Wayfarer–the birth of a superhero

Katie has a new one!!!

And for KM Weiland fans everywhere, it’s about time. Katie takes time with her work, going over it with such a fine-toothed comb that by the time she sends it to me, there’s nothing more to add, except when I can’t visualize a scene. And trust me, that’s rare.

First thing I noticed was that she changed the spelling of her name. I don’t know if she’s developing a new pseudonym or if she just wants folks to pronounce it right. If it’s the latter, I definitely understand. I’ve been tempted to change my moniker to Linda W. Yezick. Maybe that would help.

The cover is amazing and appropriate for the story. Once you read it, you’ll realize that every single element in the cover is detailed in the novel.

Here are a few great reasons to grab Wayfarer:

  1. It’s the first in a series that promises to be epic. My bet is that someday, there will be graphic novels, movies, TV series based on this. Yes, it’s that good!
  2. If you’re a fan of Katie’s books on writing—and she has been recognized worldwide as an authority for several years now—then you’ll want to read her fiction and see her how-tos put into action. You can see the results of her meticulous planning,  understand the importance of structure, discover unique characterization, and observe expert dialogue, complete with subtext.
  3. Aside from all that, it’s just a good book. A great read. A perfect escape from whatever ails you.

Folks, even if you don’t read a lot of fantasy/adventure you’re gonna love this one! Highly recommended!

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Especially for Writers

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I Remember 9/11/2001

I will never forget.

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Especially for Writers

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September Christian Titles

September 2018 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

A Baby for the Minister by Laurel Blount — Jilted at the altar, Natalie Davis has no one she can turn to—until Jacob Stone steps in. The single minister’s drawn to the beautiful mommy-to-be and wants to help…even if it goes against his congregation’s wishes and could cost him his job. But when she refuses to accept charity, can he convince her she’s more than a ministry project? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Courting Her Secret Heart by Mary Davis — Deborah Miller lives a double life as an Amish woman—and a fashion model! All photography is forbidden in her Plain community, so she must keep her job a secret. But when Amos Burkholder starts helping at her family’s farm, hiding the truth from him is impossible. And soon she must choose between the Englischer world of modeling and the Amish man she’s come to love. (Contemporary Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

12 Gifts of Christmas by Lena Nelson Dooley — Can Malcolm MacGregor, a contemporary descendant of Scottish lairds, capture the heart of Brazilian-Italian beauty, Alanza Cantalamessa, in 12 days? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

All Made Up by Kara Isaac — Katriona McLeod has never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she’s ever loved. When she accepts a job as a make up artist on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she’s cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Amish Holiday Wedding by Carrie Lighte — On the brink of losing her bakery, the last thing Faith Yoder’s interested in is courting—until Hunter Schwartz returns to Willow Creek. After hiring him to deliver her treats to a Christmas festival, Faith’s determined their relationship will stay strictly professional. But despite a secret that’s kept her single, Faith can’t help but wish she and Hunter could become husband and wife. (Contemporary Amish Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Cozy Mystery:

Deadly Holiday by Marissa Shrock — The Christmas season greets Georgia Winston with a new boyfriend (maybe), a Christmas program to run, and a man dying at her feet. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)


General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction

From the Lake to the River by JPC Allen, Bettie Boswell, Carole Brown, Sandra Merville Hart, Tamera Lynn Kraft, Sharyn Kopf, Michelle Levigne, Cindy Thomson, and Rebecca Waters — Set in Ohio, in the past and present, these nine short stories and novellas by Ohio authors cover a wide range of genres, topics and locations. From Troy in the west to the North Coast and south-central Ohio. From Lake Erie to the Ohio River. From romance to YA adventure, with touches of mystery and humor. Dealing with historical events and situations, such as floods and the lasting effects of the Civil War. With characters involved in square dancing, theater, and music. Dealing with loss and danger, a second chance at love and taking a chance on love for the first time. Chances are good, no matter what you have a taste for reading, you’ll find something to like. Welcome to a taste of the Buckeye State! (General Contemporary from Mt Zion Ridge Press)

