On a writing loop I saw where a writer friend’s book was a finalist in a contest. I emailed him and copied the section showing his being a finalist and wrote, “Don’t you think you have something to tell your writer friends?”

He answered that he rejects any possibilities of bragging.

That totally surprised me. I wasn’t asking him to brag, but to share.

Of course, anyone has the right to reveal or keep quiet about their accomplishments. Then I recalled another friend who recently received a book contract after learning, trying, writing, re-writing, being critiqued for several years. She emailed me and asked if I would let our writers group know.

I said, “Absolutely not. For years we have supported you with prayers and effort and you weren’t quiet about what you were trying to do. Now, don’t be quiet about having one of your dreams come true. You tell it…with excitement and joy.”

She did, and we all rejoiced.

I remembered that she, too, had been reluctant. Is it because we hear phrases like, “shameless promotion” of one’s published books? It’s often said as if shameless means shameful. I think the shameless should mean we may promote without shame. Writing is a profession. What business or profession doesn’t promote?

That prompted me to look at DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS:

BRAG: pompous or boastful statement; arrogant talk or manner; cockiness, braggart; to assert boastfully – BOAST: assert with excessive pride (I would not recommend that!)

SHARE: to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others; often used with with; to talk about one’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences with others (I like that!)

PROMOTE: to contribute to the growth or prosperity of; to present (merchandise) for buyer acceptance through advertising and publicity (Who wouldn’t recommend that?)

And then, there’s further explanation. BRAGGING RIGHTS is entitlement to boast about something. BOASTING may imply a claiming with proper and justifiable pride (my note: such as finally meeting your goal or dream)

Pride may be negative or positive. We certainly need to guard against false pride or lack of humility. But hiding our light under a bushel is not humility. Jesus says to let our light shine.

A runner in town has medals hanging in his Running Shop of about 50 races in which he’s participated. I don’t know if he won. He ran the races. And he sells racing clothes, shoes, water bottles, accessories, health products to use while running. Is he bragging? No, he’s saying he’s qualified to help you. He knows something about what a runner needs on his feet, on his body, in his body. He’s saying, “I know from experience what it means to work at something and succeed (whether or not he got first prize).

As a Christian, I am well aware that all I have, including the air I breathe, comes from God. I cannot write one word without his allowing it. But he doesn’t write one word of my books without my hands on the keyboard. We work together. That’s the wonderful joy of it. I’m thrilled to announce that God has blessed me, worked through me to accomplish something and to bring a little meaning into the lives of others. That isn’t pride. To me…that’s worship.

So when we say we won’t brag – is that saying I am thinking about me and what others think about me? I want others to see the product produced from my trying and accomplishing.

Scripture tells us, without Him I can do nothing.

It also says, I can do all things through Jesus.

I love to hear about the accomplishments of my friends. I believe they love to hear of mine.

I feel that sharing what God has allowed me to do, or he does through me, gives glory to God.

What are your thoughts on this?


“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” (Hebrews 10:25)

This is a scripture that Christians are more than familiar with. We gather together at church on Sundays or Wednesday nights, or in our homes for Bible study and fellowship. Relationships with other Christians are important so that we can pray, share each other’s burdens and talk about the commonality we share—faith in Jesus Christ—and we should have a deep abiding love for one another. Meeting like this brings encouragement and keeps us marching forward, holding our heads high in the midst of a brutal world.

The same can be said for writers, and especially Christian writers. I recently moved to Minnesota from Texas. Most of my life I’ve lived out in the country, or in a region that made it difficult to meet with other like-minded people with any meaningful frequency. But now I live close enough to meet with other writers. And not just any writers, but Christian writers, many whom I’ve known from online writer’s groups and conferences. Through virtual meetings and once-a-year conferences, I’ve developed deep friendships, and grown as a writer.

But nothing can compare with meeting with others in person. Face-to-face.

Now I understand the meaning of the scripture from Hebrews completely. Meeting with Christian writing friends in person since I’ve been in Minnesota has bolstered me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Encouraged and inspired me. I believe that I will grow as a writer like never before. (I hope)

And this is the whole point of the scripture in Hebrews. Gathering together for encouragement and prayer and talking to people who understand you like no one else is an essential part of a Christian’s walk. An especially important part of a Christian writer’s development.

So if you’re dreaming about writing the great Christian fiction novel, I implore you to meet with others. It’s vital to your spirit, Christian walk, and your work as a writer.


