Valentine Reads at White Rose Publishing

One of the best things about Valentine's Day is reading Valentine romances. And I think I have done my share in contributing to White Rose Publishing's offerings for this holiday. Orchard Hill Romance #2, Entertaining Angel, is a Valentine's story. Here's the blurb:

Artist Angel Marcell is on her own for the first time in her life. If only her brother would stop treating her like a child! He’s asked one of his college friends to watch over her while she’s in Orchard Hill visiting cousin Misty Green. Jeff Bradley is working day and night to make his real estate business a success. He doesn’t have time to entertain his friend’s little sister – no matter how cute she is when she blushes. Besides when she’s around, his life turns into chaos and he starts longing for things that aren’t compatible with his business plan. When Angel stands in for a Valentine’s Day date, will he change his mind about what he wants?

I have a funny story about this story. Last year I read another White Rose release called The Valentine Edition and got quite a surprise. It's by Robin Shope and a great read!

Both Robin's story and mine are set in a small Wisconsin town and feature petite, redheaded heroines who are new in town. Both heroines are involved in an accident that results in an injured stray dog. Both vets are tall, handsome men. Of course, both heroines adopted the poor dogs. Robin's heroine named hers Cupid and my heroine named hers...Cherub. Not quite the same.

I was a bit worried by this time but the plots diverged from there and developed very differently. My vet may have been tall and handsome, but he wasn't the hero. Robin's vet ended up with the girl - and the dog. But don't feel too bad for my poor vet. He got his own story and his own girl in Considering Lily.

I guess that's a case of great minds thinking alike. (Humor me, okay.)

I also have a free Valentine's read on my website. It's sort of a mini-sequel to Saving Gracie. I promise I'll write something that's not set in Orchard Hill someday. But for now there may possibly be one more Orchard Hill Valentine's story on the way. Stay tuned.

I was surprised to find those were the only Valentine stories I found in the White Rose catalog. If I missed some, someone please correct me. I hope there are more coming this year. Writers, I challenge you to add your own Valentine story to the White Rose catalog - or even a free read to your website. Readers, what do you want to see in a Valentine story?

Hearts Crossing

Today, a very special book has been released, Hearts Crossing by Marianne Evans. It is my honor and privilege to be able to share with you a bit about this title.

WRP said, "Last fall, White Rose Publishing editors became intrigued to find out how many different stories could be gleaned from one basic plot. The result was our Hearts Crossing contest. WOW! Provided with the same cover image and same plot outline, every entry we received was completely unique...just as we suspected. Today, we are pleased to release the winning entry, Hearts Crossing by Marianne Evans. New to White Rose, Marianne is not new to the publishing world, having several titles--and in multiple languages--Marianne is an accomplished author. We're pleased to welcome Marianne into the WRP family, and we think you're going to like what she's done to pull the heartstrings in Hearts Crossing."

BLURB:“How do you feel about God, Collin?” “I don’t.”Collin Edwards, a former parishioner at Woodland Church of Christ, has renounced God without apology, his faith drained away in the face of a tragic loss. Daveny Montgomery cares deeply about her relationship with God and the community of Woodland. But lately she's been in a rut, longing for something to reignite her spiritual enthusiasm. A beautification project at Woodland seems the answer for them both. Daveny spearheads the effort and Collin assists—but only with the renovations, and only because he wants to know Daveny better.Despite his deepening feelings for her, even stepping into the common areas of the church stirs tension and anger.Can Daveny trust in Collin’s fledgling return to faith? And can Collin ever accept the fact that while he turned his back on God, God never turned his back on him?

About the author: Marianne Evans loves to tell a good story. In fact, she’s been enthusiastic about writing ever since she could string sentences together. Joining White Rose Publishing gives her the opportunity to combine two of her greatest passions – love of the Lord and exploring the world of romance.
She’s seen a number of her books published. Kensington Publishing purchased her first book, Friends & Lovers. Her second contemporary romance, Right Hand Man, followed shortly thereafter. Her third release from Kensington, Hannah’s Heart, won critical acclaim in The Oakland Press. Her fourth book, a novella entitled With This Kiss, is her first offering at The Wild Rose Press. Hearts Crossing is her first inspirational romance and marks her debut at White Rose Publishing.
A resident of suburban Detroit, she’s happily married with two kids and a family that never fails to support and encourage. An active member of Romance Writers of America, she’s a long-time member of Greater Detroit RWA where she served the chapter in a number of capacities, most notably as treasurer and two terms as president.

Special things happening: Hearts Crossing is up for an award in February at You Gotta Read Videos! Voting takes place later this month, so please stay tuned for details. Please feel free to view the trailer today @

Also, I know starting February 1st, Ms. Evans has some wonderful things planned for us on the White Rose Publishing reader's group with discussion questions, how she was inspired to write this story, and so much more. You won't want to miss it! You can take a peek inside the book and even download book group questions when you pick up your copy today for $3.50 @ Buy HeartsCrossing Right Here!

