Monday, November 23, 2015

Defining Historical Fiction ♦ Writing Talk Tuesday ♦ Donna Schlacter


Defining Historical Fiction,

By Donna Schlachter

One of the most popular genres in fiction writing continues to be historical, which spans, of course, all of history. Each period has its own sub-genres, along with its own set of reader expectations. Although there is general agreement on what constitutes a particular sub-genre, sometimes a publisher will be the deciding factor. For example, books set after World War 2 were rarely classified as historical until recent years. Now many publishers label books set up to and including the end of the Vietnam War as historical.

As with any other genre of fiction writing, knowing what genre and sub-genre your book fits into is important. First of all, acquisitions editors want to know because they need to be able to “sell” it to their publishing board. Unless the publisher is one of the big five or six, most will not publish multiple authors in the same genre in the same year. Secondly, book stores need to know where to file the book on their shelves. Also, online retailers will need to know what keywords to include in their descriptions for online buyers.
And all of this filters down to the reader: while a reader may read more than one genre, when they pick up a book, they want to know when and where that story is set. If they didn’t get at least the time period from the genre description, they may not pick up the book. And some readers stick exclusively to historic fiction, some even to the point of reading only Biblical fiction, Tudor, Regency, Victorian, Colonial, Western, World War 1, World War 2, or the more modern historicals set between 1950 and 1970.

Another quirk in the equation is that as the years go by, the definition for historical will change. In ten years, historical might include the Central American drug wars and the Miami drug wars of the 1980s.

A recent question that has arisen is, does the genre include only books written long after the event takes place, or do books written in that period now become historical because of the passage of time. For example, The Great Gatsby was written within just a few years of when the events happened, but now that is more than 90 years ago. We might consider that historical, but is it truly? Perhaps historical fiction can only be appreciated when written from a point of view where the author has the benefit of all that happened after the event.

The only thing we can count on about historical fiction is that while the history doesn’t change, the definition of what constitutes the genre will.

♦ Question: What is your favorite genre, and why?

IMG_6534 Juggling the books - smallerDonna Schlachter writes historical suspense from Denver, Colorado, while her alter ego, Leeann Betts, pens contemporary mystery and suspense. When they aren’t writing about murder, you can find them at or Donna and Leeann’s recent writing book, Nuggets of Writing Gold, released this month on and Donna has a collection of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups on and, and Leeann’s debut novel, No Accounting for Murder and a devotional for accountants just like her main character, Counting the Days, are also available in digital format. Friend them on Facebook:




Sunday, November 22, 2015

Behind the Stories: Alexis Goring

Please welcome guest blogger , author Alexis Goring. When Alexis agreed to be a guest on my blog, we thought it would be fun to have her tell us the Story behind the stories in her new release instead of an interview. She agreed, as you’ll see below.

Alexis A. Goring, Autumn 2014Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and is especially delighted to have released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

♦ ♦ ♦

Overview of Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories:

We live in a broken world in need of hope. So, I thought it was a good idea to write a collection of stories that revolved around characters in need of hope!

The three stories that comprise my inspirational romance novella were not written in order of publication nor were they written within the same time frame. These are simply three of my best stories at the time when I was thinking of pursuing publication (May 2011). I’d say it took on average, about three to four months for me to write each one of the three short stories in my book.

Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories was published in September 2013. Two of the short stories are set at Christmastime so it makes the perfect holiday gift! The stories, though printed within the same book, are not related.

I’d love to tell you about the “story behind the story” of each of my short stories inside the book…

Story behind the story of “Love Unexpected”:
A car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

This story was founded on the idea of how love sometimes shows up when you least expect. It wasn’t based on anyone I know personally. But I must admit that I got my inspiration for Sebastian’s good looks from “The Rock” (pro wrestler and actor Dwayne Johnson). Many ladies think he’s hot, that’s why Sebastian resembles him! ;)

Sebastian and Chandra are the two main characters in “Love Unexpected.”