Place Called Home by Brenda S. Anderson — While building his graphic design company, Nate Brooks is focused on the future he’s dreamed of: traveling around the country from the comfort of his renovated school bus. But when he picks up a wounded, mysterious hitchhiker, those well-laid plans take a backseat to protecting her. Hobbled by her injury, and unable to keep running from her controlling ex, Tessa fears she’ll never find freedom. Or has she found it with the family who graciously opens their home to her? And will Nate’s protection put his family–and his heart–at risk? (Women’s Fiction, Independently Published)

Swimming in the Deep End by Christina Suzann Nelson — Jillian Connors has big expectations for her teenage daughter, Gabby, an Olympic hopeful—until Gabby becomes pregnant with her boyfriend Travis’s child. Meanwhile, Margaret Owens is furious that Gabby’s condition jeopardizes her son’s baseball scholarship. In the midst of the family drama lies the fate of the unborn baby. What does the future hold for him? (General Contemporary from Kregel Publications)


Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson — A gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted the evils of the Hitler regime in their own extraordinary way. (Historical from Tyndale House)

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick — A Victorian woman who traveled 15,000 miles by stage between 1870-98 decides to tell the story behind her memoir believing her husband will never see it. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Enya’s Son by Cindy Thomson — This retelling of the early life of St. Columcille and his mother will usher readers on a fateful journey through ancient Ireland’s monastic centers, her wild coastline islands, and the land Columcille believed was filled with holy angels, a place where he felt safe … yet was destined to abandon. (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:

Victorian Christmas Brides by C.J. Chase, Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Vanessa Riley, Lorna Seilstads, and Erica Vetsch — Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Esther’s Temptation by Lena Nelson Dooley — Saddle weary, former deputy US Marshal Jac Andrews rides into Denton, Texas hunting a swindler-and-daughter criminal team and finally feels he’s caught up to them. Unfortunately, he becomes distracted by the lovely redhead, Esther Brians. Esther, feeling like an old maid surrounded by all her close friends who are happy married couples, is drawn to the intense gaze, blue as the Texas sky, of an unknown cowboy. But several things cause her to become wary of his intentions—and his spiritual well-being. Has this unsaved lawman captured Esther’s heart or will the Lord deliver her from the temptation of Jac’s presence? What will it take for Jac to win this lovely lady and become Esther’s husband? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Sound of Distant Thunder by Jan Drexler — Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation? (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Romantic Suspense:

Loving the Texas Negotiator by Mary Connealy — Beth Garrison is the top hostage negotiator in Rocky Ridge Texas. She’s called in to a task force to investigate a killing that is a copy cat of her first bust as a rookie cop. The Valentine Killer.
Tate McCade, with the best arrest record on the force and a reputation for steamrolling anyone who gets in his way, heads the task force. He’s had a run-in with Beth and her oversized ego. He’s got a bruise on his face to prove it. Rather than have the pleasure of busting her back to walking a beat, he has to work with her. And the clock is ticking because there’s a woman and child missing and nothing about the crime adds up. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)


Guardian of Ajalon by Joan Campbell — The poison tree path is Shara’s road home. . .if she and her companions can survive the journey. In the danger and darkness of the forest, her only respite is in the story unlocked in the Old Tongue book. In this vivid world, Shara finally discovers what she has longed for all her life: the key to the secrets of her past. Yet time is running out for Shara—and all of Tirragyl—as Lord Lucian, King Alexor, and the royal army attack the Guardian Grotto to claim the powerful Guardian Rock. Unwilling to sit idly by as her kingdom is destroyed, Queen Nyla leaves her hiding place to recruit a most unlikely army—the Charab. But how can she win over the infamous assassins who have been oppressed by her family for generations? (Speculative Allegory from Enclave Publishing)

Preorder for November:

Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak
When Kerry Graham’s boss forces her to return to the Gulf of Mexico where her husband drowned years ago, she feels only spring’s chill and not the warmth of the Texas sun. Can the joy of a reclusive author and the compassion of a shrimp-boat preacher thaw Kerry’s frigid heart?

Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson
With the untimely death of his wife, Dr. James Gillespie believes God has abandoned him. He also believes he’s never met anyone like the young widow Lillie Beth, whose beloved Granny lies dying at home, and who sees a God who sweeps hope through a farmhouse window. Can a young woman whose husband died in Vietnam restore a faith that is all but dead.

Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton
Because her larger than life mother Daphne Goodwyn is dead, forty-year-old Cate returns to Memphis with one thought in mind: something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral. But surrounded by the well-mannered society that raised her, the nostalgic rites of a three-day, autumn mourning bring the unexpected gift of the end of sibling rivalry.

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan
With Broadway stardom within her reach, Morgan James returns home in winter to help an old friend. Maybe it s just nostalgia, but when she sees him again, an old flame rekindles. When she s called back to NYC to take the lead in a new musical, will fame be worth losing the man she loves?

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Especially for Writers

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The Write Path, with guest Betty Owens

In perfect timing after after Monday’s “The Dangers of SOTP Writing” article, Betty Thomason Owens shares a positive experience with writing by the seat of the pantsThree cheers for chasing rabbits . . .

I had the perfect plan for my final book in the Legacy series. For the first time in my life, I was using a plan. I’d laid it all out in advance…plotted the story. This was going to be fun.

Then one of the characters, who happened to be a pivotal one—my original antagonist—surprised me. This guy was prom king, a football hero, troubled, but popular at school. He tended to party too hard, and he’d tried to take my protagonist with him, until her dad put a stop to it, which only drove him harder. Then he was out to get her, make her turn back to him.

In my plan, he’d been awarded a free ride, a football scholarship. I was all set to write a chapter having him stop at home to grab his belongings and head to college. That’s when the surprise came. I had not planned on what met him at the door of his home, nor did I plan on how it all played out. But the words came fast and furious. It had to be right. It felt right.

After that chapter, I had to find a way to use what I had learned about this character. I read the chapter again. And again. And then, in true pantser fashion, I followed its lead. The storyline was stronger, rich with life and drama and angst. I’d been given a glimpse into something real.

Down the road, my antagonist would reach a turning point, and it wouldn’t end the way I’d planned. But I love how it played out. As I formed the words at the end of the story, I smiled. Well, I cried a little too, because life had worked through a difficult situation and turned it into destiny.

As a writer, I spend hours making up stuff. When I’m finished polishing the things I’ve made up, I hope it looks like real life. I hope it mirrors images. The little surprises that come along the way fortify the stories and make them more real. Sometimes real life isn’t pretty. Not all stories will end well.

My best laid plans may be interrupted by real life. When life intervenes, I wonder whether what I do serves any purpose at all. I’m just making stuff up. Am I making a difference?

I believe this final chapter of the Legacy series answers my question with a resounding “Yes!” The message woven into the story is a good one—a sound one. The scripture I placed at the beginning of the book lays the foundation: For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV).

I’ve written a story filled with unplanned moments that in the right circumstances could shed light on some very important Biblical principles. Yet the story also contains fun, adventure, mystery, and a healthy dose of romance. And I wrote it by the seat o’ my pants.

Betty Thomason Owens has been writing for thirty years. She’s a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Betty would like to invite you to her Facebook author page, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page. And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at https://bettythomasonowens.com/.

Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3 Legacy Series

Nancy and Robert Emerson’s daughter Amy Juliana is doing her best to follow in her mother’s rebellious footsteps.

Her desperate attempt to escape Dad’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection.

Will Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways, and open her heart to the plight of others around her?

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. She thinks the guy is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late. When an old friend tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past. But, is she playing into the hands of the enemy?

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress that the greatest legacy is love?

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The Dangers of SOTP Writing

SOTP Writing: writing by the seat of your pants. No outline, no written plan, no safety net. That’s how I started. That’s how many authors still produce their stories. The successful ones have developed ways, as I have, not to be quite so impulsive. We may not outline on paper, but we do have a general idea of where we want the story to go. We may not have character bios, but we know them all intimately.

Some of us just flat do not like to outline.

I do a little of both—intuitive and planned writing—though I tend to start working out an outline around midpoint and even then, it’s vague and generalized.

