How do you use Goodreads? by Camy Tang

I’m in a Facebook group and we recently got into a discussion about how we each use Goodreads. I discovered that everyone seems to use Goodreads differently, so I wanted to ask you guys how you use Goodreads (if you’re on there at all).

Do you belong to groups on Goodreads? Which groups do you interact with the most and why?
Do you pay attention to the Updates tab on your home page to see what your Goodreads friends are doing?
Do you notice when your Goodreads friends add a book to their To-Read shelf?
Do you use Goodreads shelves to organize and catalogue your books?
Do you pay attention to reviews on Goodreads when choosing your next book?
Have you ever bought a book because someone on Goodreads recommended it, whether through the “recommend a book” feature or from a post in a Goodreads group?
Do you use the trivia? Quizzes? Quotes? Reading Challenges? Creative Writing community?
Do you enter Goodreads contests for free books? How do you decide which contest you enter? Or do you just enter a whole bunch of them since the chances of winning are low?

Personally, I mostly use Goodreads to interact on groups, especially Christian Fiction Devourers. I also really enjoy the Reading Challenges on Christian Fiction Devourers and have used the challenges to whittle down my TBR Pile this year.

I have a Camy Tang/Camille Elliot group–it’s small, but I always try to answer within a day or so if anyone posts.

I’m also on a few smaller groups like a few Regency romance groups. They’re not active, but the discussions are interesting, and I especially like the recommendations for new Regency romances.

I don’t really use Goodreads to catalogue my books because I already had several thousand books listed in my book catalog program (I use Booxter) on my computer before I started using Goodreads, and frankly, I’m too lazy to input all my books into Goodreads when I already have everything organized and catalogued in Booxter.

I admit that it is useful to put books in my Currently Reading shelf to remind me which books I should start next, because sometimes I’ll forget. So it’s not really my Currently Reading shelf, since they’re all books I haven’t started yet, so much as my Remember-to-read-this-next shelf.

I also admit that I don’t really pay much attention to my friend updates. I’ll read them, but the books they add to their To-Read shelf don’t really spark any interest in me because a lot of people add books to their To-Read shelves, especially when they enter a Goodreads contest. So To-Read shelf adds don’t interest me. Neither does the Recommend this book to a friend feature–when I get recommendations from my Goodreads friends, I usually ignore it.

But if someone on one of my Goodreads groups posts in a discussion thread about a book they really enjoyed, then I’ll pay attention and sometimes buy the book based on their recommendation. Also, if I see in my update feed a friend who reviewed a book, I sometimes read the review if the book looks like a genre I enjoy, and I might buy the book based on their review.

I sometimes enter contests, but only for books I think I’ll read. I like entering contests for books from new-to-me authors, so that I can try the book. I don’t often buy books from authors I’ve never read before–usually I only read books from new-to-me authors if the ebook is free. I just don’t have the money to buy so many books, and these days, ebook bargains are pretty commonplace so I can always find a free book that looks interesting.

Well? How do you use Goodreads?

Too Perfect by Hannah Alexander



I’m here at ICRS enjoying old friends and meeting new ones. If you haven’t heard of ICRS, it’s an international Christian retailer’s convention. Today I slung on all the bling I could wear to garner attention, then took my place at a signing booth. I guess the bling worked. I had an honest to goodness line! That never happens when I’m at a book signing back home, but then, people come here from all over the world to get free books. Back at the bookstores at home people are expected to buy my books. Here, the stuff is given away. It’s a reader’s heaven.

The signing was fun, seeing all those people who wanted to read my novel, but a problem arose that I could do nothing about. They say horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. I’m apparently a racehorse. It was horribly humiliating to drip so badly in response to the humidity that followed me from home. The bling I was wearing attracted everyone walking into the convention center, but when they got close, there was no missing the droplets coursing down my face and dripping from my hair. My eyeglasses were even steaming. Ick. I guess looks didn’t matter to them. No one declined when my publicist told us to draw close for a photo shoot.

