Author Archives: admin

Finding the Balance

School is almost out for the summer here in Virginia. My teenage children are beyond done, it has been a long year. Next year, I will have a Senior and a Sophomore – when did I get this old?! I don’t remember that happening.

I am looking forward to school being out too, simply because it means I can stay up late into the night and write twice a week without worry of having to get up at a certain time. I do most of my writing on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I enjoy writing when I’m home alone and the place is silent or late at night when the only thing that interrupts the peaceful quiet is the sound of my husband snoring. Yes, he’s that loud, but at least that T.V. isn’t blaring!

Three days a week I’m at the CrossFit box by 8:30 – which means I have to leave my home by 8 – meaning I really should get up at 7 verses 7:30. I am not a morning person, as a matter of fact one of my favorite shirts says, “Allergic to Mornings“.

However, I will be thankful that I train early throughout the summer due to the rising temperatures. The weatherman says, “High of 95 today” – he usually lies to me, so perhaps it will only reach 90. As I write this it’s barely 9 am and already 76.

Anyway, I say all that basically to say that on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s I cannot stay up late or I will never get out of bed and be on time. BUT…on Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday (depending if I go train Saturday mornings) I can stay up late!

Yes, that makes me happy! I am a night owl and all the writers/authors come out at night to play. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you. I refuse to sacrifice my health and I dearly love to write…so I’ve an odd schedule. Yes, I could train later in the afternoons, but I’ve had my 8:30 routine going for over 6 months and I hate to break that and try to get into a new one. Plus, I supervise the children for the 9:30 class – so it’s best to just get it done and then I have all afternoon/evening to do whatever…write, clean, write, manage social media, write, nap, write, shower…you get the idea right?

Last night, I got to stay up late…12:30-ish. I figured I’d last longer due to the massive amount of caffeine I had yesterday. “Hello, my name is Renea and I am a coffee addict“.   I was starting to fade and I thought to myself, “Union is just gonna have to wait until morning to get off that train“. I really wanted to keep writing. I only managed about 1,000 words before I gave in. Knowing that school isn’t quite out yet (and 6:30 was gonna bite me in the hiney), is the number one reason I gave in and left poor Union sitting on that train.

Today, I’m gonna see if I can’t get her off that blasted train and not read 5 books myself. I am my own worst enemy. I’d be a more productive writer if I didn’t read so much! I’m starting to use “reading” as a “reward” for x amount of words written. I haven’t decided on the amount yet. Perhaps, per 1,000 words but then we run into the problem of… will I put the book down and will my focus return or will I still be thinking of said book. So maybe I should say 3,500 words written per book reading privileges.

Finding that balance – I am a work in progress, not just my novels.

The office is still in the process of it’s makeover. I haven’t had anything new to share about that really as my husband has decided he needs a new saw to complete the task. A saw that he doesn’t want to go buy just yet, because his windshield needs replaced and he got a speeding ticket…in Italy! My husband travels for work from time to time and yesterday in the mail arrived a ticket from his trip to Italy – he’s not real happy about that. I’m not really either as it slows progress, but I did find it funny. Sometimes, well actually a lot of times, I just have to shake my head at him. Certain things only happen to him.

I thought however, before I go rescue Union from the train that I’d leave you with another poem from my stash of past writings. Between book reviews and my past writings, I at least have something to share with you until my novel is released. If you are of the praying mind, I’d sure appreciate those prayers as I journey forward. I have so many stories half written and within me that are trying to get out that sometimes I need a little help!

I hope you are having a blessed day and have enjoyed your visit here. Hey, would ya look at that 850 words and counting for this post…now if I could only type Union’s story as quickly I’d be golden!

Be Blessed my friends!


Review: Stones Creek

Sophie Dawson. I think I mentioned previously that I had just stumbled onto Author Sophie Dawson. My friend and Author, George McVey introduced me to her books. The two of them have worked together on books and personally, I think they make a great team, but each also have their own books out.