Chandra is a career woman who excels in the workplace but doesn’t date. She keeps up a “Miss Independent” front but deep in her heart, she desires to be loved. Chandra is well-liked in the workplace because she is an excellent employee who is talented, dedicated and diligent. However, when it comes to love, it takes the natural matchmaking instincts and caring nature of Chandra’s boss Esmeralda to help Chandra emerge from her fortified shell.

Sebastian is a personal trainer for celebrities and he’s seen his share of attractive women. He’s used to making their hearts melt with his good looks and award-winning smile. What he’s not used to is the opposite of that reaction. So when he meets Chandra and finds that she is 100 percent resistant to his good looks and charms, he’s intrigued and he wants to know more about this woman. He must know why she’s not like the others.

I believe there are real-life “Chandra” and “Sebastian” types in his world and I hope their story brings encouragement to those people.

Story behind the story of “The Best Gift”:
Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

I thought it would be nice to write a Christmas story that centers on the lives of three main characters: Christina, Jordan and Joshua.

I drew inspiration from my own life story when I created Christina because much like Christina, I too struggle with my weight. I upped the ante by giving Christina a desire to lose her extra pounds in time for her sister’s Christmastime wedding. I enjoyed writing her character and watching her fall in love (because you simply cannot leave that element out, especially when her only sister is getting married)!

I based Jordan on a few female peers who dated many different men, kind of like having a new flavor of ice cream every month. So I thought it would be fun to tell Jordan’s story through that lens, combined with some dramatic traits from a few “types” of females that I watch on popular television shows.

I did not base Joshua on anyone I know personally or even watched on television. But his “type” marinated in my mind until I thought it was a good idea to tell a fictional story about that type of man who loves passionately and does not want to give up on his dream girl, even after she breaks his heart. I threw in a few plot twists and before I knew it, the story ended in a way that I knew was best for Joshua’s mind and heart—just not in the exact way his type would want it, at least at first.

Story behind the story of “Peace and Love”:
Three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately earching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Another story that is set at Christmastime, “Peace and Love” revolves around three characters: Eric, Kristine and Elle.

Eric’s A-story is that he’s a family law attorney who wants to move past his personal drama of witnessing his parents’ separate and go through a heartbreaking divorce. But his B-story is based on the idea of how one day, someone will come along that will make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. I think my readers—especially the hopeless romantics—will love Eric’s story!

Kristine is adopted. She is engaged to her college sweetheart Derek and she wants a missing piece of her heart (her birth mom) to be at the wedding in the New Year. So she hires a private investigator, hoping he will help her find her birth mom before Christmas.

Finally, there’s Elle. She’s the creative type, a “starving artist” who desperately needs steady work with steady pay. She drives down from Michigan to the Washington D.C. metropolitan area because she’s attending three local interviews and she hopes that one of those will be her dream come true.

Elle’s story is a lot like mine because I too am a “starving artist” who needs steady work with steady pay. Just like Elle, I’d like the opportunity to use my God-given talents in a capacity that is secure and pays well. I think readers will enjoy Elle’s journey and be surprised by the plot twists and timing of events. They too will wonder if her dreams will come true.

Closing thoughts for Peg’s blog readers: I hope you better understand the stories within my first book now and I’d be delighted to hear that you’re buying my book for yourself or someone else this Christmas! Smile

Purchase links:

Social media links:

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Peg! God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Double-Feature with Patty Smith Hall

article-2020546-0B3C6CD200000578-128_468x403Dissecting the Male POV

Alright, class. Time to settle down because today, we have a lot of information to today on the fascinating, yet frustrating subject: The Male Point of View.

Why this particular subject? Because a large number of people who write have the XY chromosome combination and don’t have a clue as to what is going on in the mind of their male characters. It can be difficult to capture the male voice, frustrating at time. So after a great deal of research and in-depth study, I’m hoping I can shed some light on the subject for you today.

The Scientific Facts

As a medical professional with years of research experience, I like to start with the science behind male communication. Why do men communicate the way they do? Why don’t they talk as much as women? Is there a physiological reason they react the way they do in the heat of an emotional discussion?

