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Friday, September 30, 2016

A Message from J.K. Rowling for Writers


We can learn lots of things from contemporary authors, if we just listen. Authors who are making an impact on today's literary environment are some of the best people to talk about what it takes to be a writer. I've enjoyed the opportunity, in the last few years, to meet several writers; including, Orson Scott Card, who wrote Ender's Game, and The Seventh Son, Todd McCaffrey, author of some of the Pern books, Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance Cycle, Peter David, author of numerous Star Trek books (and so many more), and several other authors.  Each of these authors was more than willing to spend a few minutes discussing their livelihood -- writing. And, I have found more encouragement toward my writing in the few minutes speaking with them than I have at any other time.

While we can't all talk to every author we'd like to, we can watch interviews. Today, I ran across a video from an author who's name is almost a household word, and she has had a lot to say about her success with the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling attributes her success to several things, and I think we can apply these things to our own writing.

This message from J.K. Rowling is both encouraging and  helpful for aspiring writers.  I hope you enjoy it.

Remember you can do it! You can write, and you can publish your book. I believe in you. Now, believe in yourself!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Redeemed: Bought Back No Matter the Cost by Kristy Huntsman

Redeemed: Bought Back No Matter The Cost: A Study of Hosea

So many people love the Finer Grounds Series Bible Studies, and I know just as many people love the site Come Fill Your Cup which gave birth to the finer grounds studies. This book, Redeemed: Bought Back No Matter the Cost, is written by Kristy Huntsman and is an awesome study of Hosea. Hosea isn't a book we often dig into, but it is powerful and pertinent for today's Christian. If you're unfamiliar with these books, why not give them a try?

"Redeemed: Bought Back No Matter the Cost (A Study of Hosea) Do you ever feel complacency creeping into your life with Christ? Do you find yourself in worship services simply going through the motions? Join us as we embark on a journey to renew the heartfelt sincerity in our faith. Throughout the book of Hosea you will have front row seats to the greatest love story of all time: that of God and His people. Hosea was a simple man asked to do the unthinkable. God asked him to marry a prostitute so that through his marriage God could demonstrate the heartbreak the Israelite nation was causing Him. We will follow Hosea's tumultuous marriage to Gomer and examine how their relationship mirrors the relationship we share with Christ. We will see God as a loving husband who was willing to send His son to die for us so that we might be Redeemed: Bought Back No Matter The Cost." (Amazon)


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fun Image Writing Prompts For Writers


When I taught creative writing to high school students, I always loved to use crazy images to help inspire their work. Sometimes I would find things laying around the classroom -- like a metallic coat rack -- or bring in funny pictures. The one rule was, whatever the object, it could not be that object in their writing piece. So, I thought it might be fun to share some crazy things that I found online to inspire you to write something fantastic.


So, this may be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Yes, it is a horse lamp wearing a lampshade. It has to inspire your creative process. Perhaps a poem about a wild horse party?

I can just imagine what my high school students would write about this.






Ok, so maybe the unicorn tape dispenser isn't too crazy, but it is too cute. I can't help but think of all those unicorn memes. Or maybe the words, "Believe in Yourself." I know there's a story here.

Perhaps a story about a unicorn painting a rainbow across the sky? (My daughter is totally going to want one when she sees this.)



In reality these are moving zombie targets, but I see something totally different when I look at them. To me it looks like some kind of alien machine that has captured three humans and hung them out for display. What do you see?

How about a writing prompt?

Roger, Lewis, and Steve knew they shouldn't have crossed the road when they saw that bright light, but...

OR

Melinda warned her husband not to talk back to the governor, but he refused to listen. Now he...



Yes, this a real backpack. REAL!!! They even make purses in this style. I have now put one of these purses on my Christmas list.

This bag has to inspire you to create a short piece of fiction. Maybe a story about a cartoon entering our world, or perhaps everything you touch turns to 2D.

Don't you just love crazy fun images for writing prompts?

