Some Things New

It’s always exciting to have a new book out. Even more fun when you have two new books out in one month.

This month, I’m excited to announce the release of two men Christian romantic suspense novellas.


Love’s Deadly Secrets, which is part of the First Street Church Kindle Worlds series is now available on Amazon.

Can Isabelle Dunn remember what happened the night her friend died, or will she take those memories to her grave?

Isabelle Dunn’s past was wiped away one night when the car she was driving went over the side of the mountain, killing her best friend. Isabelle knows she is lucky to be alive. If it weren’t for her fiancé’s quick action, she might have died that night. Yet it isn’t long before Isabelle comes to realize everything she was told about the accident was a lie, and the man who claims to be her fiancé, is really a cold-blooded killer.
To stay alive, Isabelle flees Buffalo Ridge, Wyoming while looking back over her shoulder. When she stops to catch some sleep just inside the city limits sign for Sweet Grove, Texas, she has no idea how much the quant little town, and Texas Ranger Seth Walker, will change her life for the better.
Ranger Seth Walker had written love out of his life after he watched his twin sister die at the hands of someone she loved. Seth wasn’t able to save Sarah. Can he protect Isabelle now?
Forced into hiding until they can untangle the web of deceit Detective Paul Hardwick has spun, unexpectedly, Seth and Isabelle can’t stop the attraction they feel for each other from turning to love.
With Seth’s help and God’s protection, will Isabelle remember what really happened the night her friend died before Paul Hardwick can silence those memories forever?

Eye of the Storm

And Eye Of The Storm is also now available at Amazon:

Former CIA Agent Kate Reagan finds herself in the middle of storm that has disrupted her life for six years. When Kate’s entire team was killed by the terrorist they’d been chasing for months, Kate finds the only way to save her life is to pretend to lose it.

After moving dozens of times through the years, Kate ends up in the small mountain town of Soaring Eagle, Wyoming where everything about the place screams of the home she’s been longing for.

Running into Deputy Sheriff Brady Connors, Kate finds herself attracted to the handsome frontier lawman right away, but having a future is not possible while the enemy is still stalking her.

With Brady’s help, Kate is about face the showdown she’s been expecting for a long time, when the enemy coming after her proves to be closer than Kate could ever imagine.

All the best…

Mary Alford


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Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Retreat

Our own Marilyn Turk is helping organize this year’s Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Retreat. Many readers are also writers, or considering writing.  Registration is open.  You’ll find the information you need below:


Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat


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Introducing Guest Author Dani Pettrey

Dani Headshot-4

Welcome, Dani. Thank you so much for joining us today.

How did you get started writing:

I have always loved daydreaming and making up stories. I dabbled with creative writing growing up, but set it aside. A good number of years back, after the birth of my youngest daughter and a bout with a serious illness, God stirred the desire to write back in my heart and I’ve been writing ever since. I truly love the power of story. How it can transport you to another time, another place. Books have been such a huge part of my life, and I’m so glad I can share that love with fellow book lovers.

What got you into Christian fiction?

My faith plays a great role in my writing, just as my love of adventure permeates the stories I write, so does my faith. My relationship with Jesus is part of every facet of my life; it’s only natural to be part of the stories I tell. There are many novels that have touched my life—helped me to see something in a different light, inspired hope, and made me a better person. I humbly hope that my stories touch my reader’s lives in a similar way.

What have you learned along the way?

Finding balance and focus can be a challenge, you have to give yourself grace.

I have learned that balance is crucial–taking care of my family, watching my grandsons a couple days a week, maintaining close friendships, writing, researching and marketing. It’s definitely hard to juggle it all and my deepest prayer is for guidance on how to best balance everything God has so kindly entrusted me with.

It’s also very easy to become sidetracked or discouraged. Writing can be a solitary endeavor and there are many obstacles along the path to publication, but if God has placed the love of story on your heart then write for Him, you just may be amazed what He does.

How long have you been writing? When was your first book published?

I’ve been writing for fifteen years. I spent seven years writing and learning the craft before receiving my first contract in late fall of 2010. My first novel, Submerged was published in May of  2012. I now have eight full-length books out along with one novella, and I have just finished writing the ninth full-length, Dead Drift, and my second novella, Deadly Isle.