First, a brief overview of the center of communication, the human brain. The brain has two hemispheres; the left which is the home of logic and reasoning and the right side which is the center of emotions, feelings, intuition and social relationships.

The differences between the male and female brain begin in utero. Male fetuses experience a testosterone bath between the 18th and 26th week of gestation that damages the connections between both sides of the brain, making each hemisphere work more independently of each other. This makes it harder for men to do things that require the use of both sides(language , expression feelings, managing emotions.) Men function best on one side of the brain than the other where as women(thanks to estrogen) can use both sides of her brain equally as well. Another interesting fact is that men possess a larger amydalae, a tiny set of glands at the base of the skull where highly emotional or frightening experiences are stored. This could explain why men have a greater ‘fight or flight’ response as well as flash back to the horrible even more often and with greater detail than women.

Men Really Are Like Waffles

This one-sidedness is also the reason why men are able to compartmentalize different areas of their lives into boxes and typically live in one box at a time. When a man is in one box, it’s as if the other compartments don’t exist. They give 100 percent of their attention to whatever they’re involved in at the moment and tend to stay in the box they’re most successful in—that can be anything from work to video games to anything, as long as they feel like they’re achieving something. They can also think of nothing at all and have the ability to ignore everything else around them.

What Does That Mean For A Writer?

We have to keep in mind the why behind the male way of thinking and communicating in order to create a more well-rounded character. It would seem odd to find a hero who loves to spend hours talking on the phone or get in touch with his emotions. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but if we intend to use such a trait, we’d better have a good explanation as to why our hero is like he is. Another example might be our hero might not understand why the heroine is having trouble sleeping because he has the ability to think about nothing.

Having a gasp of these facts will help you build realistic male characters.

♦ ♦ ♦


A Home for Christmas

Is she cursed?

All of her life, Margaret Cobb has seen the port wine stain on her cheek as a punishment for her mother’s death. But she dreams of a home and family. When the opportunity arises to be a mail order bride for a man in Angel Vale, Wyoming, Margaret risks everything familiar for her chance at happiness, only to be rejected once again. That is until assayer Avery Waldwin offers to marry her.

Or the answer to Avery’s prayers?

Avery Waldwin needs a mother for his young daughter, even if it means marrying a woman he’s never met. A marriage of convenience was all he’d hoped for, but there’s something about the kind, Godly woman that draws him to her. As the Christmas season approaches, both Avery and Margaret discover there’s only one present they each want under the Christmas tree—the gift of love!

♦ ♦ ♦


Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong. She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. She calls North Georgia her home which she shares with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts is now available on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Chat with Gail Kittleson in My Cozy Den


Welcome to Whispers in Purple, Gail. So happy to have you here. Are you ready for a little chat with me?

Sure am! Thanks for having me, Peg.

All right! Let’s go. To begin, tell us 5 random things about you.

    • I grew up on an Iowa farm in the 1950’s and 60’s—a baby boomer.
    • I’ve studied French in southern France.
    • My husband and I lived in Senegal, W. Africa for about a year.
    • Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet, and poetry was my first genre to write.
    • I make a great cornbread that’s gluten, lactose, and sugar free.

What is the #1 thing on your bucket list?

Returning to southern France to follow the trail of the Waffen S.S. up through the Auvergne.

What are some of your favorite things to do OUTSIDE of reading and writing?

Hiking, bicycling, and taking classes at my very artsy daughter’s store—that means trying my hand at glass, mosaics, painting, and whatever else she dreams up.

It seems that when someone finds out you’re a writer you get “Oh, I’d like to write a book someday.” What would you tell them?

I’d say, someday is today. At my age, I figure TODAY is the day to do just about everything you’d like to do sometime in the future.

Describe your favorite writing place.

GK WorkspaceWe enclosed a little ex-front porch when we renovated our ancient house. Immediately, I wanted it for ME. The only problem is, it has no door, but I ought to create some kind of covering for the open doorway. Two walls are windows, so it’s light and airy, and one side looks out on the elementary school playground. A picture...maybe. I’m a quote-gatherer and constant note-writer, so my desk is covered with such, and the shelf in front of me has maps of France for my WWII series, maps of an area of Arizona for my 1860’s story, lots of Good Earth teabag quotes, and an array of other stuff taped to it.

