Especially for Writers


By the way:

I’m holding a giveaway for Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection. Click on the image in the sidebar . . .

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Chandra Lynn Smith Loves Tiny Houses

The Coming Home collection is Chandra Lynn Smith’s first publication, and she’s so excited, I can see her beaming from here.  She’s an amazing woman with an amazing history, but for us, she’s just another tiny house lover. ~~~~

I love tiny houses. The creativity and beauty of them is impressive.

Four years ago my husband built a pool house from scratch. He used plans he drew up himself. It is about as cute and cozy as it can be. It has electric, an area for two little lofts. Each of our sons has told us he would move into the tiny house in a heartbeat!

Last fall as I began writing The Light Holding Her, my novella for our collection, I actually took my laptop out to the pool house for the ambience and feel as I created my characters and plotted the story.

Would you live in a tiny house? Yes and no. I will admit, I have too much stuff. And honestly, I like a lot of my stuff! We live in a pre-revolutionary war brick farmhouse in which as the picture shows, there is a lot of room for our stuff! It is our dream home and I cannot think of anywhere I would rather live.

But, it would be fun to have a tiny cabin somewhere in the mountains for little getaways.

Would you want a tiny house on wheels or a foundation? We used to have a camper. We wore that camper out taking our sons and dogs on all sorts of excursions. Some of our best family times happened on those trips. For me, camping is camping. It is fun and because I love nature, the best type of vacation. However, if I had a tiny house I would not want it on wheels. I prefer my domicile be stationary.

Where would you want to put it/take it? This brings me back to my novella in our book, Coming Home a Tiny House Collection. The main character in The Light Holding Her, Julia Adkins, lives in a tiny house. Her house is built on stilts in the forest along a mountain lake in West Virginia. I could definitely spend many long weekends in Julia’s tiny treehouse.

And, if you would like to live vicariously through some interesting characters, in challenging situations with real life struggles check out our novella collection.


Chandra Lynn Smith is a 2015 Genesis winner. She writes contemporary fiction filled with inspiration, intrigue, romance, and dogs. Twenty-nine years as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer provides her with a variety of canine characters. Chandra and her husband are the proud parents of four sons and joyous grandparents to the most beautiful granddaughter in the world. They live on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania. Their house is often filled with their two dogs, all four sons, three fiancés, a granddaughter, any number of friends, and anywhere from four to eight “grand-dogs.”

You can find her at

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Yvonne Anderson on Tiny House Living

Another one of the contributors to the tiny house collection explains why tiny house living isn’t for her—but she wrote a terrific story for Coming Home!

Tiny House Living – One Woman’s Thoughts

When some of my writer friends talked about doing a novella collection with tiny houses as a theme, my first thought was, “Nah, that’s not for me.” I write long speculative novels, not short contemporary fiction. But after a while, it sounded like fun, and my friends let me hop aboard. Some even joked my contribution would be called, “Love Finds You in a Tiny House on Mars.”

Tempting as it was, I didn’t write that story. Instead, I set my novella in the community where my husband and I lived for thirty happy years. I enjoyed my research on tiny houses, but not as much as my mental visit to my old hometown. The collection’s title, Coming Home, is fitting, as writing the story felt like that for me.

But would I want to come home to a tiny house, as my protagonist does? That’s an easy question, and the answer is, “Thanks, but I’ll pass.”

Though my husband and I never met until we were adults, we were both born and raised in the city. Unbeknownst to the other, we both told our parents that when we grew up, we would move to the country. Then we met, married, and carried out the plan (much to our mothers’ dismay). Our first house, which I called the Little House in the Big Woods, was a 700-sq.-ft. Cape Cod in rural Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Tiny houses didn’t exist then as we know them today, but if they did, our little place would have been too big to qualify. But it was too small for our comfort, especially after our second child came along. When I wasn’t picking up toys, I was tripping over them. With a small farm and large vegetable gardens, we raised all our own food. That required space for canning equipment, a sizeable deep freeze, a second refrigerator for the eggs we sold, and shelving for my 800+ canning jars. We had to constantly rearrange things to make it all fit.