After the signing I remarked to my publicist how embarrassing it was to break into a drenching sweat in front of all those people. She said she once fell down three stair-steps of chairs in front of a huge audience. She posted online about it the next day. You know what? People like us to have flaws. Especially if we’re being honored publicly in some way, tripping over our own feet or smiling with spinach on our teeth or dripping sweat lets everyone know that, even though we might be selected for something special, we’re still human. It’s true. I feel more comfortable with people who are as imperfect as I am.

I have a good friend who has a PhD in theology. She takes classes online and learns new things every day. Last night she helped me develop a gorgeous cover for my next novel. But she’s not perfect. She doesn’t figure numbers in her head. I love that about her, because being around someone too perfect can make me feel a little too flawed. I know how flawed I am, but it isn’t fun to have it rubbed in. I like my friends with flaws. So maybe sometimes it’s our flaws who draw people to us. You think?

This armadillo in the picture might have a hard shell on top, but he has a furry, tender underbelly. We all have a weak spot somewhere. Sometimes it helps to show those weak places to others. Not always, but sometimes.


Book Release Day


LoveintheWindThe day a book releases is always a fun day for authors. Sometimes we throw book launch parties near the release date or schedule book-signings or participate in blog tours and other social media venues for promotion.  Sometimes we simply let the people with whom we’ve connected in cyberspace know.

Like now.

Love in the Wind is the third and last book in my series set in New Mexico.  A sweet romance and complete departure from my usual romantic suspense, I enjoyed writing the characters and exploring the world of sailing. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!


Now she’s counting on it to bring her closer to the biological father she’s just met. But her chances of winning the regatta—and his approval—are in jeopardy unless she can find a new crew mate. Enter Grady Stone, a perfect fit for Maddie’s crew in more ways than one.

Maddie and Grady grow close as they spend time together on the water. But Maddie, wary of emotional entanglement, guards her heart closely. And Grady’s here only to help Maddie win the race, then he’s off to a new job. The day of the race will test their ability to sail together—and the trueness of their love.





A natural element in both Christian fiction and non-fiction deals with forgiveness. It’s a popular topic, with the promise that forgiveness helps not just the one being forgiven but also the person doing the forgiving.

I was reminded of this theme over the weekend when I saw the movie The Railway Man, a story of a man who survived being a POW during the Second World War, when he was also tortured by his Japanese captors. It was a movie I wasn’t sure I wanted to see, not because of the grim subject matter but because my own father was a POW of the Japanese as well. I wasn’t sure I wanted a visual representation of some of the things he went through.

To be sure, it wasn’t easy to watch young men being herded into cattle cars under a sweltering sun and transported for who-knows-how-long on yet another version of the Death March my father traveled. The beatings, the slave labor, the general shaming each prisoner met were all common stories from camps like the ones my father endured.

512px-Giving_a_sick_man_a_drink_as_US_POWs_of_Japanese,_Philippine_Islands,_Cabanatuan_prison_campI recalled my father saying to me some time before he died that if he’d had the chance he’d have returned to the Philippines (where he was taken) and then to Manchuria where he spent another long segment of time during his POW experience. Although I couldn’t understand why, this must have been a rather common feeling. The movie touched on this as a part of healing as well.

Since the war ended, China has preserved the very POW camp that housed my father. Obviously my father wasn’t the only POW who wanted to return to the scene of such a devastating time in his life.

My dad was one of the strong, silent types as so many of his generation were. To the end of his life he suffered bouts of malaria, one of several diseases afflicting those who were malnourished and kept in appalling conditions at such camps as Bilibid and Cabanatuan before being transferred on the “Hell Ship” Tottori Maru to Mukden, Manchuria where he was used as unpaid labor until the end of the war.

I often think about the things he endured, because it somehow makes the comparatively trivial challenges I face easier to deal with. But this was the first time I wondered how my father felt about forgiveness toward those who held him captive.