Sophie has been publishing her books from what I can see, since 2012 and I just recently heard of her! Imagine that! It really pays to be apart of Author groups via Facebook. I am part of several. One of my favorites is Pioneer Hearts. There are nearly 4,000 members and many authors. You are able to connect with them, interact with them and you have first hand knowledge of when some of your favorites release a new book. I do follow Authors I enjoy via Amazon, their websites and newsletters, and Goodreads – but in all honesty I learn more via Facebook.

The wonderful thing about this group and these Authors are they promote each other, they tell a reader, “If you loved this, you should really check out that!” and then we all find new wonderful stories to read! That’s how I found Sophie and even though I just found her, like within the last month, I have already read both her Cottonwood series and Stones Creek series. I highly recommend them both!

I was hoping there would be more added to them, especially Stones Creek and she did actually tell me that she is planning a spin-off of Stones Creek – The Ladies of Sanctuary House! Also, her project for NANO (National Novel Writing Month) is going to be Janie’s story from the Cottonwood series.

She even shared with me a way to be in-the-know before anyone else and maybe even snag a few FREE stories: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/4pu6ns1txb

She also has a new series out…Love’s Infestation. I haven’t read these, so I cannot recommend them, yet. Sophie’s books are Historical Christian and Contemporary Christian and from what I’ve read so far, have a lot of depth to them. I really like that.

Dear Sophie,

Chloe’s Sanctuary is the last book of yours I’ve read and I loved it! I was so happy for how things worked out with her. Her son reminded me a bit of myself. I’m the oldest of 4 and have been called the “Mother Hen” regularly because I am very protective of my family.

Chloe also reminded me a bit of my mother and some painful experiences she’s been through.

I truly enjoyed the entire series as well as the Cottonwood Series and I’m very excited for the projects you have in the works. I thought I’d liked Cottonwood better but now I’m not so sure! I loved them both. I think what intrigued me most about Stones Creek was the brides that arrived and their stories. I do love a good heart packed adventure.

I love the depth within your books, it brings about a lot of thinking and I like books that make me think and feel vs a book that leaves no lasting impact.

So thank you! Thank you for braving the world, publishing and sharing your stories. To me that is inspiring. I look forward to reading more of your work. Until then, be blessed as you progress.

Sincerely,

Renea

 


Book Review: Eleanor

Rachel Wesson. I cannot say that Rachel is a new author to me as I’ve read all of the Clover Springs books (10) and the Trails of the Heart series (currently 3 books). I’m not sure if there will be a number 11 for Clover Springs – I hope so, because I LOVE Clover Springs! We will just have to wait and see what Rachel does. I do know however that she has something in the works for Trails of the Heart and I can’t wait to read that!

I believe, Rachel’s book; Katie -the first one in the Clover Springs series was also her first book. Published February 2016. So in that aspect she is still a fairly new author, just not new to me because I’ve been reading her books for a year now. Her stories are amazing! I love all the characters. If you read Clover Springs, you really do want to start at the beginning and get to know them. You won’t regret it.

Now then, to write this review in Renea fashion – it’s time for a letter…

Dear Rachel

Thank you so much for writing Eleanor. I admit it wasn’t really her story I was interested in reading, but Wilma’s and I do feel it was more about Wilma than Eleanor – that could just be me though cause I really wanted to know about Wilma.

I hate to write any type of review that gives a spoiler – so let me just say I had wished something for Eleanor as I got to know her that in the end didn’t happen, however, it still all worked out and everyone was happy.

It was wonderful to see the compassionate side of Mrs. Grey too. She reminded me of my step-dad to be honest. He thinks he is this big bad tough guy. He got into trouble when he was young -long before I ever knew him – and spent several years in prison. So he has that persona of a bad boy. The truth is, he’s just a big ol’e softy! He’d do anything for anybody and so finding out that the battle axe Mrs. Grey has a soft side just made me smile.

