Behind the Story: Gift & News

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season!

We spent two whole weeks at home instead of having to go to Memphis for my son’s treatments. It was nice to be at home, but it was strange not to travel to St. Jude.. Especially when we’ve gone every week for the past ninety weeks! Since it was New Years this week, our appointment was moved to Wednesday, so it’s thrown off my entire week and I’m playing catch up.

There are a couple of things that I wanted to let you know about.

1. If you are a member of my newsletter community, The Hive, you received a booklet called Behind the Story in your inbox. It is a booklet about the portals in The Seer, and why I chose these particular locations to highlight in the book. Members of The Hive are the first to receive news, updates, freebies, and information about The Kalila Chronicles and my new novella series that is coming soon. If you would like to receive your free copy of Behind the Story, you can click here.

2. We are getting closer to the release of The Soul Searcher. YAY! Which means that I will have the cover reveal and pre-order dates soon. I will also post a list of dates for my blog tour and book signing events.

3. My website,  has recently been updated with a new page just for The Hive members. There is also a new Inner Circle (membership only) page for my Beta readers, and a new latest info section listed on the home page.

4. If you are an author, I have openings on my Wisdom Wednesday guest blog for February and March. If you would like to sign up to be a guest and share a writing tip, please sign up here.

I hope you all have a great weekend!







Wisdom Wednesday: Beth E. Westcott

Christmas is almost here! I have a few more presents to buy and wrap, but now that my kids are officially on Christmas break, it’s starting to feel more like Christmas. Are you finished with your Christmas shopping?

Today, I have author Beth E. Westcott sharing her favorite writing tips for Wisdom Wednesday. Thanks for joining us, Beth!

Name: Beth E. Westcott

Genre: Christian Romance

Latest Release: Meadow Song

Writing Tip for Authors:

One of the first things I learned about writing is to do it regularly. At my first writers’ conference, we had to repeat over and over: “A writer writes. I am a writer, therefore I write.” You may be “gifted” to write and have ideas galore, but you have to become a “good” writer by learning the craft and practicing it. Read books, attend conferences, join an online webinar. Learn from the veterans in the publishing community. And practice. Like an Olympic athlete, we need training and practice. Being a regular and consistent writer has been a challenge for me because life so easily gets in the way.

Life can definitely get in the way. Discipline is the key to consistently writing every day. I struggle with this as I’m sure most writers do. 

Writing Tip for New Writers:

Be persistent. Keep at it. If writing is your calling, don’t give up.

If you feel like giving up, find a writing group (online or in your local area) and get plugged in. Other writers know exactly what you’re going through and have been there themselves at some point. Let them encourage you. Get recharged and keep going!

Meadow Song cover

Artist Kate Greenway moves to a new town to escape the memories of her dead fiancé. While painting beside a meadow, she meets a young girl and the girl’s uncle Jack Chambers. Kate is ready to move forward with her life, but Jack resists commitment. Kate returns home to care for her ill mother. Will she ever fulfill her dreams in art and love? Will Jack overcome his fear and realize that life without Kate will be his greatest loss?




Beth grew up in upstate New York, the youngest of seven. Married to Frank for 45 years, she served with him in Child Evangelism Fellowship for six years and beside him in the pastoral ministry for 33 years. Beth is the mother of three and has five granddaughters. She enjoys music, sewing, and gardening, as well as reading and writing. She has had church programs and devotionals published, and her short story “Sadie and the Princess” is included in Heart-warming Horse Stories on Amazon. Her contemporary Christian romance novel, Meadow Song, was published in 2018 by Mantle Rock Publishers.

 Thank you for joining us today for Wisdom Wednesday. Don’t forget to connect with Beth on her website, and check out her novel, Meadow Song

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Do you struggle with consistently writing every day? Do you have any tips to help become disciplined in writing every day? 


