Saturday, January 30, 2016

Glory Be to The Father . . .

Grace-Prayer-OldmanI love this painting, don’t you? It hung in my mother’s dining room for many, many years and is a precious memory. The painting went to my sister when Mom passed away. Then, about three years ago, I found a print online–don’t remember where, now–and I bought it for my breakfast nook, where it now hangs. It says so much!

Remember, in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 6, the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray? Of course His response is known the world over.

Matthew 6:9-13, King James Version (KJV)

9 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

♥ ♥ ♥

When reading my morning devotions, I often like to compare verses in different translations, so earlier today, I checked The Message for this verse.

Matthew 6:9-13, The Message (MSG)

7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Glory Be Prayer

Winner of the January Clash

Thanks to all of January’s wonderful authors!

Here’s what readers had to say:

All of these books look like so much fun!
When I first saw The Volk Advent by Kristen Wilks, I was intrigued by the combination of a teen trying to escape murder charges and a pack of wolves, and I like to read historical fiction because I can experience other cultures.

Cynthia Hickey is a wonderful author. Engaging characters with twists you don’t expect. I love her books!

Andrea Boeshars’ Seasons of Love—Love reading them.

Beth Wiseman just happens to be the best of the best! Her novels are outstanding at character and plot development
Runaways is a book you start and can’t put down.
Am so looking forward to reading Runaways by Brenda Poulos!!!
Congratulations Brenda Poulos on your new hit, Runaways: The Long Journey Home.
Excellent reading. Great job, Brenda
Introducing Our Winner Congratulations Brenda Poulos!

About the book:

No Mama. An abusive father. A hound dog for a best friend.

A victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hand of his father, Jake runs away following the most severe beating he’s ever endured. Leaving the only home he’s ever known in the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains, he escapes into unknown territory with only his dog beside him. Jake and Hound face bitter cold and near starvation as they seek a new life--one free from fear, loneliness, and pain. And Father hunts Jake down with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

Led by unseen forces. Protected by his dog. Jake experiences acceptance and unconditional love when he is befriended by a kindly older couple.

But, will he be able to put his past problems behind him and embrace a future made possible through the power of forgiveness?

Will he find a new life filled with hope for the future and learn to trust?

And when he is confronted with the biggest decision of his life, will he choose to run away, again, or face his father?

Runaways: The Long Journey Home is available on Amazon

From Brenda:

For years, I had a recurring dream...a boy leaving a wilderness cabin on a cold winter’s night. No coat. No shoes. Totally unprepared for life on his own. And yet, I knew he was desperate to get away.I was compelled to find out who the boy was, what circumstances he was running away from, where he would go, and if he would survive...

At this point, the dream left off, and the story—Jake’s story—began to take shape.

I sat at my computer day after day for almost two years. Eyes closed, I wrote as I experienced the journey along with this determined and resilient ten-year-old boy.

Reviews for Runaways: The Long Journey Home

"Brenda Poulos should be a best-selling author! She is a masterful writer. Her ability to develop characters within the context of a compelling and spell-binding story is captivating. If you are looking for a fun read that will leave you wanting more, Runaways is a great selection. You’ll read this and find yourself recommending it to your friends." ~by J. Akerson on Amazon"Runaways is a book you won't be able to put down. The writing style of Brenda Poulos will pull you in as if you're a main part of the story. You will be on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what's coming next. And I'd bet the emotions of the characters will be felt throughout and will touch your heart. Wow! Perhaps a top-rated movie in the future?" ~A+ by Jon Peterson on Amazon

"Brenda does a wonderful job developing characters you care about while driving a story that is compelling and inspirational. This is a must read for all people who are looking for a story for the soul." ~by an Amazon customer

"I couldn’t put this book down! Engagingly written, authentic characters, pain, and grace all intermingle in a believable way. Poulos lit up my mind’s eye with her vivid imagery. I will definitely read more from this author." ~by Kirsten Samuel on Amazon

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Debut Novelist Jean Ann Williams♦Revised♦Giveway


Jean Ann is offering a free download copy of Just Claire. See *below* for details

my-cozy-purple-denHi, Jean Ann, and welcome to Whispers in Purple and my Cozy Den. I’m so excited to have you here to talk about your debut release, Just Claire.

But first, indulge me in some Q & A fun.