I adore Father Molloy too. That man is wise beyond wise. I think he has a lot of insight and some secrets. I would love to hear his story.

I hated seeing Wilma break down, that tore at my heart. I know that broken feeling where you just become numb and I had empathy for her. I’m very thankful she got her HEA (happily ever after). And little Rosa, oh she melts my heart.

I don’t want to give away the story, so everyone will just have to go read it, but thank you so much for taking the time to write it and for simply being brave enough to publish your stories. Your books are ones I never miss – you may call me a stalker because the moment I see you’ve a new one, it becomes the very next thing I read. That is how much I enjoy them.

Clover Springs is amazing and your writing has caused me to care about each person there. I have also thought of picking your brain a bit here and there for my own work in progress, because not only do I care about them but your stories trigger the ol’e creative juices a bit. Also, your being Irish and my story having Irish roots makes me think…”I need to talk to Rachel”. Do you know anything about the legend of the Fairy Queen?

Sincerely,

Renea

 

 


Write Those Reviews

At the beginning of the year I decided that I would not only keep track of how many books I read this year, but I would also be sure to leave every Author a review – as long as I finished the book and could honestly do so.

Why did I decide to do this? Because, I feel the Author was brave enough to put his/her written work out there and a little encouragement can go a long ways. As a writer myself, I have struggled with being brave enough and I also know receiving that little “well done” keeps the pen or keys moving. It feels nice to have some appreciate what you’ve created.

I’ve also connected with many of these Authors on Facebook and they are great people who love to tell stories and they are human, they have feelings too. I’ve had some Authors in the past (years ago) make me feel as if I’d never make it as a writer. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get to me. It did. It hurt, badly. Times have changed though and today, I consider several Authors my friends. Authors who are willing to speak to me and treat me like Author verses a peon. I also think…this is my friend, I read her/his book, shouldn’t I be a true friend and help promote it? For these reasons and more, I now write the reviews.

I do have a 3 chapter rule and I feel I’m rather lenient with that. I think most Readers give up long before that if the Author hasn’t drawn them in. The reason I have this rule is I have stumbled upon some really great books that just took a little longer to grab me, but in the end grabbed me so hard I couldn’t put it down. And honestly, I love those books! They become the unexpected adventure that pulls at every emotion. They make me feel deeply.

I also planned to write “lengthier” reviews on my website here as a letter to each Author – sadly, I’ve only accomplished that twice and I’ve read far more than 2 books this year. I admit my reading has slowed down a bit due to the fact that I am working on my own novels, but no-the-less I’m still reading.

I have left reviews at the end of each book. I love how reading on my Kindle allows me to write the review, right there as soon as I finish the book. Sometimes I hold on to it and write it a couple days later, mainly because I tend to finish books in the middle of the night and simply want to drift off to sleep after “the end“. I have found if I just leave the book in my carousel on my device I will remember to write the review. If I delete or remove the book…then oops. Those books usually return and I find myself saying, “I’ve read this“.

Since I’ve failed to write each Author a letter of review – I’ve decided to try and fix that by a serious list of link backs. These links within will take you to either Amazon, Goodreads or the Author’s Facebook page. Don’t be afraid to connect with them or reach out to them – they truly love connecting with their readers.I hope to get back to writing the review letters, I enjoyed that. Life just got in my way for a bit – it tends to do that from time to time.

So if you are looking for something to read…

Jan 2 – Wild West Wedding by Caroline Lee (#9 Rivers End Ranch series) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 8 – Wronged by Sylvia McDaniel (#1 Cuvier Women) ⭐⭐⭐

Jan 8 – Flowers in the Snow by Danielle Stewart (The Edenville Series) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 9 – Penny by Kirsten Osbourne (Orlan Orphans #6) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 10 – Chasing Justice by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 11 – Cutting Ties by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #2) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 12 – Changing Fate by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #3) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 13 – Finding Freedom by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #4) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 13 – Betty’s Journal by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson 4.5) ⭐⭐