I also have our children’s pics from ages ago in here, and of course, the grand-kiddos. One of my signs says, Live well, love deeply, be happy, and share the joy!

What’s on your nightstand right now?

A lamp, some essential oils I use at night, and one of my many pairs of Dollar Tree reading glasses. And probably a little dust—it’s about time to take care of that again.

As writers, we’re often told to read books in the genre we want to write. Do you think that’s good advice? Why/why not?

Great advice, if that’s the genre you love. I know some authors write in certain genres because they’re popular at the time, so they read fantasy (or whatever) because they want to write it. But I doubt that would work for me.

A fun question: If you joined the circus, what job would you want/have, and why? Smile

I’d be the lion tamer. Now, that’s a leap into fantasy, as I’m allergic to cat hair. But I choose this position because there’s a lion looking at me right now from my wall ...reminds me of Aslan. And my whole life has circled around taming the lions within—doubt, insecurity, low self-image, shame-based stuff. They are SO powerful, like lions. But I’ve learned that with time, tenacity, and courage, they can be tamed.

Okay, now let’s talk about your book.


  • · Title: In This Together
  • · Publisher: Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line
  • · Release Date: November 18, 2015
  • · Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction

Tell us a little bit about it and how you came to write it.

It’s one woman’s story of taming the lions in her life. Dottie, a WWII Gold Star mother (her only son died in the war), loses her husband as the war ends. She takes a job at the local boarding house, and finds meaning in providing clean spaces and nutritious meals for the male boarders.

One day, Dottie slipped into my consciousness, is all I can really say. I was in a big old house like the farmhouse of my childhood, and voila! It hit me that a person could work in a place like this, and from there, Dottie’s personality and the other characters emerged, little by little.

This book wasn’t my first, but it’s the first to be published. I find that interesting, because the others are a bit heavier, even though Dottie loses her only son in the war.. There’s a lighter feel for me about her story, lots of hope and encouragement. It is possible to overcome haunting fears, and second chances might just wait for us around the next corner.

Please give us the back cover blurb:

It’s 1946. Dottie Kyle, an everyday Mid-western woman who lost her only son in the war and her husband soon after, takes a cooking/cleaning job at a local boarding house. But when a new employee is hired, complications arise, and when they niggle Dottie’s “justice meter”, she must decide whether to speak up or not. At the same time, her daughter's pregnancy goes awry and the little California grandchildren she's never met need her desperately. But an old fear blocks her way. When the widower next door shows Dottie unexpected attention, she has no idea he might hold the clue to unlocking her long-held anxieties.

Give us the buy links where folks can purchase it.,  itunes, and it will go to googlebooks on or about actual release day. 

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?

Give us your personal/professional bio.


My tagline, Heroines that Dare to Bloom, parallels my own long journey to blooming as a writer. Our stories are our best gifts. My husband and I enjoy gardening and grandchildren in Northern Iowa, and I facilitate writing workshops and women’s retreats.

WhiteFire Publishing released my memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and my debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released yesterday! I also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology

Please feel free to contact me—meeting new reading friends is the frosting on my cake, as my heroine, Dottie, would say!

Thank you so much, Gail, for being my guest on Whispers in Purple. God’s blessings on you and your writing career.

Lighthouse of the Carolinas has contracted Gail for the release of her second women's fiction novel, A Purpose True, early in 2017. The series features three novels set during World War II.

To all those out there writing their stories, Gail says KEEP WRITING! That’s the best advice she’s received on this long journey to publication.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

FREE Kindle! To Celebrate Five Years of COTT!

Happy Birthday, COTT! 

We're half a decade old!

To celebrate FIVE YEARS of Clash of the Titles, we're GIVING AWAY some fun gifts.

You can win books by Gail Pallotta and Lisa Lickel,

or even a KINDLE FIRE!!