What do you think? If you’d been held for 3 1/2 years of your life, do you think forgiveness would come . . . with time? In fiction we often remind our characters that withholding forgiveness only hurts the one hanging on to the pain. I do know, somewhere along the way, my father let go of any anger or bitterness he might have held. He said his time served was done in the name of his country; he wasn’t alone; he mattered. He went on to live what I saw as a productive, happy life. He wasn’t often haunted by his memories that I could tell, perhaps partly because he’d been so young at this time of his life. The only time I saw any resentment toward the Japanese was when I was older and brought home a Toyota. All he said was that he’d wished I bought American. :-)

The Book Lady

BoxesDo you ever get the feeling you have too many books?
I’m packing up for a big move this week. With only three days to pack, I don’t know what I would have done without my teenage boys. They have each done an amazing job packing boxes and boxes of books!
Where did all the books come from? I have given away what seems like a library of books to my church and local library, and friends and neighbors. Over the years, I’ve done this many times. Believe me, I’ve shared the books. And still, the boxes filled with books far outweigh and are more numerous than the rest of the packed stuff in the house. How can that be?  Ha!
Just when I thought we were done packing books, I started on my bedroom and noticed I have stacks of books next to my bed piled high on the nightstand and on the floor. Not one or two boxes, but three boxes worth of books. These books are the most important because I’ve put them next to my bed with the intention of actually reading them. I’m usually reading more than one book at a time. One for research, another on writing craft, the Bible, and something for pleasure.
All the books on my Kindle are not included in this count—but imagine if they were physical books. Oy vey!
I’ve tried to cull because it feels like some wicked kind of insanity to pack and move so many books, but when I try to decide which ones to give up, I realize the books that are with me now are all the keepers that have survived the culling of previous years.
Some people love birds, some love cats or dogs—not saying that I don’t—but one of these decades when I’m very old and gray—say in my nineties—they will call me the book lady.



Elizabeth Goddard


Perfect Season for a Book by Tara Randel

Spring is here in Florida. The temperatures are warming up to make for very comfortable days. Everything is blooming. The azalea’s are gorgeous and the grass is starting to turn back to a healthy shade of green. It’s a beautiful time of year. Just ask the tourists!

These are the azaleas blooming in my yard.


As an author, one of the things I must decide as I start plotting a book is, what time of year will I set my story? Christmas is always a popular holiday, especially if you love snow and the fun details of holiday decorating. But then I think, who can resist a book set during a summer vacation? The beach. Or maybe a cruise? And what about the mountains in autumn when the leaves are changing color? With so many traditions scheduled at different times of the year, picking that particular season to plan the story gives authors plenty to work with.

So how do I chose? First, it depends on what is going on in the story line. If I start out knowing the book will be a Christmas story, then I can jump right in. I might decide on the season because of my character’s jobs. For added conflict, I might factor in the worst time of the year to travel to visit family or help a friend in need, due to bad weather or my character’s messy personal circumstances. It’s all about the dynamics.

Rival Hearts (Quilts of Love, #19)


When I wrote Rival Hearts, my June 2014 Quilts of Love book, I settled on the springtime. Set in Tampa, the warm weather best suited my heroine’s kayaking adventures. Unlike my heroine, who is an indoor kind of girl, I love to be outdoors. The spring temperatures in Florida are perfect for bicycling or hiking.

For Magnolia Bride, my July 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, I set the story in June, with warming temperatures beginning to rise in anticipation of summer. So of course I had my characters walk along beach, because you have to hit the beach in warm weather or admire a star-lit night.

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of winter, but I can get into the spirit of writing a snowstorm scene since I won’t have to deal with actual snow banks in Florida.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love,
and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite season for a book.

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt


Starts on  April 4th. Oh wait, that’s tomorrow! I thought my Christiansread family of readers would want to know. You don’t want to miss this one.  If you don’t win the Kindle Fire HDX plus $100 in Kindle credit, you could win one of two prize packs including ALL OF THESE BOOKS!
The Scavenger Hunt begins at Robin Lee Hatcher’s blog. There you’ll find all the official details about the hunt which starts at noon April 4th. Her post will be Stop #1. Go there and you’re off to follow the links to each of the other sites where you will gather the clue on each one, and submitting the answer at the end. The trail will lead you right back to Robin’s site.
Even more fun—there will be mini-contests and prizes along the way. The hunt is open internationally. If a reader outside the USA wins the Kindle and $100 credit, they will receive the equivalent in USD$.




