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?