Raffle opens right now!
Closes Monday, November 30.
There are several ways to enter the drawing outlined in the RaffleCopter below. Winners will be drawn and announced on December 2nd. 

Please note: All entries are optional, but

the more you rack up, the higher your odds of winning.

To boot, you're showing support of those who've donated prizes. Not to mention, some of the entries come with their very own freebies!

Thank you!

Check out all the ways to enter...!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Darlene Franklin on Writing Talk Tuesday w/Giveaway


My bio starts out saying, “My greatest claim to fame is that I write from a nursing home.” People seem to find that amazing. I’m not sure why--I talk with authors struggling with cancer, heartbreaking family situations, crippling pain and arthritis—and they think I have it hard.

Here are my insights from inside. He, he, I’m a poet and don’t know it.

People are right. Writing from a nursing home is difficult, and not only because of the physical problems that landed me here. My time is not my own. I’m never sure when I’ll have meals, a shower, or a doctor’s appointment. I’ll show up for an activity only to learn that it’s been postponed or cancelled. Access to the internet and social media depends on the home.

And yes, at times I don’t feel well.

But I spent most of my life working full time, raising an emotionally disturbed daughter, traveling by bus. So I just see the nursing home as a different setting for the same challenges that face every author.


How do I do it? A few lessons learned:

    • · Keep my priorities straight. Keep God first. For instance, I thought about skipping parts of my devotional time during NANO (National Novel Writing Month.) God reminded me to keep Him first. My writing will be stronger for it.

    • · Use time wisely. I strive to have devotions before breakfast. After that, I’m never sure when interruptions will come. For projects that require privacy, like listening to audio recordings of my books, I remind myself to start when I roommate leaves the room. Otherwise she might return in the middle of a chapter.

    • · Set realistic goals. I wish I could write 2000 words a day easily. I’ve learned the hard way to aim for 800-1000 words a day, with time built in to catch up each week. Judge your capabilities by your abilities, not someone else’s.

    • · Consistency. I have a lot of days like today, when I feel blah. Whatever I write feels wooden and worthless. But if there’s nothing with me, I don’t stop. I write, 15 painful minutes at a time. Over time, I’ve learned the process works.

    • · Choose wisely. That means I have to say no to some things I would like to do. Just this week I had the unpleasant task of telling my editor I would have to pull out of one project. Much better not to agree in the first place.

    • · Write when I can. I write when I can, even if it’s for only ten minutes. I used to write longhand while riding on the bus. I’ve also eliminated my pre-writing routine, and just jump in.

    • · Work in short spurts. I plan for write 15-20 minutes at a time. I may be able to write for fifteen minutes four times in a row to reach an hour. Or I might be interrupted. If I make it through fifteen minutes, that’s 200 words less to meet my daily goal.

    • · Be realistic. Every year for the past five, I’ve spent weeks in the hospital. I never know when it will happen again. So I keep my goals and schedule low enough to allow me to catch up if necessary after a hospital stay. Again, lesson learned the hard way: publishers are less eager to work with me after a couple of missed deadlines.

    • · The Internet is my lifeline. It allows me to research anything I need to know, although an onsite trip might be better. Social media keeps me in touch with the world and prevents isolation.

    • · Structure my time. This is similar to using my time wisely. I work on my “big” project (writing or editing) until I’ve reached my goal. Once that’s done, I work through my list of “do as often as possible” projects—book promotions, writing devotionals, short contracted projects, listening to audio tapes of my books.

    • · Take Care of Myself. This one’s probably the hardest for me. Yup, get up, exercise, walk, shower, leave my room—take a break from writing.

Wisdom learned over twenty years of writing helps me continue even now. Now, as then, writing keeps me sane.

jan 21 15: Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at, and, Twitter: @darlenefranklin

Giveaway for a minimum of 5 comments: An Advent Journey through Matthew 2015

An Advent Journey matthewTake a step away from the busy days that fill Advent. Begin with the miraculous birth and get caught up in the story which adds layers of understanding of Jesus’s extraordinary life.

If there are more than 12 comments: I will also give away Tobogganing for Two, which is a Thanksgiving romance.