Elizabeth Goddard

Book Release-UNTRACEABLE by Elizabeth Goddard

Hi Friends!

Today is release day for UNTRACEABLE, book 2 in my Mountain Cove series for Love Inspired Suspense. UNTRACEABLE is the story of survival under extreme pressure, and the resulting spiritual battle when we wonder where God is during the struggle.

While UNTRACEABLE can be read as a stand alone novel, I hope you’ll start the series with BURIED and meet the characters there first to get the most powerful emotional experience.

NO WAY OUntraceable CoverUT

On a daring mission, search-and-rescue specialist Heidi Warren and her team step onto an icy Alaskan mountaintop. . .and right into a trap. A stranded gang of thieves holds them at gunpoint, forcing them to serve as guides along the treacherous path. Menaced on all sides by dangerous weather, deadly terrain and murderous criminals, Heidi desperately needs someone to trust. But her rescue partner, Isaiah Callahan, is keeping secrets from her. Secrets that ended their chance at a relationship before it could even begin. Yet her survival depends on finding a way to trust Isaiah when a blizzard starts closing in and her options start running out.

Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.

Order you copy today at:



Or Visit my website for more purchasing options:

Many blessings!

Elizabeth Goddard

Marriage, Romance and Unconditional Love

WeddingDayYesterday, I celebrated twenty-six years of marriage to my wonderful handsome, husband from Montana, me being a Texas girl and all. I posted lots of pictures on my Facebook page and had some fun sharing with friends and family there. I also asked the question—twenty-six years ago, who would have guessed I’d be writing romance?
Some commented that at least I have inspiration—my marriage.
That started me thinking about the romance genre. In general, my romances happen quickly because I write in the romantic suspense sub-genre. So either the characters have known each other in the past or they are just meeting each other when the story begins. From there, the action and story world draw them in and compel them forward to run for their lives or solve a mystery together. They must rely on one another and trust one another like they have never trusted anyone else in their lives—and for their lives. The crucible, if you will, forces them together under pressure and no matter how hard they fight it, they fall in love, or at least admit they know there is a connection and they each want to explore a future together. Now that general formula can happen in many different ways, and I’m only generalizing my stories here as I’ve written them for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line.
Some readers prefer a long, drawn out romance that happens over a period of months, and that seems more realistic to them because that’s how it happened for them personally. But there are those of us who fell in love quickly and married quickly. My husband and I had only known each other a couple of months, then dated for five weeks before he proposed. From that point we planned the wedding that took place three months later. That’s pretty fast. So for me, whether a romance happens quickly or grows slowly over time, I’m all in.
But here’s another thought. How much more romantic is a marriage of decades where two people have grown together and they know all the good, the bad and the ugly about each other, and they still love each other? In fact, they love each other more. From experience I can tell you there is no deeper lover, no more romantic love, than a lasting, unconditional love.

goddard-LR-2 (2)Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels and counting. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated with a B.S. degree in computer science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. To find out more or sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at

Join the Mountain Cove adventure, get BURIED (book 1) in an avalanche of romantic suspense. BURIED cover


vicki hinze, Lessons from the Pope, lessons from a news clip

Courtesy Catholic News Agency

Messages from God and lessons to us are all around. We simply must slow down long enough to see and comprehend them. I’m as guilty as the next of sometimes breezing right past them, but yesterday, I saw a news clip of the Pope in the Philippines that stopped me in my tracks and held me there.

The weather there was awful; rainy and gloomy. In spite of it, six million people gathered and stood in the rain to hear the Pope’s message to them.

In the news clip, a priest in New York said this was the largest gathering of people in recorded history for a single individual. He also said some are calling the Pope a rock star. He disagreed; that many had never gathered for any rock star. All of this caught my ear and had me paying close attention.

Enough attention that I realized the Pope-mobile had ditched its bullet-proof glass walls; they were open. The Pope kissed babies, touched people physically as well as spiritually. And when a little girl who lived on the streets before being taken in by the church asked why such bad things happened to children, he admitted that answer was beyond him, and he hugged the child. She moved closer to him and hugged the Pope so hard, as one would her daddy she’d gone to for comfort. It touched me. Deeply.