As a reader and an editor, though, I can usually tell whether someone uses an outline. Some of my favorite authors are incredible intuitive writers, but what I find as a freelance editor is quite different:

Lack of cohesive plot

The fun thing about writing by the seat of your pants is that you get to chase rabbits. An idea will hit you, and you grab your shotgun and Elmer Fudd hat and take off after it. But, unless you rein in your will to hunt, you end up with lots of activities without a strong thread linking them. The characters race from one pointless event to another, and the story lacks depth.

Follow the rabbits to their holes on a different page and see where they lead. Will they enhance the plot? Add depth to your character? Up the stakes? Can you weave it into the story smoothly and logically? Does it fit with what your character would do or think?

Sometimes a rabbit hole is just a hole.

Hodge-podge of genres

Okay, so you want a mystery-thriller-historical-romantic-comedy novel. It’s not impossible. I should know, since I recently published a women’s fiction/mystery/thriller myself. Was I successful? Some readers say yes, some say no—which is true of everything anyone writes.

Thing is, you have to understand the structure of the different genres before you can successfully blend them. Romance has a formula: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Where in the formula do your characters fit, and how do you intend to conclude their relationship with the required happily-ever-after ending? Each genre has a subgenre. Mystery: cozy, professional, police-procedural, etc. Comedy: slapstick, farce, humor, etc. Each genre has requirements. In a mystery, the crime to be solved occurs within the first few pages, but a thriller is allowed more time to set up. Historicals demand fidelity to the era. Romance, as I said, requires an HEA ending.

When you don’t understand your story’s primary genre and its requirements, you end up with a mess when you try to blend them.

No structure

Regardless of the genre, each story must have a structure. Readers expect certain things to happen at certain times. If by page 150 of a 350-page book, you’re still setting up your story, you’re cheating and frustrating your reader. If by page 300 of a page 350-page book, you’re still writing mid-point material, you’re doing the same.

Each genre has a structure. With romance, the guy and the girl meet early in the novel. In mystery, the crime to be solved occurs early. In women’s fiction, the woman’s crisis is introduced early. But from there, things are the same in all books. A few pages are allowed for character and setting introduction and to introduce the issue. Then “something” happens to kick the story into gear, and by midpoint, the character’s reaction to that “something” begins to shift. Several failed attempts by the character to solve her own problem build to a climax, which ends in a satisfying wrap-up and denouement.

You must know and understand basic structure to have a successful story.

Shallow characters

Without characters, there is no story. Everything is about the characters and how they grow, the stakes involved in their story, the people who help or hinder them along the way. The more you focus on devising events for the characters, the more shallow your characters become, because then, your writing becomes more about creating crises than it does creating stakes involved. Your character jumps from one event to another without apparent growth or emotion. Don’t get me wrong—you can devise some pretty exciting events. But without character reaction and growth, you don’t have a memorable story.

You can have your plastic GI Joe accomplish amazing feats to save an equally plastic Barbie, but in the end, your characters will still be plastic. The characters respond to everything the same way. He fights against everything; she cries over every little thing.

Want your readers to remember them? Give them flesh and blood. Show him with a sense of humor along with his sense of duty. Show how he feels when he fails. Show what’s at stake for him if he doesn’t accomplish his mission. Show her with both a soft side and a tough side. Show her fighting with her wit and intelligence. Show her uncertainty along with her determination. Show them both maturing, changing, growing as a direct result of their plight and their influence over each other.

In other words, show emotion, grow your characters.

The thing is all this takes work on your part. Dreaming up events and typing them into your computer is fairly easy. Understanding where they go in the story and how your characters should react to them is the hard part. The best writers study writing. There is far more to it than most people realize.

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Especially for Writers

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Along Came a Writer interview

When someone says “radio,” my first image is of the knobs in my car or the semi-useless black thing that sits on my kitchen counter. I often forget about blog radio, but my interview with Along Came a Writer host, Linda Kozar, got me so excited, I ran down to my local Staples store and bought earphones and a mike. Now, I’m building up my list of Christian blogtalk radio programs to add to my marketing and promotions list.

If you have a few minutes today, check out my interview with Linda. I share my thoughts about Christian romance novels, writing and editing in general, and tales about my Circle Bar Ranch series. You can even hear me fail a true-false test about horses!

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