Ready? Here we go: What five words best describe you?

Determined, committed, creative, approachable, and my husband says I must add: argumentative! Smile

Ha! Are you a plotter or a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I’m a pantser.

Me too! What are some of your favorite things to do outside of reading and writing?

I enjoy archery, big game hunting and hiking. Spending time in God’s Word, and with my husband, daughter and thirteen grandchildren. And I can’t forget hugging my friendly chickens.

What authors have inspired or mentored you?

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Francis Foster, Deborah Wiles, Christopher Vogler, Elizabeth George, and you, Peg.

Me? Wow, you honor me. Thank you.

As a writer, what sparks your creativity when feeling drained?

I have to take time reading a great book with fascinating characters and lovely writing.

How did you come to write Just Claire? What triggered the story idea?

Twenty years ago, I felt a need to help young people by taking a grain of truth in my life as a child and creating a story that would be meaningful.

I like that. Good for you.Tell us a little bit about Claire. (Incidentally, that’s my middle name.)

Ha! A good name, to be sure. ClaireLee is a thirteen-year-old who comes to a crossroad in her life where she must face her circumstances and decide how best to respond. Her mother almost dies … and then her mother retreats from reality. This causes ClaireLee to wonder who she herself is and where she fits into the whole scheme of her life in a shambles.

Being thirteen is difficult in any circumstances. How did you choose her name, and the others’ names as well?

I chose her name Claire for her struggle to find clarity in her life, and Lee, in honor of my brother Lee Allen, whom I was very close to. I chose the siblings names: Liam for the strength and tenacity it implies to me, which fits this character; Grayson, for the implications of this character’s humility; Lolly, for how funny she can be for just being a sweet little sister; Feather, for the baby, as a delicate and tender spot in ClaireLee’s life. I decided on ClaireLee’s best friend, Belinda, because Belinda to me means a bull-by-the-horns force to reckon with as is this character; The teacher and mentor, Mrs. Reed, because she gives ClaireLee a book and she gives ClaireLee a journal to write in her thoughts; Valerie, because she validates who ClaireLee really is; Kaye, because she unwittingly is key to ClaireLee knowing the truth of who she really is and what she wants; Wendy, because she is as unpredictable as the wind.

What an interesting way to chose chracter names! I have yet to read this book–but it’s at the top of my list!–so tell us a bit about the setting.

The setting is a tiny wilderness community in Northern California, during a time in 1960, when my father was hired on as tunnel worker. Mr. Temple, Actor Shirley Temple Black’s father, funded a power plant project and building a tunnel was part of the project. My family and I lived there for about a year and a half until my father’s job was completed. I attended fourth grade there at Indian Springs Elementary School and lived in a dilapidated cabin with my family near the Pit River. The cabins were built for the families whose men drove the logs downstream to the saw mills along the banks of the Pit River. The river, which ran through the area, was one of the most dangerous log river driving rivers in the United States, known for its white rapids. I gathered a large box full of research papers, pamphlets, videos, and books to flesh out the setting for Just Claire. I even contacted and conducted phone interviews of two old log river drivers who drove logs down the Pit River. The river in my story plays an important part at the climax of the story.

About the book:

Just Clawire cover

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, she just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, as she says, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

About the author:

JacketPhotoJean 07 2015

Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

*About the Giveaway*: Leave a comment below, including your email address (i.e. you at abcxyz dot com) so we can contact you if you're the winner. Download will be a free digital copy of Just Claire.  Giveawy ends Saturday, Feb 6, at Midnight, Central Time. Thanks!

Thanks, Jean Ann, for being my guest here today. It’s been a pleasure. Wishing you great success with Just Claire.

And thank you, Peg, for asking me these questions and featuring me here on your beautiful blog.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Baptist and a Methodist in Las Vegas

After writing two blog posts for other sites and sending out two interview questionnaires for future guests, I was at a loss for what to write here. So I let it slide for a while and did a few other things.

I ended up on YouTube, and I found THIS for your entertainment today.

This is  6’ 2” Jeanne Robertson, one of my favorite stand-up comedians. So just adjust the sound on your computer, sit back, and watch this eleven-minute laugh fest. Trust me.

Just click HERE   and enjoy!

