Especially for Writers

You have to actually finish a story to experience these emotions . . .

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Pegg Thomas Tells a Horse Tale

Excited to share with you a post from one of my favorite authors and bestest friends, Pegg Thomas. She’s a fan of horses, to put it mildly, and always has a story to tell. I’m tickled that she’s telling one for us here:

When I started writing “Embattled Hearts”– for The Pony Express Romance Collection, I decided to model one of the Pony Express horses after our son’s horse. Jason, retired Thoroughbred racehorse, had passed away almost a year to the day when I started writing this novella. He was a very special horse, and so his character in the story plays a very special role—that I won’t disclose or it will spoil the story.

But let me tell you about Jason. He came to us when he was 11 years old and our son was 13. Standing sixteen-two hands tall and black as can be, Jason was one of the most level-headed horses I’ve ever been around. He had a been-there, done-that, got-the-t-shirt kind of attitude. He wasn’t what they call a “push-button” horse. He had a mind of his own and a will to match the most stubborn teenager.

Jeff and Jason, 2003

While our son often had to chase Jason around the pasture to catch him, usually had to mount on the move, and had to learn equipment repair because Jason didn’t mind breaking things, I knew my boy was safe with the big horse. Without a mean bone in his body, Jason nevertheless kept our son on his toes.

The horse was smart. Jeff wanted to ride in the 4-H of July parade the year after we got Jason. I walked along the parade route at the side, in case anything unexpected happened. Jason did great until we came to the railroad tracks, and there he stopped. He wasn’t budging. I walked close to him and got his attention, then I stepped on the tracks and stepped back off while Jason watched me. I told him to follow me—without touching his bridle—and I stepped across the tracks. He followed. In the years to come, he was in many more parades and never once hesitated at the tracks again.

Jason grazing late evening 2006

Our son decided that trail riding wasn’t exciting enough, so he entered Jason in the speed and action events. Several horse people told him that his big Thoroughbred couldn’t compete with the smaller, more nimble Quarter horses. Never tell a stubborn teenager with horse like Jason that they “can’t” do something. The Rubbermaid tote full of ribbons proved those so-called horse people wrong.

Jason lived just weeks shy of his 25th birthday. I still miss him. I guess I always will.



Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” An avid reader and writer, she enjoys fiction stories threaded through historical events and around historical figures. Civil War and Colonial are her favorite eras. Pegg is a regular blogger at both and When not working on her latest novel, Pegg can be found in her garden, in her kitchen, at her spinning wheel, tending her sheep, or on her trusty old horse, Trooper. See more at


You can find Pegg here:







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Especially for Writers

Posted in Authors, write tips, Writing, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Super-Sized BookSweeps Giveaway!

Guess what? I’ve teamed up with 40+ fantastic authors of sweet- to-mild, small-town contemporary romances to give away a huge collection of novels to two (yes, only two!) lucky winners, PLUS a Kindle Fire to the Grand Prize winner!

You can win my novel Give the Lady a Ride, plus books from authors like Jenny B. Jones and Leanna Morgan.

Just look at some of these covers!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

Contest runs from April 17 through April 24, so be sure to sign up! And if you do, let me know.

Good luck, and enjoy!


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He is Risen!


God sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth in human form to reconcile the world to Himself so that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus endured the severe sentence placed upon Him—capital punishment, death on the cross—not because He sinned, but because the world had. Jesus was slain to pay the penalty for a world of lost sinners. His sacrifice applies as much to us in the 21st century (John 17:20) as it did to those who nailed Him to the cross and mocked him.

And for those of us who believe, He showed us what Eternity looks like by rising again from the dead and living even now. His story isn’t just about His death, but His eternal life.

God put Eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and Jesus shows us how we can obtain it (John 5:24).

God is not a human who lies, not a mortal who changes his mind. When He says something, He will do it; when He makes a promise, He will fulfill it (Numbers 23:19, Complete Jewish Bible).

Rejoice! He is Risen!

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Especially for Writers


Posted in Authors, write tips, Writing, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Writing the First Draft

Few statements pertaining to writing are more true than this one. Infallible logic expressed here. Infallible.

Your first draft is going to be a mess. You can read all the writing posts you want, study every book on the subject, reach the point where you feel you know what you’re doing, and even then, you’ll often want to use your first draft as bird-cage liner. Kitty litter. Fireplace tinder.

And it will be that way every single time. Why? Because every novel you write is going to present its own challenges.

Your first novel presents the challenge of just finishing the thing. The second is often more difficult than the first, especially if you’ve been studying the craft and trying to become a better writer. As time goes and you get more novels behind your belt, you find other aspects of the craft that need honing.

Eventually, certain things become second nature. You recognize when you’ve erroneously shifted the POV or you need more descriptive detail or your scene isn’t moving the plot. But there’s always something—there will always be something—that needs work. Sharpening. Shaping. Omitting entirely.

That’s the nature and the beauty of the first draft. Not only is it kitty litter, it’s a learning tool. If you don’t recognize what needs work, someone you trust will happily point it out to you and explain why it doesn’t work and how to make it better. You learn. You begin to watch for it in your next novel. Eventually, you add it to the list of things you can do by rote.

So, in truth, even if you tried to avoid bad writing, you won’t be successful in that first draft. Not everything is going to be perfect in that first round.

Here’s another tidbit: as you study and improve, you’ll discover that you have a whole new definition of “bad writing,” and if you take the craft seriously at all, you’ll be harder on yourself with each new novel you write.

If you’re not careful, you’ll get stymied by trying to do the impossible: write a perfect first draft. The harder you try, the more stymied you’ll become until you can’t get past the opening scene.

So accept it. It’s not like you haven’t heard it before. That first draft is going to be kitty litter. Embrace it. Relish in the thought that it’s not carved in stone. It can be fixed. It can be changed. But first, it has to be written.

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Especially for Writers


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Web Site Reveal

I think it’s ready–my new website,, that is.

I’m proud of it. We spent a year trying to get it ready. Between my schedule and my designer’s schedule, we rarely clicked, but when we did, the result was great.

Peter Connolly designed it. Pete is Kat Connolly’s husband, and Kat is a precious friend of mine. She actually came to see me once, and we traipsed all over town together, had some good heart to hearts, and just plain visited. Kat’s working on a wonderful fantasy novel, and I can’t wait for her to finish so I can share with the world!

Pete and Kat are fun, crazy people, and I’m honored to have them in my life, regardless of how far away they are.

In other news, The Final Ride won the Texas Association of Authors’ Best Fiction Award for Christian fiction.

Have to admit, I’m excited.

Anyway, enough of that. Go see my new website and tell me what you think!

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Newest in Christian Titles!

April 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])


Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti — Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)


Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent — When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends–not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])


sunset-in-old-savannahSunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis — When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)


Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith — In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:



A Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson — Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood’s heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer — In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas — Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:
plain-targetPlain Target by Dana R. Lynn — Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother’s name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she’d ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he’s also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink — Four weeks before she’s set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband’s memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

deep-extractionDeep Extraction by DiAnn Mills — Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend’s husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)


Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch — When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Guardian by Terri Reed — When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who’s important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Witch by Denise Weimer — Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:

The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed — Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

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