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Efficient isn’t as important as Effective

Please join me in welcoming my beautiful friend, Jackie Layton.

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Hi Sharee, thanks so much for inviting me to join you today.

This summer I read What’s Best Next by Matt Perman and treated it as a Bible study. As a writer there are so many issues to address, and paralysis can set in. What is the best step to take next?

Perman didn’t write this book for authors specifically. It’s for anybody and everybody. He says we can learn to be effective in the “midst of seventy-five emails, twelve phone calls, and eighteen interruptions a day.”

I learned to look at every aspect of my life as an opportunity to glorify God.

One point that punched me in the gut was being efficient is not as important as being effective. I can be efficient, but if I’m doing the wrong task efficiently, I’m not effective. Ouch.

I’ve always been a prayer, but I’m trying to listen better after reading Perman’s book. I’m also trying to keep my eyes open for opportunities to glorify God. Big things and little things.

As far as my writing goes, I learned to write in blocks of time. I don’t step away to rotate the laundry or load the dishwasher. I am giving myself blocks of time to sit down and only write. I belong to an online accountability group of writers and we check in with BICHOK. Butt in chair hands on keyboard. When I sign in with that, I ignore social media and focus on writing.

I’d love to hear ways you’ve found to be more effective in your work. Also, I’d love to pray for you. Please leave me a message, and I’ll pray.

Sharee, thanks again for hosting me.

Jackie, your words are a great reminder! Thank you for joining us!

Friends, you can find Jackie at:

http://www.jackielaytonauthor.com

http://jackiesbackporch.blogspot.com

Twitter: @Joyfuljel

https://www.facebook.com/JackieLaytonAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/Joyfuljel

https://www.pinterest.com/jackiebeth117/

https://www.instagram.com/joyfuljel/

 

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September New Releases

September 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:
Reunited in the Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus — For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Man to Trust by Carrie Turansky — After years spent helping manage her family’s Christian bookstore, it’s time for Adrie Chandler to give her own dream of playing her flute with a symphony orchestra a chance. But can she really trust the beloved shop to new manager Ross Peterson? The man is too handsome, too charming….and too much a reminder of another dream Adrie had to let go of – marriage. Yet Ross surprises her by knowing a thing or two about making sacrifices. Suddenly, Adrie is questioning what she really wants. And whether the dreams she once thought unlikely are within reach after all. (Contemporary Romance from Flowing Stream Books)

Fall Flip by Denise Weimer — The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband–her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business–stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets–and their own mistakes–cost them a second chance at love? (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Listening to Love by Beth Wiseman — Lucas is Amish. Natalie’s Englisch. They are best friends—and friends only. Despite what the gossips say. Besides, they couldn’t be together even if they wanted to be. Lucas would never leave the Amish faith, and Natalie is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. But when a terrifying accident happens, Natalie and Lucas are forced to confront their true feelings and decide if they can stay true to themselves and each other. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary: The Christmas Portrait by Phyllis Clark Nichols — A family facing their first holiday season without Mama finds a way to celebrate Christmas. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)

Historical: Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson — 1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape. Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life?and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried. (Historical from Tyndale Publishing)

Historical Romance:
Treasured Christmas Brides by Amanda Cabot, Rebecca Germany, Cathy Marie Hake, Colleen L. Reece, MaryLu Tyndall, and Michelle Ule — Six historical Christmas romances prove life’s most priceless gifts come not in the form of polished gold or silver—but from the vast riches of a loving heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Thankful for the Cowboy by Mary Connealy — Hero Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister want to be hired to build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills, and to give him fifteen head of cattle. She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Return of the King’s Ranger by Angela K. Couch — The war is over…for everyone but him. The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger. Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing. With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Christmas Next Door by Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough — Visit an Old West Texas town where a mysterious benefactor leaves gifts each Christmas, but also where four pairs of neighbors battle over hearsay, secrets, and mysteries. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Under Moonlit Skies by Cynthia Roemer — Esther meets Stewart, her brother-in-law’s ranch hand, when helping her sister recover from childbirth. Any interest she may have in the cowboy is hopeless, since she must return home to Cincinnati and the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed. till reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer — Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl wants a helper for her widowed father and a mama for herself, so she writes for a mail-order bride. Without telling him. Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor encourages her to answer an unusual letter from a little girl, hope opens an unexpected door. Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta may have to risk everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and find a second chance at love. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Witness Tree by Denise Weimer — Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother. Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Romantic Suspense:
Don’t Give Up On Me by Jodi Artzberger — When Cragge Automotive Group’s heiress, Amanda Cragge is left for dead, the only man she’s ever loved finds her. As the threats continue, will she accept help from the man who left her eight years ago without explanation? When Ryker Scott returns to Otter Bay, he is brought face to face with his past. He thought he could handle coming back but he might have been wrong. As a trained Army Ranger, he’s going to have to use his skills if he wants to keep the only woman he’s ever loved alive.
Will their past become their future or will their futures be destroyed forever?(Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Breaking Point by Marji Laine — Ever since her father’s death, Alynne Stone has had a series of strange “accidents.” Police Lieutenant Jason Danvers believes her father was murdered. He tries to connect the attempts on Alynne’s life, but things just don’t add up. Even in a small town, the mere rumor of treasure can change lives, end friendships…maybe even kill? Still dealing with the pain of his own wife’s death, he can’t allow an innocent woman’s life to be snuffed out on his watch. Especially one who shines as bright as Alynne. (Romantic Suspense, Write Integrity Press)