See you tomorrow with an interview with author Jean Williams, introducing her debut novel, Just Claire.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Titling your book. It’s important


What’s in a Name? By Leeann Betts

You’ve heard the old saying, “a rose by any other name is still a rose”. And I guess when we’re talking flowers, that would be true.

But what about when we’re talking titles? Would you rather read Tote the Weary Load or Gone with the Wind? The first was a working title for Margaret Mitchell.

The truth is, whether we like it or not, a catchy title will make our work stand out from the rest of the pack. Here are some questions to ask in coming up with a good handle for your book:

  1. What is the book about? The plot, the conclusion, or the setting can make for a good title. For example, War of the Worlds, The Last of the Mohicans.
  2. Choose a main character, and change how the reader sees him. For example, would you read Holden Caulfield or Catcher in the Rye?
  3. Change the meaning of a word. For example, a book where the heroine finds herself in the middle of a battlefield could be called Grace in the Midst of War, if the character’s name is Grace. And if it isn’t, you might like the title and so change the character’s name.
  4. Choose groupings of three: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, for example. A book in my forensic accountant mystery series is titled Broke, Busted, and Disgusted.
  5. Choose the theme of the book. I wrote a novel about a crooked cop who desperately wants to go straight, and all the while, everybody thinks he’s a good guy: Counterfeit Honor.
  6. Consider your genre and pump up the title accordingly. The first book in my forensic accountant mystery series was originally titled Just the Fax, Ma’am because some threatening faxes are at the core of the story. However, a beta reader said she wouldn’t pick up the book because there was no connection to a mystery. Now the book is titled No Accounting for Murder.

No matter what title ideas you come up with, pass them by some people you trust, including your beta readers, critique group, and writing groups you may belong to. Sometimes taking a word from one, a word or two from another, and recombining them gives you a whole new idea. Whatever the title is, you want to draw readers in with the title, but the writing will be what keeps them reading.

About Leeann:

IMG_6534  Juggling the books -midsizeLeeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. No Accounting for Murder and There Was a Crooked Man, books 1 and 2 in her By the Numbers series, recently released. Book 3, Unbalanced, releases January 31st, with plans for Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, due in April, with more planned for later dates. Leeann and Donna have penned a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, and Donna has published a book of short stories, Second Chances and Second Cups. You can follow Leeann at and Donna at . All books are available at in digital and print, and at in digital.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Vannetta’s ‘Mission’ ♦ With Giveaway

Joshua's Mission

Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area.

What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A budding romance? A call from God? A possible healing of his relationship with his brother? Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.

Please welcome author Vannetta Chapman to Whispers in Purple. I asked her to give us a “story behind the story” post, and I present it below.

Vannetta is offering one free copy of Joshua’s Mission to one reader of this blog. See giveaway details below.

♦ ♦ ♦

Joshua’s Mission - The story behind the story

Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. I’d like to share with you the “story behind the story” – or what inspired me to write this book.

Cornerstones of our faith. My husband is probably my biggest critic—which is a good thing. He keeps me on my toes, professionally speaking. He’s also very supportive in every way. One night we were talking about an upcoming proposal that was due to my publisher, and he challenged me to think of a deeper plot line—something that would touch on the cornerstones of our faith. Wow! That sent me back to the drawing board. I started wondering what makes us, as Christians, different from everyone else? Certainly our faith in Christ. But how do we show that? The answer I came up with was …

1. We believe in miracles. I did a poll on my Facebook page. We had an outstanding response and the vast majority (close to 98%) said they do believe in miracles—not that they always happen when we pray for one, but that God does still intercede in the lives of believers. That idea gave birth to Anna’s Healing, book 1 in this series.

2. We participate in missions. As believers, sometimes we send donations, sometimes we pray, and sometimes we actually go and participate in missions. We don’t do this for an award or because our photo might end up in the paper. We do it because God told us “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He told us that when we do this to the least of those around us, we do this to Him. This commandment to care for others, led me to write Joshua’s Mission, book 2 in this series.

3. We care for orphans. We’re also commanded to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” In our society, it’s sometimes easy to overlook those in need and to assume that some governmental agency will take care of them. Sarah’s Orphans, book 3 in this series, addresses the plight of the orphans in our day and age, and how we can make a difference in their lives. This book releases in December of this year.