Needing room to grow, we moved into an old 3000 square-foot farmhouse. The additional space gave me a wonderful sense of freedom. Storage capacity galore. The kids had a place to play other than under my feet. I could walk through the house with my arms outstretched and not bump into anything. Such luxury!

Did I say luxury? I exaggerate. We’d put a lot of work into our first house, and it was a nice little place when we left. In contrast, our next house should have been condemned. For example, I had to clear fallen plaster from the table each day before we could eat at it. No matter. I preferred the roomy ruins over the cuter but cramped little house.

Nowadays, it’s just my husband and me again. In 2013, after having spent three decades repairing and beautifying the old run-down farmhouse, we downsized. But the new house was still twice the size of our first little place. Even after all these years, the idea of living in a tiny space again makes my skin crawl.

I’ve traveled in a motor home and enjoyed hauling our temporary house with us. I could vacation in a tiny house and find it adorable. But my year-round home must have room at the table for my grown kids and their families. I need to get away from the television’s noise when my husband’s watching it. I want space in my kitchen to prepare a full Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t relish having to crawl across the bedroom or bump my head when I sit up in bed. And two bathrooms—or at least a bath and a half—is a must-have.

I admire the creativity of the designers who can make such great use of a tiny house’s small space—and make it look good besides! But for me, that sort of thing is only appropriate for temporary living. I’d be more likely to look for love on Mars than make a tiny house my permanent home.

Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.

Usually, that means out of this world and into outer space, or to another planet, as in her acclaimed Gateway to Gannah series. (Book 1, The Story in the Stars, was an ACFW Carol Award finalist in 2012.)

Also this year, she’s launching a new multi-phase adventure, The Four Lives of Jemma Freeman. As with the Gannah series, the story is set on a fictional planet, but the characters are human. Very human. You probably know some of them.

Look for the first part of Book 1, Stillwaters, coming soon on ebook.

Find Yvonne at these sites:




Amazon Author Page:


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Especially for Writers

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Kimberli McKay, the Reluctant Contributor

Time to hear from another of my sweet friends and fellow authors, contributor to the Coming Home collection, Kimberli McKay. I pretty much had to drag her into this project, but I’m glad I did. She wrote a terrific story. ~~~

It was a “novel” idea—a collection of stories with a tiny house theme. At first, I declined to participate, but as it just so happened, I was in the midst of writing a novella that contained a carpentry program for at-risk teens. As a pastor’s wife who believes in the providence of God, I couldn’t deny this was a fantastic coincidence. And having lived in Texas for two decades, I knew better than to say no when your gracious blog host insisted I participate or she would come to the Carolinas and whoop me. (Folks, do not mess with Texas or with Texas women!)

The problem? At the time, I wasn’t familiar with tiny houses. One of our co-authors suggested we watch shows featuring tiny homes on HGTV. I did so each Monday with my husband, and we were amazed at the functionality of these compact living quarters that offered various solutions for individuals, families, and communities.

During my research, I created a Tiny House board on Pinterest and found attractive floorplans that ranged from cottages to converted train cars. It wasn’t long before my husband and I decided we would someday put a tiny home on land in the Blue Ridge Mountains as an occasional getaway. We agreed it should have a cabin look with a porch. Many tiny homes have an interior loft that serves as a bedroom. While I’m not opposed to a loft (as long as it has stairs and not a ladder I would likely fall from), the bedroom would be downstairs behind the kitchen, next to a bathroom that includes a full shower. The living area would be as spacious as possible under the circumstances, with windows that offer a phenomenal view of the mountains we love.

Some tiny houses are very tiny—as small as 200 square feet. My husband and I are tall, so our tiny cabin would have up to 600 square feet.

Since my husband is a pastor of a rural church in eastern North Carolina, a cabin in the mountains was once a far-off dream. But the affordability of a tiny home brings that dream closer to reality. And we never would have known if it hadn’t been for a providential twist of faith and the stubbornness of a Texas gal who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

About Kimberli:

Kimberli McKay is the author of North of Broad, Eternal Weight of Glory, Stormcatcher and more. After moving to the Carolinas from Texas, she served as Development Coordinator for an Upstate SC seminary. In addition to writing, her hobbies include genealogy, knitting, and the study of Carolina history. She currently resides in eastern North Carolina where her husband has served as senior pastor for nearly ten years.