Dead Drift_Pettrey.jpg

Upcoming new release:

Dead Drift is the fourth and final book in the Chesapeake Valor Series and is now available for pre-order. It releases July 3, 2018.

Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target’s latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster.

Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark?

Bio for Dani Pettrey:

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has written eight novels, which have sold more than 300,000 copies. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance novel. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today).

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA best-seller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Courage series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, “a harrowing and thrilling ride.” For more information about her novels, visit

Thank you, Dani!

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A Prayer for the Blank Page

by Jim Denney

“Almighty God, bestow upon us the meaning of words, the light of understanding, the nobility of diction, and the faith of the true nature. And grant that what we believe, we may also speak.” —Hilary of Poitiers (A.D. 315-368)

“Blank pages inspire me with terror,” novelist Margaret Atwood once confessed. And John Steinbeck, the Pulitzer- and Nobel-winning author of The Grapes of Wrath, once confessed in his journal, “I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straightening shyness that assails one.”


G. K. Chesterton, illustration by Paul Henry, Appleton’s Magazine, 1904

Terror of the blank page is as old as literature itself. In 1295, Dante Alighieri wrote in Vita Nuova (The New Life), “It seemed to me that I had undertaken a theme too lofty for myself, so that I did not dare to begin writing, and I remained for several days with the desire to write and the fear of beginning.”

Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird, reveals her solution to the fear of the blank page: Prayer. She writes, “I sit for a moment and then say a small prayer — ‘please help me get out of the way so I can write what wants to be written.’”

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was famed for his literary criticism, theological essays, and mystery tales featuring the priest-detective Father Brown. Like Anne Lamott, Chesterton approached every writing project with an attitude of prayer. He once wrote:

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the concert and the opera,
And grace before the play and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

What should an author pray for? Inspiration. Wisdom to write truthfully. Courage to write boldly. Grace to write freely. A mind that is open and receptive to new ideas — and to the urgings of the Spirit. A heart that is open and sensitive to the hurts, hopes, and dreams of readers.

(I prayed for you, reader, as I wrote these words.)

After praying, the writer must then write.

A story is told about Winston Churchill, who was not only England’s greatest prime minister, but also an author and artist. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the anecdote, but the point it makes is absolutely true.

Churchill was in his garden, confronting an easel and a blank canvas — and he found himself blocked and unable to begin. He was afraid to put the first brush-stroke on the canvas. He would daub his brush with paint and raise it — pause — then lower it without leaving a mark.

A neighbor lady watched Churchill go through these motions several times. Finally, in exasperation, she strode into his garden, took the brush from his hand, and flung a splotch of paint onto the canvas.

“Now, paint!” she said.

And Churchill began to paint.

If you wish to accomplish anything in life, whether it is building a business, starting a Bible study, or writing a novel, you must begin at the beginning, you must confront the blank page, you must write the first sentence (either literally or metaphorically) of your work.

Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be afraid to make your mark. Breathe a prayer to the Author of the Universe, the Source of Creativity. Ask for inspiration. Ask for boldness.

Then fling something new and creative onto the blank page of this moment.

Once you’ve begun, don’t stop. Let the work you do become God’s answer to your own prayer.




Note: Battle Before Time, the first book in my newly revised and updated Timebenders series for young readers, has just been released in paperback. Click this link to learn more.

And if you’d like to learn more about how to write faster, more freely, and more brilliantly than you ever thought possible, read my book Writing In Overdrive, available in paperback and ebook editions at —J.D.


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Do You Like Where You Live and Why?

March Morning 2015

Lyn Cote here-I know that’s not a question people ask you directly but many times they ask it indirectly with comments, intimating that they wouldn’t want to live where you do! ‘-) I live in the far northwoods of Wisconsin. Lake Superior is just an hour an a half drive north of my house. (Photograph above–a March morning in my backyard.)