There are certainly other ways that we live out our faith. Miracles, missions, and orphans are three that stood out to me, and they certainly inspired me to write the three books in the Plain & Simple Miracles series. I hope that you will pick up a copy of Joshua’s Mission and learn about the wonderful work that churches are doing across our nation and abroad to help those in need.

Now it’s your turn. What do you consider to be a cornerstone of our faith? And would you like to see a book written about it? Or would you like to write one yourself? I’d love to hear from you.

Vannetta Chapman

About the Author:

blog option 1 pic 1

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Buy the Book:

Where to find Vannetta “out there”

About the Giveaway:

Vannetta is offering one free copy of Joshua’s Mission to one of the readers of this blog post. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below and your name will be added to a random drawing via If you have some answers to her question above, feel free to add that to your comment.

Drawing ends one week from today, February 1st, at Midnight Central Time. Winner will be drawn and notified on Tuesday, the 2nd. Go for it!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hanging Up My Keys

This post is personal. Read it, or not. I just needed to get this out of my system and let the issue go, finally, to rest in peace.

Keys-cropMy car keys, that is . . . my last link to independence.


Surrendering that independence is hard. Very hard. But my eyes are letting me down, little by little.

When I left Nevada in November 2012, I still had a valid driver’s license, but it was due for renewal in January.

So, after settling down back in Wisconsin, I applied for a WI driver’s license . . . and failed the vision test. Of course, it would have happened in Vegas, as well.

My home is situated outside the city limits, on a dirt road. There’s a supermarket about seven blocks away which is accessible from a back road without having to go out on the highway, so I’ve been taking myself shopping . . . unlicensed and uninsured . . . until just recently.

Over these past three years, my eyesight has been getting progressively worse. Even when riding as a passenger, I can no longer read highway and street signs until I’m right up on them.

I can no longer gauge the speed of an oncoming car, nor can I tell how far away they are.

At a stop sign or street light, cars crossing in front of me appear truncated, as if they’ve been cut in half.

My depth perception is totally shot. I am no longer sure where the front of the car is, nor its width when I try to park.

I have autoimmune issues, and my eyes are paying the price. So it’s time to hang up my keys. It irks me, even angers me, to have to depend on someone else to take me where I need to go. But I will not put myself—or anyone else—at risk.

Will I be able to keep writing? For now, yes, thanks to a 23” desktop computer—which is now over four years old—and God’s plan’s for me as a writer from this point forward.

If you’ve stuck with me through this, thanks for your kind attention. Understand…this is not a ‘pity party.’  It’s just facing reality. It is what it is, and God is in control.


Friday, January 22, 2016

is Smashing Selections Brighten the New Year in This January Clash

What an exciting 2016 kick-off for Clash of the Titles. Readers can choose from a teen novel, mystery, suspense/ thriller, love trilogy and an Amish novella collection of sweet romances. One of each sounds good. Peruse the selections, decide which to put at the top of this year's to-be-read list, scroll down, and vote for it on the form below. Voting starts today, January 20th, and goes through midnight PST on January 26th.

An orphaned Siberian teen faces murder charges and an escaped pack of pet wolves.
What Stormi doesn't expect is the final, life-altering gift from Matt's ex-girlfriend. Nor does she expect her bachelorette party to lead to murder.

Jake escapes from the remote Appalachian cabin—the only home he has ever known. And Father hunts him down with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

In the novella, An Apple a Day, Dr. Brian Coridan needs a break so he vacations in quiet Blossom Lake, Wisconsin where he never expects to be distracted by Talia Fountain, the town's "health food nut." In September Sonata, Krissy and Blaine's marriage is in its autumn season...or is it just over?—and in Let it Snow, they were once a couple, engaged to be married, until Shari Kretlow ran off with another guy, but decades later, Shari is a widow who finds herself stranded in a Wisconsin blizzard on Christmas Eve, and it's her former fiancĂ©, Brenan Sheppard, who comes to her rescue.

Spend a year in Amish country with four sweet romances.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Featuring Contemporary Novel, "After"

After, an inspirational novel by contemporary Christian fiction author, Joy Ohagwu, is poised to spotlight the strength in transformation, courage in love, and hope in times of despair.


About the book:

One step will transform her life.
Sixty thousand people watched as Candace Rodriguez literally fell off the stage while performing the national anthem, wrecking more than her self-esteem. Is her music career over? Now, weighing 350 pounds and jilted by her fiancé after the shame of her public fall, can she find another chance at true love? Will her new Christian faith anchor her future hopes?

