CAPA award Nominees -- Merry Christmas

The Romance Studio announced the nominees for the 2010 Cupid and Psyche Awards (CAPA), and I am thrilled to discover that White Rose Publishing authors have made a stunning statement. (And can I be a little boastful and note that this isn't the first year :))

Congrats to Tanya Hanson for her nomination as Favourite Author.
Congrats to Delia Latham for her Destiny's Dream nomination for the Psyche Award
Congrats to Laura Briggs, Only in Novels; Teri Wilson, Rodeo Redemption; Marianne Evans, Hearts Crossing for their nominations in the Inspirational Romance category.

I know it sounds cheesy, but sometimes cheesy is true: No matter the outcome of the awards, you're all winners in my book. Each of these stories is a wonderful read...and Tanya, while I of course can't play favourites (because I love all you authors the same), I am not surprised you rank up there in the hearts of reviewers and readers alike.

Merry Christmas...let's all try to be Scrooge: "and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

Moving, Meaningful, and Magnificent

Like many other Christians, Christmas is the most moving, meaningful, and magnificent time of the year for me.

First, just saying "Merry Christmas" these days provides an open door to tell people we meet in stores and on the streets that we want to keep Christ in Christmas. Depending upon the situation, when I receive a smile in return and an openness to talk via the person’s body language, I can discuss why keeping Christ in Christmas is so meaningful to me. Plus, all the awesome Christmas programs in churches provide so many opportunities to bring friends in to hear the gospel. Even school Christmas programs provide opportunities to talk about our Savior. After we applaud their cute program about Santa and giving gifts, we can bring the Perfect Gift God gave to each of us into the conversation with teachers and students. We parents are not prohibited from talking about Jesus on school grounds. In my neighborhood a home sits on a hill right next to an elementary school. Each year the lovely people in that home drape a huge banner across their fence for all the students to see—Jesus is the Reason For The Season. All the cars passing by on that very busy street enjoy the sign as well.

I sing in a two hundred person Sanctuary choir and it is my pleasure each year to spend many extra hours rehearsing songs that worship our Lord. Then on performance night I offer my sacrifice of praise to my Lord. And I love to sing Christmas songs and carols from Elvis and Dolly Parton to The Messiah. Music flows in our home during the Christmas season. It does my heart good to see the boxes to collect toys for kids in need in every grocery store, drug store, and almost any place where people gather. And don’t you love the smiling Salvation Army bell ringers. One I saw last night was singing carols in front of Walgreens. And, of course, in our home Christmas is a warm family time. My whole family, small though it is, twelve people ranging in age from six to seventy-three gather for good food and gifts. Before the bountiful dinner, my dear husband always reads the Christmas story about the greatest gift ever given.

I love the story of Mary, so young probably only about fifteen, telling the man she loves that she is pregnant. And young Joseph, probably not more than twenty himself, loving her so much and believing the angel that yes, his betrothed though with child, is still a virgin. How both may have been shunned by their families, but Joseph stepped up like a man and took his beloved Mary for his wife. How they walked to Bethlehem together. Despite tradition, I’m sure young Joseph couldn’t afford a donkey. How Joseph lay down his tunic for his bride-to-be and there on the dirty floor of a manure-stinking barn delivered God’s own son. Can you think of a more lowly birth for the King of heaven and earth? What a picture to show that He came not to be served but to serve. Only the Creator God could imagine such a birth.

Christmas is our time to rejoice, worship, and give. Let us make the most of the time until The One born so lowly comes again—only this time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in all His splendor and glory.

My Husband Blooms

Bloom where you are planted is a cliché.

Anyone who hears the phrase gets a specific mental picture. I think of shining in your environment by being a beautiful blossom. The idea of an individual as a brilliant flower draws others to what is inside you as a person.

Others may think of standing out in your neighborhood, or doing an exemplary job in the workplace. As a believer, it’s the light of Christ that unfolds when talents are used in the body of believers.

I’ve seen that bloom unfold recently in the life of my husband. In September, Bill had a heart treatment called cardioversion, to shock the atrial fibrillation of his heart into an even rhythm. One electrical jolt set him into rhythm, but his pulse was only in the thirties. After several hours of the low heart beat, a surgeon came in and talked to us about pacemaker implantation. That took place October 25th. After we got home the next day, Dear Hubby said, “I feel like I’ve been kicked by a donkey.”

We went to the emergency room in the wee hours of November 7th because Bill had a multitude of symptoms. After seven heart tests with no conclusive results, we came home late the next afternoon.

Forty-eight hours at home, and Bill still didn’t feel well. The next day, the 11th, we were back in the surgeon’s office because of blood clots, and Bill was admitted into the hospital. The following week, he received injections in his stomach twice a day. I counted 26 jabs.

We couldn’t take a deep breath yet. Due to a high INR on December 1st, his anticoagulant dose was adjusted. Sunday the 5th, he woke up with swelling. We had the roughest 30 hours in the hospital yet.

Talk about blooming where you are planted, Bill was in full-blown blossom. During his hospitalizations, visits to the doctors, and to the infusion center for the shots, he did the Lord proud. Every chance he got, he smiled. He uplifted those treating him with optimism, and encouragement when they couldn’t get needles in. He gave all the credit to God whenever comments about his attitude were made.

I can’t help but think that prayers of the Saints had a hand in this scenario. We know we’ve been wrapped in a blanket of prayer. I felt as though I walked on a pillow of peace during what others may have called really dark days.

Prayer empowers believers to bloom where they are planted.

Bill could have these clots for as long as six months. That’s one month down, and five to go. As long as he keeps his focus on the One Who grants eternal life, I can’t help but think my dearest husband will continue to bloom, anywhere and everywhere.

Only God knows why we go through various trials. The purpose could very well be for someone whose life Bill’s experience has touched. And I am so thankful to be married to this beautiful blossom.

LoRee Peery

The Christmas Card

Yesterday I went to my mailbox and found a huge stack of mail. This happens nearly every day, and most of the stack is junk mail. My mother, who passed away last December, still receives catalogues, address stickers, solicitations from various animal charities, knitting and crocheting books, and so much more! She loved her stacks of mail. She looked at each and every piece as if it were from a cherished friend or family member. The mail helped her to feel attached to the outside world.

As I sifted through the stack of envelopes and flyers, advertisements and such, mostly addressed to my mother, I spied an envelope addressed to me with a familiar return address. I smiled as I looked at the handwriting. Inside was a lovely Christmas card from a friend I haven't heard from in several years. Memories surfaced of times spent together at a favorite theme park in Tennessee. Memories of sharing a hotel room, shopping, and laughing until our sides hurt. I could see her smile and hear her voice reaching out across the miles separating us.

This year I had thought about not sending out cards because of the expense and how few I actually receive in return. I've changed my mind.

The Christmas card I received touched my heart and I realize that perhaps the cards I send might do the same. If I can create a warm memory by reaching out to others through the gift of a Christmas card, I've also created a memory for myself. For each card I address, I visualize the person who'll open it and remember them with a happy heart.

~Carol Ann Erhardt~
"This is my command: Love each other." John 15:17

Goals and pacing

“In your heart you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you.” ~ Proverbs 16:9 (New International Reader's Version)

Have you ever set out with a goal, a good and worthy goal, only to become frustrated to the point of giving up? I know I’ve been there—done that. Here’s a example I recently shared on Carol Ann's blog…

I had a plan. I was going to jog around the neighborhood (1.5 miles) before I hit my 40th birthday. So every morning, out the door I’d go. Bless my sweet husband, he’d come with me as a source of encouragement. However, no matter how hard I tried, it never took long for me to become winded to the point where I needed to walk. I was so disgusted after weeks and weeks of little to no improvement, I decided to quit. My husband, seeing my broken spirit said, “Do you trust me?”