I know I can't get enough of them. But, here's just one more for now.




Well, the Invisible Man has already been written, but this broom holder has to make your mind go "hmmm." Think out of the box with this one. You could write a murder mystery, a circus story, or something about magic tuxedo coat that makes you vanish into a future time. The possibilities are endless!


I plan to post one of these fun writing prompt posts once a week. I hope you like them! Please feel free to share them with your friends or students.

--Susan

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top 10 Amazon Best Sellers in Christian Fiction: September 2016

We all dream of waking up and finding our book on Amazon's Best Sellers Top 10 list, and I hope that dream happens for all of us. In the meantime, I thought I'd share the current top 10 most loved Christian fiction books available on Amazon. Hopefully, one of us will be on this list someday! (If you are and are a Church of Christ Woman Author that is not listed here, please let me know!)

10. The Wedding Dress  by Rachel Hauk

It is no surprise The Wedding Dress found its way into the list of top 10 Christian fiction books. This is a lovely book that tells the story of the lives of four women who have one thing in common, a beautiful wedding dress.

The Wedding Dress:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Four brides; one dress: a tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love. Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift - and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can't she find the perfect dress - or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte purchases a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new, shimmering with pearls and satin, hand stitched and timeless in its design..." To read more click: here.

9. The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore

Wow! This book looks spooky and exciting. Beth Moore is a New York Times best selling author, and the debut fiction book.


The Undoing of Saint Silvanus:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It’s not like they were close. She hadn’t seen him―or her grandmother, the ice queen―in almost 20 years. But when Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother’s apartment house, called and said Jillian’s expenses would be paid if she’d fly in for the burial, a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.

What Adella didn’t tell her was that the apartment house wasn’t a house at all and, whatever it was, bore the dead weight of a long and painful history." To read more click: here.

8. Loved Bayou (Martin Family Book One) by Brooke St. James

If you're looking for a romantic read pick this one up. It's the first in a series and has numerous great reviews (Book 4 is currently listed at number 3). As a bonus, it's free on Kindle Unlimited!


Loved Bayou:

Book Blurb (Amazon): "Jacob Fox, son of the notorious Neil Fox, wanted nothing more than to disappear. There had been a media frenzy during the arrest of his parents and their subsequent deaths, and Jacob couldn't escape all the negativity surrounding the ordeal. He decided to buy a house in south Louisiana on a private, wooded lot in the middle of the bayou so he could drop off the face of the earth for a while.

He certainly hadn't come to Louisiana to make friends..." To read more click: here.

7.  Candy Cane Kisses: 8 Christian Christmas Romances by Susan May Warren, Margaret Daley, Kimberly Rae Jordan, Autumn Macarthur, Lesley Ann McDaniel, Jan Thompson, Marion Ueckermann, Susette Williams

Is it too early to talk about Christmas romances? I'm not sure, but I do know that Hallmark Channel Movies like The Christmas Card, and An Old Fashioned Christmas have become family staples in many homes. So, maybe a little Christmas romance may be the key to getting into an early Christmas spirit. This is a collection of 8 novellas written by several award winning authors.

Titles Include:

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "CJ St. John never dreamed his epic summer as a smokejumper would end with a harrowing plane crash and turn him into an invalid. He wouldn’t have survived without brave fellow smokejumper Hannah Butcher. In fact, he probably fell in love with her that night." To read more click: here.

Deadly Night, Silent Night: 
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Revenge. Sabotage. Second Chances. Widow Rebecca Howard runs a successful store chain that is being targeted during the holiday season. Detective Alex Kincaid, best friends with Rebecca’s twin brother, is investigating the hacking of" To read more click: here.

The Wonder of His Love: 
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Noella Crawford knows exactly what she wants in a man, and it’s not Finlay Kinnaird." To read more click: here.

Heavenly Peace:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Christmas is just around the corner, but widowed mom Valerie is too stressed to enjoy it. When the tag her son picks off a Giving Tree leads her to a handsome stranger named Jake..." To read more click: here.