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills — FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. (Romantic Suspense, Tyndale House)

Thriller:
The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal — Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them. With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where only criminal minds and unlikely strategies will keep the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault, hovering in the mesosphere. Even Tyler is more than he seems, and Talia begins to wonder: Is he helping her? Or using her access to CIA resources to pull off an epic heist for his own dark purposes? (Techno-thriller from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Fast Track to Traditional Publishing

Please join me in welcoming my very dear friend, the Queen of Suspense, Connie Queen as she shares her tips on the fast track to traditional publishing.  Connie is a brand new author with Love Inspired Suspense! Please also leave a comment for your chance to win a super, cool custom-made coffee mug!

The Fast Track to Traditional PublishingConnie cropped

Crickets chirping.

Do you hear that? Yeah, me too. Silence.

If you’re looking for the secret pill or magic formula to get your stories contracted quickly by a traditional publisher, I’m afraid I have no clue. But I do have some things I’ve learned along the way that I’ve found helpful and can hopefully encourage you to continue trudging along on this crazy path of becoming published authors.

First, let me thank Sharee for inviting me today. She’s a sweet friend and a great encourager of both published and unpublished authors. I love her books and am honored she asked me to be her guest.

In addition to encouragement from my family and faith in God, there are gobs of writing advice out there that has benefited me. I’m going to narrow down my list to three, and these do tend to overlap.

  1. Time doesn’t matter. That’s right. Don’t worry about how long you’ve been writing. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep submitting. Unless you’ve just quit your day job and you’ve got ten hungry mouths to feed, stop rushing your journey. I only say this because we all want, me included, to receive the call or that next big contract right now. Today. Yesterday would be even better.

I’d been writing for over twenty years before I got the call. My first rejection came in 1999 by a Harlequin editor. Many of you will reach your goals much earlier than that, some later. It really is okay.

  1. Don’t compare apples to oranges. If we were all trying to get to Texas, Writer A in Oklahoma should arrive before Writer B from Montana. What if I had compared myself to the author who received a contract after pursuing publication for only two years? I’m married with 8 kids. Did I really sit down every day and write with kids running around the house? Nope. Sometimes months, even years, went by with little progress. It would be unfair to compare my journey to someone who is single, studies the craft, has a degree in creative writing and sits down to write three hours every single day. Yes, it’s cliché, but don’t compare apples to oranges. It just isn’t fair. It’ll leave you feeling inadequate and sometimes bitter toward those who “seem” to have an easier time.

Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep submitting.

We all start in different places and have different things going on in our lives. Day job? Kids at home? Helping elderly parents? Health issues? Going through a divorce or a major life change? Or maybe you’re an empty nester for the first time (waving my hand ecstatically) and things are calm. Some write a book every month (I know, I still can’t grasp that…) and some take years to complete a single manuscript. Some are natural-born story tellers and others must learn through trial and error. Really, it’s okay.

Just keep writing. Keep learning… Well, you get it.

  1. Have fun! This is the Grand Poohbah of writing. Whether your goal is to increase someone’s faith, entertain, educate or offer hope, enjoy the process. Life is short. No doubt, I will still have writing challenges and setbacks no matter how many books I publish, but I love my critique partners, a special mentor who took me under her wing, publishing professionals, and all the many people I’ve met along the way. Sharing stories with readers and other writers, really is living the dream. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

What about you? What motivates you to keep writing? Please share any words of wisdom that’s made a difference for you.