I wondered where this was going but I replied, “Yes, I do.”

“Good. Then tomorrow, let me set the pace.”

The next day, practically dragging my heels, I followed him out the door. But you know what, a remarkable thing happened. I jogged around one loop without stopping! After the appropriate round of high-fives and smiles I stood amazed. I didn’t need to stop and I didn’t feel ready to pass out—granted it wasn’t the whole neighborhood yet, but I went as far as my husband asked simply by matching his steady stride.

You know what the trick was? Pacing.

Okay, so fast forward a month—I’m almost all the way through the neighborhood at this point (just a little side street left to tackle), the boys are back to school, and it’s time to dig back into my writing. I set my writing goals. I’m going to write 2,000 words a day and finish a novel every three months. I have BIG plans of going GREAT places. Guess what? It didn’t take me long to fizzle out. Instead of enjoying writing, embracing the gift of time the Lord had given me to set aside for writing this year, it felt like a burden, a chore! Then it hit me like a 2x4. My pacing was off! Granted some folks may write like a marathon runner, and have great success, but that won’t work for me. I want to love every moment of writing…explore the journey with eager anticipation…follow God and His stride for my day.

I’d like to throw out this challenge, if you’re feeling tired or burned out, check your pacing. Great things can happen if you slow down to enjoy life’s journey. I have proof— I was able to jog completely around the neighborhood before my birthday. If I can do that, I know you can face your own personal mountain! Remember the key is taking steps, even baby steps some days, with your focus on Christ.


Author of Teacher’s Plans, By the Book, Sweet Rest, Smuggler of the Heart, Daniella, The Hamster Wheel, and Finders Keepers

(Photo from Google Images)

This is Christmas

Well, we're only a week into Advent, and hope everyone is finding time to celebrate the season outside of all the retail hubbub that is inherent these days. I was trying to think of something I could give to White Rose authors and staff that would express my gratitude for them and my love of this holiday, and I was introduced to this new Christmas song. Well, Kutless is a fantastic band (my favourite band, hands down), and they've posted the song via their YouTube channel, so...

Merry Christmas to all White Rose authors and staff (and all and sundry who happen to read this, of course). White Roses, you are all precious to me. I love the way you support each other, pen great and uplifting novels that glorify Christ, and truly strive to infuse Christ into your lives. You are all truly a model of faith. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and I hope the Lord showers you with many blessings this Christmas and into the new year.

Attack Right Back!

My sister-in-law, Mary Hilger is someone I consider a spiritual mentor. She has the most beautiful Christian heart - and I admire her inexhaustible enthusiasm and commitment to God. Her faith walk has progressed in amazing ways over the past decade. She's been on pilgrimages to Yugoslavia, India, Italy, Nigeria and she's travelled all across the Continental US promoting her ministry: Spiritual Hands ( )

A retreat I attended with her and my other beloved sister-in-law, Kathy, almost fifteen years ago was a turning point in my life. It opened my eyes and heart to the abundant grace, love and mercy of God. This is a truth I can never again take lightly. It changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

But Mary has a saying she related to me once that always stuck - especially when I feel like my life, and the lives of those I love, are in tribulation. Her saying is this: Satan is powerful, too, and he's never, ever happy watching people do God's work.

Boy, is she right. Once he gets wind of Christians on the march, what does he love to do? He loves to go on the attack. My heart overflows as prayer requests pour in lately: professional distress and doubt, getting slapped down when you're doing your best to honor God and His pathway, health issues, family issues in trials both economic and emotional in nature.

My editor and I spoke recently about the fact that we've both taken a good long look at things lately and have simply had to say: "Satan, GET OUTTA HERE!" and our conversation gave me the idea for this post - as did conversations both public and private on a couple of the social loops to which I belong where person after beloved person is facing all kinds of trouble.

I'm learning that it's not easy playing on God's mission field, relating his glory and truth and love. I lose confidence very easily. I watch others progress with seeming ease and grace in their writing ministry and I get down on myself, not feeling quite 'up to snuff.' Know what that is? It's satan, robbing me of the joy I find with each story I write, each move forward I've made to share my stories with others. He does that via a most potent vehicle in his arsenal: The emotion of self-doubt, and it's poisonous.

I fear for the happiness of those I love. I see particular people in my life trying so hard to do what's right and pave their way in this world with righteousness and a good heart. Then, despite efforts full of valor, they get slapped down. Know what that is? It's satan, planting fear in their hearts...and mine.

I hear about health issues being faced so bravely by those I care for, and I deal with a few of my own and I get so frustrated. Know what that is? It's satan, planting fear and anxiety in our minds, which can only hinder the body and its natural healing processes (the mind is a powerful healing mechanism!)

So, time and time again I have to remember to go back to God's word, and keep on trusting in His goodness and the beauty of His plan - for ALL of us. I then rest peacefully in the fact that no matter what, satan is NOT going to win. Oh, he'll probably take a round or two as I struggle with my imperfect humanity, but he won't win the war. No way. God's already seen to that through the love and sacrifice of His Son.

Game. Over.

What's on your heart as the seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year arrive? Whatever they are, please know I pray for you to rest in the palm of God's hand and live in his peace - knowing you are precious, and His will for your life is nothing but what is good. When you feel under attack by Satan, remember three important words: ATTACK RIGHT BACK!

Until next time, God bless ~ and keep fighting the good fight!


A Guest Blogger...A Penchant for Pendulums

Hello, my husband, Glenn Carter, wrote something that I enjoyed and wanted to share with you all.This is what he said,

"Do you like to watch pendulums? They can be fun to watch and rather mesmerizing. Yet I must admit that sometimes after watching one for a while I just want to grab it and make it stay “in the middle”.

I was reminded last week about pendulums in our local department store. In recent times as you enter stores at this time of the year you are greeted with a very bland, generic, “Happy Holidays”. But last week as I walked through the front entrance, there in front of me was a great big colorful sign with the words “Merry Christmas” emblazoned across it. Good for them I thought. As I made my way through the store more and more signs came to my attention which had the words “Merry Christmas”. In one section there were signs about every three feet with the words, you guessed it, “Merry Christmas”. Wow, the pendulum has swung the other way, I thought. It was then that it occurred to me that these signs are not about Christmas at all. They are a marketing technique. If it is in vogue to say “Happy Holidays” great! If “Merry Christmas” fits the bill this year, wonderful! The only problem is that with all of these pendulum swings the middle gets left out.

“What is the middle?” you ask. The middle is what Christmas is really all about. It is not about marketing or shopping. It isn’t even really about home and family or exchanging gifts with one another, though these have come to be an integral part of the celebration. The middle is Jesus Christ becoming human flesh and making His dwelling among us. It is about His love for us that is so great that He was willing to endure the cruelties of this world so that we could enjoy the perfection of heaven.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we should wish people a “Merry Christmas” with a smile. However, I also believe that we who know and love Jesus are responsible to speak up as to why Christmas is “merry” regardless of the economy or our own personal circumstances. The One who came to destroy Darkness has broken it in our hearts!"

Something to think about, huh? In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, White Rose readers!


I know this is a publishing blog, but sometimes I feel the need to veer away from a "writing" message. Last night as I was praying I came to this Scripture that I want to share. Colossians 1:9-13

...we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son...

