Monthly Archives: October 2014

Spooky and Sweet Reads for Your Weekend!

lizzy and jane Get the season’s most anticipated release, Katherine Reay’s Lizzy & Jane.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is more popular than ever. From tote bags to tattoos, her likeness pops up everywhere.

Katherine Reay has written a love letter to all fans of classic literature in her latest novel, Lizzy & Jane. Romantic Times chose it as a TOP PICK!, calling it “deeply moving and intensely meaningful.”

So brew yourself a cup of tea, curl up in your favorite chair, and allow yourself to escape into the beautiful world of literature. ~ Becky M.Associate Acquisitions Editor

Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s famous sisters for whom they are named.

Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream – chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since her mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.

“Reay treats readers to a banquet of flavors, aromas, and textures . . . and clever references to literature add nuances sure to delight bibliophiles.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW


into the canyon“Into the Canyon is a stunning portrayal of love and redemption. My friend Michael Neale has written a story that has the potential to positively  impact generations.” – John C. Maxwell, bestselling author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

The deepest mystery . . . The highest adventure . . . The River sweeps me off my feet . . . It leads me to serenity . . . It wrecks my plans and reminds me it is the greatest force. Never predictable but always good.

Some stories take generations to unfold.

Gabriel Clarke has The River in his blood. The River he loved as a child, and The River that claimed his father, John, while rescuing two reckless kayakers.

When the survivors return to The River, Gabriel finds himself face-to-face with a stark choice for his own future: anger or forgiveness, hatred or love, death or life.

Into the Canyon will inspire you to love deeply, forgive extravagantly, and live larger than ever before.


I keep picturing myself as a little girl, donning my mother’s veil and her oversized high heels, walking down a pretend aisle on my daddy’s armAn October Bride toward Scooby, our very first family dog. A great stand-in groom, may he rest in peace. The memories wrap around my heart and squeeze tight while my mind worries those five words raw.

Walk Emma down the aisle.

Emma Tate has just moved on from one fiance.

So when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong best friend Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair starts talking. But only Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married – so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.




Devil-Walks-Update-12-e1389478955418For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.


 When she moves to Amish country to find peace and healing, Madeleine finds a special community—and a special man—whodream of home pull her out of her solitude into a new life.

Moving to Pennsylvania wasn’t in Madeleine’s original plans. She should still be in California and should have married her pilot fiancé a year ago—but death has a way of changing everything. Now the former Air Force flight nurse is living alone in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and working as a maid at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. She isn’t exactly a widow . . . but she sure feels like one.

Saul Beiler isn’t exactly a widower . . . but his wife is long gone. His eleven-year-old daughter, Emma, doesn’t know that her mother fled the Amish community—and married another man—but she does know that her dat is lonely, and that a pretty young maedel just moved in next door. Madeline’s numb heart begins to thaw as she spends more time with the innocent and ever optimistic Emma. The stronger her friendship grows with the young girl, the more intrigued Madeline grows about the humble, strong, man raising her on his own.

But even as a strange attraction pulls Saul and Madeleine across a stark cultural divide, they—and everybody else—have to wonder: What could they possibly have in common besides heartache? Will love allow Madeleine to finally find the home she’s been dreaming of all along?


playing saint“I love novels that keep me on the edge of my seat and make me feel like I have to read just. One. More. Chapter. And that’s why I’m so excited Playing Saint is now available.

Author Zachary Bartels has been called “the suspense author everyone is talking about” and has been compared to Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. And for good reason. Playing Saint has ancient relics, demons, police procedural, and a stunning final twist.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.” ~ Amanda, Editorial Director TNZ Fiction

Yesterday, Parker Saint’s only concern was his swiftly rising power. Today, he’s just trying to stay alive.

When celebrity megachurch pastor Parker Saint ends up on the wrong side of the law, he agree to consult police to avoid public scandal. Except they want help deciphering strange religious symbols scrawled across victims of a series of brutal murders.

Parker tries to play the expert, but he is clearly in over his head. Drawn ever deeper into a web of intrigue involving a demanding detective, a trio of secretive Vatican operatives, and a centuries-old conspiracy to conceal a mysterious relic, he realizes for the first time that the battle between good and evil is all too real – and that the killer is coming back . . . this time for him.