Elizabeth Goddard

Recommended Read: The Singing Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Singing Quilt, Kathi Macias

The Singing Quilt
Inspirational Fiction
Social Issues
Kathi Macias


Christians Read, Recommended Read

    Recommended Read: Inspirational Fiction, Social Issues

     The Singing Quilt By Kathi Macias


Jolissa Montoya believes God is calling her to work with the disadvantaged children in her inner-city neighborhood. There’s only one problem: The children wouldn’t be able to understand her. Jolissa suffers from a speech impediment and has a thick accent because Spanish is her first language. Ridiculed through much of her youth, she is quite shy and reticent to speak. She is convinced that what God has spoken to her heart is impossible. Impossible, that is, until one day when her confidante shows her a quilt—a quilt that depicts the life of a courageous woman. Can another woman’s courage move her to try the impossible and step out and follow God wherever He leads her?


The Singing Quilt is set against the backdrop of the life of Fanny Crosby, who in addition to writing hundreds of songs was also a well-known public speaker and active in Christian rescue missions despite her disability. Readers will be inspired not to let fear or a disability prevent them from answering what they think is God’s impossible call.


The Singing Quilt is the third book in the contemporary fiction “Quilt” series (The Doctor’s Christmas Quilt, The Moses Quilt) written by award-winning author Kathi Macias.


NOTE: The Singing Quilt completes the series, which focuses on various social issues, including racial and pro-life issues.


BONUS: Supplemental online book club materials will be available at



“This book was God kissed!” ~M.Fields


“I love the way that Ms. Macias does her research in order to not only write this Quilt series but all of her books. I have learned many things from her books. Her story and inclusion of facts about these famous and courageous woman in this series is eye opening. I cannot wait for the next story!” ~Calliegh (via


A Word With the Author…

When we asked Kathi Macias why she wrote The Singing Quilt and what she hoped Readers would gain from reading it, she said . . .

“I wrote this book because I so admire Fanny Crosby, and I wanted readers who may struggle with insecurities that keep them from pursuing all God has purposed for them (much like Jolissa in the book) to realize that with God NOTHING is impossible!”    


Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers in these formats:




Don’t Miss This!

I’m giving away five copies of The Singing Quilt in exchange for honest reviews.  The first five who respond win.

Email me from my website contact page:



Readers and Authors: If you deem a book, novel or short story suitable for feature on our “Recommended Reads,” please check our guidelines, and complete the form entered on our sister site, Clean Read Books, to enter it for a Feature consideration


Christians Read


Christians Read is being Redesigned!

Hello, Everyone.

Just wanted to let you know that over the next two weeks, we’ll be redesigning our site and getting a spiffy new look.  The url will be down off and on during that time, but you can always reach the blog posts at:

Letting you know so that it doesn’t surprise you.  Know that we’ll be moving as quickly as possible to transition.


Vicki Hinze



Have You Been Touched by a Book by Vicki Hinze

This past weekend, I read a book for an endorsement, written for the general market by Skye Taylor.  The book was about a couple falling in love.  Both had challenging past issues and complicated present lives.  Both suffered stunning disregard by people who purported loved them.  How quick others were to deem what was right and wrong and just and morally acceptable for these two.  While they had every reason to feel put upon and, well, like martyrs, they didn’t.   They rose to the challenges and made the effort to do what was right.  Not easy or convenient, and not right just for themselves, but for all.

I loved that.  I finished the book at nearly one this morning, then went off to bed, thoughtful and well pleased with the book.  It enabled me to forget I write for a time, and as any writer can tell you, it’s hard to read for pleasure and not think like a writer when reading.  So when it happens, it’s thrilling.  And because it happened, I could really get the messages in the book.  I loved that, too.

Fallen Rose

Fallen Rose

For the past two months, I’ve had a dear friend tapping at death’s door.  This morning, death answered and she has now gone home.  When I lose someone close, I always feel so divided, much like one of the character’s in Miss Taylor’s book.  There is the way I feel I’m supposed to react–the celebration because she isn’t at home here but is now truly at home.  The surety that all in Heaven were waiting with open arms to welcome her.  The relief that the suffering is over and the pain endured here is in the past.