People all over the world suffer daily, but right now, so many with whom I personally interact are having to persevere through family crises, health issues, financial woes. It is so difficult to understand the reasons God allows hardship, illness, suffering--mental and spiritual anguish. So difficult to remember that He allows all this for a reason. But in the midst of trial, remember Colossions; remember He "has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light." Part of that inheritance includes pain and suffering--one look at the crucifixion conveys that. Try to remember, He allows this so that you may acquire "knowledge of his will through spiritual understanding"--because when the physical becomes too much to bear, we see the spiritual more clearly if we lean on Him. He allows this so that through "all endurance and patience, with giving joy to the Father" you might come to be "fully pleasing in every good work bearing fruit."

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others. You never know who might be strengthened--even saved--by that bond of commonality.

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others. Allow someone the grace and opportunity to pray for you, and thereby to obtain a greater union with God for themselves.

So, bear good fruit--share your suffering with others so that you don't have to bear the burden alone. Allow someone the opportunity to practice the virtue of charity.

And with joy, give "thanks to the Father" After all, "He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son". With a little--OK, sometimes, a lot of--perseverance, He will see you through your trials.

To those of you who have asked for and need prayer, I'm praying for you. If you read this post and need prayer yourself, leave a comment, and I'll be sure to pray for you, too.

Self-publishing pitfalls

Today I want to talk a little bit about self-publishing. Unlike some, I think self-publishing is a viable option for certain authors, for certain manuscripts. However, I do think self-publishing fiction is most risky. Non-fiction topics generally fit into a niche that self-published authors can utilize to find "stranger" readers. (Stranger readers being the general public--not the author's friends/relatives/co-workers). Fiction doesn't work in that same way, and so finding stranger readers for a self-published novel is infinitely harder. (Not impossible, as we have seen such phenoms as The Shack, but still harder). Invariably what happens is, the author garners a small readership--mostly family and friends with a few stranger readers sprinkled into the mix. Some time later, the author realizes what a huge and lonely--often unprofitable--venture this has become.

Since self-publishing means the author is on his own, if he doesn't have the marketing knowledge, skill, or opportunity, sales quickly falter and fall to nothing. Because of this, and for several reasons, publishing with an established publisher is almost always better (even if it's with a small press that may not have the marketing budget of a large publisher). Let's look at some of the reasons why.
  1. The author has no up-front costs, no publishing costs, no marketing costs, no design costs. 
  2. The book is edited by a non-related, objective party. Let's face it, critique partners are excellent, but they are your friends, and at times, even CPs can be lenient in their appraisal. 
  3. Even if the author goes with a small press that puts NO money into marketing, that publisher has several titles available, which adds up to quantitative marketing and cross-selling exposure. Perhaps a reader isn't looking for XYZ novel by LMNOP author, but when searching for ABC novel by DEFGH author, said reader finds both books--and both authors benefit. 
  4. A self-published book out there trying to find an audience in the vast sea of available novels usually doesn't have the SEO boost generated by link volume and name saturation that a publisher has.

Are there advantages to self-publishing a novel--especially in this technological age where popping a book onto the Kindle or publishing through LuLu or CreateSpace, etc., is so easy? You bet. The author has total control over her manuscript, over the cover, over distribution, and gets to keep a greater percentage of the profits. . .if there are any profits after laying out the expenses.

But, there are also many pitfalls and the one I want to shed some light on today is the pitfall of sealing that particular manuscript's fate--probably for life.

Periodically we get submissions from authors who want us to consider a manuscript that he/she has self-published, and I always feel bad as I'm sending the email that informs him/her we are not interested. Don't get me wrong; I love technology! The amazing things that can be done, created, manipulated with computers and electrical circuits fascinates me, but I fear the ease with which authors can self-publish these days sometimes put their writing careers at a disadvantage. Authors can easily jump to self-publishing without having to invest the several thousand dollars that option took just short years ago, and so the patience authors of a decade ago had to cultivate in order to hone their craft, gets thrown out the window. In the process, a budding career may be squelched.

Let me illustrate it like this: When an author comes to a publisher with a currently self-publsihed project, what he/she is basically saying is, "I've already branded this book (with a published title, cover, etc.); I've told as many people as I could about it, and I've sold as many copies as I could. Now I'm coming to you because I've realized I can't make money on this project on my own. I can't generate interest in this"--(because if she could, she wouldn't be seeking an alternative to the self-publishing she's already done)--"so, would you please spend your money? Please spend time and money editing the manuscript, spend time and money developing a marketable cover. Spend time and money on a marketing plan, on distribution fees and file conversions."

As a publisher, my silent question is: "Why should I?" If I were actually to ask the author that question, I've no doubt the most common response would be, "Because I know this project will sell well and touch people's lives." Ah, but if that's the case, why didn't it sell as a self-pubbed book? If the audience is there, if the demand is present, why did it not already perform well? And, the author's response would most likely be something to the effect of, "Because I didn't know how to market it. I didn't know how to find readers." (Which may be a valid and true point, but since publishers want authors to be actively involved in marketing, it's not a very compelling argument in making the publisher want to take on the project.)

Even with these points notwithstanding, let's take a look at the publisher's perspective a little further. Perhaps this novel is the next previously self-published NY Times bestseller (it has been known to happen on occasion). But, more often, it's a novel that has already sold copies to family, friends and co-workers; because it's been on the Internet for weeks, months or years, it's also found any inadvertent stranger readers it's going to find; the title, concept, and cover art are already stale and the life of the title has run it's course; thus, the odds of a publisher recouping even production costs, let alone marketing dollars, is too slim to take a chance--especially on an unproven, virtually unknown author. (Now, if Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Barbara Michaels or Stephen King wants re-market and re-publish their previously-published, out-of-print titles, that a publisher might consider.)

In trying to come up with ways to make this already-published novel saleable, one may think that changing the title is a possibility, but what happens when a reader who purchased the self-pubbed version also purchases a publisher-published version of the same book? Angering readers is not the goal of any publisher. So, title-changing isn't really a viable screen for reissuing a story that is previously/presently self-published.

All that said, I don't want to complete discourage authors from self-publishing. As I started this post, for some, it is a viable option. What I do want to do is urge authors who are considering self-publishing, to truly ponder the pitfalls. If you know you have a ready audience and can recoup any investment you make, then maybe you should go for it, but if you have any doubts about that at all, reconsider. If you believe the possibility exists that you will want to submit that manuscript to a publisher one day, I advise you not to self-publish. Be patient. Try to discover why you're stacking up rejections on this manuscript, and hone your craft. There is no rush. Remember, self-publishing is always out there. The opportunity for that isn't going to disappear if you don't do it right this minute--but the possibility of that manuscript being picked up by a publisher if you do self-publish it right this minute, probably will disappear.

What is Hope?

Yesterday, I spotted a yellow daisy, a perfect bloom among a bush of dying flowers. With the early frosts, our flower beds are full of brown and wilted blooms. This one tiny daisy defied the elements and smiled at me.

To me this is what hope is all about. These are trying times for many throughout the world. The media plays upon these events through television, newspapers, magazines, and radio. Experiencing second hand tragedies through the media can be very depressing. So, how do we keep hope? And what is hope?

There is a wonderful passage in the Bible which truly speaks to my heart about hope.
Romans 8:22-25 "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."
Hope is the faith within our hearts and souls, the belief in Christ Jesus that God is with us and will provide. God's word through Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, tells us that in order to have hope, we must learn to be patient. We must be still, have faith, and wait without grumbling to keep hope alive.

Hope is one tiny yellow daisy amid bushes of dying blooms. Hope is always looking forward to a brighter tomorrow, a dream within reach, with an attitude of humbleness, and never, ever giving up.

In my novel, Joshua's Hope, the heroine, Hope, learns what her name stands for when she finally lets go and lets God take control.