“A thought-provoking exploration into the power of faith and the reality of evil. Filled with memorable characters and tight writing, Playing Saint is an impressive debut from an author to watch.” – Steven James, bestselling author of Placebo and The Queen

~ posted by Kara Hunt


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Kara Hunt, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The “Flying Dutchman” of the Great Lakes

Kaye E Barker upbound in the mist 2013

With Halloween just a few days away, I thought I’d share a ghostly tale from my home on the Great Lakes. The S.S. Bannockburn, built in Scotland and named for the famous battle there, was a Canadian-owned vessel and spent its time of service on the Great Lakes around the turn of the 20th century.

George Wood, her 37-year old captain, left port from western Lake Superior on November 21, 1902, carrying 85,000 bushels of wheat. He sailed for the lower lakes after he received the forecast of calm waters ahead.

The captain of the steamer Algonquin, familiar with the distinctive silhouette of the Bannockburn, sighted the vessel near Passage Island later that evening. He handed his binoculars to his first officer, but before that man could confirm the sighting, the Bannockburn had slipped into the fog.

Later that evening, the night watchman aboard the S.S. Huronic reported seeing the lights of the Bannockburn along the northern shore of Lake Superior. And lights from an unknown freighter – possibly the Bannockburn? – where sighted from land off Rossport.

But the next day, the freighter was reported overdue at the locks at Sault Ste. Marie. The Bannockburn and her crew were never seen again. Or were they?

The very next year, a captain and crew feared they were in for a collision with an approaching freighter barreling toward them. It ignored their warning whistles and lights. Just before impact, the vessel veered to the right and the captain and his crew saw the name “Bannockburn” on the ship’s bow … and skeletal faces at her portholes.

Other mariners have come forward over the years with a similar tale. The Bannockburn has been dubbed the “Flying Dutchman” of the Great Lakes, after the famous ghost ship from the Cape of Good Hope. It appears out of the fog and then slips back into oblivion. Perhaps looking for that safe harbor they never found.

~ Pegg Thomas

photo is of the freighter Kaye E. Barker, taken in Lake Superior on Brimley Bay in 2013



Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Pegg Thomas


Tags: , , ,

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse


Image courtesy of SergeBertasiusPhotography/

“Zombies” are everywhere. On T-shirts at the mall, television, video games, and books. But did you know there are zombies in the church? No, I’m not talking about the two-hundred-year-old couple sitting on the back pew half-asleep. I’m talking churches filled with zombie congregations. I know I sound crazy, but, please, stick with me.

In Ezekiel 37, the spirit of the Lord carried Ezekiel and set him down in a valley full of bones. “…they were very dry.” (vs. 2) So these folks had been dead awhile. “And he [God] said unto me…can these bones live?” (vs. 3) “Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” (vs. 4, emphasis mine)

I can imagine Ezekiel thinking, What? Preach to dead people? “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.” I don’t know about you, but that would be my cue to exit. LOL “…the sinews (tendons) and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.” (vs. 8, emphasis mine)

There you have it. Lifeless bodies—zombies, per say. “Then he [God] said unto me… Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” (vs. 9) “So I prophesied…and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (vs. 10) “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves… And shall put my spirit [Holy Spirit] in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land…” (vs. 12-14)

Did you know that apocalypse is the act of revealing or disclosing something not realized?

How to survive the zombie apocalypse:

  1. If you’re not saved, give your heart to Christ. You’ll immediately convert from death to life.
  2. Read your Bible. Pray. Inhale the Words of life.
  3. Don’t be a member of a dead church. If you’re not being fed, growing spiritually, or feeling the Holy Spirit move, I encourage you to find a church that helps you grow.
  4. Share the gospel with others. Ezekiel did, and God’s word caused the dead to come to life.


~Candice Sue Patterson

Candice writes contemporary romance with threads of nostalgia. Bright Copper Kettles is available now. Silver White Winters coming soon!


Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Candice Sue Patterson, devotion


Tags: , , , , ,

Check Your Makeup

DSC08819How long should a girl use the makeup she purchased? Last I heard, old makeup should be discarded after three months. And who does that benefit? It benefits makeup companies (says the girl with red, itchy eyes).