Still looking for even more? On Saturday, February 1 (10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Eastern Time Zone) Marianne will be at Long and Short Romance Reviews, where two copies of this book will be given away. In an invation she sent to the reader's loop she said, "(I'm going) to talk about the top ten questions asked of this romanc author. Yep, I'm spillin' the beans. I'm going to tell folks all about the oh so glamorous life of a writer (tee, hee!!) and share the things that inspire me to keep moving forward, even when those inevitable frustrations arise."

Developing Romantic Tension

I read a really good story premise today. Sadly, it was rejected.

Hero and heroine were together pretty quick. For nearly 20 pages, she was unconscious or barely coherent (car accident victim). Oh, they talked. She remembered nothing the next day. So basically, everything written was a non-event and not necessary to the progression of the developing relationship. I’ve decided to create a list of rules for that first meeting of the hero and heroine.

1. They must be sane, sober, conscious and in their right minds. If they are unconscious or nearly so, this is not “keeping the hero and heroine together.” When your common sense is compromisd, the relationship isn't real. The decisions and judgment of the character is off-kilter. The hero and heroine, by their very definition, must choose a partner wisely, and well.

2. They must feel the awareness of each other as a potential partner in marriage – it can be off-hand, such as her noticing his shoulder is just the right height to lean on, or him noticing that she smiles at babies in strollers. This awareness should be played up each time they meet. It is romantic tension. By using their senses, actions and thoughts, the author can build a terrific couple whom the reader will want to get to know.

3. No instant anger upon meeting. I have no idea why this is so popular. When a heroine is instantly angry upon meeting a man, the reader’s subconscious hackles go up, thinking this is the villain. That negative connotation immediately puts the reader, who is identifying deeply with the character, on the defensive. “That man might be the bad guy, I’m not trusting him until he proves otherwise.” In a mystery or an intrigue, this might be a good conflict, in Christian fiction, it must be handled carefully. I’m not saying you can’t write edgy Christian stories, simply be careful about painting your hero or heroine with negative emotions right at the start of the story. The reader does not warm up and begin rooting for this couple to make it...which leads that reader to find something else to read if the author doesn’t hold their interest.

4. Spending 15 pages describing the heroine’s fear, terror, pain, screaming, shock, repeated prayers to God, horror, etc. is too graphic for most romance readers. They are exposed to reality on the nightly news and sometimes in their daily lives. Most people read to escape for a little while. Romance allows them to feel good, and know that happy endings can lighten a burden. A few paragraphs will suffice in explaining the heroine or hero’s horrible plight.

Now that we’ve covered some basic rules, let’s move to the burning question in every author’s mind. How do I create romantic tension?

Use their senses. Use their thoughts. Use their actions. Blend these elements into the hero and heroine.

Jane reached for the door just as it swung open. The man holding the handle smiled. “After you.” He pulled the door wider, making the bells tinkle.
A young boy charged out before Jane could take a step.
“Thanks, Dad!” the child said, as he skidded to a stop at the edge of the curb.
“My son,” the man said wryly. “Someday, I may even be able to teach him some manners.”
“Mommy was teaching me manners before she went to heaven!” The boy swung around to look at his father and Jane. “I learned to say please and thank you. And to wash my hands.”
“Those are good manners,” Jane said, smiling.
“Thank you,” the man murmured.
“No, thank you, for showing your son that politeness counts.” Jane felt warmth creeping into her heart. Maybe today would be a good day after all.
“Would you like to have ice cream with us? I can show you some more manners. I’m Chase and Daddy’s name is John and now we’re not strangers anymore, either.”
“I’m sorry...he doesn’t know…” The man began.
“Oh, please, Daddy?”
Jane saw a flash of sorrow in the man’s eyes and knew he was having difficulty saying no to the boy.
“I’d love to have some ice cream.” She hoped the man caught her understanding look. “And I’m Jane.”
He stared at her for a moment and then flashed a grateful smile.
The boy looked at his father and gave a loud whoop. “Yeah! We’re gonna have ice cream with the pretty lady!”
“Daddy, is this a date?”

Jane and John are reacting to each other. They’re communicating through the child, but the looks, the implied understanding is pure adult. The child is a foil, a way for the hero and heroine to continue talking. In most cases, a secondary character should only act as such, not truly relating to either one. The nuance is between the two older characters. The reader feels Jane’s understanding, her cares slide away, and her empathy with the man. The reader feels the man’s politeness, his love for the child, his awareness that the child only has him and his acceptance of the child’s plea. And if that’s not enough, the cliffhanger, the clincher and the surprise is the child’s last statement.