Like the withered daisies in my flower bed, Hope's soul withers when her life hits bottom, but when she opens her heart to God's healing love, her spirit rises and shines like the beautiful single yellow daisy.

Joshua's Hope purchase link

Smiles and Blessings,
Carol Ann Erhardt

Just in time for Christmas shopping...

75 Christian Authors * One Amazing Online Event
The Christian Review of Books in conjunction with CrossPurposes Bookstore
is excited to announce the first annual Christmas Book Signing Bash.

Beginning on the day after Thanksgiving and lasting ten days (26 November
- 7 December), this book signing will be an unprecedented online event. 75
of today’s favorite Christian Authors have come together to answer
questions, chat with their readers, and offer signed copies of their
books—all without leaving the comforts of home and hearth!

Readers can search by author, title, or genre at the Christian Review of
Books ( and then follow the purchase links
to CrossPurposes Bookstore ( and buy autographed
copies of each book featured. The authors will sign the books and ship them
to the customers.

For a full list of participating authors, visit the CRoB.

A New Story is Available Today!

A Killer lurks in Headley Cross…

…And Holly Carmichael is the only woman to survive his attack. Now she lives in fear, searching for normalcy and trying to put her life back together. When she meets Kyle Stevens, he turns her world upside-down. He’s as exasperating as he is appealing. How can Holly make sense of her awakening feelings when she’s so unsure of Kyle? His voice is familiar, he’s left-handed, and he wears the serial killer’s cologne. Who is he…really? As Holly struggles to restore her damaged faith, she must find the strength to trust once again—in Kyle and in God.

Kyle Stevens isn’t ready to live again. Racked by guilt, he’s afraid to feel. His sole focus is finding the Headley Cross serial killer—his girlfriend's murderer. That is, until he meets Holly Carmichael. He’s drawn to Holly, vows to protect her where he failed to protect his former love. But Holly makes him feel again, emotions quickly morphing into something much more dangerous to his hardened heart.

When the serial killer returns to finish what he started, only a miracle can save them…but then, it's the Season for Miracles.


Kyle’s voice came from a long way off, and Holly had to concentrate to hear it. “I’m sorry, Holly. He’s normally pretty well behaved, but he’s never seen snow before and is a little over-excited. Plus he was on his own all day yesterday. Are you all right?”
Holly nodded. The headache upped a notch. That was a stupid thing to do.
“Can you stand?”
She moved her head a little as Kyle helped her to her feet. She brushed the snow from her coat and tried to focus on the man. His hat, pulled down over his ears, hid his hair. Her head pounded, stars danced in front of her eyes, and it was all she could do to stand upright.
I want to sit down. Please, let me sit down. The words echoed in her mind, but she wasn’t sure she’d said them aloud. He didn’t respond.
His deep voice reverberated as he pulled off his glove. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
Holly nodded for a third time. She had a huge lump in her throat and she struggled to breathe. Her legs didn’t want to hold up, but she didn’t want a fuss. Fingers tingled inside her glove where he held her hand. His grip kept her upright.
Kyle’s other hand cradled the back of her head. Holly winced as he found and examined the lump. His touch increased the pain by a magnitude of five. Kyle checked his fingers and relief crossed his face at the lack of blood. “Holly? Please, say something. Otherwise I’ll have to assume Orion ate your tongue.”


I live in a small town in England with my husband of 18 years and my three children, all of which are now in secondary school and taller than me. I'm not sure which is scarier, but it does make trying to ground them interesting. I've been writing from early childhood and encouraged by my teachers, I graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction - which is still out on the net in various places under my pen name Tels - to using my own original characters writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories.

I read a lot, but at least I don't hide under the covers with a torch anymore. As well as writing, reading, I used to do a lot of cross stitching. Sadly now my eyesight is too poor to see to do it. I also try to keep up with the many piles of laundry my children manage to create. I also work part time in the breakfast club at one of the local schools. Although this means leaving the house at 7am and starting at 7.15am... I'm home by 930am and have 6 hours before the kids come in from school.

I have been a Christian for more than half my life. I go to Carey Baptist where I am one of three registrars. So far I have overseen two weddings. On neither occasion did the bride wear white. (Hopefully the next time she will.)

Buy link -
My Thoughts: This was a fun story. I loved the English setting, listening to Holly and Kyle's unique voice and intriguing English accent. I found the plot suspenseful with a beautiful Cinderella ending. The "take home" value of this story is excellent. It reminded me—no matter what we have been through, or are currently going though, God is present. Regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in now, this one fact remains...He couldn't love us more. If you're looking for a sweet romance, with true to life struggles, mixed with a gentle faith, you won't want to miss Ms. Revell's book, SEASON FOR MIRACLES...


Autumn giving way to winter, and another year steaming rapidly to a close, has left me in somewhat of an introspective mindset (watching seasons change always tends to do that to about you?).

We’re approaching Thanksgiving and we’re mere inches away from the joy of Christmas. What wonderful opportunities to take stock of our lives, and reflect on where God has led us during the past twelve months.

I give thanks for the grace, love, and continuing direction of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the pathways of my life. When I’ve fallen – when I’ve doubted – even when I’ve felt frightened, anxious and less than worthy, He has lifted me up. Faithful and true, God’s love is so powerful and perfect that it obliterates all but His plan and will for us. We are His precious children.

I also give thanks for my family and friends, for the love and encouragement of the people in my life both near and far. They are, in fact, God’s presence revealed. The way I see it, God has a human face that he blesses me with every day – a tangible means by which he touches my life and leads me along life’s path. That beautiful face belongs to my friends and family, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Next, I look at White Rose Publishing, and am amazed by the opportunities to be found. In faith and friendship the books and authors I’ve discovered are a huge blessing in my life. Through the pages of my Woodland series, and those books that will follow, through the talent and love of the editors (thank you, Nicola!) and staff, I am humbled by the chance to spread God’s word through the beauty of romance, and the experience of revealing the story of two people falling in love and finding their way not only to one another, but to a Christ-centered, ordained relationship.

I used to write secular romance. As such, I’ve been challenged about the seeming paradox of being a writer who loves to delve into the spark, and fire, of falling in love, versus being a Christian. I hope people understand I long to depict the universal reality and truth of two people falling in love. There are sparkles, and a heart rush, and the dizzy tingles. However – (and this is a huge part of my stories, and those of White Rose Publishing!) there is also heartfelt, committed emotion and faithful love. That’s the bottom line. To me, that journey is the most beautiful thing we are given. To reveal God’s grace through the pages of a book focused on love and romance is a gift I will never, ever take for granted, nor take lightly.

What comes to mind when you look at the past year? What blessings have you met with gratitude and thanksgiving? What areas are you wanting to work on…with God at your side and always in your corner? I’d love to hear about it! Thank you for being a blessing in my life, and helping fire up my own spiritual walk. Your presence in my life, as readers, authors and friends, is an enormous gift!

Blessings ~ Marianne

Value in the Experience

I was going to write a blog today about speech tags and action beats, but someone brought this to my attention, and I think it's much more important to share. I could write about how to take this and use it in your writing--and your life, but I'm not going to elaborate. It speaks for itself.

God bless.

A New Distributor...

Last night, I was looking around one of my favorite websites, CBD and found this...

So, I plugged in Pelican Ventures into the search box and guess what? It looks like most of the full length stories are available there! This is so awesome. (They are even on sale.)

Anyway, my question to you is what's your favorite bookstore?

Following a dream...

Perhaps you've written one story—or a hundred—but I think we all reach times when we feel like we're at the end of our rope and want to give up, or at least question will I ever sell this book?!