I can’t afford to replenish makeup every three months! I can’t afford an eye infection, either. So you’ll find me on the makeup aisle, searching for ebony mascara, peach-colored lip gloss, or an unopened classic-ivory compact.

I must wear makeup. Not a lot. Just eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, face powder, blush, and lip gloss.file0001224081269

On a typical morning, I begin with my eyes. Those peepers need to pop! On with the eyeliner and eyeshadow. Next, mineral face powder. I’m covering my freckles. Sure, they’re cute. On a third-grader. Now that I’ve got the coverage I want, my face is too pale. Time to add color. Enter blush. Then, pucker up! I’m a lip gloss kind-of-girl. Lipstick . . . you either love or hate it.

file00047647442Finally, mascara. You’re probably wondering why I don’t apply mascara right after eye shadow. Inevitably, during the course of the makeup ritual, I sneeze. Have you ever sneezed after donning a fresh coat of mascara? It’s hideous.

Writing fiction is a lot like applying makeup. Plotter or pantser, we’ve all got some kind of outline, emphasizing the parameter of the story. We write and edit, carefully covering the entire landscape and correcting blemishes. Blush is the description, highlighting details and accentuating the bones of the story. The plot? It’s the lips of your story. Does your plot bleed into the lines of your WIP, or do you gloss over it? Finally, make your scenes pop. Think mascara. Apply tension, coat after coat. And whatever you do, each time you create a new story, start with a fresh face!

Apply these techniques, and your writing will make a lasting impression.

~ Jericha Kingston


Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Jericha Kingston, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Joy of Apartment Living

My husband and I moved from New Hampshire to Massachusetts a few months into our marriage. The 600-square-foot apartment was so small, most of the treasures we’d received as wedding gifts remained in boxes for the two years we lived there.

Then it was off to Oklahoma, where we moved into a larger apartment, and I dreamed of owning a home of our own. After a year, we purchased a four-bedroom home and spent the next few years decorating and furnishing it. It was lovely, and I never regretted the decision, but as the neighborhood started to go downhill, we decided it was time to relocate. We found the perfect house across town. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be ready until a couple of months after we sold our current house. There we were, back in an apartment. Only this time, we had three kids.

That should have been a really difficult time. Because we had to rent month-to-month, our choices were limited, and we ended up in a complex we’d turned up our noses to years earlier. Most of our belongings were shoved in a storage unit while the five of us crammed into a small, three bedroom apartment. So why did I title this post, “The Joy of Apartment Living”? Because that’s exactly what it was—a joy. I’ll give you five reasons why:

  1. I could clean the whole place in an hour and a half.
  2. I could stand in front of the washer/dryer unit in the hallway and slide the laundry baskets into the bedrooms without moving a foot.
  3. My kids could play with all the neighbors right there in the ugly, unkempt area between the buildings. They had no idea this wasn’t a nice place to live.
  4. We had the opportunity to meet and get to know people of very different socio-economic and racial backgrounds. Interestingly, our kids didn’t seem to notice that everybody else in the complex was dark-skinned. What they did notice was that those kids were a lot of fun to play with.
  5. Without all the stuff to deal with, to dust, to wash, I found myself with more time than I’d had in years. Even with three kids to take care of, that time felt like a vacation.

I love my house, my neighborhood, my yard, and my pool. But there are days I long for the simplicity of that small apartment, of a house not filled to the brim with stuff. I will never complain about my home, but there was joy in that apartment.

How about you? Have you ever found joy in unexpected places?

Have you ever longed to simplify?

Have you ever successfully simplified your life?FaithHouse_w11619_680

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. She is the author of two books, Faith House and One Christmas Eve, both Christmas stories. Read excerpts and find out more at her website.


Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Robin Patchen



Why Amish Fiction?

theshunningIf you’ve been anywhere near a bookstore in recent years, you’ve seen the popularity of Amish fiction. The genre, started by Beverly Lewis back in the late 1990s, took fire with readers across the nation and across the world. It’s left a lot of people scratching their heads and asking, “Why?”

In my Bible reading this morning, I came across Jeremiah 6:16 (New Living Translation):

This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
    Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

Apparently some do want that road. At least, in their fiction reading.

I live in an Amish community, so many of my friends and neighbors are Amish. I admire much about them, particularly their attitudes toward and commitment to their families. As the family in our non-Amish culture continues to break down and fall apart, I wonder if this isn’t what draws readers to Amish fiction.