Jan 14 – Settling Scores by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 15 – Battling Destiny by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson #6) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 15 – Choosing Christmas by Danielle Stewart (Piper Anderson 2.5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 17 – Wilhelmina by Hildie McQueen (Brides for all seasons #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 18 – Phoebe’s Promise by Kay P. Dawson (Oregon Sky #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 18 – Audrey’s Awakening by Kay P. Dawson (Oregon Sky #2) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan 18 – Ella’s Embrace by Kay P. Dawson (Oregon Sky #3) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Feb 1 – Christmas in Clover Springs by Rachel Wesson (Clover Springs #8) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Feb 17 – Redeeming Reputation by George McVey (Redemption Tales #1) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mar 8 – Erin by Rachel Wesson (Clover Springs #9) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mar 8 – Mail Order Mishap by Barbara Goss (Kansas Brides #1)⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mar 10 – Gunsmoke and Gingham by Kirsten Osbourne, Amelia C. Adams, Peggy L. Henderson, Kristin Holt and Margery Scott ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

It appears I took a break from reading until May, I was busy training and participating in a  couple of CrossFit competitions..and that my friend, is exhausting!

May 7 – Wooing in Wyoming by Kirsten Osbourne (At the Altar #11)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 7 – A Twisted Fate by Amelia C. Adams (Kansas Crossroads #12)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 7 – Dear Mr. Vander by Kit Morgan (Mail-Order Bride Ink #4)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 8 – An Unspoken Dream by Amelia C. Adams (Kansas Crossroads #13)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 8 – Oregon Bound by Rachel Wesson (Trails of the Heart #1)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 8 – Oregon Dreams by Rachel Wesson (Trails of the Heart #2)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 9 – Bridget’s Beau by Kirsten Osbourne (Rivers End Ranch #11)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 9 – Cute Cowboy by Pamela M. Kelley (Rivers End Ranch #12)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 10 – Welcome Wagon by Amelia C. Adams (Rivers End Ranch #13)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 10 – Sarsaparilla Showdown by Caroline Lee (Rivers End Ranch #14)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 11 – Mischievous Maid by Cindy Caldwell (Rivers End Ranch #15)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 11 – Baker’s Bob by Kirsten Osbourne (Rivers End Ranch #16)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 12 – Merry Manager by Pamela M. Kelley (Rivers End Ranch #17)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 15 – Santa’s Shopkeeper by Amelia C. Adams (Rivers End Ranch #18)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 16 – The Rancher Takes a Bride by Sylvia McDaniel (#1)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 17 – The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Sylvia McDaniel (#2)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 19 – The Marshal Takes a Bride by Sylvia McDaniel (#3)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 19 – The Christmas Bride by Sylvia McDaniel (#4)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 21 – His Magical Bride by Merry Farmer (#10)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 22 – Blacksmith’s Beauty by Caroline Lee (Rivers End Ranch #19)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 22 – Oregon Destiny by Rachel Wesson⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 24 – An Ivy Tangels by Kari Trumbo (Cutter’s Creek #19)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 24 – The Judge’s Bride by Patricia PacJac Carroll (#1)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 24 – Zebulon’s Bride by Patricia PacJac Carroll (#2)⭐⭐⭐

May 26 – Nolan’s Vow by Linda K. Hubalek (Grooms with Honor #1)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 26 – Elof’s Mission by Linda K. Hubalek (Grooms with Honor #2)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 26 – Angus’ Trust by Linda K. Hubalek (Grooms with Honor #3)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 27 – Healing Love by Sophie Dawson (Cottonwood #1)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 28 – Lord’s Love by Sophie Dawson (Cottonwood #2)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 29 – Giving Love by Sophie Dawson (Cottonwood #3)⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 30 – Redeeming Love by Sophie Dawson & George McVey (#4)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 31 – Redeeming Character by George McVey (#5)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May 31 – The Pastor’s Replacement Bride by George McVey (#1)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

and we’ve made it to JUNE!