Wish You Joy: 
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Christmastown USA has a new CEO. But owning a majority share of the holiday-decorating company makes no difference for Cyrus Theroux if the other 49 percent won't cooperate." To read more click: here.

A Husband for Holly: 
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Holly Blume loves decorating people’s homes, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to play house. Believing a house is not a home without a woman’s touch, there’s nothing Reverend Christopher Stewart would like more than a wife. But what woman would consider him marriage material..." To read more click: here.

Maid for Marriage: 
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Her parents disinherited Zelina Zervos after she refused to honor their arranged marriage to a man she hadn’t seen since they were children." To read more click: here.

6. The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn

This book looks like it'd really appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction. While it is a work of fiction, it also calls itself a devotional book. It looks interesting, but as always double check any religious information with your own Bible. The book blurb reminds me of an Allan Quatermain adventure.



The Book of Mysteries:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "The Book of Mysteries opens up with a traveler and his encounter with a man known only as “the teacher.” The teacher takes him an on odyssey through desert mountains, valleys, gardens and plains, encounters with nomadic tent dwellers, caverns and ancient ruins, chambers of scrolls and vessels, and more." To read more click: here.



5. Unwritten: A Novel by Charles Martin

I couldn't help but think of my grandfather when I read this book blurb. He always wanted to live off the grid and fish. This novel has had over 700 reviews and has a lot of fantastic reviews and a high rating. If you like stories of the heart, this book may be for you.

Book Blurb (Amazon): "An actress running from her past finds escape with a man hiding from his future. When someone wants to be lost, a home tucked among the Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast is a good place to live. A couple decent boats, and a deep knowledge of fishing and a man can get by without ever having to talk to another soul. It's a nice enough existence, until the one person who ties him to the world of the living, the reason he's still among them even if only on the fringes, asks him for help." To read more click: here.

4. The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg

Wow! This book has moved to the top of my reading list. I love historical novels, and am fascinated with the struggle of the Jews during Nazi Germany. This tale looks harrowing, and comes highly recommended with over 2,000 customer reviews and a 5-star rating.

Book Blurb (Amazon): "A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz's beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans - especially Jews like Jacob and his family - are treated like dogs.

When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare - trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp..." To read more click: here.

3.Broken and Beautiful (Martin Family Book 4) by Brooke St. James

Brooke St. James must have a real winner with her Martin Family Book Series. She has two books in the top 10! That's enough to make anyone want to read them.

Broken and Beautiful (Martin Family Book 4)
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Claire King wasn't really the type of girl who was looking for romance. She had to deal with some issues from her past before she could even begin to think of getting into a serious relationship.

Though she had grown up with the Martin boys, Claire never entertained the idea of a romantic encounter with either of them. In her mind, they were off limits." To read more click more: here.

2. Squeaky Clean Book Bundle, Books 7-9 by Christy Barritt

This book series looks fun for any mystery nut. If you're looking for a new series, you might check this one out.

Mucky Street:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Gabby St. Claire feels her life is smeared with the stain of tragedy. She takes a short-term gig as a private investigator—a cold case that’s eluded detectives for ten years. The mass murder of a wealthy family seems impossible to solve, but Gabby brings more clues to light. Add to the mix a flirtatious client, travels to an exciting new city, and some quirky—albeit temporary—new sidekicks, and things get complicated." To read more click: here.

Foul Play:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Gabby St. Claire is crying “foul play” in every sense of the phrase. When the crime-scene cleaner agrees to go undercover at a local community theater, she discovers more than backstage bickering, atrocious acting, and rotten writing." To read more click: here.

Broom and Gloom:
Book Blurb (Amazon): "Gabby St. Claire is determined to get back in the saddle again. While in Oklahoma for a forensic conference, she meets her soon-to-be stepbrother, Trace Ryan, an up-and-coming country singer." To read more click: here.