The message he delivered was one of helping the poor, of working against poverty and corruption. I didn’t hear it all—just that recited in the clip—but it was a strong message. Yet I believe his strength is in his accessibility. He’s open and genuine, and people react to that and hear his message to them through that perspective.

While I attended Catholic schools early-on, I am not Catholic. Yet I learned a great deal from the Pope in this news clip and I expect as I think about it, and study on my own, I’ll learn much more. So I wanted to share those observations with you. Maybe you too will find something of value in them.

Lesson 1: The Pope is sincere and genuine in his desire to interact with people. He doesn’t come across as a man on a soap-box speaking at them. He talks with them and listens to them.

Lesson 2: He removed the walls from the Pope-mobile. This endangers his life. It makes him vulnerable to the crazies who would kill him. Yet he values his life less than he values the desire to be accessible to people. Those suffering and struggling, those seeking, see this, know it, and respect it. Sometimes the momentary touch of a hand offers reassurance where there has been none. Reminds people that God is, has been, and remains in control in a world gone wild. We are not alone.

Lesson 3: When the little girl asked the question, a lump raised in my throat. How do you explain man’s inhumanity to man to a child? To adults? How do you explain a child living on the streets? Hungry? Alone? It brings to mind a quote: If you condone it, you own it. I don’t recall but give credit to whoever said it first, but I agree with it. If collectively we decided to nurture, care for, feed and protect children, they would be nurtured, cared for, fed, and protected. We’ve haven’t . . . yet. But hope springs eternal.

The Pope could have offered the child a platitude. He didn’t. I respect that. And by her reaction, moving in for that fatherly hug, the child did, too. And that carried not one but two lessons:

  1. Kids can cope with honesty. They sense when someone is being honest, and they react openly to it. There’s no shame in not having the answer. There is shame in being dishonest.
  2. Sometimes all we can offer is a hug. It translates in ways we know and ones we can’t imagine, depending on just how badly someone needs that hug. Kids need their moms and dads. They play different roles in their lives, but both are crucial roles essential to their children.

And, for me, the most significant BIG LESSON from this little news clip was:


It’s not the messenger, it’s the message.


People are inundated with negative news, with hardships and tough times. They thirst and hunger for hope, for assurance that God is here, there, everywhere, and, while we might not understand all that is happening, He understands perfectly.

We want that assurance. We need that assurance. Because we are not just physical and emotional beings, we are spiritual beings, and for many, we see so much that is anti-spirit, we hear and feel the impact of so much that is an affront to our spirits, we find ourselves sinking deeper and deeper into despair even as we live out our day-to-day lives and appear normal.

That message is what drew six million people to stand in the rain to hear the Pope speak. It wasn’t the Pope. He is not a rock star. It was the message.

It was their thirsty spirits stepping out in faith, eager to hear a message of hope.

And delivering such a message, doesn’t require one to be a Pope, only to have a willing heart…✚


© 2015, Vicki Hinze





Vicki’s new book is a sweet romance, My Imperfect Valentine.

Romance, Suspense and History

I love my job!


Can I just say that? I love writing novels. It’s work, hard work. More than I could ever have imagined. But at the end of the day, would I really want to do anything else?


This week, I finished the manuscript for the 4th book in my MOUNTAIN COVE series for Love Inspired Suspense. I loved writing the story—the adventure, the suspense and the mystery. For this story, I had a lot of historical research. Yes, it’s still a contemporary romantic suspense, but the story involves a shipwreck filled with legendary gold.


S.S. Islander ( public domain)

I’ve always been fascinated by shipwrecks and would love to write more books—more great escapes—exploring the many possibilities.
But for this particular story—due out in October—I found a gold rush era shipwreck in the Inside Passage of Alaska, where I’ve set my Mountain Cove series. The S.S. Islander sank in 1901, killing 40 passengers, and taking with it gold bullion worth millions, even then. Did you know they are still trying to get to that gold? Trying to find it? What fun I had with this one in my story. Of course, the shipwreck in my story is all fictional, but based on the S.S. Islander.




Public Domain


Many attempts have been made to recover the gold over the last century. Imagine how much the technology has changed, and still the gold has remained just out of our grasp. At least at the writing of this post.

After this, I thought how much fun it would be to write my romantic suspense and include a little history in each story. I’m might try to do that as often as possible on my novels from this point on. What do you think?

I’ve always loved reading historical novels, historical romance or otherwise, so it makes sense that I would enjoy seasoning my romantic suspense with history.