June 2 – His Brother’s Bride by George McVey (#2)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

June 5 – Discovering Dani by Cindy Caldwell (Rivers End Ranch #20)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

June 7 – Leah’s Peace by Sophie Dawson (#1)⭐⭐⭐⭐

June 7 – Hook, Line and Blinker by Jana DeLeon (Miss Fortune Series #10)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

June 7 – Chasing Norie by Sophie Dawson (#2)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Currently reading…

Rachel Wesson is FAST becoming one of my favorite Authors. She does a great job – such a good job that I’ve not been able to truly focus today because I knew this book had just been released! EEEK! Look for my review soon – like seriously soon, because we all know I won’t get much done until I finish this book. I’ve read several of the same authors recently, so I may swing back through and write them each a little something, we’ll see. Until then, be blessed.

 

 

Oops, I forgot one! Gallant Golfer by Cindy Caldwell (Rivers End Ranch #10)⭐⭐⭐⭐


From the Past

I find it comical some of the things my younger self once wrote. Sorting through things in my office has been an interesting little trip down memory lane. I’ve found things and wondered, “When did I write this” or “Why did I write this”. I have found a little book that I kept several poems in, along with a book I stored my writing pieces from Creative Writing class my Senior year of High School, a news paper article I wrote and the ONE book with my published poem that happened in 1999. I have SO many little journals – it’s a good thing my husband is building me lots and lots of shelves.

Anyway, I thought you might find the trip down memory lane enjoyable while I work on Union’s story. It’s 1882 and she is currently getting off the train in a dry and dust filled town, wondering if her journey will ever end. The poor girl, she’s so tired and I must get back to her story so that she might find some rest.


Lots to Share

I have limited time this morning, but I thought I’d take a moment and share with you. I’ve had a lot going on and we are currently in the process of an office makeover. I am so excited about that! If you hop over to my Facebook page you can see a few photos I’ve posted so far. We’ve a ways to go and prayers for my patients and my husband as he deals with my lack of them would be greatly appreciated.

My current work in progress is finally running smoothly. Union (I haven’t fully settled on her last name yet) is having herself quite the adventure and I can not wait to share it with you! I will be sharing a few snippets soon, but until then I’d like to leave you with a poem. As I’ve been cleaning I have found some of my past writings – it has been an adventure just to read them and so I have decided to share them with you.

We will start with this first poem. I hope you enjoy it and we will talk again soon. Have a blessed day!

Sometimes

Sometimes, I do not say what might be on my mind at that time.

Sometimes, I want to talk and hear the sound of your voice in my ear.

Sometimes, My feelings go a little unspoken.

Sometimes, I want to cry for the relief of crying.

Sometimes, I want to laugh louder than the angels sing.

Sometimes, I want to walk and breathe in the cool air.

Sometimes, I want to kiss and feel your lips on mine.

Sometimes, I want to lay with you just to be held..

…and Sometimes, when we’re apart like tonight with the thought of you heavy on my mind

Sometimes, I simply want to say I love you.


StoryCrafters Lesson 1

“I promise not to quit until I’ve written THE END.”

The first assignment is to find a Quote or Scripture and write it on the inside cover of my Writer’s Notebook, to share one story idea and to share my writing schedule and goals.

As a collector of quotes I found this very difficult and when things I difficult I look to the Bible. Therefore, I chose a scripture.

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give that to receive.’”

Acts 20:35

I chose this one – after changing my mind a couple of times – because it speaks of my desire as a writer and is something to aspire to. I want to make my reader FEEL something, to touch their life in some tiny way…to help them. If the words I string together become a gift of some sort to a reader, even if it’s just one, then I will be a blessed writer indeed.

I also chose it because it speaks of hard work and I struggle with procrastination big time. I’m not going to be able to bless anyone with a written gift if I do not get out of my own way and write it.