Former highbrow stock trader, "JB" Patrickson has had enough of life making mockery of his best laid-out future plans. His father insisted he'd never make it more than selling " chickn" stock in Kentucky. Proving him wrong, JB succeeded at the NY Stock Exchange, becoming one of the best US traders...until the market crashed in 2008. Seven years later and mired in debt, he can't shake the urge that God is leading him down a different path. The path of accepting his grandmother's request to come help manage her farm, couple hundred miles away, despite his little to nothing knowledge about farming. Has he fallen low enough to toil with his hands to eke out a single meal? What future could God plan for him on a farm?Twenty years after returning to the US from a fulfilling medical mission in Asia, Dr. and Dr. Mrs. Cantwell gratefully send off two sons to college, purchase a flourishing twenty-acre farm, and prepare to settle into their empty nest stage. But what will they do if God leads one more life into their path, one needing stitches of the soul not of the body? Can they answer His call to service, or will overlooked pain from the past threaten the fragile peace they'd so desperately coaxed into existence to survive together?

What our voters had to say:

--I love the book, AFTER! The cover is catchy, and the contents, inspiring!
--Congratulations, Joy! A lovely book inside and out.~~~Deirdre Lockhart
--I personally saw the love poured into writing "After" and I hope it blesses everyone who reads it! It's Awesome!!!
--Thumbs up, Joy!

Q: Joy, what was writing After like?

A: Thank you for asking. First, I’d like to appreciate everyone that voted for After during the COTT contest. Thank you all very much. I started writing After during NaNoWriMo 2013. Then earlier in summer 2015, after I wrote Candace in as a character for Blossom and Josh's story(which is now After 2), her personality and voice got so strong that she took over the story! It was amazing. I trusted my gut, went with the flow, and ended up publishing Candace's and JB's story as the first in the AFTER series. The AFTER series is about transformation and positively changing one’s lifestyle through fitness. But more importantly, After shows us that we should allow God to assist us in every area of our lives, especially those places where everyone expects us to fail. You can read the story here. Although I enjoyed writing about Candace and JB, I'm glad that I finally completed Blossom and Josh's story as well and it released as After 2 in November 2015.

Q: Can you share with us about your next book?

A: Sure. I'd love to. I'm presently writing Uncommon Ground, the first book in a romantic suspense series, and I’ll share what the story is about. Stella is a widow who's juggling a career and raising an older teen that doesn't believe in God. A disaster occurs that separates them and turns their world upside down. Stella's concerns multiply in the ensuing chaos after she meets Michael, a Christian man with a mysterious past and she wonders how many more unseen twists God trusts her to handle. Like Psalm 68 verse 5 says, God is a defender of the widows. Uncommon Ground is a story where we can identify with each of the characters’ struggles, and if we let it, it can potentially kick our faith higher into greater dimensions. After reading Uncommon Ground, we get to appreciate some of the things we usually take for granted as Christians. Uncommon Ground becomes available for preorder Jan 1, 2016, and I pray everyone gets their copy.

Thank you very much for having me here. God bless you!

About Bestselling Author Joy Ohagwu:

Joy Ohagwu is the bestselling author of The New Rulebook suspense series. Her novels are romantic suspense and inspirational stories geared to engage, inspire and entertain readers. She earned a Masters' Degree in International Affairs from American University, Washington DC; and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Professionally, she’s been honored with multiple awards for pioneer academic research, student leadership and overall excellence. Joy is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers(ACFW) organization. She pens stories during evenings, weekends, and whenever the food takes too long to cook. Despite the many hurdles she has faced, she counts God as being faithful in her life. Joy lives in the beautiful State of Maryland.

You can connect with Joy on her website, and follow her Author page.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A *Deadly* Interview with author Nike Chillemi–And a Giveaway


It is both an honor and a pleasure to welcome “Crime Fictionista” Nike Chillemi back to Whispers in Purple to give us an interview ans spend a little time with us.

Welcome to Whispers in Purple, Nike. So glad to have you here.