Share your comments below and one person will be chosen at random to win this fabulous mug!!coffeemug

Connie Queen is a brand new author for Love Inspired Suspense.
When she’s not writing, she’s busy spending time with her kids and grandkids. She has a houseful of BIG LOVEABLE dogs called Great Danes. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over 33 years. A native-born Texan, she now resides in Nebraska.

Follow Connie at: conniequeenauthor.com

Twitter @ConnieSueQueen

 

 

Welcome Bethany Turner

Friends, I’m so excited to share the fabulously wonderful Bethany Turner! If you haven’t read any of her books yet, stop whatever you’re doing right now (okay not right now but as soon as you’re done reading this post) and get Wooing Cadie McCaffrey. You can read my review here but suffice it to say, I absolutely love, love, love it.

bethany headshotBETHANY: You’re so sweet! And I LOVE when I can cause people to get strange looks in public. Ha ha! Seriously, so glad you’re enjoying it. And thank you so much for asking me to be on the blog! I’m honored.

SHAREE: One of the things I love most about your books is that your characters are real, tackling real life issues, and behaving like normal people. I think your stories are revolutionary to Christian fiction in that respect. I couldn’t help but wonder if you’d gotten any pushback when you first pitched your story ideas to Christian publishers?

BETHANY: First of all, thank you for that. Some readers have appreciated the real-life issues I write about…some have not! But I do think I was prepared a bit for that by the responses I received when I first began sending out queries for The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. I didn’t have an agent until after I had signed with Revell, so I really just pitched to agents. (My editor found me on a list from Writer’s Edge, a manuscript submission service.) Of the agents I queried, about 80% of them said they liked my writing and liked the story, but that the Christian fiction market wasn’t ready for it. They said it would be a very hard sell to publishers. But thirteen days after I got on Writer’s Edge’s list, I was contacted by Revell. They were the only publisher I spoke with, because from the very beginning it was easy to see that my editor was the partner I needed. She wasn’t afraid to shake things up a bit. And soon after, I signed with an agent who is very much on the same page as well. So, yes…there was pushback. And there continues to be pushback…but now it’s from readers. But that’s okay. The positive response definitely overshadows the negative!

SHAREE: You’re a pioneer in Christian Fiction and I’m so excited that you have the support needed to keep publishing these wonderful stories. So, true confessions… Wooing Cadie McCaffrey had me snort-laughing—yes, it’s that good—at my city pool. I’d be embarrassed except it was funny enough I accepted the strange looks I got. Bless you, Bethany and your writing! You’re ah-maze-ing! As you’re writing, do you ever bust out with a case of the giggles?

BETHANY: Wow! What a compliment. Honestly, I do. Once in a while. Most of the time the giggles happen when I land on one line that I think is hilarious, and I don’t care if anyone else thinks it is or not. Usually those lines are relatively obscure. My biggest giggle in Wooing Cadie McCaffrey came because of one simple line: “There is no crying in baseball meetings.” As silly as it sounds, that one still makes me giggle. It’s pure pop culture irrelevance mixed with relevance for the character and relevance to the scene. In The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, it came from a scene in which Sarah is imagining a metaphorical devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, as she deals with being conflicted—but in true Sarah Hollenbeck form, the devil is 1970s-era Stevie Nicks, and the angel is Roma Downey. I think I laughed so hard at that one because I thought I’d never get away with it. But I did!

SHAREE: I love it! And I appreciate the pop-culture references. There were so many great topics within Wooing Cadie McCaffrey! What single message do you hope your readers get from Cadie and Will?

BETHANY: Narrowing it down to one single topic, I’d have to say it’s that we need to be having difficult conversations. With each other, with ourselves, and with God. Some reviewers have said it’s not realistic that Cadie and Will struggle so much with communication, but I beg to differ. Sure, it’s a fictional story with some exaggerated circumstances, but at its heart I think it tells a story that is all too real. We make assumptions, we avoid saying and asking difficult things, and we tell people what we think they want to hear. All the time. Cadie and Will learn the hard way just how much all of those things can get us into trouble.

SHAREE: Communication is definitely a huge part of any relationship and I’d have to agree that it still—and as long as humans are involved, will continue to be—a difficult aspect. Who is your favorite character in Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and why?