The reader now KNOWS who the hero will be. The reader understands that Jane has had a tense day. The man is out and about with his child (one loving relationship already in place). The child acts with confidence. And two people who would’ve otherwise simply passed each other through a door, are suddenly together. What will happen? I have no idea. You, the author, will need to build that romantic tension to a satisfactory conclusion.

I’m waiting for a good book. And so are your future fans.

Valentine's Day Coming Up

We're into the last week in January already and that means Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I think Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. You might expect that from a romance writer, but my reasons probably aren't the ones you'd think.

For the most part, Valentine's Day is a holiday with low expectations, especially when you've been married for 17 years and you know exactly how much (or in some cases how little) to expect there.

Valentine's Day comes shortly after the Christmas season. Now there's a holiday with expectations attached! After all demands of Christmas it's nice to experience a holiday dedicated to love - of family and friends as well as spouses and other significant others - that does not require you to do anything.

So if I decide to send a card to a friend, or buy some candy for the kids, it is appreciated. But if I'm busy and choose to skip those things, no one is really disappointed.

I'm not saying I love my friend any less if I don't send a card. It's just nice to feel that you have a choice about it. With Christmas sometimes it seems like you are being dragged along into a storm of activity that has somewhere along the way lost its meaning. Every year I contemplate how to change this, but am not brave enough to suggest radical measures - such as no gifts, or not volunteering to help with the Sunday School Christmas program.

So when I do something to observe Valentine's Day it is a free expression of love. Doesn't that feel better than trying to live up to expectations that have grown out of proportion over the years? How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Opinions, Please!

This is my first post for the WIB blog, and I am glad to be here! I hope some of you will take a moment to share your opinions on this topic: What is inspirational fiction?

I’ve been asked this question many times by friends and family, especially when I have a new story release. To many of them, the term “inspirational” refers to any writing which is uplifting or meaningful. Some feel it refers to spiritual writing, and some think it refers to Christian fiction. To one mother who lost a child, the essay I wrote on her daughter was inspirational. To another friend, a collection of encouraging, secular quotes is inspirational. But to most of us reading this, inspirational fiction and romance is fiction that includes God and faith in the storyline.

When I began to research the topic, I found other Christian romance authors have addressed it as well. I asked a few about their reading and writing habits. White Rose author JoAnn Carter said: “I read Christian/Inspirational titles--especially if it's in the romance genre. That way I'm more likely not to run into "issues" that wouldn't be good for me to see/read.”

Author Pamela Thibodeaux wrote a wonderful post on the topic for a previous entry. Here's an excerpt:

Christian fiction is written for a particular audience...the CBA market/readership. Christian fiction focuses on a relationship with God and God is the center of every romantic liaison. It adheres to the guidelines set forth by the CBA publishers and readers. In most instances, those guidelines are very conservative. The CBA wants “chaste relationships…the emotional side of love without the physical.”

Christian Inspirational fiction is written more for those readers out there who are dissatisfied with the typical Christian fiction as well as those turned off by the normal secular romances. It is aimed for readers who like the idea of God/Christ in the books, but want more realistic characters, situations, etc.

She also shared these views with me:

“I consider "inspirational" fiction that which is written with a higher level of sensuality and gritty realism and yet stays within biblical principles. Yes, it is different from traditional "Christian" fiction as the guidelines set forth by the CBA/EPCA are actually very conservative.My writing is labled as "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as: steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.Other than non-fiction, I read exclusively Romance - of every heat level EXCEPT erotica.”

Author Cindy Green shared her opinions:

As far as my own writing, it is conservative and even though it is published as ‘Inspirational’ it is Christian and would more than likely fall under the CBA standards. My tagline is ‘Bringing Sweet Romance to the Heart.’ I do read mainly sweet romance and most of that is Inspirational and/or Christian romance.

One of the growing sub-genres within romance is the Inspirational romance, but what is an Inspy exactly? Inspirational romance is just like any other romantic tale. It includes the ups and downs of falling in love, a handsome hero and a likeable heroine, those many emotional essentials, and the all important happy ending—aka: the HEA. And within Inspirational romance you can again have all of those subgenres but with a certain world view. The main ingredient separating the Inspirational romance with that of the secular romance is the spiritual element which makes it in many ways even more difficult to write. (But that is a topic for another day.)

The inspirational romance presents a love story centered on religious values. Your characters are not only beleaguered with the typical internal and external conflict but also a spiritual obstacle or struggle. Emotional conflict is key in an Inspy as is sexual tension, but again think sweet romance. Faith is a natural part of the story. It is sewn into the heart of the book in such a way that it is not cumbersome or preachy. As one reviewer said of my own book: “This is a fun, refreshing, non-preachy read. Faith is simply part of the main characters’ lives.”