More Books in the Squeaky Clean Mysteries Series Include:

Hazardous Duty (Book One)
Suspicious Minds (Book Two)
Organized Grime (Book Three)
Squeaky Clean Mysteries Books 4-6 

And the book you've been waiting for!

1. A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin



The number one book in the Amazon Christian Fiction list is another historical fiction novel. It centers around women who struggle through life during the 1940s wartime era. It currently has a 4.5 star rating and has had over 150 customer reviews. It's current price point is extremely affordable if you own a Kindle or the Kindle app (Don't have one? Click the free Kindle Reading App in the right sidebar.)

A Woman's Place
Book Blurb (Amazon): "They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well." To read more click: here.



I hope you've enjoyed learning about Amazon's Top 10 Bestsellers!









This Mornings Latte: Jungle CocoNut & Does the Story Write Itself?

Whoo-Hoo! This mornings coffee is stout and good, and after a late night writing I had to have something wonderful this morning. Several years ago I had a latte called Mocha Jungle Monkey. It was so good. It featured banana flavor, peanut butter, and coconut. I don't have banana flavor, so I made a latte as close to this one as I could.

I have a favorite Starbucks coffee mug with a mermaid on it that I like to drink from. It reminds me of an Ed Hardy art piece. Most mornings I am sipping from this porcelain tumbler; however, I am not a true creature of habit so I do alternate between a Snow White coffee mug, and a  Dia de Los Muertos mug. I think surrounding myself with interesting things like my fun coffee mugs help me write.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks like that?

Today, I have crossed over the 47,000 word mark on my fantasy novel, and I love seeing the word count climb. As my novel progresses, I've been wondering something that I wanted to ask you.

Where do you think the words come from when you write?

I know most writers say the story writes itself, but have you ever considered how? I would love to hear your thoughts on writing in the comments below.

This Mornings Latte Recipe: Jungle CocoNut 


Jungle CocoNut Coffee

Ingredients
Pecan pie coffee
1 Tbs cream of coconut
2 Tbs powdered peanut butter
1 shot sugar free coconut syrup
1 shot caramel macchiato coffee creamer

Place the cream of coconut in a 20-ounce coffee tumbler, and add 2-TBS of powdered peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is well incorporated. Add 1 shot of sugar free coconut syrup to the mixture. Fill the cup half way full of coffee, and then mix. Add a shot of caramel macchiato coffee creamer and then fill the cup the rest of the way up with coffee.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Morning Latte: Pecan Pie A La Mode and Formatting Tips

Good morning!

I have been writing like crazy and I hope you have been, too. I found a really cool website yesterday that I want to share. It's called DIY Book Formats.

I was excited to find an article on there about how to format your book, because as you all know, I am completely self-published. The article is titled, How to Format Your Book.

I thought the author had some great ideas on formatting, and since I am working on a fantasy novel I thought I'd add some cool things to the book like: drop text on the beginning of my chapters, and replacing *** for a time skip, with something cooler! I also learned that typically the first paragraph in a chapter is not indented.

There is so much to learn when it comes to fiction formatting, but I will get it down. :)

This morning's latte was made by my daughter, so I could keep writing. She is just awesome, and is now searching for colleges (She graduated in June.). Last night she was researching the University of Hawaii. I told her sure, go. I'll take you and visit. Sounds like fun to me, and what a great place to visit as a writer.

Well, I want to encourage you to keep on writing. And, I'm going to leave you with this mornings latte recipe.

Pecan Pie Latte A La Mode

Pecan Pie Coffee
Sweet Cream
(optional replace sweet cream with 1 scoop vanilla ice cream)

My morning cup was just pecan pie coffee and sweet cream, and it is fantastic! But, I have had it with the vanilla ice cream for a special treat.

Just for Fun: 

My daughter just told me that men are supposed to make their wives coffee, because the Bible says so.

I said where?

She looked at me and said, "He brews!"

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!!!!

Write on!

