Monday, August 14, 2017

A Small Town Kind of Love by Darlene Franklin ends August 21st

Welcome back Darlene Franklin. Good to have you back so soon! Darlene is giving away a copy of her book so be sure to read on down to see how to enter.

Small town nostalgia is a big thing in Christian romance. Maybe they think they’re safer, wherever everyone goes to church on Sundays and the sheriff doesn’t need to carry a gun (Andy Taylor). Or maybe we like the sense of community—a place where everyone knows your name (and all your business).
All in all, I prefer cities. . . But I have lived in small towns and enjoyed some more than others.
I have just pulled together three of my books with a small town romance theme.
In Plainsong, the heroine is more like me. She resists life in a small town—which is unfortunate, because she has fallen in love with the most romantic many on earth, Joe Knight. Who dislikes the city as much as she likes small towns. It’s a contemporary story.
In Hidden Dreams, Mary Ann Lamont has no idea what small towns are like.  She’s a Flapper from New York. But when she’s on the run from the run from the mob, she runs into a truck on the way to Maple Notch. Hidden Dreams is the fourth of my Maple Notch books, set against bootlegging, flappers, and the 1927 flood in Vermont.
After the stock market crash in 1929, a penniless flapper seeks out farm life. You can’t go hungry on a farm! She heads west on an orphan train: To Riches Again.
All three women grew to love life in their small towns.

Answer the question below to be entered to win A Small Town Kind of Love ebook giveaway
Question: Do you prefer life in small towns or cities? Why?

Twitter: @darlenefranklin

Plainsong starts in the big city of Denver
“Do you want to know the way to heaven?” A young man dressed in a suit coat and tie, unexpected on the hot July night, asked people as they surged past him to Coors Field for a night of Colorado Rockies baseball. Before walking on, Joe Knight glanced at the tract with a bright red cross on it.
“You’re not interested in heaven then?” The man’s voice trailed after him.
Joe stopped to explain that he already knew the way to heaven and to wish the evangelist Godspeed, but the man had already turned his attention elsewhere. Joe shook his head as he watched the man approach an attractive young woman. She flicked sweeping blond hair over her shoulder as she accepted the tract and stopped for a minute to talk. Joe took in her long, shapely legs and well-tailored slacks.
Coins jangled nearby, and one of the street bums who cluttered every corner stopped Joe. His sign read homeless vet. please help. How much money had he stashed away during the course of the day? Joe had heard news reports about the scams some of the street people pulled. The woman he had seen before approached, dug in her purse, and tossed in a handful of change.
Joe hesitated then followed her. “Ma’am, I wouldn’t do that again if I were you.”
She turned deep green eyes in his direction. “Excuse me?”
For a moment he forgot what he was saying, and then he found his voice. “That man. He’ll probably just use the money for alcohol or drugs.”
“Or maybe he’ll buy a meal. He could use one. There’s no reason people should go hungry in a rich country like America.” Her eyes clouded.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette M Irby ends August 14

 Please welcome Annette M Irby to my blog. Annette is giving away an ecopy of her book so be sure to read on down to see how to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address and let me know if you are a feedburner follower for an extra entry.

We writers get to sometimes live vicariously through our characters. That was certainly the case for me while writing Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington, which releases September 1st. Here are three ways I lived vicariously through my characters while writing this first book in the Washington Island Romance series.

Taken by Annette M. Irby
Oh, the location.
Beaches full of seashells, kelp, pebbles, and sea glass. Waves lapping on the shore, polishing the stones. Sunsets. Salty air. Breezes and majestic views! I can’t get enough of the sea, how about you? I didn’t always live near water—especially not seawater. My first trip to the ocean was to the Atlantic. I was four. I didn’t understand what I was seeing, and I literally stood in awe of the waves splashing in. Then, our family visited deep water again when we trekked off to Lake Superior. Those gargantuan freighters! If they were that big, how deep must the water be? Fascinating and frightening. To this day, I have never gotten enough of beaches and water, from a distance. See my next point. 

Source by

As a young adult, I thought I’d earn a degree in either marine biology or oceanography. If I could make a career of sailing the ocean and studying the phenomenal creatures that live there, I’d be living the dream. Then, reality set in—a fear of deep water, like the Salish Sea. (Yikes! Six-gill sharks live down there!) Plus, I get motion sickness in planes, and on boats. The solution? Dramamine, which for me equals Zzzzzz.  So, the sailor’s life would not work for me. But writing about characters who not only can sail without seasickness, but who also nearly live on the water—that is living vicariously!


I may be a bit fearful of sharks, but I am fascinated with whales. Sure, they’re oftentimes humongous, but for the most part, they aren’t violent, especially when it comes to humans. Writing about a marine biologist and a whale-tour guide gave me a chance to study whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, etc. The photo above shows a minke whale. Minkes are lesser known, medium-sized baleen whales, measuring around 24-26 feet. As I was researching for this book, I learned that minkes will sometimes swim next to kayakers, keeping pace with them. That gets the imagination going, doesn’t it? Check out the book to see if any minkes come visiting.

How about you? Do you live vicariously through others? Perhaps friends or family members or perhaps characters you read about or write about? If I could live a different existence, I’d be a marine biologist and never get seasick. How about you? If you could have any career, without limitations of say, health or resources, what would you do? Where would that put you? 

Annette is giving away an ecopy of her book. Answer one or more of her questions above to be entered in the giveaway. Winner will receive their copy when book is released (by September 1).