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your views with us. I invite everyone reading to leave a comment on their own opinion—what is inspirational fiction? Do you read it? Write it?

---Robin Bayne

May God Bless 2010!

Hello everyone! Here's to a new year and a fresh start. Don't you love the opportunity for a new beginning each and every year? At the beginning of this year I started a new job, besides my writing. It's tough to find time for everything, but I get up early and write for an hour before getting ready for work. Well, most days. ;)

God has blessed me with a new home in a warmer climate, new opportunities at my new job, and a book release! Violets for Vanessa is now available from White Rose Publishing. (Where else?)
I'd also love to keep in touch with fellow writers and readers. Despite a hectic schedule, I enjoy emailing one-on-one but never seem to keep up with the social sites. Guess I'm hopelessly out of date! I do send an e-newsletter bi-monthly and would love to share it with anyone interested. Please sign up at my website: -- and invite your friends as well.
Shameless promotion aside, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous year. Most importantly, I pray the peace, joy, and love of our Lord Jesus Christ touches each of us personally as well as our nation and our world as a whole.
God Bless You Every One!
Dianne Miley

Something for Everyone

If you are reading this blog, chances are, you are a fan of inspirational romance. But all fans are not the same! Fortunately White Rose Publishing has something for everyone. They really do. What? You don't believe me? Then I'll show you.

Let's take best friends Tammy, Becky, Jane and Sandra. (Yes, I am making these people up for the sake of example.) Part of the reason they are friends is that they all love reading and discussing inspirational romance. But they don't always read the same books.

Tammy loves to cuddle up in her favorite chair with her cat on her lap and a historical romance in hand. At White Rose Publishing she'll find titles to choose from such as All or Nothing, Journey to Forgiveness, and Fragile Dreams. All of these are available as print books as well as ebooks. But Tammy is fortunate enough to have an ebook reader so she also enjoys shorter stories she can download such as Dilema of the Heart or Wildflower in Bloom

Becky adores contemporary stories such as Alvarado Gold, Beneath a Texas Sky and Case of the Heart. These are all available in print. But wait. Becky is a cubicle dweller and she really likes short stories that she can read on her computer during her lunch hour. So she might prefer Child of My Heart, By Another Name or Dreams Do Come True.

Jane wants a bit of mystery or suspense thrown in with the romance. She might enjoy Lethal Lasagna, A Matter of Trust or First I'm Nobody. Jane is often on the go. For those times when she's standing in line or stuck in a waiting room she likes shorter stories that she can read on her smart phone. She could choose from titles such as Daniella, Sweet Rest or Through a Glass Darkly.

Sandra is a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't care what kind of romance she reads as long as it fits into her budget. White Rose Publishing offers free reads on their site such as A Perfect Fit, Matchmaker of Love or Review of Love. Sandra joined the White Rose Publishing group on Yahoo to get some of the free "members only" reads there. As an added bonus, she's found a source of adult interaction that she can access without leaving the house! When she runs out of free reads, she'll probably start on the Dollar Downloads. Those include titles such as Cathy's Angel, Hyacinths in Winter, or Turning Back.

This is a just a few titles I pulled out at random. The White Rose catalog is much, much bigger and includes more categories than I listed. Jewel of the Adriatic and Rose of the Adriatic include mystic elements. Isanne's Revelation is a time travel romance. And don't even get my started on the great holiday stories! In my series Orchard Hill Romances, each story centers around a holiday. (See how I just slipped that into the conversation. You almost didn't notice that it was a plug for my own books, right?)

I hope this little post has made you curious. I wish I could have included the blurb for each title, but this would be an enormously long post if I did. I also don't have the patience to add a link to each title, but you can access the White Rose catalog here. If you are not familiar with White Rose Publishing I think you are in for a big treat! Happy Reading!

Winner Announced! $10 White Rose Publishing Gift Certificate

Happy Saturday, friends!!

First off, I have to say I am humbled and overwhelmed by the response to my blog here at White Roses in Bloom entitled: An Introductory Blog & The Story of a Contest. I figured I'd hear lots of crickets chirping and breezes rippling through the grass, but you all truly know how to rally around a nervous newbie! THANK YOU!

Now, on to the good stuff!!!

Congratulations to LM Gonzalez! Please e-mail me privately: to claim your $10 gift certificate to the wonderful selection of Christian romance at White Rose Publishing!!

Happy reading to you all, and thanks again for participating.

More to come on my Sunday blog (address below) which will feature a blurb and excerpt from Hearts I'm giving away a copy to a commenter! So please stay tuned, and thanks again!