Susan


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Women of Scandal by Cindy Colley

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Crown of Creation series, and have used the first three books in two different ladies classes. I am so excited that there is a third book in the series available. (I just have to add that I love this cover. It is so striking!)

About Women of Scandal:

"Are we living in the worst of times? Take a peek into the shocking lives of women of Old Testament kings. A sampling of the most appalling are atrocious parenting, rape, murder, incest, jealousy, and adultery. Queens, concubines, and maidens in distress illustrate topics such as ''A Pawn in a Death Wish,'' ''Royal but Not Loyal,'' and ''Kids at Risk.'' 13 chapters, including questions to stimulate Bible study and class participation." (Publishing Designs)

Women of Scandal is available from Amazon and Publishing Designs.

If you're new to the series make sure to check out her other books:

Women of the Genesis
Women of Deliverance
Women of Troubled Times

Friday, September 23, 2016

This Mornings Latte: Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snickernut


Good Morning!

Things have been going busy lately. Our dear friends the Gonzales are stuck in Houston after Mr. Gonzales heart surgery. It's been a long road for them and slow recovery. We have been spending time here and there for a little over a week now. So, I haven't had much time to blog. This morning, I wanted to try and catch up with some Church of Christ Women Authors stuff.  But first, this mornings latte recipe. (If you're like me, coffee is your writing life line.)

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snickernut

Snickernut coffee (My favorite is HEB coffee)
2 Tsps Powdered peanut butter
1 shot white chocolate mocha coffee creamer (I use liquid)
Three drizzles White chocolate sauce

I use a 12-ounce coffee mug tumbler. I add the powdered peanut butter first, and then pour a little bit of coffee into my cup. That way I can mix it and make sure that it really dissolves. Then add the coffee creamer, fill up the cup with coffee, and then drizzle the white chocolate sauce. YUM!

Church of Christ Women Authors Anthology News

So, the anthology is coming together! Let me just say that it is going to be big. I am so excited. So far it is more than 100 pages!!!! I still have a few more pieces to add to it, and then it will be ready to be edited, and I will design the cover, and get it printed. My plans are for it to be out mid-November so it will be ready for Christmas gifts. Thanks to everyone who submitted to it. Don't forget you will get two print copies for all your hard work.

Writing Progress

I am in the middle of working on my newest book, "Let Not Your Heart be Troubled." I can't wait to have it done. And, Arwen Chandler has been working hard on Collision of Fire and Ice, and I think it will be out before Christmas. (Fingers crossed!)

You Can Do It!


I just want to encourage you all to keep writing. I know it can be stressful and hard, but you can do it. If you enjoy reading don't forget that our book of the month club book is Katy Huth Jones book, Mercy's Prince. Check it out. I will be doing a blog post about it soon. You still have time to read it.



Well, I hope to hear from you soon.

Hugs!

Susan





Monday, September 5, 2016

This Mornings Latte: Caramel Machiato with Susan Elliott

(c)MichelleHorst
Good morning! I have been so busy the last week, and I see this week is going to be even more hectic. This week starts three Bible classes that I will be teaching, and I have a ladies day engagement on Saturday! So, I am busy making last minute preparations for my Bible classes and ladies day. The good news is after all is set and done, I will have three new books. I haven't found a title for two of them. One will cover the book of Acts, the other will be covering the topic ladies learning to lead ladies, and the third has a working title of My Heart Will Not be Troubled.  And, of course, I am still working on the anthology. I have plans for it to be out late November, just in time for Christmas. Let me just say that we have quite a list of fantastic writers in there!

So, since I have been so busy (and I didn't even mention the craft fair last weekend where I tried to sale my art) my husband took me to our local coffee shop and got me a caramel machiato this morning. So, I have no recipe for my morning latte.

I just wanted to touch base and wish you all happy writing and reading. Oh, and don't forget the book club starts this month! The book Mercy's Prince by Katy Huth Jones is this months book. You still have time to check it out.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. -John 14:1