And people, especially those who live in warmer latitudes, are always shocked that I like living here. Southerners (and South-Westerners) appear to have a snow and cold phobia. But I think that’s probably natural because snow isn’t fun unless you’ve grown up with it (To a kid, snow makes the whole world a beach:-). And the kind of snow Southern-livers see seems to be more than a nuisance than real snow.

However, the real challenge of living where I do is spring–or the lack thereof. This far north spring is merely the war between winter and summer. Summer wins for a while and brings melting and warm breezes. Then winter barrels back in with Canadian winds and wet snow or ice. This starts sometime in April and continues till around Memorial Day when winter FINALLY gives in–usually. So I don’t mind winter, but our UN-SPRING can get on my nerves!

Winter Homecoming

As is true of every place, my area has a rich history. My book, Winter Homecoming, is set in the northwoods, a historical set in the Depression.

Here’s the blurb:

Catching a freight train out of Chicago is no way to spend Christmas Day. But the Depression has cost Will Gustafson everything—his classy wife, executive job and high society life. Now he’s heading home to the northwoods of Wisconsin to face the “I told you so’s” he deserves. On the freight train a homeless little boy attaches himself to Will like a lost puppy. Who is the boy and why is he alone?

On the day after Christmas in her Model T, Cass Newton picks up Will and the boy and takes them home with her. Is she crazy? But a new widow, she needs a handyman to help her weather the winter in her isolated cabin. She’s concealed her “delicate” condition from everyone but can’t deceive Will. A baby is coming and Will wonders how he’ll handle this—when his lady boss refuses to see a doctor. Why not for heaven’s sake?

He fights his growing attraction to this good but stubborn woman—so unlike the wife who divorced him. The three of them become an unlikely “family.” Yet what will happen when the snow melts and all their secrets are revealed?

I’m going to set the price for the ebook FREE Saturday March 17-21. (It is one of two of my ebooks on Kindle Unlimited too.) Here’s the link So where do you live and do you like living there? I’d like to know.–Lyn Cote

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New Release: Hunted by Margaret Daley—Interview with the Hero

New Release: Hunted by Margaret Daley—Interview with the Hero

Luke Michaels, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I don’t know if it’s necessarily interesting, but I love working with animals from the horses I own to my German shepherd, Shep. He is a well-trained search and rescue dog. We are a team.

What do you do for fun?

I hike and camp. I love the outdoors.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Facing my feelings about my wife who died suddenly. I never go to say good-bye.

What are you afraid of most in life?

Confronting my past. I worked on Wall Street and made a lot of money, but at the sacrifice of my marriage.

What do you want out of life?

To appreciate life and the beauty around me. Also, to help others in need.

What is the most important thing to you?

My family and friends. For many years I worked constantly and had little to do with my family and my friends—no, acquaintances—were my business colleagues.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Put my trust totally in the Lord. I grew up believing in God but when I began to work seventy to seventy-five hours a week, I pulled away from what’s the most important thing in life: God.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I could say back to when I graduated from college and choose to work on Wall Street, but that part of my life has made me the man I am today. Out of tragedy, I’ve grown and made my life mean something other than making a buck.

Hunted Final small

Blurb for Hunted:

Murder. On the Run. Second Chances.

Luke Michaels’ relaxing camping trip ends when he witnesses a woman being thrown from a bridge. He dives into the river to save her, shocked to find her wrapped in chains. As a canine search and rescue volunteer, Luke has assisted many victims, but never a beauty whose defeated gaze ignites his primal urge to protect. When Megan Witherspoon’s killers make it clear they won’t stop, Luke fights to save her, but can he keep her alive long enough to find out who is after her?

Buy links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and Google Play

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A Passion (by Hannah Alexander)

Last week I was working my way through a mountain of documents and paperwork, tired of the whole thing and wishing I could just burn it all. Tax documents? Who cares. Yeah, yeah, I know, the minute I throw something away I’ll get one of those nasty letters from the IRS telling me that I’m not really a writer, just a hobbyist, and that I owe them every bit of the deductions I’d taken five years ago–yeah, they do sometimes search past the three year period, but I’ve been there, done that, proved them wrong. Twice. So what are the odds they’ll try again?

Still, I was really sick of the whole thing.