Let’s start with some ‘Getting to know you’ questions:

Tell us five random things about you
1) I think I have a pretty good sense of humor. 2) I like food, am a good cook, and spend a fair amount of time transforming my own personal favorites and beloved family recipes into healthy fare (cutting down sugar and fat). 3) I was a pet rescuer and still have a house full of pets. 4) I was a foster mom. 5) I love Montauk, NY on the tip of Long Island. It's "the end."

Ha Smile What is your ‘typical’ day like?
I try to start my day with some sort of Bible study/prayer. Right now I'm following a teaching on prayer, the different kinds of prayer, what they're for. The study is going deeply into the prayer of petition for oneself and for others.

Oh, that sounds very interesting. What’s the #1 thing on your ‘bucket list’?
In the past this wasn't high on my list. I'm wary of traveling to areas that might be unfriendly to Americans or risky. But recently I feel a deep urge to go to Israel. I want to walk the streets where Jesus walked.

Me, too! You mentioned above that you were once a pet rescuer. Tell us more about that. 
I'd always loved animals and met a Christian gal who ran a rescue agency. We had great times rescuing animals together, feeding the ones we fostered, and hanging out listening to Christian tapes (before CDs ruled). I still have a house full of pets. In that day, sometimes Christians would sort of angrily say to us, "Why are you rescuing animals when there are human babies to save?" The Lord gave me an answer. "I've been called to do this in this season. If we all do what we're called to do it'll all get done."

What a great answer!

Fun question: Money being no object, where would be your dream vacation, or writing retreat?
It would be a beach house in a warm climate. Not necessarily a tropical climate, but probably semi-tropical. Maybe a cozy little cottage on one of the islands off northern Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina.

I’m with you there! Sounds heavenly.

Now let’s talk about your writing and your books. I know you’ve written a number of books over the past several years (see ** below) but it’s your current detective series I want to focus on here.

Why a detective series?
I love to read detective stories and natch, it was inevitable I'd write one. Then I fell in love with the characters, not only the main characters, but the secondary ones too. I didn't want to let go of them. So, a series was born.

What made you select Texas as your original setting?
Ah, well, it all started with a short story writing challenge to place my heroine in a locale and a circumstance where she would be uncomfortable. I thought I'd be writing a few thousand words, at the most. I placed Brooklyn born private detective Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels in west Texas and had Dawson Hughes, the handsome and stalwart deputy sheriff, suspect her of killing her cheating husband. That was HARMFUL INTENT. They went on to search for a missing little girl who might've been kidnapped by terrorists in book two, DEADLY DESIGNS.

HI DD Meme 1

How did you choose your main characters’ names?
I like strong names. Ronnie's name has significance in terms of the plot. She's plagued by bad dreams in both novels, but in DEADLY DESIGNS we learn someone distasteful in her past called her Veronica. That's why she prefers her friends call her Ronnie.

Tell us a bit about your main characters. Who did you have the most fun writing?
I absolutely love Ronnie and Dawson, but I had the most fun writing secondary characters Hoot Dagney and Bertha. Hoot owns a local diner, has a beard, and wears a beat-up prospector's hat making him resemble Gabby Hays. Bertha is his waitress and baker. While Ronnie is a fledgling seeker at this point, Bertha and Hoot are committed Christians and funny as all get out. I enjoyed creating their 'seasoned citizen romance'.

What else would you like to share about this series, the individual books, and what’s coming up next?
As I mentioned, book one, HARMFUL INTENT, was set in west Texas. In book two, DEADLY DESIGNS, Ronnie and Dawson find themselves in the northeast. The last book of the trilogy, BLOOD SPEAKS, brings them to western Maryland where I bring back beloved characters from the first and second books. In BLOOD SPEAKS it's Bertha Dagney (now married to Hoot) who is accused of murder.

Share your social media links where readers can find you:


THE GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment, ask Nike a question, or answer this question: Do you like crime/detective-type fiction? to be entered in a random drawing for Nike’s first book in this series, Harmful Intent. Giveaway ends one week from today, January 20, at midnight, Central time. Winner will be drawn via – and notified via email.

About Nike:


Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press, won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historic Suspense category. Her new release is DEADLY DESIGNS. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Nike. It’s been fun getting to know you and learn about your current writing projects.


**Purchase links for Nike’s Books:


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Be Intentional

by Peggy Blann Phifer @pegphifer

So, what does that mean…Be Intentional?intentional-e

Some synonyms for the word are deliberate and purposeful.