I know I've been there, even quite recently. I kept waiting for news—good news—not the pile of growing rejection slips. But it wasn't happening. Even worse, I found that instead of focusing on the joy of writing I had become side tracked. Somewhere along the line, my goals had shifted from enjoying the writing process to making a sale. Instead of rejoicing with my friends over a contract awarded, I began to cringe and wonder will my turn ever come? That's when I knew something was wrong—dreadfully wrong. Where did the love for writing—not to mention love for my fellow writers—go?

It wasn't until I hit this place, going full speed mind you, that I realized God was up to something. Whether I was ever offered another contract or not, He was using this time to tenderly teach me some hard lessons.

1. Love: I can't let the rejection letter's pull me down. Instead, I need to embrace to love of writing. Write for the love the craft and out of my love for the Lord.
2. Hope: With each new proposal I send out, I'm not going to give up on hope. Writing is fickle. What one person loves, another may reject. Its about finding the right person as God allows. You never know when a window or door will open.
3. Patience: Writing has stretched me in areas of patience. Instead of cringing over the length of time a publisher is holding my story, I can use this time to work on another project.
4. Joy: I don't want to loose the joy of my project and get bogged down with the passing of time. Instead, I'll choose to enjoy each and every moment of this growing process and seek out lessons that the Lord wants me to learn
5. Peace: This gives me great peace...knowing as I alluded to above, if God wants my story published, it will in be--in His good and perfect timing.
6. Kindness: It's now always easy showing kindness to folks who criticize your work.(I'm not referring to the helpful edits that editors do, rather the general remarks that are made, which make you feel like your manuscript is only fit for the trash.) I have found in writing, I need to have thick skin. I'll glean what I can from their comments, perhaps they have a valid point(s)—but if that's not the case, I'm choosing to let their personal opinion go. After all, what is one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Did you ever think God could use the writing process to help us learn more about the Fruits of the Spirit? What a totally creative and awesome God we serve! Don't grow weary in your writing or following your dream to be published. However, let's not get so caught up in those dreams that we loose sight of the bigger picture. Let's choose to focus on doing our best for the Lord—and allow Him to accomplish His purposes in our lives.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.— Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Best wishes on your personal writing success!

Thank You!

Thanksgiving time is coming and I'm so thankful for each and every one of you! So, I wanted to do something special to show you my appreciation.

Stop by my webpage and leave a comment sometime between now and Nov. 15, 2010. If your name is choosen, you'll receive a gift package including hot chocolate, mug, and a free download of a book of your choice~ Teacher’s Plans, By the Book, Sweet Rest, Smuggler of the Heart, or Daniella.

Have a great weekend~

Picture of a Hero

One of my favourite scriptures is in Hebrews, Chapter 12:
Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners in order that you might not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
When I tell people how much I love this passage, oftentimes I receive a negative or confused response. Of all the Scriptures, how could this one--so in-your-face, so not-uplifting--be on of my faves? There are many reasons why, but two sift to the top. One, because it is so in-your-face. St. Paul is basically saying, "You think you're suffering in whatever hardship you're going through? Well, you ain't suffered much in comparison to Christ, so get over it." Sometimes we need a little coddling, but sometimes we need that startling in-your-face, shut-up-and-take notice reality-check. I talk to myself like this all the time when I begin to slip into pity-party mode, so I guess having the great evangelist speak in the same way was rather...comforting. I happen to like stark reminders. It's one of the reasons I keep a crucifix around. Contemplating a crucifix helps to keep me grounded. Helps to keep my hardships in perspective the way an empty cross does not. In my mind, the crucifix and this scripture are directly connected. They serve as reminders to endure gracefully because He's endured much more than we. Yes, St.Paul didn't mince words, but the reminder to turn one's thoughts to the "other" rather than the "self" is a great one, even if it is in-your-face. (Hang in there. This post really does pertain to writing.)

Another reason I love this Scripture is because it's so uplifting (Yes, I know, completely opposite to what I've been told.) Why is it uplifting? Because it's an excellent illustration of how much Christ loves you and me. "Consider how he endured..." and why? "In order you [and I] might not grow weary and lose heart."  He endured in order for us to understand the merits of suffering, and to give us an example of how to endure. That's uplifting! An encouragement. If He could endure such opposition for me, the least I can do is try not to lose zeal or fall into a depression over whatever hardship or obstacle is thrown my way. How ungrateful--or at least, unmindful--would I be if I focused on my own tribulations so much that I lost sight of what He did for me?

We know Jesus is perfect--the perfect lover, the perfect friend, the perfect saviour...the perfect hero. But this Scripture says it in a way we can apply not only to our lives but also to our writing. Jesus is the perfect soulmate (no pun intended). What girl doesn't want a guy who is willing to endure--well, anything--for her? And beyond that, what strength of character is shown through sacrifice? (As exhorted in the first part of the scripture.) What strength of character is exemplified in someone who perseveres without wallowing in self-pity or dwelling on the negative? What delight of will to turn away from self, focus on the other, and recognize the blessing? (as exhorted in the latter part of the scripture) These are heroic traits that we should keep in mind as we form our plots and flesh out our heroes and heroines. Our heroes/heroines should always be someone who:
Triumphs over conflict
Isn't whiny
Optimistic (even if it's a struggle for them to be so),
Humble (which is not a synonym for weak. Jesus is humble in His humanity, but definitely not weak.)...
all traits we find ourselves reminded of in this short passage from the Letter to the Hebrews. Now, this isn't to say that our heroes can't lapse into self-pity or pessimism, or any of the other "opposites" to these good things, but at heart, they must always hold on to virtue; and when our heroes fall, they should return to virtue posthaste, looking to the sufferings of Christ as a boost from within the wallows. We want our characters to be three-dimensional, well-rounded--which means negative and positive emotion--but we're also writing fiction, which means, even though in "real" life people sometimes fall short of heroism, we can choose to have our  heroes ultimately exemplify the very best of humanity, and in this way to serve as an example that overcoming obstacles is possible--even in real life. . .now, how should we write our villains? Well, that's another post entirely!

Happy writing, everyone.

Masquerade Marriage Book Review

Editorial Product Description
A SECRET LIST... To protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, a noted warrior abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, Brody MacCaulay vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger. A VOW HONORED... To escape an arranged marriage to an abusive noble, a Lowland Lady weds a stranger to save his life. But vows spoken do not make a marriage, especially when Megan MacMurry holds a different love inside her heart. A SACRIFICE MADE... Outlawed, and with a price on his head, Brody condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without Megan. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can't have her, he heads alone to certain death...
JoAnn's Thoughts:
This book held my attention from the first page. (I could even hear the Scottish accent as I read.) In fact, the characters seemed to leap off the pages and interact as if I was watching a movie. Honestly, this was one of the best historical romances I've read this year. I felt as if Ms. Greene stayed true to the time-period in setting, action, and manner of the people within the plot. This talented author wove not only a beautiful romance, but also showed us a warming faith of both Megan and Brody.

Brody has doubts with all that he has seen and lived through as a warrior. He wonders if God has abandoned him. However, God proved Himself faithful and true. What an encouraging thought to consider. No matter what we've lived though, God has--and will always--be there for us.

Losing Focus...

As a person who is easily distracted, I thought it might be of some use to discuss how writers can lose focus in a manuscript.

The theme that White Rose & Harbourlight Books share is Christianity. It is a necessary part of every book we publish. Harbourlight has a variety of other themes, from mystery/suspense, to chick-lit to Westerns and so on. White Rose also has another theme, romance. For the moment, we’ll concentrate on White Rose and the romantic element.