But  just as I was ready to find a book of matches or a lighter and have a bonfire, which would probably have lit half of Nebraska on fire with all the wind, I came upon something unexpected, something I hadn’t seen before. It was a very old booklet kept by Mel’s paternal grandma, and in it were pockets that held Mel’s report cards throughout his school years, lovingly signed by either his mother or his father.

I was touched to see that someone recognized what a special young boy he was, and what a wonderful man he grew into. In fact, one of the notes by one of his teachers made it obvious she had never had a student like him–and that’s in a good way.

I knew all these things, of course, after being married to him for over 22 years, but it warmed my heart to see that, intellectual that he was, and bullied though he might have been, he turned into one of the kindest, most insightful, brilliant men I’ve ever known.

I enjoyed reading through each report card (He made me promise not to reveal that there was one time in his school career that he did not make an A) and reading notes and comments about him–nothing I didn’t already know.

His grandmother kept this booklet faithfully throughout those 12 years. That is, until his final year, his big finale, when he was hugely successful in his more intellectual pursuits, and had good reason to be proud. You see, he knew since he was ten that he was going to be a doctor when he grew up, and he excelled at science and math and read every medical journal he could get his hands on. He also loved English, debate,  and could type faster than anyone his teacher had ever seen. So well rounded.

His senior year, when he was valedictorian of his class and had the world at his fingertips, there was no report card in the pocket. Nothing  about his senior year.

It wasn’t until I glanced over at a picture of his father by the wall in the den that I realized what had happened. That sweet grandma who had kept her grandson’s school records all those years? Her own son died. Mel’s father fought cancer for seven years, taking his treatments, swallowing his pills before he went out to plow on the farm or milk the cows. Mel’s senior year was the year his father succumbed to that cancer. Their lives flew apart, and so did the life of Mel’s grandma. When I realized this I just sat and cried for that  poor lady and the young man who never got a chance to have his father sit out in the audience watching his valedictory speech.

So many years have passed. We know Mel’s father is with his mother in heaven now. Not long after his father died, his maternal grandparents died within six months of each other, casting a pall on the family that had hovered in the background for seven long years.

I don’t know how I’d have recovered from that. I think we’re realizing now, more and more, that one doesn’t recover from such a tragedy. One finds a new normal. Mel struggled as anyone would, but he never lost sight of his dream. Ten-year-old Melvin wanted so badly to be a doctor so he could heal his father. That passion still drives the grown-up Mel. Helping people heal is one of the driving forces in his life, and it makes him who he is.

My passion is writing. It’s what gets me up in the morning. Mel and I are both Christians, and we hope our testimony reveals itself in our chosen professions, because God drives us to our passions.

What gets you up in the morning? I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t actually have a passion in life. I say dig a little deeper and find it. Maybe it’s hidden. But don’t stop looking. Never stop looking. Never let the tragedies in your life keep you from living your passion.


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What Is Your Story? by Tara Randel


At my church, we’ve been talking about story. What is it? How does it apply to our lives? The fact is, everyone has a story. As a writer, this topic falls right into my wheelhouse. I love coming up with a story premise, building a plot, adding page-turning conflict and creating interesting characters who keep readers turning to the very last page. But as we’ve been discussing story, it’s clear that this is more than just about mechanics. So how does it affect our daily lives?

Let’s look at some favorite themes in books; love, second chances, reunions, forgiveness, redemption, to name a few. Why are they so popular? Because these themes relate to real life. And all of these themes can be found in the Bible. There is great wisdom, insight, instruction and advice in the Word. Along with some compelling stories. Jesus even used parables, stories, to teach a spiritual principles.

So the question is, do you tell your stories to others? Do you talk abut the things that have happened to you and relate it to Jesus? The depths of despair or the moments of supreme joy? How your life changed when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and what your walk looks like now? Has He taken you from a circumstance where you saw no hope and instead through His grace, turned it around to His glorious light? As many people as there are in the world, that’s how many stories there are. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if Jesus was in the middle of each one?

Conversely, do you listen to people when they share their stories with you? Do you listen with your spirit? It’s surprising how often we can overlook the surface story, but everything changes once you discover what makes a person tick and why. What kind of world would we live in if we truly listened to those with hurting hearts and broken spirits?