Find Kimberli on Facebook  and on Amazon.

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Interview with Mike Ehret, Author and Jokester Extraordinaire

I’d love to take credit for the design of this interview, but it’s all from the mind of Michael Ehret, the only male contributor to our new release, Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection. The guy’s a riot—I get a kick out of him, and his novella “Big Love” is one of my favorites in the collection.

Me? Live tiny? But what about … ?

Today, I’m talking with one of my co-authors for the Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection about whether he could live in a tiny house or not. And when I say “he,” if you’re familiar with the collection at all, then you know I can only be talking with Michael Ehret, author of “Big Love,” since he’s the only man in the tiny house.

But, before we get to whether Mike could live tiny, I have another burning question:

What was it like to work on a collection with six other authors, all of them women? And watch what you say, now, because we’re all listening. But do speak freely, of course. No pressure.

First of all, Linda, thanks for the invite to your blog. I’m glad to be here, even though I prefer spearmint to peppermint. Ahem.

What was it like working with six women? With no exaggeration, I can say that working on Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection with all women was … an enlightening experience and I think it will inform how I write any future female characters. Is that enough? Can I safely back away yet?

No? Truthfully, it was a fantastic experience. Once I understood that every question asked to the group about anything—absolutely anything—would result in a minimum of two dozen email responses (if you’re counting, that’s only four responses from each of them), then it was all good. I got to the point where I would ask Ane, one of the co-authors and pack leader, “is there anything in all of these emails I MUST respond to?” and she would provide guidance.

The absolute best thing, though, was that every one of them is an encourager. And that truly was a blessing to me during this process. Even when editing my manuscript, encouragement was the rule. I hope they were that way with each other, and not just with me so as to not scare “the man” away.

So, we’re dying to know. Could you live in a tiny house?

My wife, Deb and I have actually talked about the idea and, truthfully, we vacillate. Some days we think, yes, indeed, that kind of forced simplicity would be mentally and spiritually freeing. Other days, we’re all: “What about our books (we have hundreds)? What about our CDs (I have thousands)? What about our DVDs (more than enough, if you ask Deb; severely lacking, if you ask me)?”

But here’s what all the discussions actually come down to: We like to entertain. We’re the place where most of the family gatherings take place. Out-of-town guests? Bring ‘em on! We are gifted with hosting and welcoming and just can’t see giving all of that up. So, in the end, could we live in a tiny home? Yes, we could. Would we choose to? Probably not.

Let’s say you made the decision to live in a tiny home. What would it look like?

The best houses we’ve lived in over the years have been older houses. We’ve owned homes built in 1910, 1942, 1937—and love them all. We’re very attracted to the Craftsman Bungalow style of home. So our tiny house would have to have great roof lines, a strong front porch, wood floors, and dark wood accents throughout.

We are also fond of living near water, so a floating tiny home like this one might work. Though it’s not really tiny at 960 sq. ft.

Still, for a true tiny house, maybe something like this. This one is 400 sq. ft, but looks like so much more to the eye. I think I’d be willing to have this as a vacation home somewhere down south where we might spend the winters? Does that count?

How do your characters in “Big Love” interact with tiny houses?

Very differently. My female lead, Berly, owns a company that builds tiny houses—but she does it as a way to provide inexpensive housing for people who are, or nearly are, homeless. But she doesn’t live in a tiny home herself, although she does have a tiny bungalow in Broad Ripple in Indianapolis, so not a LOT bigger than a tiny house.

Rafe, however, is all about the ostentatious. His apartment in Chicago, though not huge, is not tiny house living. He is uncomfortable with tiny houses because of an experience he had as a child when he and his mother lost their home due to unforeseen circumstances. Plus, as a writer for an architecture journal, tiny houses seem like a frivolous fad to him, rather than an up and coming trend. So, he’s not a big fan.