It’s like going back in time. It’s like walking that old, godly way. It’s like finding a path and having a wee bit of rest for your soul.

That’s not a bad reason to read.

~ Pegg Thomas – who laughing tells people how easy it is to find her house because, “It’s the first farm with a truck.”


Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Pegg Thomas


Tags: , , , , ,

Upcoming Writing Contests!


The 2015 Utmost Poetry Contest is now open, and is accepting entries.

Old TypewriterFor All Christian Poets – Total Prizes: US$3,000.00

Major Prizes:
FIRST PRIZE: 1,000.00
SECOND: $500.00

HONORABLE MENTIONS (10): 100.00 each

Special Prizes:

Entrant can win Special Prizes in addition to Major Prizes.

We award all prizes, regardless of how few entries we receive. Some contests advertise big awards, but in the “fine print” you see that the prizes are only paid if a certain number of poets enter. Utmost is different. We guarantee to pay all prizes in our poetry contests, and we always announce publicly the winners.



ACM has been hosting writing contests for more than 5 years.  This year, it created a writer’s community so that poets, short story authors, and other writers can share their stories, get feedback, and consider carefully how their writing can exhibit a defense of the Christian faith (known as ‘apologetics.’)

2015 Novel Contest Details

  • Deadline:  October 6, 2014 — Noon.  New Deadline:  October 20th, Noon (CST)
  • Entry Fee:  $75 (Dwolla) / $80 (Paypal, Credit Card, Check)
  • $1,500 first prize! $1,000 second prize! Plus possible publication!
  • Winners to be announced in March-May 2015.
  • Winning authors’ books to be published Summer/Fall of 2015.
  • Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.

Content: Manuscripts should be fiction, but can be in any genre: action/adventure, fantasy fiction, young adult, historical, etc. Stories can be written even for young people, say junior high, but illustrated books for children would not qualify. Think: Chronicles of Narnia, Wrinkle in Time, etc. If you have a specific audience in mind for your story please indicate as much in the story summary which must accompany your submission.

—-> Top 10-12 entries will be invited to revisit their entry in order to revise it for a final round of judging in light of judges’ feedback.

—-> All entries will receive a copy of the winning books–if the offers to publish the entries are extended and accepted–in digital editions (epub, mobi, or pdf).

—-> All entries will receive at least a 1 page document providing feedback from one or more of the contest judges. You may decline receiving the feedback.

—-> Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.  Compelling stories will not be penalized for their length.  Just make sure your novel warrants whatever length you choose.  When considering whether or not to offer to publish, ACM will take the length in consideration.

Discounts: Second entry is an additional $65. Third entry is an additional $45. It is possible for the same author to win both prizes!


29th Annual Hook Line and Sinker

Ever hear an editor tell you that if the first three pages don’t hook them they will stop reading. Sad but true. Hone your skills in hooking an editor with our Hook Line and Sinker contest. Three judges at least two of them published will critique your first three pages. The top five entries will be ranked by Allison Lyons from Harlequin.  

Deadline to enter – November 1, 2014.



We’re looking for short stories! Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

Wondering what’s in it for you?

  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

One First Place Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Second Place Winner will receive:

  • $1,500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

The Third Place Winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:

  • $100 in cash
  • Their short story titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August 2015 issue
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
  • A copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • A copy of the 2015Guide to Literary Agents

Eleventh through Twenty-Fifth Place Winners will receive:

  • A $50 gift certificate for
  • A copy of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection

Early-Bird Entry Deadline: November 17, 2014

Entry Deadline: December 15, 2014

For more information on how to enter the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition click here.



We want to hear about your holiday memories and traditions. During that time of the year we reunite with scattered family members, watch the wonder in a child’s eyes, and feel the joy of giving gifts. The rituals of the holiday season give a rhythm to the years and create a foundation for our lives, as we gather with family, with our communities at church, at school, and even at the mall, to share the special spirit of the season, brightening those long winter days. Please share your special stories about the holiday season with us. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS JANUARY 31, 2015.

~ post compiled by Kara Hunt.

Photo credit – stock.xchng


Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Kara Hunt, Writing Contests


Tags: , , , , , , ,