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Col 3:16
Telling a story is a way to talk to people about Jesus. We don’t have to thump people over the head if we simply tell folks what Jesus has done in our lives. Opening up a conversation and being honest about who God is in your life and sharing the amazing things He’s done for you is a beautiful way to show others who God is, His nature and how much He loves us. It’s an interesting idea that we can take our story and use it to further the kingdom of God.

So, are you willing to tell your story so that others might see Jesus?

Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her Harlequin Heartwarming romance, HIS ONE AND ONLY BRIDE, available now.  Visit Tara at Like her on Facebook at Sign up for Tara’s Newsletter and receive a link to download a free digital book.


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I Get By with a little Help from my Friends.

By Marilyn Turk

A writer’s life can be lonely and isolated – separated from the activities of the world outside his or her office.

However, the isolation is a choice dictated by the profession, a condition under which the writer does her best work. Distractions can be devastating derailments to the story the writer is trying to get out of her head. The writer is employer and employee at the same time, setting independent goals that she must manage to achieve. The brainstorming, the ideas, the writing and the editing must be done by that one person – an overwhelming task.

Unless that writer knows and communicates with other writers. One of the best rewards of being a writer is finding those other writers. We’re in a world of our own making when we’re writing, and no one understands the mood, the trials and the frustration of that world better than other writers.

How did I find these other writers? By going to conferences and joining writing groups. I firmly believe networking is half the battle in getting published. Knowing who to talk to about what is invaluable, plus finding out what’s going on in the market, and meeting agents and editors face to face are some of the benefits of going to conferences. But oh, the support of writer-friends is just as important and has helped so much to encourage and inspire me on this journey.

Thanks to email and Facebook (and for some Twitter and Instagram), I can “talk” to other writers every day and get their feedback on various topics. I belong to several private groups on Facebook where only the writers of a particular genre or publisher communicate. I also belong to a writing accountability group and critique group which is very helpful to motivate me.

But writers aren’t the only people that motivate me. I am thankful to have personal friends, church friends and reader friends who support and encourage me as well.

After a few years on this journey, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have made it this far without help from my friends.  This profession isn’t as lonely as it used to be – before conferences, before social media – and I am so thankful it isn’t.

Here’s an opportunity for you to meet other writers: Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, May 2-5, 2018. Go to for more information.


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Step Five in Our Journey

What kind of woman would Captain Ahab fall in love with?

PequodAhab would not be Ahab if he fell in love with a typical Victorian woman. But to figure out what sort of woman he would choose, we must look at more of his character, personality, and history. (At right, picture of Pequod whale ship from miniseries is used by permission of the photographer and found at Wiki Commons.)

I believe Ahab will be attracted to someone with his same zeal for life. Although he probably would not disdain a woman experienced in intimacy, it is also probable he would not choose a promiscuous woman simply because he’s probably known many of them over the years. Being educated—“Ahab’s been in colleges”—he will marry an intelligent woman. Having traveled the world, he may find favorable the idea of taking his young bride on a world tour both to show her the world and to show her off to the world. (Today we would call her “arm candy.”) Ahab is not insane when they meet, but he is intense. Their romance is passionate because he is a vital, active, healthy man in all respects. The woman he loves must be all of those things as well.

Since he marries before he loses his leg, (not three voyages wed at the time of the Pequod’s departure; lost his leg the previous voyage of the Pequod), I am curious to know what kind of man he was before that tragedy. Why does he react as he does when it happens? Other men with similar losses, i.e., the English captain who lost an arm to Moby Dick, have managed to recover and adjust without Ahab’s rage against the White Whale.

He married “past fifty” and thought it might have been a great evil to marry Hannah because he sailed the next day, leaving her a widow while she was still a wife. Though at the time of their marriage and his departure, he left only “one dent in his marriage pillow,” the fact that he returned to her at least two more times (not three voyages wed, but at least two) means they would have had more marital bliss. Because their child is young enough to take a noon nap, he would be younger than six or seven years, and he would have been conceived after Ahab returned from that first voyage.