I haven’t made New Year Resolutions in decades. As such, I think they are doomed to fail. Instead, I make goals.

But aren’t they the same, you ask? In a way, I suppose they are, yet they’re not.  Consider:

    • Resolution: I will lose at least ten pounds, exercise three times a week,, eat only healthy foods… this year.
    • Goal: I will be more intentional about taking better care of myself this year.

As a writer wanting to support other writers:

    • Resolution: I will write at least one book review every month.
    • Goal: I am going to be more intentional about writing and posting book reviews.

Do you see the subtle difference?

    • Resolutions tend to tie you to specific things, thus harder  to accomplish. Most will fail at this, and end the year in frustration and disappointment.
    • Goals, on the other hand, are pretty much NON-specific, easier to accomplish, and end the year with satisfaction.

The word Intentional ties in with my post from last week about Perseverance. With the right goals, it’s easier to persevere, don’t you think?

What about you? Are you a Resolver…or a Goaler? (Just made that word up.)

Be sure to join the conversation with your thoughts.

Friday, January 8, 2016

COTT Features "The Sound of Diamonds" by Rachelle Rea

Readers of Jody Hedlund’s new medieval YA series and Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale-based YA novels will love Rachelle Rea’s The Sound of Diamonds. 

—Dawn Crandall, award-winning author of The Hesitant Heiress



About the book: 

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk

knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

With a lovely style that is mature and seasoned, at an enviable professional level, readers are in for a real treat with Rachelle Rea’s debut. Beautifully written, The Sound of Diamonds is a gem. An unusual heroine, a unique setting, and a heart-stopping hero make this a must-read for historical fiction fans. Encore, Rachelle Rea!

—Laura Frantz, author of The Mistress of Tall Acre

Get to know the author:

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.

When and where did you first get the idea for the Steadfast Love Series?

A song I was listening to on the radio inspired the title of the first book. So I wrote Diamonds, but when I finished it, I realized to my great frustration that the characters weren’t done with their story, even though I had been quite adamant that I would write a stand-alone novel. But the story wasn’t finished, so I kept writing.

2015 has been a busy year for you with your first two releases! :) Can you tell us one of the moments you'll remember most from this special year?

Holding my book for the first time was a big deal! I remember the boxes coming in, then sitting on the couch with a copy in my lap, just staring and realizing I was beaming a bit…

Rachelle Rea’s debut novel transports readers back to the danger and mystique of Europe during the 1500s. Rich in church history and woven together with romantic suspense, The Sounds of Diamonds is a fascinating story and stellar debut. I look forward to reading more from Rachelle Rea!

—Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of Chateau of Secrets

I saw on your website that you also write reviews, articles and offer editing services. What's one of your favorite things beyond writing novels that you enjoy?

Editing is such fun! I daresay I enjoy editing a page full of my own (or others’!) words just as much as I enjoy splashing words onto a blank page.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us? 

I’m really excited about all that 2016 may hold! My third book, the last in the Steadfast Love series, releases the day after Valentine’s Day! Beyond that, time will tell ;)


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What on earth are Repeat Police?

I’m tickled to kick off the first Writing Talk Tuesday of the New Year with another great post from Jeanne Marie Leach, and, from the title, this one might be fun. So sit back and find out what this is all about.


REPEAT POLICE, By: Jeanne Marie Leach

One of my pet peeves as an editor is repetition. I once mentored another Colorado writer who had trouble in this area. Every other page had a repetition infraction, and since she was a friend, I soon simply gave her this comment, “Repeat police! Repeat police.”

There are many ways repetition can find its way into a book.

One is by using the same noun repeatedly in the same sentence or paragraph.

  • · George jumped into his red sports car and turned on the engine. He backed the car out of the driveway and then sped down the street in the car. He enjoyed the many stares he got from guys who envied him for his car, and from the chicks who dug guys with cool cars.

You saw the word, didn’t you? And it became glaringly annoying.

Another form of repetition is when the writer wants to drive home a certain point and says the same thing, only using different words. In the following example, only one of the sentences is necessary and the other can be eliminated.

  • · Jane had never in her life met a man she admired as much as Tim. For the first time ever, she’d found a man whom she could look up to in Tim.

The next repeat offense that bothers me is when authors repeat words for effect. It’s especially maddening when I find more than one of these on the same page. It even irked me to have to write this example for you.