So, Berly and Rafe are on opposite sides of the tiny house phenomenon. What could possibly bring a civic-minded entrepreneur and a high-minded architecture nerd together? That’s the “What if” of my novella, “Big Love.” And I love the answer. Hope the readers do, too.

About Mike:

Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation to write and is a freelance editor at In addition, he’s served as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). He pays the bills as a marketing communications writer and sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star. He has a “Big Love” for tiny houses.

Thanks, Mike!

You can find our novella collection on Amazon.

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Especially for Writers

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Betty Owens’s Trenton, TN

If you’re ever driving down Highway 45W in (north) West Tennessee and see the sign for Trenton, don’t take the bypass. A short jaunt through town will lead you to the square where you’ll be greeted by an unusual sight. Trenton is the governmental seat of Gibson County, Tennessee. But don’t expect to see a red-brick, white-columned courthouse. Boring!

Trenton’s courthouse was completed in 1901, in “high” Victorian style with multi-colored brickwork, turrets, and a cupola. At first glance…well, you might want to pull into a parking spot and gape. I lived in Trenton as an adolescent, and I still want to stop and look.

There are other “cute” things about Trenton, Tennessee, like the world’s largest collection of teapots. Yes, you read that right. And these are no ordinary teapots, but Veilleuses-theieres (pronounced vay-uhz tay-air). They’re night-light teapots. Here’s a link if you’re interested: A tea-riffic place to live! They even have a festival every spring, complete with a teapot-lighting.

Oh, and by the way, as you cruise through town, you might want to pay attention to your speed. The limit is 31-miles-per-hour. I’m not sure how strict they are about it, since I’ve never been stopped there.

I have been asked (several times) why I chose Trenton as the location for my Kinsman Redeemer series. I think we actually lived there less than a year when I was in sixth grade. But it was a lovely town and the courthouse tends to hook you. I think I need to write a scene there in the third installment.

I chose Trenton because of its familiar location, I still have family there, and I didn’t want to use the actual location where my grandmother lived. That’s a few miles away in a smaller town. Not that I’m using anyone who ever lived, but many of my characters may…well, resemble those who once lived there.

The original story in Annabelle’s Ruth follows the pattern of the Biblical story of Ruth. Annabelle’s daughter-in-law, Connie Cross, is my main character. Connie is Annabelle’s Ruth. She follows her mother-in-law back to her home in Trenton, Tennessee. In Sutter’s Landing, the story continues—and, I have to confess, it’s a bit more romantic.

A long time ago, my seventeen-year-old mother left her home and family in Seattle, Washington to live with my dad’s family in West Tennessee. So I blended reality with fantasy and stirred in a heaping helping of Biblical background. It was a joy to write, because I was able to draw from my precious memories of family and their neighbors. And research always includes stopping in to visit the cousins—a definite perk!

The era and setting for the Kinsman Redeemer series is important, because of racial bias during those days. It was quite prevalent in the south, but I don’t really get down and gritty about it, it’s just a fact of life. The attitudes of many of my characters show what “normal” life, customs, and beliefs were during those days. Things may well get a little ugly before it’s over, but I can tell you this, those who practice true faith in Jesus will never turn their backs on their brothers and sisters, no matter what shade their skin, or how bulky their wallet.

Small-town stories fascinate me, but they’re a bit of a challenge to write. There are so many characters, you have to be careful not to confuse the reader. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t always succeed. Maybe I should’ve re-read Cheaper by the Dozen before writing this series.

Sutter’s Landing, Book 2 Kinsman Redeemer series should be available for pre-order in mid-May, ahead of an early to mid-June release.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. Many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, but Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As Spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming wedding and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and a possible new neighbor provide diversion and fresh hope.

Betty Thomason Owens is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy (2014), Carlotta’s Legacy (2016) Books 1 & 2, Legacy Series from Write Integrity Press (WIP), and the Grace-Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth (2015), and Sutter’s Landing (2017), Books 1 & 2, Kinsman Redeemer Series, also from WIP. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Amazon Author Page

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Especially for Writers

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New Christian Titles for May

May 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)

Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:


The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

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