Wisdom Wednesday: Ellie Gustafson

Hello everyone! It’s time for Wisdom Wednesday and I’m not sure about you, but I need some extra motivation this week.  As Christmas and the new year approaches, what goals are you working on? 

Today, we have author Ellie Gustafson with us. Welcome, Ellie!

Name: Ellie Gustafson

Genre: Contemporary

Latest Release: An Unpresentable Glory

Writing Tip for Authors:

I am a slow writer. My brain works slowly, for one thing, and my start-off writing is pretty awful. I love to edit, however—going over each manuscript, in bits and pieces, at least fifty times before it’s fairly presentable. Editing does require a competent grasp of grammar and punctuation, and I’ve learned these skills, along with just plain good writing, through the tutelage of several editors.

Beta readers are invaluable. I’d recommend getting at least five who are not shy about telling you what stinks. Your brain sees the big picture of your story, the necessary details, but other brains don’t have that advantage. Your beta readers will help you find the blank spots. Don’t shoot your wad of readers all at once, though. Space them out, and keep making changes as suggested by each one. The care and feeding of beta readers is high on my priority list!

Your brain may work more efficiently than mine, but I would advise you to slow down to improve your end product.

This question took me over an hour to answer—and still, it’s not perfect. But then, I haven’t gone through it 50 times. Only about 30!

I love the editing phase. To me, that’s when the real writing takes place! If I try to edit before the rough draft is finished, I will never get anything accomplished.

Writing Tip for New Writers:

Read well-written books and take notes—not to plagiarize, but to learn how good writers do it. What makes the plot flow well? How does the author build tension? What makes that sentence zing? Learn to think outside the box. My very first editor, Judith Markham of Zondervan, spoke of a particular passage: “Ellie, you can write better than that.” Her words keep coming back to me, prodding me along the road of writing excellence.

I’ve heard other writers say that they don’t have time to read and that’s so sad. In order to grow, you need to keep reading and learning. Never stop reading!


“I trusted you, and some day, you may know just how much you hold in your hands.”

Linda Jensen leads a relatively quiet life in Westchester County, New York, as the owner of a highly acclaimed garden. Inherited from her parents, the garden is her pride and joy. However, finding a strange man sprawled near her delphiniums does not bring joy. The mysterious man is sick, unable to do more than drink water—and beg for secrecy. Ignoring all alarm bells, Linda sees to his needs, but her caring act takes on unexpected significance, and unpresentable glory.

Seeds of trust, and perhaps love, are planted in Linda’s garden haven. But as secrets are revealed and scandal hits the headlines, the act of caring for this man threatens to tarnish both of their reputations. Like weeds in Linda’s garden, circumstances threaten to choke out their fledgling relationship, and small moments prove to be the biggest influencers—on a national scale.

DSC06220a 2Having lived a few years, Ellie has collected long-ago memories—playing cowboys and Indians, watching first-run Wizard of Oz, collecting tinfoil for the war effort, driving a pony to a red ribbon, getting married and pregnant, and finally, enjoying the pleasures of kids, grandkids, and authoring. Add to this list gardening, house construction, tree farming, and loving on people—all of which bring color and humor to her fiction. One of Ellie’s major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the power of story.


Ellie’s Social Media: 



Blog  HOME, scroll down

Amazon Page:

Twitter: @EgusEllie

Facebook: Ellie Gustafson

An Unpresentable Glory:


The Stones:

Thank you for joining us today for Wisdom Wednesday. Don’t forget to check out Ellie’s book, An Unpresentable Gloryand connect with her on social media.

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Do you enjoy the editing phase of writing? Do you have a team of Beta Readers? Let us know in the comment section!

Wisdom Wednesday: Gail Kittleson

How do you organize all of your story information, and how do you respond to negative reviews?

Today we have author Gail Kittleson on Wisdom Wednesday to share her favorite writing tips for authors and new writers.

Thanks for joining us, Gail!