Blessings -

Marianne Evans
Hearts Crossing
Available January 29th
With This Kiss
Release Date: TBD
The Wild Rose Press

Writing tip: Fleshing out a scene

Sometimes when we write, we have experience a bombardment of images that we want to get out on the page. When that happens, writing usually flows well. We click along, pouring out everything that’s in our heads. We’re so in tune with the viewpoint character (VPC) that we see and experience the things they are, and can convey them readily interspersing dialogue with perceptions and feelings as experienced by that VPC.

Other times, we have a scene in mind where all that can come to us is the dialogue. We know the scene is necessary to move the plot forward, but we just can’t seem to grasp the setting. So, what do we do? Here’s a trick. Write the scene with dialogue only. Don’t even worry about who your VPC is going to be. When the scene is “complete,” go back and flesh it out, deciding then who your VPC will be. (Remember, your VPC should be the person who has the most to lose. They will bring the most emotional baggage to the scene and will be most engaging to the reader.) Here’s a short example.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jane said.

“Oh, sure you don’t,” John said.

“I told you where I was.” Jane said.

“You want to try telling me the truth now?” John said.

“So you’re accusing me of lying? What about you?” Jane said.

“I’ve never lied to you.” John said.

“Right.” Jane said.

Now, this is clearly an argument, but it’s devoid of any context. What are Jane and John arguing about? Why? Who’s really lying?...and the story –killing question: Who cares?

Next, I’m going to decide where this conversation takes place. Giving the reader that information alone will put a different context to the scene. Think of what automatic ideas come to mind if I choose one of the following:

A park next to a playground where children are playing.
A diner on the outskirts of town
An upscale restaurant with crystal chandeliers lighting the atmosphere, and people dressed in evening gowns and tuxedos.
John’s living room.
Jane’s living room.
John and Jane’s living room.

How will the tone of the dialogue change based on these settings? What interruptions can/will/need to occur? Is the writer in you already working out all these things just based on that?

Once you’ve chosen the setting, now think about who has the most to lose. (You’ll know this based on the rest of your story.) Then continue to flesh out the scene. First by replacing the he said/she said with some action beats, then with more that will make the setting come alive.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Was she really going to play that game? He leaned across the table. “Oh, sure you don’t.”

“I told you where I was.” Her voice squeaked, and the couple at the table next to them turned to gape.

He gave them an apologetic smile and then turned back to Jane. “You want to try telling me the truth now?” He took a deep breath and willed his heartbeat to slow. He’d seen her going into the hospital. He knew she was there.

“So you’re accusing me of lying? What about you?”

Her words hit him hard, and for a moment, response eluded him. “I’ve never lied to you.” He dropped his gaze to the cold steamed carrots on his plate. Not exactly, anyway.


The chair legs scraping across the marble tile sounded like the ominous cock of a gun, each click of her heel bullets to his heart.

From simple dialogue, we can flesh out a scene. Now we know whose point of view we’re in. We know the setting, and we know that both John and Jane are hiding something. This technique may help you figure out where a scene needs to go, and it may also help unblock writers block if you’re experiencing that, making it easier to push through a scene you may be uncertain about. Remember, the idea is to get that first draft down on paper. Perfection happens later. :)

Great things happening at White Rose

Deals, deals, deals... who doesn't love a good bargain?

I don't know if you've had the chance to visit White Rose Publishing's store front, but there are a lot of great specials WRP is running now that you can snatch up.

For instance, have you noticed there are dollar downloads? Here's the link to the current promotion:

There is also combination discounts where you buy one book / get a % off another. Please see
Why not check it out today?

Happy shopping. :)

Follow The Yellow

Most publishers, White Rose included, have guidelines on their website. These guidelines address how to format your story for submission, what elements we prefer to see in a story we may consider and general questions that come up frequently (usually known as a FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions).

Although a poorly formatted story will not immediately get tossed into to the virtual trashcan, it is hard on the eyes. If you want a fair chance at getting my attention quickly, a properly formatted manuscript begs to be read further than one that isn’t correctly done. When the formatting is sloppily done, it gives the editor the feeling they are dealing with a newbie author who hasn't researched enough. I generally will look over the first 20 pages, even if its not well-done, but its tedious to do so.

Editors have specific criteria for our published books, and we cannot consider anything outside that genre. We look for these specific details and have been rigorously trained to find the elements that further our publisher’s message of Inspirational novels that Christians can read without compromising their moral standards.

What do I look for as an editor of the genre?

1. Christian Inspirational romantic fiction must contain Christian aspects. They cannot be outside the basic tenets of the faith. The criteria is stated on our website. The story must be God-centered in some way.

2. Developing romantic relationship. I want to see stories where a man meets a woman, and when they feel that tug of the emotional heartstrings, they act to further the relationship until it ends in a Happy Ever After. The more scenes they are together, without other people, the more likely I am to keep reading.