Story Idea: The Last See-ya Later. My family has dealt with a lot of grief in the last 3 years and recently my Mom was visiting and something in our conversation on the way to the airport caused this idea to bloom. The assignment here also includes staying up to date on the world. I am working on watching the news/current events for 10 minutes; that’s another struggle. I’ve been a military wife for half my life. My husband is retired now, but I’ve never watched the news. It was a way to safe guard my heart and mind when he would deploy. No sense in scaring myself half to death. Jesus said, ‘Do not fear’ – the news does not help me obey him.

Writing time: Tuesdays/Thursday’s are my completely empty and quiet days in which to write for hours upon hours. Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s I can generally write between 12-3. Sometimes I write on weekends too. I have an insane amount of free time. My children are both in high school and I stay home. I work out and volunteer at my local CrossFit box M/W/F from 8-11 – after that the day is all mine. It’s just a matter of managing all that free time vs mindless scrolling or binge reading.

Writing Goals: To stop being afraid and keeping it all to myself, to put my work out there…to be brave.

Lastly, I’m supposed to find a novel to read over the next 40 weeks to help me develop my voice further. I finish novels in a day or two…so perhaps a novel or three a week will be acceptable.

Assignment one has been sent in! I need a little checkmark icon to add there.


My Book Therapy

Novel Academy. While living in England a few years ago I got involved with My Book Therapy, a program created by author Susan May Warren to coach aspiring authors. I was working on writing a book. I’ve always been working on a book, always. It’s that thing I want to accomplish so much and the same thing procrastinate about over and over. I am constantly in my own way.

Take today for example. I knew I needed to sit down and catch up on some classes through Novel Academy – I try to do several at a time. I also knew I needed to do some of my own writing. What I ended up doing is cleaning the house and going to the movies with my son. I hate vacuuming but I do love going to the movies with my son. Here’s the secret, writing is hard work and sometimes the mood isn’t there. You can’t wait around for the mood to show up either or you’ll never accomplish your goal. Trust me, I know.

I did knock off 2 classes from Novel Academy today and I’m currently awake, planning to knock out a little more tonight while my home is silent. I work best in silence and it drives my family crazy! I’m not one for white noise. If the radio is on, I’m actually listening to it and that is difficult to do if you are writing because then you end up writing the song lyrics! If the T.V. is on, I’m actually watching it. I do not multi-task well.

I have learned so much from My Book Therapy, past and present included. I am LOVING Novel Academy. It is full of helpful information and I find myself thinking of new things for my current wip (work in progress) as I go along. It’s like one massive brainstorming party!

I have some assignments coming up – writing ones of course and it was recommended we keep a notebook/journal for them. I will, but I think I’ll also post each here as well. Perhaps, it will be something you enjoy – at least I hope so.


Book Review: Dianna

Josephine Blake. A relatively new author and one I also met through Facebook. I must say Facebook has opened up a whole new world for authors and readers. I love being able to connect with the authors who have connected with me through their books as well as finding new authors. There are so many books out there, so many new ones being written every day and so many little hidden gemstones that without today’s technology…I believe we might never find. Like diamonds in the rough. I have been lucky enough to find a few of those precious stones and in the process I have found some really fun authors that I adore.

Now, before I get into this review I want to share with you the link to FREEBIE FRIDAY – a list of books that are currently free or will be within this week. Perhaps, you might find a precious stone of your own here. Happy Reading.

Dear Josephine,

Here’s the honesty! At first I was not going to read your book. Why? Because it wasn’t on Kindle Unlimited and I was unsure if I wanted to spend $2.99 on an author I hadn’t heard of. I only knew you a little bit through some Facebook groups. You had left a comment on a post I’d made back in October and offered to discuss self-publishing with me.

So I sent you a message and you actually responded! I was thrilled! I have had some bad experiences with Authors in the past, some can be really hurtful to aspiring Authors. I was also feeling really guilty because I still hadn’t purchased or read your book and you were being so nice to me. Needless to say I purchased Dianna that day in October. However, I was reading several different series at the time and I put Dianna on the back burner. As I weeded through the books I was reading I finally returned to Dianna.