Name: Gail Kittleson

Genre: Historical Romance

Latest Release: Kiss Me Once Again

Writing Tip for Authors:

Pay no attention to negative reviews unless your publisher brings up a concern. Why read them and expend all that emotional energy, when there are POSITIVE ones to focus on?

I think you bring up a good point that unless there’s something that we can learn from them and do better, there’s no reason to focus on those negative reviews. What you write won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay! You will find readers who love your genre and will enjoy your writing. 

Writing Tip for New Writers:

If you’re a character-driven writer, the plot may evolve in snitches and snatches as you do your research. It really helps to keep a little notebook with sections for each character. For me, it’s difficult to remember dates and connections that might come in handy later, as the story develops.

“Alice’s family sailed from Germany on the PROVOST the first time, when she was eight. Sea was wild.”

“Next trip was on the Heinrich, and the main thing she remembers is the food. Her youngest brother got sick, and she had to care for him. This was when she determined to become a nurse.”  (That younger brother became a medic in WWII…)

Without notes like this, I tend to get the trips or the brothers mixed up. These jottings can also be very helpful in writing a flashback later.

This a such a helpful tip! I have so many notebooks sitting on my desk right now. I like to dedicate one journal for each story. I keep notes on my computer as well, but I really like having those notebooks handy. 

Kiss Me Once Again PB Cover Final

No one ever accused Glenora Carson of being a breathtaking beauty. Her tall, gangly figure and angular face are more solid midwestern stock than Hollywood glamour. But Joe liked her. He even told her, “You’re the one for me.” He gave her a locket with his picture inside, to remind her of him while he was away, serving his country on the U.S.S. Arizona. After December 7, 1941, Glenora shelves her dreams of attending college on the scholarship she was offered by Iowa State University, locks her heart away, and focuses on holding down the home front by helping out the family business – Carson’s Garage. The grease-stained overalls didn’t do much to compliment her female figure, but they cover her female heart well enough. That is, until Hank Anderson, a wounded warrior back from battle, walks into the garage and into Glenora’s life. Is an old maid’s future Glenora’s fate, or will Cupid throw a wrench in her plans?


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Gail writes from northern Iowa. She and her husband enjoy their grandchildren and exploring WWII sites.

The writing bug bit Gail later in life, along with a love for the World War II era. She’s hopelessly addicted. Her historical fiction honors Greatest Generation women who made a difference despite great odds. Her second love, teaching, leads to facilitating writing workshops and retreats, where she loves cheering others on.



Gail’s Social Media: 


Thank you for joining us today for Wisdom Wednesday. Don’t forget to check out Gail’s book, Kiss Me Once Again and connect with her on social media. Do you have an organization tip or how to deal with negative reviews? Share it with us in the comment section!

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Wisdom Wednesday: Ane Mulligan

Have you ever read a book and no matter how hard you tried, couldn’t relate to the characters? 

Today, author Ane Mulligan shares how to help your characters more real and to reach the heart of your readers. 

Thanks for joining us, Ane! 

Name: Ane Mulligan

Genre: Women’s fiction

Latest Release: A Magnolia Blooms in Winter. It’s part of a novella collection: A Southern Season – Four Stories From a Front Porch Swing.

Writing Tip for Authors:

Motivation is the key to great characters and a good plot. To reach the hearts of readers, they have to relate to our characters. To do that, we have to make them real. They have to have deep seated motivation, not superficial. That motivation comes from a past wound. Find that wound and you’ll find their motivation. Once you know that, you will know how your character reacts to things, why she/he seeks the goal they do. You can actually plot a novel by the motivation.

Great advice, Ane! I’ve read books where I couldn’t relate or believe the characters and what ends up happening is that I can’t root for them to achieve their goals. Everyone has wounds from something, and if you can show that motivation in your writing, you’ll get that connection that you’re talking about.