And there’s the way I do react.  That very human part of me that struggles still  with letting go–for totally selfish reasons.  I will miss her.  Her humor.  Her caring ways.  Her penchant for making lemonade.  If there was an upside to be found, she would and did find it.  And no slacking because something was hard.  No, ma’am.  You deal with it.  Now.

As we grow older, the inner circle of those we know well, and those who know us well and find it in their hearts to love us in spite of our many flaws, dwindles.  It’s natural, normal, inherent to the circle of life and a reminder to us all that we’re here for a twinkling.

While we understand and accept our place in this world and the one to come, it doesn’t diminish the value we place on those here with us.  To mourn them isn’t an expression of a lack of trust or faith.  It’s acknowledgement that while here, the deceased made a difference in our lives.  The role played was significant to us.  We respect it, and we will miss them.

The pragmatic female lead in Ms. Taylor’s book drove that home to me this weekend.  And this morning I learned that my friend had slipped away during the night.

My point is a simple one.  The book touched me at a time I needed to be touched.  I needed the reminder about the normality of reality, and that acceptance and being accepted opens hearts to healing wounds.  All manner of wounds.

In the rush of daily  life, it’s easy to forget the potential for books to touch lives.  And for that reminder, I thank Ms. Taylor and my friend.  Like life, love and loss are often complicated and messy and maybe that’s what makes them such a blessing.

In the book, the characters loved well.  By its end, they were also loved well.  My friend loved well and was well loved.

There’s an innocent beauty in that.  A reassuring certainty about taking on the challenges warning us to close our hearts to prevent being hurt or experiencing pain and ignoring those warnings and opening our hearts anyway.  Loving anyway.  And doing it knowing the risks, knowing loss is possible.

Perhaps it does take courage to love and suffer loss–to truly experience either, I mean.

But it takes perhaps even more courage to willingly do either knowing pain is possible.  And maybe, just maybe, the wisdom shared in books like Ms. Taylor’s remind us at just the right moment of why we should continue to open our hearts.

I like to think that’s the case.  It’s like a divine hug, a blessing.  It’s reassurance of what we need being provided to us when we need it.  I feel that way today, and it is humbling and welcome.

Has a book appeared in your life and touched you when you most needed touching?  Helped you through a hard time?  Given you insight or guidance when you faced a challenge?

If so, I hope you’ll share it in the comments.




“Show me the wonders of your great love.” –Psalm 17:7

At one of my lowest points, and after I’d exhausted all my human efforts, I put my troubles in a box, wrapped it in white paper, tied it with a red satin ribbon and in my prayer and thoughts gave it to Jesus. I needed him to show me he cared (as if he hadn’t already throughout my life).

 And he did.

First it came in a sense of peace with my surrender.

Sometimes that is answer enough.

But he did more and worked out a solution for a particular problem which I could take credit for in no way, but through him.


He is my shepherd.

“Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us, and we are his.

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

(Psalm 100:3)

 I am his sheep.

“We are the people he watches over.

The sheep under his care.”

(Psalm 95:7)

 Jesus loves me.

“Greater love has no man,

than to lay down his life for his friends.”

(John 15:13)

 What is love?

“There are three things that will endure—

faith, hope, and love—

and the greatest of these is love.”

(1 Corinthians 13:13)



A Romance with Nature by Hannah Alexander




I’ve been a nature freak (no, not a freak of nature)  for so long I never stopped to wonder who placed this love in my heart. From my earliest memories I loved to wander–much to Mom’s dismay. I loved to follow railroad tracks or cross the street to see our neighbor’s big old turtle–it didn’t help Mom’s stress level that I was three at the time, and it was a busy street. For many decades in my adult life I’ve had a passion for following trails–even cattle trails that eventually led me back to where I started. But this wandering gave me time with God and a profound fascination with the beauty of His creation.