3. Conflict. No relationship is without conflict. The conflict can be belief vs. unbelief in Christianity, man vs. woman, conflicting lifestyles, or anything where it seems they can never get together, but then miraculously, they do.

4. The Happy-Ever-After. No romance is complete until a man and a woman realize they cannot live without each other, or God, in their relationship. That is the culmination of what every reader wants to see in a Christian romance. An equal partner who respects God and is willing to live by the guidelines God has established in the Bible.

Reading the guidelines and adhering to them give the editors a chance to look at your hard work and evaluate the content of your story without having to read through poorly scripted text. Please bookmark Guidelines to keep handy so when you submit, your manuscript is the best it can be.

What do Fiction Writers Read?

The answer to this question is simple. Fiction writers read everything they can get their hands on.

Of course they read the kinds of things they'd like to write. Romance writers read romance, mystery writers read mysteries, etc. It's sort of a requirement of writing in a genre. If you don't read in that genre, how do you know how to write for it?

Fiction writers also read fiction in other genres. Let's face it, no one wants to read the same thing all the time. We need that spice of life, variety. Plus it's good to keep up on market trends in other genres. Who knows when you'll find something you can incorporate into your own work?

Fiction writers read books, articles, etc. from the publishers they'd like to get a contract from. It's called market research. You need to know what that particular publisher is looking for. What type of things do they publish? Does it fit with what you write? For example, you wouldn't send a collection of poems to a company that only publishes "How To" books. Is your manuscript too much like another title they've recently published? You may want to submit it to a different company.

Writers read about writing. Good writers always strive for improvement and there is always something more to learn no matter how long you've been perfecting your craft. The number of books written on this subject should be proof of that. And then think of all the magazines, web sites and blogs on writing.

Writers read non-fiction. They read about subjects they need to research for their fiction writing. They read nonfiction just because a certain subject interests them. Plus you never know when you might find something you can use in a story.

How about the Bible? I'd say that's a given for White Rose authors, at least.

Fiction writers read magazines, books, newspapers, blogs, and even cereal boxes. The size of the piece is not important if it contains something of interest to them.

So there you have it. Add it all up and you come out with the fact that writers will read anything and everything they can get their hands on.

So, what have you read lately?

An Introduction, The Story of a Thrill, & My 'First Ever' Contest!

So there I was – just noodling on the Net – when along came an e-mail that set my world spinning.

But wait, I'm sorry. I need to back up a pace or two and catch you up. I need to fill you in on the complete picture of my life at a most extraordinary moment in time – when I became a member of the White Rose publishing family. By the way, I’m delighted to be making your acquaintance here at the Blog.

My son and his wife had just come home for the holidays. My daughter had also just arrived for break from college. My hubby and our entire family were camped out in the kitchen, making traditional Christmas Sugar cookies for Christmas Eve festivities in a couple of days. A question came from my son, Dan: "Mom, while Mary's out for a minute, can you show me the top you got her for Christmas? I think I may have gotten her the same thing. I want to make sure my gift is different.”

The top in question was already wrapped and under the tree, but since I had ordered the item on line, I had an e-mail from the company, complete with photograph.

"Sure," I answered. "Come on over to the computer."

Question. Busy as we were (fresh-made cookie dough waited - as did green and red sprinkles and multi-colored sugar-balls...) why did everyone follow? Why? Because something was brewing, and God knows exactly what He's doing. Always.

I paged through e-mail and as I hunted down and opened the confirmation notice for Dan, I also saw a new message that made my heart pound. The sender was Nicola Martinez, Editor in Chief of White Rose Publishing. The subject line: Hearts Crossing Contest Entry.

I passed it by. I didn't want to click the 'open' button at all. In fact, I showed Dan the picture of the gift item - found out duplication was no longer an issue - then logged off e-mail.

Here's my justification: Just days away from welcoming 14 family members to my home on Christmas Eve, I didn't want to find out I had lost the Hearts Crossing writing contest sponsored by White Rose Publishing. I was happy and content. I didn't want anything to interfere with that fact. When you don't "know" there's always hope, right?

You see, this contest meant a great deal to me. For quite a while now, I've wanted to break into the Christian inspirational market, and White Rose has a strong, growing reputation in the industry. So, the contest, which I entered back in September, was a wonderful opportunity to do just that. At the same time, I was realistic enough to realize victory was beyond my wildest hopes. A lot of incredibly talented people were vying for the grand prize - a book contract.

So, I figured the e-mail would read something like: "Thank you so much for entering the contest. While your submission featured many appealing elements, the competition was very tight, and we regret to inform you that..."

Yeah -- you get the drift.