Writing Tip for New Writers:

Enjoy the journey and grow a thick skin. Don’t be in such a hurry to publish that you miss the fun along the way of the friends and contacts you make. And it’s vital to grow that rhino skin. Critiques may sting at first. Contest judges’ remarks can hurt. But if you have rhino skin, you can view them subjectively and apply what profits you and grind the rest to dust beneath your heel. Snicker.

I haven’t heard anyone call it rhino skin yet, but I love it, and the part about dust beneath your heel! 😉 

ASouthernSeason LG
A Southern Season – Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing

Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing.

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?


ane-mulligan-HR-5 CROPPED copy

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, award-winning author Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, and bestselling novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a lovable, goofy dog.



Ane’s Social Media: 





Amazon Author page:



Book Bub:



Thank you for joining us today! Make sure you connect with Ane on social media and check out her story, A Magnolia Blooms in Winter

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Recharge Friday: Thankful String Art

It’s cold outside, and I want my pretty fall weather back!

I’m bundled in my favorite hoodie and deep into edits of The Soul Searcher for my publisher. I need to run out to the grocery store later, but I would rather curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and finish a crochet hat that I’m making. My mind is busy editing, and my fingers are itching to create something.

Two years ago, before my son was diagnosed with Leukemia, I was teaching craft classes, and we had a Thankful string art class. If you haven’t ever made string art, you’re missing out on a ton of fun! I sold my thankful sign, but I’m ready to make another one to display for Thanksgiving this year. A trip down the craft aisle may be in store for me later this evening.

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I love Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for. Gabe has 37 more weeks of treatment left and my second book is getting ready to release. I sent off the cover questionnaire today to our cover designer, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. The Soul Searcher releases 2/19/19 and I can’t wait to be able to share the cover with you all!

What about you? What have you done this week to recharge? Have you made anything crafty? Share your pictures in the comment section, I would love to see them!

Wisdom Wednesday: Laura Hilton & Rachel J. Good

It’s our first Wednesday during NaNoWriMo!

How’s your writing going? I’m playing a little bit of catch up today, but I have new words on paper, and that’s all that matters! 

Here’s a little bit of Wisdom Wednesday to get you back to writing and reaching your goals. 

Name: Laura Hilton

Genre: Christian fiction Amish

Latest Release: Love’s Christmas Blessings

Writing Tip for Authors:

Don’t wait for inspiration. Just write.  It’ll come.

This is a huge tip that has helped me so much in my writing journey. I think new writers have this idea that writing is going to be amazing because of inspiration. That’s not always the case. Most days, I have to force myself to sit down and write, but as you said, the words will come.

Writing Tip for New Writers:

Read, read, read. Learn the rules. And write

Yes. Don’t stop reading and learning. Get craft books on writing, brush up on grammar skills. Keep reading, learning, and writing.

laura cover Christmas…
A time for fellowship, family, and love. Enjoy two novellas from beloved Amish authors and fill your heart with the wonder of the Christmas season.Winter’s Treasure

Paris and Quil have sparks from the beginning, especially since his appearance causes a vicious rivalry between friends. But who can resist when a chance meeting beginning with donuts and coffee ends with a missing person, puppies, a skunk, and a sleigh ride—not to mention a trip the Amish young people plan to Niagara Falls. Could it also involve falling in love?

Mistletoe and Miracles

An exhausted son, Daniel, and a recent widow, Fern, join forces to brighten a grumpy old man’s day and cheer up a shy, displaced little girl. However, things take a serious turn when Fern’s daughter goes missing on a school field trip. With a little help from Daniel, Fern discovers more than just her daughter’s whereabouts. Will four lonely hearts create special bonds to make it a Christmas to remember?



Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.


Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her stories. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book.

To learn more about Rachel, visit her at

Laura’s Social Media: 

visit my blogs:   

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton



Rachel’s Social Media Links:

Newsletter sign-up:


Thank you for joining us today! 

Make sure you check out their social media links, blogs, and their new release, Love’s Christmas Blessings.


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