What is a theme? It is the focus of a story. The story should be permeated with this theme. In White Rose, the story should hone in on the romance, focusing all the reader’s attention into how this couple will get to Happy Ever After.

With that in mind, we come to conflict. Conflict is an important part of the story, but it is not the theme of the story. And herein is where writers sometimes lose focus.

Rather than concentrating on the theme of the story, they switch to the conflict. The conflict can often be so detailed, it overtakes the romance.
The readers of romance aren’t interested in all the gory details of the heroine’s past in which a Great Tragedy consumed her entire life and she lives in the present with it hanging over her head on a daily basis like the sword of Damocles, waiting to plunge into her heart and destroy it forever.

They want romance. They want to know how the hero and heroine iron out the problems between THEM, working around the anticipation, the fears, the worries. Sure, both characters can have a little baggage, and it can even scar them a little in the future. But other than a few sentences, those scars need to recede, to show the character has grown past them.

Changing the focus of the book to a life-altering event of the past, or even the present, when the characters are neither thinking about each other, nor doing something together, means that the romance is in the background…and the conflict is the story.

Focus on the romance, not the conflict. Scars from the past are OK. Dwelling on them for ¾ of the book are not. Take your reader to the romance. Allow conflict to surface, then recede, as the character grows past it and realizes that life isn’t always fair, but good will triumph and a wonderful life can be achieved.

The Power of Positive Thinking

As I sat at my desk, staring at a blank page, I couldn’t think of one single thing to base my article on for my chapter newsletter. Finally, I gave up and headed upstairs to bed. Along the way, I spied a booklet I’d received but hadn’t read. “Expect a Miracle—Make Miracles Happen” by Norman Vincent Peale.

I picked it up and began to read and knew I had to share this with my friends. I realized this principle is what has given me the peace to persevere through all the family “challenges,” and realized I should be applying this to not only my personal life, but also my writing life.

The miracle principle is based on six words: “Expect a miracle—make a miracle happen.” I’ve known people who are negative. Everything bad seems to happen to them. They pronounce doom and gloom and they can really sap my energy. Nothing I say changes a thing. If I make a suggestion, there’s a reason it won’t work. You know the type of personality I’m talking about?

After reading the booklet, I have decided that from now on when anyone preaches doom and gloom, I’m just going to say, “Expect a miracle.” I believe in miracles. They happen every single day. Perhaps they aren’t as spectacular as the burning bush or the parting of the Red Sea, but they exist. If a person expects the worst to happen, it will! But, what if a person expects the best to happen? Having a positive outlook and expecting wonderful things brings joy and happiness. I believe in this principle. I live it.

But, I haven’t applied it to my writing life. I’ve been so busy putting my personal life in perspective, that I’ve neglected to carry the principle through to all aspects of my life. From now on, I will sit down to write with the expectation that the words will flow and they will be good. I will approach submitting my manuscripts with a positive attitude, await the release of my books with a positive attitude. I will expect a miracle—and make a miracle happen.

How about you? Do you believe in miracles?
Carol Ann Erhardt

Come, Follow Me...

This week has been a week of telecoms, confabs, organizing files and updates...all fun stuff! It's a lot of busy-work that makes one feel as though nothing is getting accomplished. That's because the fruits of the labour have yet to be seen. In the midst of meetings and compiling information, file conversions, et al, I stopped to post a couple of tweets...and that's what made me think about "following" and how great a week it has been thus far. This is how my thought process went (don't laugh...OK, well you can if you must):

Hmm, go tweet something...
Follow us on Twitter...
Jesus said, "Come follow me."...
"I will follow Him."...
Queue music in my head...
"I love him and where he goes I'll follow..." (No, not the original, but the Sister Act version)
Stop music in my head. Reality check (there is, after all, work to do)...
But wait... Jesus did say to follow Him. Isn't that what White Rose is all about? Of course, and Jesus, I will follow You anywhere, any time, without hesitation...

And that's when I understood that this week-thus-far of "not accomplishing" anything has been a week of foundation. There's preparation required in every worthwhile endeavor. . .including in following Jesus. Even when He asks us to leave our current path and follow Him, our hearts have be ready to hear that message. Our hearts, at some point, were prepared--usually by personal circumstance and experience--to hear, accept and then act (follow). If our hearts aren't prepared properly, we end up like the rich man who went away sad because he could not find the wherewithal to follow Jesus. His heart was still attached to too many other things.

This week of "busy-work" is not without merit. It's a foundation, a preparation for the great and wonderful path the Lord has paved for White Rose Publishing and her authors and staff. This means the fruits will one day be evident--and that makes the week's activities not busy-work, but rather a blessing (and I'd better get back to work here, pretty quick!) Without the preparation, disaster would follow--or opportunities would be lost.

Just so, when we're writing, our stories have to have a firm foundation, a stalwart plot on which to lay the hero and heroine's plight. (Even pantsers prepare, albeit less formally that plotters.) Lay the seed of imagination, and then cultivate it carefully, making sure there are no plot flaws, leaps in logic, two-dimensional characters, head-hopping, telling vs. showing, etc. When the rejections arrive, if there is any feedback at all, use it. If no feedback is included, take that to mean that God is allowing the disappointment to help in some other way--perhaps to cultivate perseverence or humility. These are not set-backs, they are blessings in disguise given to help build a foundation of writing knowledge and healthy attitude that will lift you layer by layer until you receive the fruits of your labour. Trust that the Lord knows what He's doing (even with your life and writing career). He knows the desire of your heart, and He will be faithful to that. Just follow Him, form a firm foundation in your writing life (and in your walk with Him, of course) and when all is properly prepared, everything will fall into place.

I love Him, I love Him, I love Him, and where He goes...

A Review of Mended Heart, by Mary Manners

Editoral Product Description:
Jade McAllister returns home to Pineyville, Tennessee to help nurse her estranged mother back to health. She's grateful her friend found her a job as an administrative assistant at Pineyville Church. That is, until she runs into Shane Calkin, the bad-boy-wannabe who broke her heart.

Shane's job as Youth Director at the church is a far cry from his high school days as the town's privileged rich kid. The death of his sister has left him with a young niece to raise and a rambunctious puppy to tame. He's not the self-centered person who once hurt Jade, and all he wants now is a second chance to love her. But how can he prove it to her?
JoAnn's thoughts:

We all have things in our past that we aren't too proud of. Such is the case with Jade, who left home as soon as possible rather then working though the issues she had with her mother -- and Shane who used his family's wealth to "fit in." What I loved most about Ms. Manner's story is, it took us beyond those things and show us how God, at work in a person's heart and life, can bring us to a place of healing and restoration.

If your looking for a great romance, a plot where you see faith in action, and characters that come to life... you'll not want to miss Mended Heart.
Check out her live interview today over at

Happenings at WRP today...

To protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, a noted warrior abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, Brody MacCaulay vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger.

To escape an arranged marriage to an abusive noble, a Lowland Lady weds a stranger to save his life. But vows spoken do not make a marriage, especially when Megan MacMurry holds a different love inside her heart.

Outlawed, and with a price on his head, Brody condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without Megan. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can't have her, he heads alone to certain death...

And more exciting news... Nicola posted this morning~
It's White Rose Publishing's First Independence Day Anniversary. One
year ago, on 1 October 2009, White Rose Publishing ceased to be an
imprint of The Wild Rose Press and became an independent publisher
dedicated to publishing Christian fiction exclusively.

Let's Celebrate!

The First installment of Cross My Heart by award-winning author,
Elizabeth Pina is now available.