When I turned away from the computer, I caught my husband's eye and he could tell something was up just by looking at me. All I said to him was, "I think the verdict is in on Hearts Crossing." Steve sweats and bleeds publication issues right along with me - a partner in the best sense of the word. Unfailingly supportive he said, "Well, come on! Open it up! Let's find out!"

I was, shall we say, somewhat less enthusiastic. In fact, I was nervous as all get out. I even explained all the reasons why I avoided opening the e-mail. His answer to that somewhat psychotic behavior? "Marianne, really. If you win, we're all here around you. If you've lost, we're all here around you. What more could you ask for?"

Dang he's smart sometimes.

I huffed and I sat, opening up my e-mail once more. A deep breath later I clicked on the e-mail from Nicola. As it opened, Steve quipped, "It'll probably say Congratulations…"

First word of the e-mail? "Congratulations..."

I have to confess, and don't tell Nicola this, but, initially I didn't read much beyond that first word. Instead I burst into tears. Meanwhile, Steve and the kids whooped and cheered. I found myself blessed by an incredible moment, one I got to share it with the ones I love so much, and who have supported me through all the inevitable rejections and sad times that also come along quite frequently in the world of publishing.

The tentative release date for Hearts Crossing is late January. Below is a link to the video trailer for the book so you can get to know Daveny Montgomery and Collin Edwards a little better. These two were God-made for one another. Coming soon? The 'official' book blurb and excerpt.

Hearts Crossing Trailer:

I'm eager to know what you think, so a week from today, one lucky visitor who leaves a comment on this blog, or at the site for my trailer, will win a $10.00 White Rose Publishing gift certificate so they can splurge on a few of their many wonderful offerings!

Meanwhile, thank you so much for welcoming me into the bouquet of White Roses. It is such an honor.

Blessings to you all – Marianne

Can Inspirational Romance Serve a Dual Purpose?

Over the past few posts, we've been talking about infusing God into your work. I think this is a great time to iterate that--at least with White Rose Publishing titles--we want our work to serve a dual purpose. We want to entertain, of course, but we also want to glorify the Lord through that entertainment, and touch readers' heart. As inspy authors, we have to recognize first that He is the source of our talent. He is the source of our plot inspirations. Sure, the conversation we had with the stranger at the grocery store may have been the catalyst for that romantic suspense plot, but ultimately, He put us at the grocery store at just the right time to run into that stranger and have that conversation.

I'd have to say that currently, my favourite music band is Kutless (does it sound as though I'm off-topic? Hang in there; there is a point. :)). This group of guys is talented. The lead singer has a set of pipes that won't quit (even live and unmixed, I might add), and the songs they record tell wonderful stories of faith, hope and love.

This Christmas, we bought our daughter Kutless's latest release, It is Well (OK, we said it was for her) and the songs are beautiful. Well, I popped over to Kutless's website to look up the title of a song on a different album (because it was going to take too much time to walk into the other room and look at the actual jewel case), and I found this video of the guys talking about their experience while recording It is Well. It really illustrates what Jamie & I have been trying to convey about God having to be a personal influence in the life of an inspy author, and not just "someone" that's plugged in to make a story fit a Christian audience. But it also illustrates something that I also think is vital: the realization that when we do something for Him, we get infinitely more back--more time, more inspiration, more faith, more success, and a greater ability to touch others with that talent He's entrusted to us.

Below, I've embedded said video, but I couldn't close this post without giving you a link to a video of my fav (if I have to pick just one) track on It is Well. It's the song entitled, What Faith Can Do. You may not fancy Kutless's style of music, but even if that's the case, check them out and read some of their lyrics. If you can do with words and ink what they can do with lyrics and instruments, you will touch readers' hearts as you entertain them with your story.

Write What You Know...

I’m sure most of you have heard this advice at some point during your writing career, but never is it more important than when infusing God into inspirational fiction. Writing what you know affects characterization to the Nth degree. In Jamie West’s most recent post, Bringing God into the Story, she makes the point that God should be infused into the story in a non-preachy manner, and not plugged in as an afterthought. At its most basic level, this means write what you know. When we construct a scene, we want to pull the reader into the story so deeply that she forgets she’s reading. We want the reader to empathize, laugh, cry—feel every emotion our viewpoint character is feeling, but how can we do that if we remain outside the character ourselves? We have to envision ourselves as the viewpoint character. We need to roll the scene in our mind’s eye as though we were actors in the play we are creating with our words. What do we see, feel, smell? And then, we need to draw upon our own similar experiences—or experiences that produced the same emotions—to recreate that same emotion in our scene. When we become the viewpoint character, our writing is more active than passive, more show over tell. (active vs. passive, show vs. tell, and write what you know are all intertwined.)