Ahab’s voyages would have been shorter than average, but still successful. The average whaling voyage took three years, and usually more, so Ahab becomes a legend by his less-than-three-year successful voyages. My whole story must take place when he is past fifty and before he dies at fifty-eight. By the time Moby Dick takes place, he has spent only three years out of forty on shore. He sailed for the first time at eighteen. He is “rich as a potentate” and has no need to continue whaling. He does so perhaps because it is the habit of his lifetime, but also because he has a passion for the savagery of the whale hunt, much as a career soldier thrives on battle, i.e., continually proving his manhood.

Even Ahab does not completely understand why he is compelled to pursue the White Whale. He even tries to stop when he sees his loved ones reflected in First Mate Starbuck’s eyes. But he is overwhelmed by his mania. Where did it come from? What is the real target of his rage? Why is he enraged? Surely it must go beyond the loss of his leg. A man of his courage could have faced his loss with the support of his loving family.

The theme of Ahab’s rage has been the subject of so much commentary, I feel inadequate to try to address those deeper issues. My purpose is to show just enough of his inner conflict to demonstrate how it affected his wife. She is my protagonist. Still, in creating her, I must base her every strength or weakness on something either that Melville has provided in the original work or something that fits into the time period.

Here is what I decided about my heroine: Hannah will not be a Nantucket girl, but like those indomitable women, she will possess an independent spirit and strong character. She is unlike her mainland friends who embody the typical nineteenth-century views of a woman’s “place.” Like Ahab, she will be an “Isolate” by her own choice.

Staying true to the historical times: The 1830s were a time of great discovery. The mysteries of the world were opening up to whoever wanted to travel. Hannah wants to travel and see the world (or at least parts of it), but she is still young and inexperienced enough to be unfocused in her desires. She also has no close female influences because her mother died when she was born. This device gives Ahab the responsibility and pleasure of teaching her about life, a marital circumstance not atypical of the time period. She will be beautiful enough, yet different enough to attract Ahab’s attention and love.

Love at first sight: The initial attraction between Hannah and Ahab is physical. To Hannah, the successful Captain Ahab appears to be the epitome of all the classical heroes she has read about from childhood, the godlike men who sparked her imagination and made ordinary men appear far too inferior to deserve her attention.

Florence_Folger Victorian BrideAhab is attracted to Hannah because: To Ahab, lovely Hannah, all dressed in white, is purity personified. He meets her at a time when he has become sea- and world-weary and has begun to long for something in his life beside whaling. But what begins for Ahab as a playful flirtation to annoy the young minister, who has the audacity to try to convert him, quickly becomes a fascination in the young woman who is different from any female of his social rank he has ever met. Her courage and desire to learn about life beyond her sheltered world inspire him to become her private tutor in the latest philosophies, even as he advises her father in his failing whaling business. (The Victorian bride picture at left is from Flickr through Wiki Commons and has no known copyright.)

Peck_Moby_DickHannah is attracted to Ahab because: Hannah has never met a man, other than her indulgent father, who values her mind as well as her beauty. That Ahab regards her as an equal becomes his most compelling virtue, and her heart is won. As the time draws near for his departure on another long whaling voyage, she fears he will forget her unless she secures his affection with a betrothal. At her prodding and against his better judgment, he proposes only days before leaving. (At right, the picture of Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab is in the public domain from Wiki Commons.)

Surprised by love: Hannah will be as surprised by love as Ahab is, for, unlike her friends, she is not looking for it. She is not attracted to Ahab’s money, but rather his intelligence, generosity, and handsome appearance. As with most people in love, she sees him in a unique light that others may not understand. Though she had not planned to marry, she grasps for happiness before Ahab leaves on his voyage. When Peleg says she is a “sweet, resigned girl,” I’ll take the sweet (though not too sticky sweet), but not the resigned—you may recall that last time I said Peleg isn’t a totally reliable witness to Ahab’s character—because a spirited man such as Ahab would not have married a resigned girl. She must have spirit. Hannah’s only resignation is to his inevitable decision to sail again, and that resignation comes after painful disappointments. With her inexperience in life, she cannot comprehend her husband’s inner conflicts. With wealth to spare and no further need to continue whaling, why can he not be content to stay home with her?