You had me wondering throughout the book what on earth was up with Greyson Crowley (I did not trust him) and even more so, Shiye. I wanted to know their stories and why they were so evasive. I was very intrigued. I was even afraid a few times that perhaps Dianna would not end the way I, as the reader, wanted it to. I am happy to report that you did not disappoint me. It ended just the way I wanted, except now I’m worried about the future of these characters and I need book number 2!

I feel I should say congratulations here…

I believe that Dianna was your debut novel and I believe from my standpoint that it was a success.

My reasons for that are:

  1. You kept me interested enough to get past chapter 3. I have a 3 chapter rule, if I’m not hooked by then chances are I won’t finish it.
  2. If I don’t finish it, I don’t leave a review. I left one and noticed that several others did as well, giving you a 4.5 star rating.
  3. You made me care enough about the characters to purchase Little Rose, the next book in the series. I’d say that’s an accomplishment for an Author, a goal they hope to meet if writing a series.

…so Congratulations! I’m very happy for you and I can not wait to read Little Rose. Thank you for writing and sharing your stories with the world and thank you for being my friend.

Sincerely,

Renea

Now then, I have one more thing I must tell you before I sign off. The third book in Josephine’s series – The Brittler Sisters – is available for preorder HERE. If you preorder Charlotte and send Josephine your confirmation number, as long as you are one of the first 30 to do so, she will send you a FREE copy of  “Two Hearts One Stone“. You can find Josephine on Facebook by clicking on her name within this post. You can also find her in The Rumor Mill, a historical romance Facebook group. I do hope you’ll give her a chance. I know I’m glad I did. She is quite a comical person.

 


Review: Redeeming Reputation

This year. Every year people set goals for themselves, things they would like to accomplish over the next 365 days. Some of us start out great and some of us quit before the first 24 hours is up.

Last year, I set a goal to read 500 books. I had stumbled upon the Goodreads Reading Challenge and thought, “go big, or go home” and I read a lot! My children complain regularly that I have my nose in a book and constantly ask, “why are you reading?” It’s one of the things that really gets under my skin. It makes me want to say, “Well, why are you playing video games or why are you watching t.v. or why are you Face timing again!

Goodreads says that I reached my 2016 goal, but I was actually about 100 books shy of reaching it. Some books I’d completed had not been marked “read” and therefore pushed me over the 500 mark.

One of my goals this year as a reader is to show a little more support to the authors that I read. I have found many new authors via Kindle Unlimited, BookBub, Instafreebie, Inspired Reads, Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook and friend recommendations. If it were not for all these avenues of finding books I would seriously be missing out on some great stories.

One of the ways I plan to further support my fellow writers this year, is by leaving a review with Amazon and Goodreads for every book I read. I already like many of their pages, profiles and follow them, but I haven’t always left reviews. I don’t know how helpful reviews are and I do hope to be finding that out for myself later this year! I also decided to take it one step further and share about each book with you here, perhaps you will find new authors to love as well.

I am a member of a Facebook group called Sweet Wild West Reads. It is a wonderfully active group and in that group I connected with author George H. Mcvey. One particular day the authors from the group were telling a bit about themselves and readers were asking them questions. I always love learning why an author chose to write, that day, I got to ask George.

The response he gave me came in the form of a small story and left me with the desire to read a book of his; Redeeming Reputation. I finished reading it just this evening.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the way I review books. I do not share any details of the story that will give it away or spoil it. I do not critique the author’s writing style – to each their own, as long as it is not distracting or filled chalk full of typo’s. I DO, however warn you if the author uses foul language. I personally believe that takes away from the story as it distracts me. If I find something else within the book that is distracting I will point it out, for example: hard to read fonts, lots of bold lettering and things of that nature.

