Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank You for a Wonderful 2014!

On this final day of 2014, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you who have supported me and my writing this year. My family, friends, fellow writers and authors, my blog subscribers, and all who have read The Land Uncharted

This year was truly uncharted territory for me. I had no idea all of this could or would happen at all, let alone in one year, and I'm living in a state of humbled, giddy shock. I don't freak out as much when I think about people reading my work, and for that I thank all of you who send me messages and post reviews and comments about how much you enjoy The Land Uncharted. Thank you.

There is more to come. Uncharted Redemption will be released in February 2015 and Uncharted Inheritance is scheduled for release in May 2015. I hope you enjoy these books in the new year, but more than that: I hope in 2015 God reveals Himself to you in ways you never imagined. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

#NoFilter: Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager

#NoFilter: Guest Post by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I’ve always been told to be a writer you have to be willing to share all of yourself, the good, bad and the ugly, in an attempt to get to the truth. I learned from writing teachers and mentors about humiliation essays and how to expose the inner workings of your mind and soul on paper (or the screen). But how does someone do that in the day and age of the flawless Instagram filtered image of life? No one else seems willing to share their less than perfect moments. In fact, more than half of the Facebook statuses I see on a daily include the phrase, “Fun day/night out with friends,” accompanied with a happy smiling shot of two faces squeezed together in a picture with perfect hair. So I’m the only one who needs to take five selfies to get one halfway decent one and threaten people not to tag me in photos without approval? I have to admit the idea of the filter does freak me out a little. After all, I don’t want someone to see me in person and ask, “What happened?” And I don’t photo shop my pictures, but is that because I’m too stupid to know how to or just not that vain? Well…a little from column A and a little from column B.

However, it’s one thing to be yourself in a picture, it’s another to share the ickier part of life with not just family and friends, but strangers. Although, sometimes I find the biggest critics can be those closest to you. But I’ve always tried to keep my personal life to myself and I would basically pick and choose what people knew about me. Then I was asked to do a blog about writing for a website. I had planned to write about preparing for a book release, but then my dad was hospitalized after an accident and things went south from there. I was sitting in the hotel room (the ICU had weird visiting hours) and thinking about the upcoming deadline for my post. Then it hit me: I should include the real life occurrence in my post. After all, not everyone has all ups and no downs, right? And to write anything and not mention how part of my life was spiraling out of control would have been less that truthful. So I wrote about finding time to write even during the chaotic times in life. What I didn’t expect to happen was for people to privately contact me on different social media sites to share their own private stories. In some way, my opening up about a difficult time made it okay for them to share their own as well and I ended up making several new friends through shared (painful) experiences. While I do wish I (and my family) never had to experience this on-going heartbreaking experience, I am grateful that in sharing my story it helped other people to open up about their own. We’re taught to put on a happy face, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to be honest and you might just help someone feel less alone.

True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Summary: Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically "unfriend" her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Available now!

Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. True Colors is her international bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press and the first book in the Landry’s True Colors series. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite TV shows. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Guest Post: Lee Tobin McClain on Turning Failure Into Success

Turning Failure Into Success

Greetings! Lee Tobin McClain here, talking about turning failure into success.

I’ve been wanting to write Christian romance ever since Harlequin came out with their Love Inspired line about 10 years ago. In between teaching, adopting a daughter, and publishing four teen novels, I kept submitting manuscripts to Love Inspired.

And kept getting rejected.

Finally, I got in the door. I’m about to sign my second contract with Love Inspired and I am completely thrilled. Hooray for persistence!

But I had, um, a LOT of manuscripts on my hard drive that were Christian category romances, too short for other CBA publishers. And floating around the writer-world was new vocabulary like “indie publishing” and “hybrid author.” I pulled up my old manuscripts to figure out whether it would be worthwhile to publish them myself.

Job one, according to all my research: make them into a series. But how could I do that with standalone novels? The answer came to me in one of those flashes that I attribute to God, though others might attribute it to their muse. All of my heroes came from disadvantaged backgrounds. They were bad boys. And they all matured into men with hearts for helping others and doing good in the world.

What if they’d all spent time at the same place—a school for young hoodlums, the last stop before juvie? And what if that school were run by a forty-something believer who needed romance in his own right? And what if their mentor talked them into making a pact to be forces for good in the world?

I wrote A Christmas Bond, taking four of my rejected heroes back to their teenage years and having them spend a Christmas at the Covenant School. Voila! Their plot lines didn’t even have to be tweaked much to make it work. I rewrote madly, added cell phones and GPS technology, and had the boys form the Sacred Bond brotherhood, sealed with a tattoo.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to watch my old, beloved manuscripts take off as the Sacred Bond series! I’d be honored if you’d check out book one, His Baby Bond, which is free on all platforms. And I’ll give away book two, The Bride’s Broken Bond, to a random commenter today, so jump in and share your own rejection-to-success story!

Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. When she not writing emotional, faith-infused love stories with happy endings, she’s probably driving around a carload of snarky teen girls, playing with her rescue dog and cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University’s MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.

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Romance between enemies  . . .
War hero John Moretti sees the delinquent boys he mentors as the sons he never had, and he wants to give them every opportunity to reform. Crime victim Annie Bauer views them as dangerous threats to her elderly grandma, who lives next door to the boys’ residential school. When the Baby Jesus is stolen from Grandma’s yard nativity scene, the boys’ potential involvement may send them straight to hard-core juvie, and break the fragile connection that’s building between Annie and John. Until the so-called delinquents join together to make a sacred bond . . .

His Baby Bond: Sacred Bond Series Book 1
Poor-but-proud Kendra Forrester doesn’t need an arrogant millionaire to tell her how to raise her sister’s baby. But when handsome Zeke King arrives at her Colorado cabin demanding custody of his brother’s child, strategy dictates that she let him stick around. Battling mountain weather and the baby’s illness brings these two opposites together, but their own insecurities, their dead siblings’ secrets, and a jealous former boyfriend threaten their tentative bond. Only the Lord and the Sacred Bond Brotherhood can help Kendra and Zeke form a family for their baby.

The Bride's Broken Bond: Sacred Bond Series Book 2
As the wedding music starts playing, poor little rich girl Hope DeMille learns that her husband-to-be loves someone else, but her domineering, high-society father won’t let her back out of the expensive wedding he’s funded. Enter Rock Anderson, a former inner-city kid mentored by Hope’s parents, who’s always wanted Hope. After helping Hope escape, Rock gets her a job at his urban mission and helps her find meaning in her life. But when Hope’s powerful father seeks revenge and one of the inner-city kids goes missing, it’ll take the best efforts of the Sacred Bond brotherhood to help this opposite-sides-of-the-tracks couple overcome their differences and commit to love.