My daddy, an old battered, chain-smoking farmer who worked two jobs, would drop whatever he was doing on the farm when he saw something he wanted to share. He would run into the house and drag Mom and me outside to see his latest discovery, whether it be a baby possum, a raccoon or a wandering bad eagle. Now that I recall those times, I know exactly who led me down the path of loving nature.

Once I watched the birth of a baby calf, and more than once the births of baby pigs–even in the middle of the night Daddy would come in and wake me up and lead me in my pajamas to see little piglets being born. I remember a pet baby skunk that had apparently gotten lost from his mother. At any rate, he wasn’t inclined to spray us, so he and Daddy remained buddies for awhile.

We always had animals around the house, from dogs and cats to chickens, horses, cattle and pigs. My favorite were of the wild variety–the ones Daddy would drag me to see, like an armadillo like the one in the picture, or a herd of deer in the woods, a pack of coyotes, a rattlesnake. My father’s appreciation for wildlife put me at ease when I came upon something, myself, such as a mother skunk and her babies or a bright green  tree snake, and indigo bunting (lovely bird) or a lost baby rabbit. Once I was grown, Daddy would save his findings. He caught a bat in an old jar to hold for me to see when I drove out to the farm one day. By the time I arrived, there were two bats in the jar–the mother had given birth. I released them, loving my dad for inspiring me. I don’t have any doubt about who nurtured my love of wildlife.

The armadillo pictured here was one of my finds when I was out hiking in the prairie. I heard rustling out in the brush, and I knew from experience what it was. I slowly walked directly up to the rooting animal and stood there until he rooted my boot, looking for something to eat. He gave up a moment later and wandered off, ignorant of my presence. Fascinating.

I hope you give yourself time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation today, no matter the weather. There is a wonderful bounty of wild, fascinating animals, and you might just find we share a romance with nature.




Rushing past the smiling male Salvation Army bell ringer who looked to be about 30 years old, I entered the supermarket. When I came out, my thoughts were on the amount of money spent and there were still gifts to buy. I focused on my car in the parking lot as I sped toward it behind the rolling cart.

 Then I heard the bell. I stopped. Although I grumble, nobody else has to buy groceries for me. So I backed up and put a meager amount into the red kettle. The man smiled and thanked me.

 He stands there for hours. I could at least say a few words. So I struck up a conversation, told him I’m a writer and considered writing a story about a bell ringer. He was very polite, so I ventured further and said, “You have any special stories?”

 He said, “Oh, I have a story. My wife left me. Said she’d not happy. Doesn’t want to live with me anymore.”

 That wasn’t the kind of story I expected.

 “That’s awful,” I said, not sure what words to say. I asked if he was a Christian and he said yes.  I don’t recall my exact words but something like with Jesus in his heart he’d get through it and be stronger for it. It wasn’t the end of the world although it might seem like it now.

 He nodded, sad. We exchanged names. I said, “I’ll pray for you.”

 “Thank you,” he said, “for talking to me.”

 “Thank you for sharing,” I said. His words reminded me of how deep hurts can be hidden behind our Christmas smiles.

 The next day at the Post Office the clerk looked sad. I asked if she was all right and she said not too good. Since she and I often joke, I blurted out, “If it’s not one thing it’s another.” Then I told her about the little refrigerator magnet one of my children gave me that says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”

 She said, “I lost my mother six days ago.”

 Gulp. Awkward. I couldn’t take back my words, just apologize profusely.

 Later I thought about our words. Whether spoken, or written, we don’t know how they  might be received, or if they’re the right words.

 There is one thing for certain. “The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.” John 1:14

 We can know, when we receive God’s gift, the Word, we have His spirit within and the promise of eternal life with him. Thank God for the Word, the right word.


Christmas from a Child’s Perspective

Just in case you forget what Christmas is really about, these children remind us that not only do we need to understand Christmas, we need to share the message!




Star Trek Version of Let it Snow!

As authors, we stitch words together in a way we hope will impact our readers.

In this video you’ll see another type of word stitching that will crack you up. (Yes, even if you’re not a Star Trek fan.. Uh, at least I think you’ll laugh.)


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