BETHANY: Will Whitaker, hands down. This book was the first time I wrote a story alternating between the heroine’s POV and the hero’s, and I’ll tell you…I loved spending time in Will’s head. He is such a good guy—loyal, loving, funny, and kind. But he’s also just the tiniest bit clueless and oblivious. (Okay…more than the tiniest bit…) His obliviousness, partnered with his earnest attempts not to be oblivious, were what made him so frustrating at times, but also irresistibly charming.

SHAREE: Will was so much fun and very easy to like. Readers love to know what the writing life is like. Do you have a certain routine or must-have drink/food when you sit down to write?

BETHANY: Honestly, this is something I always struggle with. Routine. I wish I had a routine! I work a busy full-time job, I’m married to a busy man, and I’m the mother of two busy teenagers. So quite often, I find myself grabbing moments to write whenever I can—but also, all too often, not taking advantage of moments when I could be writing. I will say, though…the one must-have for me when I sit down to write is music. At the start of each new project, I create a music playlist. Songs get added to it as I dive deeper into the story and get to know the characters more, and just like the story helps shape the playlist, the playlist really helps shape the story. Eventually, I reach a point where the playlist helps me cheat a bit. I hear the songs, and I’m instantly in the right headspace for the story.

SHAREE: That has to be one of the coolest things I’ve heard of an author doing. A playlist! Brilliant! What’s your next book about and when does it release?

BETHANY: My next book is called Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish, and it will release in May of 2020—published by Revell. It’s the story of two celebrity chefs who, after a very public altercation, are forced to embark upon the most important stepping stone of their career…together. It’s a romantic comedy, of course, so as you can imagine, sparks fly!

SHAREE: OOOOOOH got it added to my To Be Read list already! I hate to end our time together. You’re so much fun to chat with! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

BETHANY: Apart from just wanting to say how much I appreciate you, and how much I appreciate everyone reading this, I’d just like to say I would love for anyone who’s interested to join me on social media. We have a fair amount of fun there! And for anyone who has read The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck or Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, I’d be thrilled if you’d join me in The Book Club Closest to My House. It’s my reader group on Facebook (named after the reason Sarah Hollenbeck chose her own ultimately life-altering book club), and we have a blast in there! We get together for a live chat every month, and you just never know what’s going to happen…

SHAREE: Bethany, thank you so much for being here today. And for those who haven’t yet read Wooing Cadie McCaffrey, this is your cue to get out there and buy the book! You won’t be disappointed, but you might snort-giggle.

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ISBN-13: 9780800735227 PUBLISHER: Revell

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes by her.  When a  misunderstanding turns into a mistake, leaving her hurt she finally breaks things off.  But for Will, the end of the relationship is only the beginning for his quest to win Cadie back.  It’s a fool-proof plan, what could possibly go wrong?

 

BIO

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a Christy Award finalist. When she’s not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook: www.facebook.com/seebethanywrite

Instagram: @seebethanywrite

Twitter: @seebethanywrite

Website: www.seebethanywrite.com

The Book Club Closest to My House: www.facebook.com/groups/closesttomyhouse

 

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

cadie cover

ISBN-13: 9780800735227 PUBLISHER: Revell

Bethany Turner has changed my reading preferences. I never even knew how much I liked RomCom until I read her first book, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. And now, she’s on my top MUST-READ list. Wooing Cadie McCaffrey takes happily-ever-after and flips it around in the most uniquely told romance of man wins woman’s love.
Will Whitaker is determined to win Cadie’s love again and the lengths he’ll go to will keep you laughing and endear this hero to your heart. There is nothing predictable about Wooing Cadie McCaffrey. Ms. Turner reaches into the depths of a Christian woman’s heart to always do the right thing in a confusing world of changing expectations and norms. This romance offers a wild adventure ride and you’ll have a blast the entire time.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn’t love her in the “forever” way she loves him, Cadie believes it’s time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It’s a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Bethany Turner is back with more of the heart and humor readers love. Anyone who enjoys a good romance or binges romantic comedies on Netflix will devour this delightful story.

A Heart Surrendered

bookcoverA Heart Surrendered tells the story of a woman desperate to please her parents while fighting her own heart’s desires. Sharonda knows the expectations of being a preacher’s kid, and she’s accepted her role. Sacrifice and surrender are something she has become accustomed to providing to the people she loves, until a blast from her past returns awakening the longing she buried many years before.

Joy K. Massenburge delivers a compelling romance transforming the reader into the lives of the characters and offering not only a realistic view, but an authentic peek into the pressures of ministry life. I absolutely loved A Heart Surrendered and devoured the story. Without hesitation I can give this book five out of five stars and recommend it as a top read.