More about Hannah and Ahab next time!

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Put a little humor into it…


I love to laugh. Most of us do. With so many serious things happening in the world around us, I think it’s important to find ways to put laughter into each day of our lives.

So what makes you laugh? Is it a joke? A funny story? A humorous TV show? A book?

All those things, but also, for me, I love seeing cute babies and animals doing funny things. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites here to give you a good laugh for the day.

This little boy is so cute.

Who doesn’t like a couple of cute kittens.

Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?

And my all time favorite. I’m going to try this some day.

So here’s hoping your day if filled with laughter…

Mary Alford

Heart of Texas by [Alford, Mary]

Heart of Texas – Available at Amazon

Laney Winters gets the biggest shock of her life when she learns she’s pregnant…on the same day she finds her husband in bed with his secretary. With her blissful life exposed as fraud, and her husband wanting nothing to do with raising a child, Laney faces divorce and her greatest fear–moving back home to live with her two eccentric old-maid aunts.Hiding the demise of her marriage and helping to manage the family diner should be uneventful, but a new man in town has the gossips speculating. Laney’s two aunts create an exciting mystery around the stranger, and Laney is sucked into an entertaining game of “Save Jake Montgomery from Aunt Thelma.” When her aunts’ latest victim turns out to be the town’s new family doctor, Laney must entrust him with her secrets, and along the way, discover that when your life flips upside down it’s God’s way of giving you a different perspective…and a fresh start.










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Editing and Being Humbled

by Nancy J. Farrier


Have you ever worked hard to make something only to have others find fault? For instance, if you spend hours cooking a meal from a new recipe and your family sits there looking at the food with the expression that says, “You want me to eat that?” Those moments always feel so personal because of the work and time you’ve invested.


I am going through the editing process on book two of my Land of Promise series, Ranchero. I don’t know if you are familiar with the editing process, but after weeks, and often months of writing a book, then more weeks of self-editing, an authoBandolero-Kindler sends their story to an editor. The editor then looks at the story with fresh eyes, finding everything from plot holes or inconsistencies, to misspelled words or typos.


Every time I send off a finished manuscript, I have the hope there will be few, if any, changes. Perhaps this time I will have a perfect book, polished and ready to go to my readers. So far, this hasn’t happened. I believe that is good, although it isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes, it’s downright embarrassing to see my mistakes.


I have never enjoyed criticism. I used to get pretty bristly when someone found fault with anything I did. Now, I wonder if God allowed me to become a writer so I would learn to accept constructive criticism that is meant to improve what I’ve created. I know now, that if I believe every word I write is perfect, there is no way for God to continue to mold me into His image. At that point, I am far from humble.


When my editor catches mistakes like—The afternoon wained… and changes it to, The afternoon waned…, I am grateful. When she notices my characters continually chuckle, or rub their nose or roll their eyes, she reminds me to vary the mannerisms giving my characters more depth, and I am thankful. When I capitalize Uncle and should have used uncle, she catches that and sends me a reminder of the grammar rule. I am happy to have her help to improve and as I go through her corrections and reminders, my writing skills are strengthened for the next book I write.


Each book edited is a learning experience in being humbled. While I’m still not excited about my family turning up their nose at a meal I’ve worked hard to cook – not that it happens often – I have learned to appreciate, and welcome, constructive criticism. It’s a great way for me to grow into a better person as well as a better writer.


“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Prov. 15:33 NKJV

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The Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt is on!

by Elizabeth Goddard

Good morning my Christians Read friends!

I’m late in posting to you this first Saturday of the month (my days to post). The sun has finally shown its face, pushing away the gray clouds of a Michigan winter.

I never thought I’d be excited for spring because it ushers in summer, and as a 7th generation Texan, I simply can’t abide summer. Ha! But in Michigan, well, I welcome spring because it ushers in summer. It’s all about perspective.

For my post today I thought you would be most interested to hear about the spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!

It ends tomorrow night—Sunday, March 4th—at midnight (MST) so you have plenty of time to hunt and learn about new authors, all while gathering clues that could potentially leave you with prizes.