  • · Jane crept down the long hallway—the hallway her mother had stepped into just moments before. Where had she gone? Perhaps she’d gone into her room—the room where a century ago a woman had been murdered—murdered by her own step-father.

This really does nothing to heighten the tension and is unnecessary to the story. The author would achieve the same effect with shorter sentences that get to the point. Here’s the same paragraph rewritten to create more tension.

  • · Jane crept down the long hallway. Where had mother gone? To her room? Until then the fact that someone had been murdered by their own step-father a century ago in her mother’s room meant nothing to her.

The only time repetition is useful is when used for a special effect. I’ll never forget the scene in the movie 310 to Yuma when Ben Wade and his band of outlaws were in the bar after committing a big stage robbery in which a couple of their men had died. Ben lifts his glass and gives this “eulogy” about one of his men who’d made a huge mistake that caused other good men to die.

  • · “Tommy was weak. Tommy was stupid. Tommy is dead.”

This type of repetition drives home a point much better than if he’d said, “Tommy was weak and stupid, and now he’s dead because of it.

Remember to cut repetition whenever possible, but leave it alone if it enhances the scene.

I hope you get what I’m saying here in this blog. Do you get the point of this blog—the blog that I hope gives you something to think about? My main goal of writing this blog is to help you recognize repetition in your own writing. Be on the lookout for repetition and you’ll stave off the Repeat Police.

Winking smile

 I get it, Jeanne, I get it!



Jeanne Marie Leach is a multi-published author and freelance editor specializing in fiction and teaches courses on editing fiction. She is coordinator of The Christian PEN, a member of the Christian Editor Network, and member #46 of The American Christian Fiction Writers, where she received the 2012 Member Service Award. She teaches 32 weeks per year to editors on how to edit fiction and continually keeps abreast of current market trends and hones her knowledge of fiction writing and editing through classes and conferences.


What about you, writers…Are you guilty of alerting the Repeat Police?

And you readers…have you found mistakes like these in books you’ve read?

Do join this conversation…

Monday, January 4, 2016

*PERSEVERE* God’s Word for the Year

GREETINGS, and Welcome to the New Year! As someone on a writing loop I belong to said,

“New year, new hope, same Jesus to walk with us every step of the way.”

And that’s the truth, right?

How many of you actively seek a ‘word’ from God for each new year? Or does God somehow give you a word or phrase to encourage you in whatever it is you wish to accomplish through the next 365 days? Many do. Last year, I did neither: no word whispered in my ear, nor did I specifically seek one.

But this year, on Saturday, one word kept niggling at the back of my mind: PERSEVERE


It’s a good word, especially for me at this time in my life. I didn’t come to writing until after I reached the half-century mark, and didn’t see my first book published for almost 20 years after that. Now, having passed the three-quarter-century mark, I’m feeling the crunch of time closing in on me.

Through all the intervening years, there were…and still are…so many times I felt like giving up, telling myself:

  • I’m wasting my time

  • Nobody will want to read this

  • I’ll never be able to compete with other writers

  • I can’t write like [fill in the blank] so why bother?

  • There are so many great books out there, who’ll read something from an unknown?

  • Writing is too hard…too much work.

  • Where will I find new ideas.

And so on—all the lies and self-doubt the enemy throws at us, and not only writers. Anyone who wants to find purpose in their lives, their career, other responsibilities…that old wolf keeps prowling, seeking whom he may devour.

I’ll bet you can add to the list above.

Yet, because I didn't give up, in the last four years since my first book debuted, I’ve had one more novel published, five short-stories in several compilations, and am currently writing a series of my own…the first two published, the third in edits, and am one-third of the way through the fourth.

So, take that, you big, bad wolf. Your lies won’t stop me nor deter me from doing God’s work with the stories He gives me.

Here’s a closing scripture to think about:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Yes, God is good…all the time!

Blessings to you and yours in this Year of Our Lord, 2016

Don’t forget to leave your comments. I love reading them. If you wish to contact me privately, use the Contact Me button above.


[bctt tweet="Don't let satan's lies deter you from God's purpose for your life. #writing #persevereance #amwriting"]

[bctt tweet="God has a #purpose for your #writing life. If you believe that, satan can't stop you. #amwriting #persevere"]