Notes about the Giveaway: To enter, just leave a comment in the section below, leaving contact information so we can let you know if you are the winner.

There will be two (2) winners. The first winner will be selected from among the first five (5) entries, and will win An Advent Journey Through Matthew. The second winner will be drawn from all other entries provided there are a total of  12 or more, and will receive a copy of Tobogganing for Two.

Giveaway ends one week from today, on Tuesday, November 24, at Midnight, Central Time, and the winner/s will be drawn and notified the following day.


[bctt tweet="Writing from a Nursing Home, with Darlene Franklin @darlenefranklin on #WhispersinPurple #WritingTalkTuesday"]

[bctt tweet="Proof that you can write anywhere #writing #nursinghome @darlenefranklin, #WhispersinPurple #giveaway"]


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Amber Schamel, an Interview


Whispers in Purple is pleased today to welcome author Amber Schamel who was gracious enough to answer some interview questions for me…and for you.

Let’s get to know her for the next few minutes, okay?

Hi, Amber, ready to go?

When people find out we’re writers, someone will inevitably say ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’ or, ‘I’d like to write a book someday,’ and you’re probably no exception. What is/would be your response?

Writing isn't easy. It's a long journey of blood, sweat and tears, so be prepared for that. But if you're truly called to write, you'll make it through and it will be worth it. Be willing to learn, and give it your best.

I’m always curious about other writer’s habits, quirks, and the like: background music, or complete silence? Do you snack when you write? Share some of yours.

I almost always listen to soundtracks when I write. Right now I'm alternating between Christmas Music and THE BIBLE soundtrack as I work on revisions to The Swaddling Clothes which is set to release before Christmas. I usually don't snack, but I love a hot cup of coffee, tea or cider. I also diffuse essential oils as I write. Today is peppermint which helps with focus, energy and is also a Christmassy scent. ;)

Tell us five random things about you.

1) Jesus Christ is everything to me.
2) I am the second born of 12 children.
3) I love Italian food.
4) Tickling my little brothers and sisters is one of my favorite hobbies.
5) I love Christmas.

What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?

Honestly? I go back and do more research. I love history and usually find something that lights the creativity.

Describe your favorite writing space.

I write anywhere that I can steal a few moments, but my favorite is propped up on my bed with my lap desk, a blanket over my feet, ear-buds with soundtracks in my ears, and a cup of something hot in the cup-holder.

Coffee or tea?

Both. I love coffee, but I also like a good cup of tea. One of my favorites is the Irish Breakfast tea with some cream and sugar. Israel has the best breakfast tea, but it's difficult to get. LOL

Fun question: If you’d been born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what animal would you be, and why?

My hope is that I would be a lamb. The lamb is pure and surrenders all its rights to the shepherd, following Him with trust and confidence.

Oh, I like that!

Now, let’s get to the book we’re featuring today.

  • Amber Schamel front final· Title: The Master's Calling
  • · Publisher: Vision Writer Publications
  • · Release Date: 11/2/15
  • · Genre: Biblical Fiction
  • · Stand alone or series: Book 3 Days of Messiah Series
  • · Purchase links:

What’s the book about and how did you come to write it?

The Master's Calling is about Malon, the son of the main characters of books one and two. Malon's greatest dream is to become a disciple of Jesus.

I wanted to take readers on a journey of adventure and excitement that would ignite their faith, bring the Bible to life, and inspire them to put their trust in God even when things don't seem to be going the way we need them to.

Give us the back cover blurb:

After generations of waiting, the Messiah has come at last. And not a day too soon. All his life, Malon Ben-Tyrus has been stifled beneath Roman laws and religious traditions, and he longs to be free. The oppression of the Romans worsens every day, and the religious system led by the Scribes and Pharisees has grown corrupt.

Malon believes his life calling is to become a disciple of the Messiah and help free Israel from bondage. When Jesus heads to Jerusalem for the Passover feast, Malon knows this will be a historic event. Jesus will enter the city as the Son of David and take His place as the Messiah of Israel. He longs to follow Jesus to Jerusalem, but his family won't allow him to go.