Fun event: check out Mountain Brook Ink (my publisher’s) Facebook Page ( on Thursday, August 10th at 4 p.m. (PDT) for a Facebook Party where Annette will be one of the featured authors. 

Thanks for reading, friends!
Information for title: Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington
Book One in the Washington Island Romance series by Annette M. Irby
Release date: September 1, 2017
Pre-order link goes live: August 1, 2017

Will keeping his promise lead to another broken heart—or help them find love again?
Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancĂ©. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. She’ll have to face her past and overcome her concerns about the future to make it through the summer.

Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. He’s hoping the incoming stodgy professor will help resurrect the failing business, but he’s not prepared when that professor turns out to be Mikaela, his former fiancĂ©e. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue her if she ever returned to the island single. The more time they spend together, the easier it is to keep that promise, though she still plans to leave at the end of the season. How much will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela?

About Annette
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:

Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson ends August 7

 Please welcome Stephanie Grace Whitson to my blog this week. Stephanie is giving away 5 (yes, I said 5!) copies of her book so read on down to see how to enter. 

Five Books That Changed My Life

Stephanie Grace Whitson

Do you belong to a book club? I do, and one of the things I love most about it is being introduced to new authors I might have missed. So many books … so little time, right?

One of the bookshelves in my “books-are-stacked-to-the-ceiling” office is reserved for some especially precious books. The “keepers.” The ones I treasure because they changed my life—both novels and non-fiction. Today, I share about five of those “keepers.” 



The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink My husband, Bob, and I read this book aloud together as newlyweds. What I learned impacts me to this day (it’s second only to the Bible in my life). Why? Well, when I’m going through a difficult time, taking my eyes off the circumstance and focusing them on God helps me bear up by reminding me Whose I am. The seventeen short entries explain things like God’s solitariness, faithfulness, goodness, mercy, love … and wrath. A balanced view of the Almighty changes my life for the better in countless ways. 

How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein

I was a newlywed with no children and no thoughts of being a novelist when I first read this book. Bob and I used to spend every New Year’s Day with it, going over our life goals, re-evaluating how we used our time, and adjusting accordingly. I now have five grown children, ten grandchildren, and twenty-eight books in print. And I still value the simple principles and practices shared in chapters with titles like “What Do You Really Want from Life?” “How to Create Quiet Time for Yourself” and “How to Do Better Next Time.”


Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer 
Schaeffer is one of the mentors whose books and example taught me how to be a Christian wife and mother. This book, based on the premise that “because man was created in the image of the Creator, man was created that he might create,” describes how to implement creativity in music, painting, interior design, flower arrangements, drama, etc., in everyday life. 

Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George When Bob (my first husband) was battling the cancer that would take his life, I purchased this book because I didn’t think I loved God enough. Little did I know that this book would change me at a fundamental level—my thought life. Subjects like “Taking Every Thought Captive,” “Keeping On Keeping On,” and “Enduring Difficult Times” arrived in my life at exactly the right time. 

This book put my feet to things I was learning from the Elizabeth George book mentioned above, providing practical things for me to do that helped me survive the worst moments of my life (the father of my children was dying and I was facing life as a young widow and single mother). What I remember most about it was beginning a list of “thankfuls” and running out of room on the paper. My husband was dying, but “in light of eternity” nothing was out of control, and I had a lot for which to be thankful.


Those are the five books … and yet I want to mention two more—Mary Beth Chapman’s Choosing to See and Randy Alcorn’s Heaven. Both books helped me in the midst of struggle, reminding me to have HOPE.

What book has most impacted your daily life? What book has given you hope? Share the titles so we can all learn. As a way of thanking you for sharing, I’ll be giving away 5 copies of my little book How to Help a Grieving Friend. Be sure to let me know how to contact you for a shipping address if you win one!

About Stephanie
Stephanie Grace Whitson celebrated her twentieth year as a published
novelist in 2014. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading,
quilting, spoiling her grandchildren and/or Kona (the golden retriever),
and riding her motorcycle named Kitty. Learn more at Join the conversation at

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mermaid's Song by Darlene Franklin ends July 31

Recently, I celebrated the publication of my fiftieth book (Mermaid's Song) with a jubilee on Facebook. I have a few thoughts to share in the afterglow.

The biggest one is: everyone has a unique ministry. No one else can tell your story. That’s the neat part about being a Christian writer. We’re not in competition with each other. God assigns each one of us a different role. My success doesn’t threaten yours; instead, it validates it.

A second is, you don’t know what path your writing career will take. You may start out expecting to write fantasy, and God may turn you into writing doctrinal pieces. Or you may shift sideways. I went sideways from contemporary romances to historical romance, and took another turn with cozy mysteries. You may dream of writing the great American novel, but God want you to write for a weekly take home paper, or genre fiction.

Related to that, be prepared for change. At the moment, I suspect my career is going to take a dramatic change in direction. Over the past year, I’ve been asked to write a monthly magazine column, prayers for a book on prayers, and devotions for a year-long volume—all nonfiction. A few other nonfiction doors are nudging open.

My first (never published) book was nonfiction. A quarter of a century later, it may be starting to happen!

Persevere, be open to anything, and you may find God will give you more work than you think you can handle. Whether you are called to be a writer—or something else—cling to this truth.

Question: How do you handle jealousy, when someone succeeds and you fail?  That’s a heavy question. We can also ask: What is your favorite fairy tale? Mermaid’s Song is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s  classic Little Mermaid.

Answer one of Darlene's questions to be entered in her giveaway. Good Luck!

About Darlene 


Twitter: @darlenefranklin