Which do you prefer–historical novels? Historical romance? Contemporary or romantic suspense?




I invite you to join the Mountain Cove adventure with BURIED, my Love Inspire Suspense January release, and book 1 in the series.BURIED cover


Many blessings!

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated with a B.S. degree in computer science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. Find out more at


What to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving by Elizabeth Goddard

goddard-LR-2 (2)For my post, I decided to write up a list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The posts on the topic floating around the internet must be in the thousands, I’m sure. Why not join the numbers?


But first I needed to do my research. Research, you ask, on things for which I should be thankful? The list should be easy enough to write, and while my list will be similar to everyone’s list, it will also be unique for me.
Still I wanted to read articles listing, in general, things for which we should be thankful on Thanksgiving. The articles I found were humorous and others serious, as one might expect. But most lists were generally too broad to be all-inclusive. Lists included the usual gratefulness for the abundance of food, shelter, clothing and health. But then there was something on a list I realized that I can’t say I’m thankful for because I don’t have it.
Then I started to think about all the people who don’t have enough food. Or are living under a bridge. What about those who are not in good health? What does their list look like?
Yes, I believe we should give thanks to the Giver of all good gifts, and for all our many blessings. But creating this list made me want to dig deeper for those who are hurting this Thanksgiving. For those who might stare at an empty table—lacking food or friends and family.
Thanksgiving is about much more than giving thanks when everything is going well, or giving thanks for the good things. It’s about a change in attitude—having a thankful heart.


“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18



That’s one of those scriptures that can be tough to swallow sometimes. But if you do this, it can change your heart and change your outlook on life—through the hard times. So everything bad is happening on the outside, but on the inside, if you have a grateful heart, it will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. And then you can change the world.
But how does one get a grateful heart, a thankful heart? You can’t just conjure one if you don’t have one. The answer is simple enough. You ask the One to whom you should be thankful, to give you a thankful heart. Then you start giving thanks. Just do it. The physical first, and then the spiritual.
I came across this article that expresses what I’m saying so much more eloquently: Give Thanks in Everything
In the meantime, if you are struggling or suffering this Thanksgiving, I pray that God will bless you with great favor and most importantly, He will change your heart so that you can experience true joy even in the midst of trials and suffering.


AGrandTetonSleighRideElizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a twenty romance novels. Stop by her blog to enter the drawing for A GRAND TETON SLEIGH RIDE!









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The Newbie Perspective by Julie Arduini

It’s been off air for awhile but as a newlywed I remember watching ER with my husband. What I enjoyed was watching the show from the newbie’s POV, point of view. When the show started it was Carter, the resident under the tough Dr. Benton. At first he was unsure and trying to prove himself against his never-impressed mentor. We saw through this eyes the highs and the lows. Life and death. When it was Carter’s time to move on to other things, he evolved into a top notch doctor who was a colleague. It was a beautiful transition to watch through the years.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV but I can relate to the ER journey. Through the years readers have walked with me as I transitioned from a writer of a rough draft to a critique partner and editor. As I queried and waited. Rejoiced as I signed a contract with Write Integrity Press.

And here we are.

This week I released the cover to Entrusted, my first Adirondack contemporary romance, to the public. I’ve heard from other authors with multiple books. The day they see the final cover, the times the mail carrier drops off a box of books fresh off the press, it never gets old.

Set for release this month, you can mark Entrusted as a "want to read" on Goodreads and join Julie Arduini there as she talks about the book and writing.

Set for release this month, you can mark Entrusted as a “want to read” on Goodreads and join Julie Arduini there as she talks about the book and writing.

The plan is for Entrusted to release this month. I’ve sent in the galleys/proofs. It has an ISBN number. Goodreads has officially recognized it, and me. The work really revs up now as it’s no good to write a book and not market it. My prayer is many will not only become aware of Entrusted, they will want to purchase it. They will purchase extra copies for Christmas gifts. They will realize reviews are important for future work for the author, so they will leave honest and kind reviews.

I admit, I feel like Dr. Carter and I’m blessed because there is no Dr. Benton. As wise as he was, he had a lousy bedside manner. I have my Heavenly Father guiding and cheering me on. I have a publisher that believes in me and fellow authors who are like family.

I’m pretty sure there are episodes where Dr. Carter got a procedure right and when no one was looking, he was in a hallway doing a dance or a fist pump in the air.

