lived” (ha!), I wrote a whole lot more and I wrote a whole lot faster. Ideas for scenes abounded; article ideas flowed. After turning off that internal critic, I enjoyed writing. Early morning free writing quickly squelches the internal critic. Julia Cameron calls this free writing, “Morning Pages.” She describes it as three pages written in longhand. Those pages can be about anything. In her book “The Artist’s Way,” she says Morning Pages are a vacuum cleaner for your brain. They clear out the gunk so you can think clearly.

So there you have it. By reading a lot and free writing a lot, you’ll access your natural writer. Ba-da bing. Ba-da boom. Next Monday, I’ll discuss my process for generating ideas quickly.

What about you? Have you had a desire to write but felt stymied by perfectionism?

Review of The Hesitant Heiress

Today, I am VERY excited to review the debut release, The Hesitant Heiress, by my writing friend Dawn Crandall. I met Dawn for the first time at my very first ACFW conference in 2011. We were roommates. I recall reading the first couple of pages of her manuscript in our hotel room, and my jaw dropped. This gal had a unique voice, and I knew she was going to be published one day. Well…enough of my gushing. Here goes a summary followed by my review.


Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall


After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

My Review:

Amaryllis Brigham is determined to go against the grain of society and forge her own path in the world. Crandall did a great job of writing Amaryllis as a woman of her time while making her uniquely witty at times. I felt emotionally involved in this story as Amaryllis fought her feelings for Nathan Everstone. Crandall’s writing style plucked my heartstrings and kept me turning the pages. She does an excellent job at writing in first person POV. She writes in such a way that made me fully absorbed in the story. This is a fresh and unique story, and I can’t wait to read book 2!!

Dawn Crandall About Dawn:

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he let her quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take encouraged long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

My Review of In Perfect Time | Kindle HDX Giveaway from Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin In Perfect Time
Don’t miss Sarah Sundin‘s hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”

Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah’s blog.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah’s blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

My Review

This novel was a great read. Another excellent story from Sarah Sundin. The perfect combination of historical fiction and romance that made me sigh at the end. Lovely!