My purpose for leaving the review is to help the author, however, I will be honest and give the correct amount of stars in regards to my dislike or love of the book. My reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are short and sweet. I tell the author and the reader if I liked the book and I always say thank you, as the author put a lot of time, effort and bravery into writing it and sharing it with the world.

Since I have decided to write reviews here as well, they may be a little more “wordy” but they will not reveal or spoil anything, and they will be written as a letter to the author. I hope you enjoy them.

Dear George,

I finished reading Redeeming Reputation today and wanted to take a moment to share my feelings with you. At first, I honestly did not expect much. I try not to judge a book by it’s cover, but once in awhile I still do. The cover did not say to me; Pick Me! Pick Me! I chose to read Redeeming Reputation because of YOU.

I connected with you via Facebook in the Sweet Wild West Reads group and there you shared with me the story of why you write. It brought tears to my eyes and made me smile. That was the reason I purchased and read your book. Most of your comments within the group cause me to smile or chuckle. Your friendly nature is the reason I visited Amazon the very day you told me the story of why you write. I simply had to know more.

As I began the book, I was still unsure if I was going to finish it. I even stopped reading it and finished reading Josephine Blake’s book Dianna (which I need to write a review on). After finishing Dianna and continuing to connect with you on Facebook I realized I hadn’t been fair to you or your book and it deserved my true attention, but it was hard because you’d hit a nerve with own heart.

I picked it up again last night, as I read before bed, almost always. I was surprised when I glanced up to see my clock telling me it was well after midnight! I knew I should be sleeping, just like now, yet I’m wide awake. I couldn’t believe it! I gave you my full attention and you hooked me.

I did put the book down and go to sleep…sometimes I don’t, then I really struggle the next day. Thursday’s are my full writing days and I could not focus today. I tried over and over, but my mind kept wondering back to that book! Why did it appeal to me so much? It was new and fresh, but it was more than that George.

You see, I know that you are not only an author but a Pastor. My Grandpa was a pastor. In your book, the character is a Preacher and he also finds himself working for the Sheriff. My Grandpa was also a police officer. The character in the book tells us of things his Grandfather taught him, like how to shoot a gun. The relationship between Nathan and his Grandfather is what got me.

It melted my heart and it brought tears to my eyes. Now, I don’t know if the story will do that with each reader, but it did with me because my Grandpa was one of the most important men in my life. He taught me to shoot a gun, drive a car, plant a garden and so many, many things. He was a great storyteller and I loved to listen to him. He was the greatest man I’ve ever known. His home, was like my second home as I was there just as often. I knew someday I would loose him and I knew I’d never be ready for that day.

That day came October 9th, 2013 and I still struggle with it. I miss him so much; his voice, his laughter, his storytelling, his hugs and his belief in me.

Redeeming Reputation connected with my heart on so many levels. I do not want to spoil anything for future readers so let me just say this… Nathan wanted to do something, his goals and motivations were there because of God and his Grandfather.

My Grandpa is the reason I have decided to bring my written works out into the open for the world to see. Many, many years ago when I was but a teenager I wrote a letter to a dying woman, trying in my very small way to encourage and comfort her. I never mailed it. I forgot about it. My Grandpa found it and read it. The letter had touched him so much that he was disappointed it had not reached it’s intended before she passed. He spoke with me at length about my writing and told me then to stop hiding it; that it was a gift God had given me. I regret that I did not listen and I pray that God has given Grandpa a window to see that I am finally following his advice. I know in my heart he is at peace and I am happy for him, but I still miss him so much.

Redeeming Reputation made me feel close to my Grandpa again for just a few hours and for that my heart and I thank you.

Sincerely,

Renea

This wasn’t the writing I had planned to do today, obviously, but it is the writing that occurred and now I must get to bed as I sadly do not get to sleep in on Friday’s. I hope if you have taken the time to read this post, that you will give George’s book a chance. Maybe it will touch your heart too or at the very least leave you with a warm smile. Be Blessed.