To begin the hunt, start HERE AT STOP #1!

Happy Hunting!!!

Elizabeth Goddard

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Surprises and Fun While Researching

On a visit to Iowa for some research, I had the fun of visiting the Antique Car Museum of Iowa in Coralville, not far from the Amana Colonies. I’d never before stayed in Coralville and wasn’t even aware of the car museum, but visiting seemed a natural since it was within walking distance of our hotel.

Needless to say, I took lots of pictures. Even if you aren’t a fan of antique cars, you’d enjoy the cars in this museum. Making the visit even more fun was the fact that Lorna Seilstad, who was with me on the trip, found an REO that she was featuring in one of her novels, When Love Calls. She had chosen the 1908 Reo Gentleman’s Roadster for her male protagonist, Lincoln, to drive. Although the one in the museum was a 1909 model, we.

What fun it was when we discovered they had one at the museum.  The Roadster cost $1250 for a twin-cylinder and $650 for a single-cylinder, according to one ad. Another said it had a list price of $1040, with top, side curtains, and storm front. It had a top speed of 45 mph, and it was cosmetically racier than other automobiles with its longer fenders, longer hood, and seat set further back.  It had a 12-gallon gas tank, two speeds, and reverse. Always nice to have reverse!

But, below is the car that surprised me the most–a Sears 1912 Runabout. I honestly never knew that Sears produced cars. However, they manufactured cars in Chicago between 1908 and 1912. This particular model was sold through the Sears catalogue as #21R333 and sold for $445. It came with two seats in the front and room in the rear for another seat or more cargo space.

Note the tiller-type steering wheel on the left-hand side of the vehicle and buggy configuration with no doors. Top speed? 10 miles per hour. I learned this vehicle (still in original condition) was found in an enclosed grain bin of a grain storage facility along the Texas-Oklahoma border.

And this was the runner-up for surprises. For any camping enthusiasts among us, here’s a car, a Cadillac, that had a built-in bunk bed for those camping trips or unexpected stops along the road for a rest! I’d never seen one of these, either. What fun it would be to put one of these in a book!

And speaking of camping, do tell me what fun things you’re planning for your spring and summer fun! Any camping in your future? If so, I hope your accommodations are more comfortable than those offered in this picture.

May you find joy in the beauty of nature as the seasons change. ~Judy

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My Journey with God As I’ve Developed As a Christian Writer By Margaret Daley

My Journey with God As I’ve Developed As a Christian Writer

By Margaret Daley

In the past few years my faith has deepened. Actually it has grown quite a bit through the years I’ve written for the Christian market. God led me to write inspirational stories in the late 1990s. At first I ignored the nudge, but as the Lord so often does, he kept nudging me until I took up the challenge. And of course, he was so right. I found my writing home in the Christian market.

Several times in the past few years I’ve seen God actively working in my life. First, he gave me a story I had to tell. It became the first book in The Men of the Texas Rangers Series, Saving Hope. The story is about human trafficking, and I knew it would be a difficult sale, but I didn’t give up hope selling it because it was a story the Lord gave me. I felt him totally behind me. There was someone out there who needed to read it. I have felt that way about all my books in The Men of the Texas Ranger Series. The second book, Shattered Silence, is about bullying. He has given me passion about certain social issues and the desire to tackle them in a story.


When I ran for the president of American Christian Fiction Writers, I did because He wanted me to run. I did out of obedience, not really expecting to win. I had books contracted and I was already serving on the board as Volunteer Officer. I didn’t envision myself as the president. I hated getting up in front of large crowds and giving a speech. I did win, and He assured me He would help me with giving the speeches. And He did. He is amazing.

My most recent journey with the Lord has me working on giving control over to Him. For so many years I tried to do everything by myself. I loved the Lord, but I didn’t need Him. Or so I thought. What has come home to me is that I can’t do it alone anymore. That I can’t do it without the Lord. Even knowing that, it has still been hard to give everything to Him. Not to worry. Not to forge ahead without considering what He wants me to do. As I’ve told people, I’m a work in progress, but with the Lord on my side, I can’t go wrong.

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