To access the installment, log in to the Yahoo group's page,( click FILES
in the left-hand menu, and then go to the "Cross My Heart " folder.


The judicial system may have cleared Kate Carlson, but those she thought
loved her still doubt her innocence. Finding strength in her faith, she
hopes a fresh start in glorious Colorado will restore peace and serenity
to her broken heart. When history repeats itself, will her new friends
stand by or desert her?

Robbie Sutherland’s secret threatens to tear him apart, so he’s learned
not to rely on God for anything. Kate may appear sweet and innocent, but
he’s been fooled before.

Either her selfless love will help him find forgiveness, or his anger
and bitterness will destroy their relationship and suffocate him forever.

How can Kate convince Robbie her love is real and, like God’s love, will
endure no matter what?

2010 Down Syndrome Awareness Walk

Yesterday I participated in the 2010 Down Syndrome Awareness Walk along with my mother, my daughter (who has Down syndrome) and a number of teachers and students and families from my daughter's school.Our walk took place in Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls, WI and we had a beautiful autumn day, sunny and cool, for our walk. The National Down Syndrome Society holds a similar event at this time of year called Buddy Walk.

According to my brochure the DSAW-CV Down Syndrome Awareness Walk brings people together to celebrate Down syndrome in our community, to focus on the possABILITIES and not the DISability and raises money to support the efforts and the mission of the Down Syndrome Association of WI-Chippewa Valley. It’s fun for families and friends. It builds camaraderie among neighbors and co-workers. And, above all, it is an event that you will feel good about being a part of! Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, come join our awareness walk in the Chippewa Valley!

Proceeds from the Awareness Walk allow DSAW-CV to provide support to families and individuals with Down Syndrome and others with developmental challenges through education, information and the exchange of ideas and experiences.

For me, it was a time to reflect on the blessing of ALL my children and a reminder that we are all God's children and he loves us in spite of our imperfections.

New Review for Susan's 4th of July Fireworks

Clare of Happily Ever After Reviews gave the latest love story from Orchard Hill  4 Tea Cups: 
The first Orchard Hill story I have read and it won't be the last. Ms. Russell isn't afraid to tackle the heroines flaws head on, in this delightful tale set around the US Independence Day holiday.
You can read the rest of the review here: 

I'm not very familiar with this review blog, but after looking around a bit I'm very impressed. They offer great features like a "Buy Now" link and similar book recommendations. (Hearts Surrender by Marianne Evans, Mended Heart by Mary Manners and Standing on the Edge of Good-bye by Mary Easton in this case. I'm in good company with these White Rose authors!)

Thank you Clare and Happily Ever After Reviews for taking the time to read and review Susan's 4th of July Fireworks.

Is there anything better than free Books?

White Rose Publishing's first anniversary is coming up! To celebrate they are offering a chance to win FREE BOOKS FOR A YEAR! To enter the contest, sign up to receive White Rose Publishing's brand new newsletter, Blossoms of the Vine before October 1. Your enrollment will automatically enter you in the contest.

Subscribers will receive news, announcements and special offers from White Rose Publishing.

If you are not lucky enough to win a year's worth of free books (or even if you are) you can still access short free reads on the White Rose Publishing site. More free  reads, including Teri Wilson's novella Once Upon a Collar, are available to members of White Rose Publishing's Yahoo Group. Coming soon - the free novella Cross My Heart by Elizabeth Pina will be available for group members. Don't miss out!

Why Do We Worry?

September 10th?  Already? Seems like only yesterday that I walked out of my day job for the very last time on December 31, 2009. At that time, I had some fears about how we'd have to change our lifestyles, and whether or not I'd have to take a part-time job.

We all have fears from time to time. That's our nature. We are worriers.

I needn't have worried. God has so richly blessed my life this year. My husband often says, "It's a good thing you are retired, because you'd never have enough time to do all that you do if you were still working."

My worries about what I'd do with my time, if we'd have enough money, if I'd become a couch potato, if I'd miss using my skills...all these were for naught. Why? Because I forgot the one thing I should never forget. God's plan for me!

I've filled my hours with writing, with being active in ministries at church, with reading my Bible and doing Bible studies, having lunch with friends, exercising, and enjoying time with my husband. Even though we have less income, we have so many more blessings. And God always provides.

I don't know what God's plan is for me, but I know it is something beyond my wildest dreams!

What have you worried about, only to find that God was working in your life?

Happy Labor Day

From Wikipedia: The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City, by the Central Labor Union of New York, the nation's first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.

These days Labor Day is seen as the official "end of summer," celebrated by picnics and cookouts. It's the last hurrah before autumn begins. However you are spending your holiday, I hope you'll enjoy this "last hurrah."

For the writers out there, here's a quote on work to contemplate today.

“a person who works with his hands is a labourer, a person who works with his hands and his mind is a craftsman. But a person who works with his hands, mind and his heart is an artist." 
- Louis Nizer

Writing evolution

Life is ever changing--and quickly. Mobile phones have gone from "bricks," to celluars so small you almost had to move them back and forth between ear and mouth just to have the speaker and microphone in the proper place at the appropriate moment, back to something larger that can accommodate easy texting. Televisions have gone from huge consoles that could emit only black-and-white, to thin, high-def, mega-sized models that can wall-mount...and now, the latest is to watch movies on a teensy phone screen! Yes, everything changes, and a writer's writing ought to, as well.

I see a number of submissions where it's obvious the author wrote the manuscript a decade ago. That's not a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with pulling out an old manuscript and dusting it off, polishing it, and submitting it--but there is something wrong if the editor or agent to whom you send it can tell it was written in a bygone "contemporary" era.

I'm not talking about an individual and unique voice. Your writing should always be "you," but it should also demonstrate an ability to capture a perfect sense of time and place. For example, it wouldn't do in a contemporary to have your heroine stranded and not be able to call 911 unless it was clear that she didn't have a cell phone for some plausible reason or that phone was inoperable.

This evolution doesn't apply only to prop devices, but also to emotional and plot content, and to dialogue. Writers need to adapt to the changing trends in their genre. Today, it is not only more accepted, but necessary, to include a deeper emotional pull in a Christian novel whereas twenty years ago, most stories were deeply plot-driven with the focus being more external than internal.

Dialogue choice can be a dead-giveaway to an "old" manuscript. Contemporary speech is always changing. Slang changes. These things, if not updated, can alert the editor, agent, or reader that the manuscript isn't current.

So, if you're pulling out an old manuscript to polish and submit, remember to look not only at the technical issues in which your skill has improved over the years, such as point-of-view and passive writing, but also to anything that might date the story--from a public phone to no emotional content, to speech patterns that are no longer "contemporary." Doing so may be the difference between contract and rejection.

Some more great oppertunities for today's release

Hi again! I failed to mention this morning when I posted the release day special that Marianne will be blog-touring throughout September. At the end of the month she will pick three winners from those who leave comments and award prizes that include: an Amazon gift certificate, a White Rose Publishing gift certificate or an autographed copy of Hearts Surrender. So make sure you leave a comment here to be entered into her drawing. She will also be hosting a book discussion for HEARTS SURRENDER in a few weeks on the White Rose Publishing Reader's loop.

In the meantime, lets see what a few folks have to say about her latest release:
first from Love to Read Novels, Sherry Kuhn said: "Hearts Surrender was a beautiful and endearing love story! One I could not put down and won't soon forget! It played out like a beautiful song that starts off soft and quiet and ends in a perfect crescendo! The chemistry between Kiara and Ken was absolute magic."
Here's the link to the full review if you'd like more.