Been there, still doing that.

Is there anything you’ve accomplished that was a transition that started as the new person? Can you relate?

You’re Invited: I’ll be across social media talking about Entrusted, writing, faith, chocolate and life in general. I have a group at Goodreads and would love for you to join. The same for G+ and Facebook. I’d love for you to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, too.

Stories of good and evil, light and darkness

this present darknessI was going to write something about Halloween or All Soul’s Day for my post today, but I didn’t think there was anything I could add to conversations swirling around out there. People have their opinions about what to do or not do when October 31 rolls around, and most of the time, they stick to those opinions pretty firmly.

As a reader, I am always a fan of stories about good and evil. What is it inside us that sometimes likes to peek at the dark? Not to enjoy it, per se, not to see how close we can get to evil without it harming us (the horror movies are pretty clear about people who dabble with things they shouldn’t).

Millions have read Frank Peretti’s now-classic duo of books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, and authors have followed his trail with those glimpses into the dark.

Another story I’m a fan of is one by Ray Bradbury, made into a lesser-known film by Disney, called Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I first saw the film my sophomore year of college. Looking back, the production wasn’t exactly state of the art, but it captured the feel of Bradbury’s short story that has stuck with me, all these years later.

Common to these tales is the fact that evil doesn’t always look bad. In fact, evil can sometimes look like the thing we want the most. It can be beautiful, taste good, look good, feel good.

How can something appealing be bad?

Also, we learn there’s much more going on than people see with their physical eyes. Peretti peeled back the veil so we could see around it, and view his perspective. I know people have criticized such views sometimes, but hey, he’s not making a doctrine out of it.

One of the things I like best about a great story about good and evil is the underlying fact that: good wins, the light wins. God wins.

St. George and the Dragon. Raphael, about 1506

St. George and the Dragon. Raphael, about 1506

Some books show the struggle between darkness and light, good and evil, but there isn’t that hopeful thread running throughout. What kind of an ending is that, without hope? The horror movie world might call it “room for a sequel,” but that’s just it—it’s devoid of hope.

The best Story of all shows us that no matter how dark the night, how deceptive the evil, God wins!

The image to the right is of a painting I fell in love with during my college days. I saw it at the National Gallery of Art and purchased a print that’s hung in my living room for more than 20 years. George wins the battle, even as his lady prays for him in the background.

What stories, what books showing the struggle between good and evil have you enjoyed, and turned to time and again?

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Psalm 112:4

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46

Lynette Sowell writes fiction for the inspirational market, from contemporary romance to mysteries. She’s always looking for the perfect recipe for a story–or a great dish–and is always up for a Texas road trip. Her newest release is A Grand Teton Sleigh Ridea Christmas novella collection from Barbour Publishing. Her next release comes on Tuesday–A Path Made Plain, book two in the Seasons in Pinecraft series.

The Life in Our Stories

I haven’t blogged here for a few weeks, well, maybe a few months. But life has interfered and not in small ways. My husband and I are risk-takers, and when you’re in ministry, sometimes that means moving. A lot. We’ve had a couple of moves this year and are looking at another one. I won’t bore you with the details of the struggles that went with those moves, but will tell you that on top of everything, I also had four books to write. Still have one more to finish. For those of you who haven’t written a novel, that’s a lot to write when there is nothing else going on in your life. For most of us, anyway.
Ecclesiastes 12:12 says, “Of making many books there is no end. . .”
I look at my bookshelves—all those books we’ve had to move—and I know it’s true. Take a look at Neil Gaiman’s bookshelves.

Think about it. How do we come up with stories for so many books?
Writing requires thousands of hours in a chair staring at a computer. But writing also requires engaging in life in a big way. We can’t create amazing stories if we haven’t experienced at least something, some small spark of inspiration. As writers, we’ve trained our imaginations to take even the smallest inspiration and create big stories.
So I can take all my harrowing experiences this year and spin numerous stories from them. For just one example, I have a deeper understanding of those who find themselves homeless, and what it means to truly live by faith. I know these things will show up in my stories somewhere.
I know there can be no end to writing books, that is, until God says it’s time to stop. In the meantime, I’ll keep on living and taking risks, and I’ll keep on writing.


Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty novels. To receive book news about latest releases, sign up for her newsletter at

Get her latest release: A GRAND TETON SLEIGH RIDE


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



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