To that end, if we’ve never been to the beach, felt the grittiness of sand, tasted sea spray, had our eyes burn from the salt water, how can we bring that scene to life with such vividness that we can take the reader to that place? I’ll admit it can be done with much research and input from people who have had the experience, but it’s exponentially more difficult than if we’ve experienced those things first-hand. Thus it is with infusing God into our stories.

How can we adequately convey a devout heroine who is so close to Our Lord that she feels His presence with her in the ordinary and automatically relies on him in times of strife, if we have not experienced that intimacy with God? How can we believably convey the heartbreaking catalyst for our Doubting Thomas of a hero if we’ve never experienced heartbreak or a moment of doubt in our own faith? Take these two examples:

The sky was beautiful. White puffy clouds gave the bright blue backdrop a softness that warmed Jane’s heart. Truly God was present here. She could feel Him with all her being, and all the stress from yesterday faded away and she felt at peace.


Jane closed her eyes to imbibe the beauty of the morning. Jesus, thank you for this day. Tranquility washed over her, all the stress from yesterday draining away as she languished in the presence of the Lord. Her breathing slowed and her heartbeat became a steady rhythm that sang a hymn of praise as the Holy Spirit rejuvenated her soul.

Sure God existed, Joe thought. He existed all right. He just didn’t give a flying flip on a trapeze about what happened to people. Joe’d learned long ago not to trust in a God who ignored prayers and relished in seeing people suffer, after all, he’d prayed for David to be OK. David was dead. He’d prayed for the nightmares to stop. They still came every night. God didn’t care. Joe wanted to believe He did. But, He didn’t.


Joe awoke in a cold sweat, images of his brother’s lifeless body still vivid. He squeezed his eyes closed. Please God, let it stop. It didn’t. David’s body, glistening with sand and seawater, flashed through Joe’s mind. Dead eyes stared at him. His heart shattered anew. Joe tore open his eyes. He wrenched back the covers and got out of bed. “Why?” he screamed. “Why?” he whispered. Sobs rose in his throat, choked him as collapsed to the carpeted floor. Why did he even continue to pray? God had made His decision plain: You’re on your own, Joe. Spent, he dragged himself off the floor and crawled back into bed.

In each of these sets of examples, the same concepts are put forth in paragraph within the set, yet the first paragraphs are all tell (rather than show). They leave the reader outside looking in. They serve the purpose of the scene OK, but God isn’t “real” because the character isn’t real; and the character isn’t real because there is no emotional tie.

The second paragraphs show rather than tell. God is real to Jane, so He is real to the reader. Joe is in pain. He feel abandoned by God and that comes across in the paragraph much more vividly than in the first paragraph.

If we know God, He will show up in our writing without any effort, just as recreating emotion we've personally experienced doesn't pose as much of a challenge as trying to write about something for which we have no point of reference.

Bringing God Into The Story

Part of every Christian romance is the presence of the Lord. He is a third character, embued into the soul of our hero and/or heroine, and standing guard over their thoughts, actions and deeds.

Writing His presence can be a daunting task. You want to give the reader a sense of God, but not get preachy about it. You want the reader to know that God is always present, but that he never interferes with free will. You want to quote Scripture, but not make it sound stilted or out of context.

When writing, we tend to want the story to be just so, and will often create a scenario where God is there, but out of sight. Instead, let God fill the scene naturally, as a character, rather than the ghostly presence of the hero/heroine’s conscience. Rather than writing about her/his faith and belief, write how they see God in everyday things or events.

Showing God’s majesty, in song, Scripture or prayer, will create the foil that allows characters to come before Him and accept His will in their lives. The characters should not just turn to God when there is a crisis. They should be interacting with Him on a daily basis, thanking, praising and worshiping the Creator of all things.

When an unbeliever crosses the path of the believing hero or heroine, they should get the sense of God that makes them wonder and become curious enough to explore their options, eventually discovering God themselves.

Shoe-horning God in as an afterthought is like inviting a clown to a funeral. The negative connotation sticks out like a sore thumb. Draw on your own relationship with God and make His presence fill your pages with the glory that is within yourselves. Bring the real, living God to life in your words, and use His Word to reinforce His character.

What's coming next to White Rose Publishing...

Prodigal by Robin Bayne

Release Date: 1-08-2010

Daniel Gardner is making a grand entrance at his brother’s wedding. The problem is, no one has seen him in years. Unsure of his welcome, this prodigal son needs the years and the hearts of his family to miraculously melt…but he may not be the only one needing to make amends.
Lane Taylor doesn’t realize how much she still loves Daniel until she’s standing face-to-face with him after so many years apart. Once upon a time, they’d dreamed of a life together. Now, when it seems they might get a second chance, she has to decide whether to divulge the secret she’s sure will shatter their happily-ever-after.

Please be sure to check out all the great things happening at White Rose Publishing today!