Then, over at The Book Club Network Lisa Lickel said: "Readers of inspiring romances will thoroughly enjoy the author’s clear settings and well-rounded characters, as well as be intrigued by the first book in the series. A hint at the third book will cause a line up to wait for its release. I enjoyed Evans’s great phrases such as “cd-skip conversation” and the precious observation that Kiara makes: “No man has ever forced me to look so long, and so hard, at who I am, and who I want to become.”

Here's even more:

New Release & special offer

Today is the release of Marianne Evans book: HEARTS SURRENDER. White Rose Publishing said, "When we published the winning story of the Hearts Crossing contest we never dreamed the hit story would become a complete series...but here we are, happy to release Hearts Surrender, Book 2 in the Woodland Series. Come learn what happens at Woodland Church when Daveny's best friend, Kiara, falls in love with Pastor Ken."

BLURB: Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.

Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church; he's adjusting to life as a widower and copes by keeping as busy as possible with his parish and missionary work.

A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.

After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another...forever?

A Special Offer For YOU...
Purchase any edition of Hearts Surrender by
Marianne Evans--The latest release from White Rose Publishing--and
receive a FREE .pdf of "Hearts Crossing." Purchases must be made on 3
Sept 2010 to be eligible, so hurry before time runs out.

Interview with Marianne Evans

Today we have the opportunity to chat with White Rose Publishing author Marianne Evans, winner of last year’s WRP contest with her book HEARTS CROSSING. This Friday she has a new release debuting, which we’ll tell you more about in awhile. Before we get to that though, let’s find out a bit more about the person behind the stories she writes.

Marianne, can you tell us where you were born?
I’m a complete and total Michigan native. I was born in Flint, spent my childhood in Grand Blanc (a little town between Flint and Detroit) and am now happily settled in suburban Detroit.

Can you tell us what some of your favorite things are?
I love peaceful Saturday and Sunday mornings on my deck with a cup of coffee and the sun coming up. That’s bliss!! I love getting together with friends and family – that’s always a highlight for me. I’ve worked at the same place for over 10 years now, and am very close to several of the wonderful people I work with, so we socialize as friends as well as colleagues. I love travel, I love being near the water in summer, and near a fireplace in winter. I love the smell of baking bread (my mom’s onion bread is a recipe I can replicate, and have enjoyed sharing!) munching fresh-made, stove-top created popcorn with my husband, but most of all, my favorite thing is sharing the truth of God’s love and grace through the written word, in the genre of romance. After all, love celebrates what’s best in all of us. Being able to create stories based on that truth is a huge blessing I don’t ever take for granted!

Uh no, before I get hungry with thoughts of fresh bread and popcorn tell us, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Know what? I love living in Michigan. The “Mitten” state has the best of everything – the bustle of the big city, if you’re so inclined, the Great Lakes, the primitive seclusion and peace of the northern half of the state. That said, however, I’m a big-time lover of travel. My dream place to visit is, without question, the Holy Land. I haven’t been there yet, but hope to visit someday. I get shivers even thinking about it!

Visiting the Holy Land has been my husband’s dream as well and I can understand your love for travel and home. Can you tell us what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?
Well – I was married only six months or so. I wanted to make my husband this delicious spinach/butter/garlic sauce to dip crusty Italian bread in. Typically, this sauce is served over escargot, but since the DH and I both detest escargot, but love the sauce, we made it without the squiggly occupants. Anyway, the recipe called for three cloves of garlic. I mistakenly created the sauce with three HEADS of garlic. Needless to say, it tasted pretty foul – but DH choked some down and complimented my efforts (that’s when I knew our marriage was a forever union!!) I’m ashamed to say that I disgraced my Italian heritage that day, however, it gives my family wonderful ammunition for family dinners. The story never dies – unfortunately! LOL!

That’s a riot! Of course, with the smell of garlic permeating everything, you probably didn’t want to get anywhere near him for the next week, but we’ll save that story for another time. Do you have a favorite color?
Pale blue!

That’s the color I just painted my mudroom last week! Lets talk a bit about your writing and what inspired you. What was your favorite book growing up?
Anything by Nora Roberts, from her days as a Silhouette Romance author, is what kicked me off as an inspiration. Stephenie Meyer’s style and the ‘sweet’ yet rich, and evocative sense of romance she created in the Twilight Series brought me back, inspiration wise, after a very long dry spell.

What or who inspires you to write?
May sound a bit creepy, but the voices in my head. My characters begin as scenes/dialogue in my head, or a dream that remains with me in vivid detail. After that, the ideas refuse to leave me alone until I put it all down on paper (or, computer chip, as it were! LOL!)

I’ve heard of other artists who have that same experience, so it doesn’t sound creepy to me.  What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Touching people’s hearts with something that began as nothing more than an idea in my head. Pretty amazing stuff! I love portraying God’s love, mercy, and redemption in the world of romance.

And we love reading how you portray all those things in your books! I’m curious, what music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
Too many to mention!! I love using music as a means by which to inspire my writing. It evokes so much emotion, and great lyrics can put you right into the head and heart of your characters. I’m a fan of The Fray, Five for Fighting, Billy Joel. Michael W Smith, Mark Schultz and Twila Paris are favorites I go back to time and time again. Really, though, it depends on the atmosphere I’m trying to create. If my characters are in a tough spot, I want something playing that gets me to that ‘place.’ Music is so powerful!

Okay, so tell us, I know your next book is due out on Friday. What’s it about?
Right now I’m supporting book two of the Woodland Series, Hearts Surrender. The Woodland Series came about as the result of my White Rose Publishing debut, Hearts Crossing. Books 3 and 4 of the series are titled Hearts Communion and Hearts Key. Hearts Communion revolves around Collin Edwards’ brother, Jeremy, and Monica Kittelski, the owner of a daycare center. Did I mention Jeremy (JB) comes from a large, tight-knit family? And that his lady-love, Monica, is unable to have kids of her own? Their dilemma is finding God’s hand when it seems their most dearly held wishes and prayers are destined to remain unfulfilled. Hearts Key is all about second chances at your first-ever love, and the role-reversals life can throw at you. You’ll meet Amy Maxwell and Tyler Brock in Hearts Surrender. Amy is the High School cheerleader and leader of the pack, and she’s fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, Tyler, the shy and gangly sweetheart of a boy who has loved her forever has become a Christian music phenom with a star on the rise. They’ve never forgotten one another…and Tyler is headed back to town for a benefit concert at Woodland…

About Hearts Surrender:

How did you come up for your premise of Hearts Surrender?
True story: When I wrote Hearts Surrender, and submitted it to White Rose for consideration in the Hearts Crossing contest last year, I couldn’t get two of the secondary characters, Kiara Jordan and Ken Lucerne, out of my mind. I set up a bit of groundwork in Hearts Crossing that Kiara is on the hunt for meaning, and deeply respects Woodland’s pastor, Ken Lucerne. Plot ideas formed, and both characters spoke so strongly to my heart that I began to create Hearts Surrender – a sequel to a story that I had no idea would even end up going anywhere! Pretty Risky on my part, but I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I had to write it!

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Absolutely! Here you go!
Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.
Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.
A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.
After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?

How did you decide on the setting?
Well, since Hearts Surrender is book two of a series, the setting was already in place. However, I will say that choosing St. Clair Shores, Michigan as a location was very deliberate on my part as the setting. I love this area of Michigan, and Lake St. Clair is stunning!

What is the purchase link (and cost)?
$4.99 Digital / $11.99 Print

Marianne, it’s been great having you here with us today and I look forward to seeing your book out on Friday. (Make sure you folks check back here and I’ll put up the special promotion code for this weeks release day offer right here!)

Have a great week~