When at last his family consents, Malon arrives in Jerusalem only to discover that he is too late. The man he thought to be the Messiah has been crucified, and Barabbas—his greatest enemy—has been set free.

Appalled by the cowardice of Jesus' disciples, Malon returns home seething with frustration and despair. Everything he believed he was destined to become died with Jesus. Was he wrong about his destiny?

Where can folks find you on the Internet?

About Amber:

Author Shot - ReadingAuthor of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at

Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Tricks for Finding Time to Write–Ralene Burke on Writing Talk Tuesday


5 Tricks for Finding Time to Write

These days, writers are busy people. Not only are we expected to, you know, brainstorm and write and edit, but we’re also expected to do social media and marketing and networking. To top that off, our families expect that we will participate in daily activities like cleaning, meals, and talking/sharing. Other people expect us to be involved in church and the community. Those of us who tend to run on the edge even throw in crazy stuff like jobs or homeschooling.

Wait—what are we supposed to be doing again?

As one of the crazies involved in all of the above, I can relate to losing myself, my priorities, and my direction. In fact, I’ve been so confused and lost that I freeze and block out the world, veggin’ in front of the TV as I shut it all out.

The good news is this: there is hope.

Here are 5 ways to help us all find more time to do what we were called to do—write.

1. Pray. This is my most important suggestion when trying to figure out ANYTHING in our lives. If anyone knows our path best—and the right path at that—it’s God. Why wouldn’t we seek His leading? Pray, and listen. Listen to what the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. The Holy Spirit will reveal where things are going wrong in your life and what you need to do to fix it.

2. Set priorities. During the time of prayer, ask God to show you what your priorities should be. Sometimes our priorities change based on the season of our lives. Sometimes we put emphasis on the wrong priorities, letting society or well-meaning family and friends influence what we should be doing. Get your priorities straight!

3. Set goals. Now that you have priorities, use those to form goals for yourself. These goals will not just be in writing, but in all areas of your life. Take what is important to you and set goals to make those a reality.

4. Create a unique-to-you schedule! This is key. Take your priorities and goals and evaluate what you’re doing in your life. Do all the activities, all the chores, all the extras line up with your new priorities and goals? If not, get rid of them. Free up your time for what’s really important. Take the time to fill in a schedule with your top priorities first, and then fill in as you are able AROUND those. If you try to fit in your priorities around your schedule, you’ll always be stressed and unsatisfied.

5. The FlyLady says you can do anything for 15 minutes—and I agree. If your writing goals seem to outweigh your available time or the season in your life, find ways to put in a few minutes here and there.

  • a. Get up 15 minutes earlier (go to bed 15 minutes later).

  • b. Use the 15 minutes while the kids are finishing up breakfast/lunch/dinner.

  • c. Use your breaks at work.

  • d. Set the kids up with a quick activity.

  • e. Take an extra 15 minutes in the car when you get home to jot down ideas/write a scene.

These are just a few ways to find time in our busy schedules for writing. “If it’s important, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” (Author Unknown) Take the time for the priorities that are most important—and only God can tell you what those are. Live IN the lift that you’re supposed to be in.

What are ways you work in some extra writing time? Does your family help you find the time?

Don’t forget to join the conversation in the comments section below!

[bctt tweet="5 Tricks for Finding Time to Write w/Ralene Burke @RaleneB on Whispers in Purple Blog"]

About the Author:

10700183_826431770711959_847746669942940741_oWhether she's wielding a fantasy writer's pen, a freelance editor's sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer's world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She spins fantastical tales to encourage people to SHINE BEYOND. She has worked for a variety of groups/companies, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients.Ralene Bellnock 1 The Reluctant Savior

Her first novel, Bellanok, is being published as a 5-part serial starting in October 2015! Bellanok is a haven for myths and legends . . . until a demon finds a way in.
When her head's not in the publishing world, Ralene is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

You can also find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

And the COTT Winner Is...

Congratulations to


A Noble Masquerade

by Kristi Ann Hunter!

Book Blurb:
Lady Miranda Hawthorne may long to break free of her ladylike expectations as he approaches spinsterhood, but finding herself intrigued by her brother's new valet is more rebellion than she planned. When she accidentally begins exchanging letters with a long-lost duke, things become even more complicated. Especially when hidden state secrets and dangerous encounters prove everything isn't exactly as it seems.

4 1/2 stars and Top Pick! from RT
Debut author Hunter pens a fantastic Regency romance. The characters are endearing and their motivations are not always what they might seem on the surface. This air of mystery adds depth to the tale. The romance portrayed is top notch and will cause readers to sigh with delight in the end.

A few words from our voters:

  • Kristi Ann Hunter is a fantastic author!

  • Go, go, go Kristi! Love the cover and the title!

  • Kristi Ann Hunter, i loved this book. great characters and
    wonderful story line.

  • Kristi Ann Hunter, you rock and your book is awesome! :D

Kristi shared the below information with us, too!

Book News:
An Elegant Facade, the sequel to A Noble Masquerade, is available for paperback pre-order on Amazon.

Book club prize packs are still available for book clubs that select A Noble Masquerade.!bookclubs/c1gbn

Ongoing Contests:
12 Books, 12 Winners Christian Historical Romance contest. A Noble Masquerade is one of the books that will be given away.

Caught You Reading Contest where you could win a sneak peek at my next novel.!contests/calh

Buy Links Available here:!a-noble-masquerade/c190y 

Author Bio:
Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She currently lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

James Callan on Writing Talk Tuesday: Protagonists

let's-talk-writing-purple-James Callan

How do I know your Protagonist?

(Or any other of your characters)

As writers, we want the reader to identify, or have a feeling for, the protagonist. Likewise, we want the reader to get to know all of our major characters.

Sounds good and we can agree with that premise.

But how do we accomplish that?

Here are four ways the reader can get to know your characters. (For sake of clarity, I'll use Jill, a female protagonist.)

First, you can tell the reader about Jill with descriptive narrative. This is perhaps the most common method, often used during the first meeting of the protagonist. Jill Hanson barely measured five feet tall and weighed less than a hundred pounds. Her dark hair was cut into a flat top. Her brown eyes were as serious as the nine millimeter pistol she aimed at the man. The reader gets the picture (or as much as you wish to give at this point) exactly the way you want to present her. This is quick and clear. It is also the easiest. And many would say it is the least effective, but it has its uses.

The second method is to let others in the cast tell the reader about the protagonist. This is most effective if one character is describing the protagonist to another character. I'll tell you this, Becca, Jill is smart, determined and driven. This method has a distinct advantage of letting the reader know how others feel about Jill. At the same time, the reader is learning something about this other character. Is she jealous of Jill? Or perhaps in awe of Jill. And here it is easier to get in certain types of qualities that might not come easily in descriptive narrative.

A very important way to show the reader about your character is through her actions. "Actions speak louder than words" is a cliché because it is has been true forever. You can impress a characteristic on the reader by having Jill act a certain way. The ice pellets bounced off the pavement. Jill took off her coat and draped it around the shivering girl. Often this is contrary to what we were lead to believe by the second method above.

The most powerful way to let the reader really get to know Jill is by using internal dialog for her. Now the reader has the actual thoughts of Jill. And the reader will believe those. It is at this point that whatever was revealed before can either be confirmed, or completely contradicted. Jill straightened her stance and held the gun steady. I'm terrified, she thought. But I can't let them know that.

Keep in mind the strengths of each. Number one, descriptive narrative, is easy, straightforward and quick. The second method adds depth to your story. How others relate to Jill can be very important. Different characters may give quite different pictures of her. The third method is the embodiment of the cardinal rule: show don't tell. Show the reader who Jill really is. And the fourth method shows the reader how Jill feels about herself and the people, things and situations surrounding her.

Which of these should you use?

All four. Every book.


After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his seventh book releasing in spring, 2016.

Amazon Author Page:

Over My Dead Body, is available at: