Monday, December 28, 2015

8 Great Christian Books with Huge Year End Discounts

So my publisher, CrossRiver Media Group, has several of their titles discounted this week on Kindle. I know many of you got a new Kindle for Christmas, so I've taken it upon myself to spread this year end cheer! (Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the free app and enjoy ebooks on your smart phone or laptop.)

Time to Kindle load with these great Christian books:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Author Elaine Marie Cooper and Road to Deer Run

Today I'm celebrating the release of Road to Deer Run (CrossRiver Media) by Elaine Marie Cooper. Elaine is a multi-published, award-winning author, and she has so kindly stopped by for an interview.

Welcome, Elaine! Tell us about your favorite reader encounter or piece of fan mail/email/FB message. 

It’s so difficult to narrow it down. I think the readers who have expressed being challenged by their faith when they read my books are the most satisfying responses. Knowing that my books have prompted them to consider their Christian walk in view of the fictional stories I weave allows me to see a small way that God uses my writing for His glory. Praise God!

Amen! While writing Road to Deer Run, how did God meet you on the page? 

I remember getting so caught up in the scenes I was writing that I

Sunday, November 22, 2015

My career as an author started with a bucket list....

Shortly after I turned 30, I started a bucket list. Since my life story up to that point sort of reads like a bucket list anyway, it took some soul searching to think of things I really wanted to make a part of my legacy.

There is only one item on the list with an expiration date. I have no idea why, but I wrote: "Write a novel that sells at least [not saying the number] copies before I turn 40". I'm not sure why I picked the number that I did--I certainly didn't know anything about publishing or book sales statistics. I later learned the number I chose is achieved by less that 2% of books published in the US by the "Big 5" publishers. Learning that statistic was disheartening, but I refuse to erase anything from the bucket list. Besides, I'm nowhere near 40 yet (winkie-face).

Well today I found out my first novel (The Land Uncharted) book sales have not only hit that crazy goal but passed it!

Marty told me to pause and have my woo-hoo moment, but I must say that when I started writing the first Uncharted book, I forgot about my trivial goals. My goal became to create stories that bring glory to God and encourage, inspire, and comfort the reader. While it’s fun to reach an earthly goal, one day I will have to account for my words and I want to hear well done.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmas with the Colburns ~ Audiobook Now Available!

Narrator Kate Fisher
Oh, I do love an audiobook!

The audiobook version of my first novella, Christmas with the Colburns, is available now. This story was narrated by the fabulous Kate Fisher. I'm so glad Kate is once again bringing Lydia's story to life, and I think you'll enjoy her performance.

Listen to a sample here:

Christmas with the Colburns: An Uncharted Novella
Audiobook available at these retailers:

Description: It’s Christmastime in Good Springs, and Lydia Bradshaw is eager for the light at the end of her year—the Colburn family’s big holiday gathering. When she discovers none of her siblings are coming back to the village this year, she believes Christmas will be ruined. As Lydia faces a gloomy holiday in the Colburn house, an unexpected romance brightens her favorite season. Will it be enough to rekindle the light of Christmas?

Spend Christmas with the Colburns in this inspirational holiday novella. If you like the traditional setting and sweet romance of Amish Fiction but are looking for something new, read Christmas with the Colburns today to jump into a fast-paced story of Christmastime in a hidden land. Holiday recipe included!

Friday, November 13, 2015

The 2015 CrossRiver Author Hunt

Welcome to stop #8 on the 2015 CrossRiver Author Hunt.

I'm Keely, author of The Land Uncharted, Uncharted Redemption, and Uncharted Inheritance (Edenbrooke Press) and Aboard Providence (coming 2016, CrossRiver Media).

My first novella Christmas with the Colburns was released last week, and I'm so excited to share this story with you! Here is a little about the book:

It’s Christmastime in Good Springs, and Lydia Bradshaw is eager for the light at the end of her year—the Colburn family’s big holiday gathering. When she discovers none of her siblings are coming back to the village this year, she believes Christmas will be ruined. As Lydia faces a gloomy holiday in the Colburn house, an unexpected romance brightens her favorite season. Will it be enough to rekindle the light of Christmas? 

Sign up for my newsletter here for a chance to win a *copy of Christmas with the Colburns. If you already subscribe, comment below and I'll add your name to the entries.

Before you head over to the next stop, collect the clue word at the bottom of this post. You’ll need it to enter the drawing for CrossRiver Media's giveaway: a Kindle loaded with CrossRiver Media's books. Winner will be chosen randomly from those who enter the correct phrase.

Clue word: “relationship”

Next stop on the CrossRiver Author Hunt: Kathy Nickerson

~ ~ ~

Have you stumbled onto the Author Hunt or forgotten what you’re supposed to do next?

Here’s a quick review:
~ Visit every author’s site that is a part of the hunt.
~ Collect the clue provided at each author's blog.
~ Sign up for each author’s email list/newsletter for extra chances at fun giveaways.
~ Stop back at the CrossRiver Media's website after you visit the last blog in the hunt and enter your clues for a chance to win the grand prize. The complete list of the rules is located on CrossRiver Media's website

Happy hunting!

~~~ Congratulations to Anita M. winner of Christmas with the Colburns ~~~

* Winner of Keely Brooke Keith's Christmas with the Colburns has the option of ebook (PDF), audiobook, or paperback version of the novella. Paperback option requires a Continental U.S. mailing address. Once winner notification email is sent, winner must reply within 7 days. Contest void where prohibited. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Christmas with the Colburns ~ Read the first chapter here

Christmas with the Colburns
An Uncharted Novella


ydia Bradshaw refused to allow the Colburn house to go undecorated at Christmastime. Weaving among the bartering villagers at the open-air market, she anchored baby Andrew on her hip and scanned the traders’ booths for tinsel, ribbon, garland—anything that might make her family’s home look like it did when her mother was alive. Surely one of the traders or artisans had something left, even this late in December.
“I should have started making decorations weeks ago,” she muttered to the baby, as if an eleven-month-old cared, “but with a medical practice, a house to manage, and a great-aunt to care for, it seems my favorite holiday has sneaked up on me like a cat on a mouse.” She smiled down at Andrew as he sucked on his fingers. “Come to think of it, if our barn cats did their job and killed mice, my box of decorations from last Christmas wouldn’t have been turned into a reeking, chewed-up nest.”
Determined to make her and Connor’s first Christmas with the baby a celebration to remember, Lydia dodged the carpet trader, avoided the hat-maker’s boy, who was trying to demonstrate hairpins on unsuspecting customers—someone really should stop him—and turned before the gossipy wool spinner noticed her. As she passed the produce booth, tin cylinders with colorful labels caught her eye. Her skirt swirled as she turned on her boot heel. “Are these canned cherries already pitted?” she asked the young man working at the back of the booth.
He didn’t respond and continued sprinkling sugar on a tray of freshly roasted nuts. That’s where the luscious smell was coming from. Lydia cleared her throat and tried again. “Excuse me?”
The veteran produce trader stepped out from behind his wagon where he was unloading a crate of lemons. He yelled at his new worker, “It’s your job to help the customers.”
The young man snapped his attention to Lydia and hurried to the front of the booth. “Sorry. Yes, ma’am, canned pitted cherries from Riverside.” He straightened his straw hat and grinned, revealing a broken bicuspid and swollen gums. “How many cans would you like?”
“Two please. No wait…” She mentally calculated the number of family members who would be coming for Christmas dinner this year. Fifteen… seventeen if Everett Foster and his mother, Roseanna, accepted her invitation. It would be the biggest crowd yet. She would have to double her mother’s cherry salad recipe. “Four cans, please.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He removed the cans from his display. “What would you like to trade?”
“She’s the village physician,” the veteran trader interrupted, scowling at the young man. “This is Dr. Lydia Bradshaw, formerly Dr. Lydia Colburn. You don’t charge a doctor for cherries.”
“It’s quite all right.” She looked at the young man. “How about four cans of cherries and I’ll take care of that infected tooth for you?”
His cheeks reddened and he covered his mouth with his dirty fingers. “That sounds painful.”
“I have medicine that will remove the pain, and once the tooth is out, you will feel much better.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I accept your trade.” He picked up the cans. “I’ll just carry these to your wagon.”
“I walked here.” She shifted the baby to the other hip. “When the market closes this afternoon, come by my office. I live at the Colburn house—the two-story brick home near the south entrance of the village. The medical cottage is next door. Try the cottage first and if there’s no answer, go to the back door of the house. And bring the cherries with you.”
He nodded and spoke through barely parted lips, trying not to reveal his broken tooth again. “Thank you, Doctor. I’ll be much obliged for your help.”
As she resumed her search for decorating materials, Lydia spotted her father, John Colburn, the village overseer, on the chapel steps. The morning light made his trimmed beard appear grayer than usual. Though in his element, leaning against the iron railing, reciprocating greetings with happy couples as they passed, he also seemed lonely. Even after thirteen years, Lydia still missed her mother every day. Her father must miss her even more. He never spoke of his sorrow, but when no one else was looking—especially at Christmastime—Lydia saw the sadness in his eyes.
A cool breeze blew in from the nearby ocean and kept the air moving through the crowded village market. Someone stopped behind Lydia and rubbed Andrew’s head. The baby let out a half-giggle half-squeal. Lydia smiled as she turned to Mandy. “He only makes that noise when he sees you.”
“That’s because I’m his favorite aunt.” Mandy batted her eyelashes at the baby as she flipped her blanket of auburn curls over her shoulder and reached for him. She settled Andrew on the side of her pregnant belly. “And how is my little nephew this fine morning?”
Andrew responded with a slobbery giggle and rubbed a wet hand across her baby bump. Mandy laughed. “That’s right! Your cousin is in there. You will get to meet him soon.”
“Or her,” Lydia interjected.
“Don’t let Levi hear you say that,” Mandy chortled. The noise sounded cute coming from her, but Lydia would sound like a horse if she did it. “He insists his firstborn will be a boy.”
“Don’t worry about Levi. My brother will be a proud father no matter what. To think, by next Christmas you will have your own little one crawling around the house.” Lydia glanced across the market and remembered her purpose. “Have you seen Christmas decorations at any of the booths today? My decorations from last year are ruined. This is Andrew’s first Christmas and it might be Aunt Isabella’s last, so I want to make it special for everyone.”
“No, I haven’t.” Mandy lowered her perfect chin. “Actually, I need to talk to you about that.”
“About what?”
“Levi and I are going to celebrate Christmas at my mother’s this year.”
The news kicked Lydia in the gut, but she did her best not to show it. “Oh.”
“It’s just that this is our first year without Father, and I think it will help Mother if Levi and I spend the day with her and Everett.”
“I invited your mother and Everett to our house too.”
“Yes, I know, and it was kind of you, but Levi is eager to start our own traditions, and we think it will be best for our family if we go to Mother’s. She is thrilled with the idea. And Everett and Bethany will probably be married soon, and then Bethany will live out there too, so it really makes sense that we start that tradition now.”
“Bethany is spending Christmas with Everett at your mother’s also?”
“Well, she will be a Foster soon.”
Lydia wanted her baby back. She held out her hands to Andrew. “I understand,” she said, though she didn’t understand at all. The Colburns always spent Christmas at the Colburn house. Her brother had married Mandy Foster, making her a Colburn, and Bethany wasn’t married to Everett Foster yet, so she was still a Colburn. It would make more sense if Roseanna Foster and Everett came to them, not the other way around.
Mandy’s empty hands covered her belly. Seven months pregnant and the tiny woman still wore the same dresses she had worn last year. She gave Lydia a sympathetic grin. “I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s better for us this way, and maybe it will be easier on you, less work and all that. And you have Connor and the baby with you at your father’s house, so you will be with people you love. Isn’t that what makes Christmas special?”
“Yes, I suppose.”
Mandy glanced down at her belly. “We’re all starting families, so this is the perfect time to start our own holiday traditions.”
“I’m sure you’re right.” Lydia looked away. Wheels squeaked loudly as a man pushed a cart across the cobblestone street. Villagers shouted cheerful greetings to one another. The crowded market started to irritate her. She couldn’t find decorations anyway. “I’m going home. Have you seen Connor?”
“He’s at the messenger’s booth.” Mandy frowned. “You are upset, aren’t you?”
“No.” Lydia pressed her lips together. “I’m not.”
“Yes, you are.”
“All right, I am, but I’ll get over it. I have my own family to focus on this Christmas. Besides, Adeline and Maggie and their families always come to Good Springs for the day, so the Colburn house will still feel full,” she said as she cuddled Andrew close and started for the messenger’s booth. “I have to go.”
Mandy blew a kiss to the baby. “Merry Christmas.”
“You too,” Lydia called over her shoulder as she hurried away. She squeezed through the bartering villagers toward her husband.
Despite the flurry of activity around him, Connor stood near the messenger’s booth like an immoveable pillar in the midst of whitewater rapids. He laughed at whatever joke the messenger told and easily focused on their conversation until his eyes met Lydia’s. He held a finger up to the messenger and parted the crowd for Lydia.
Ignoring the hubbub, Connor grinned at her. “That never gets old.”
“What doesn’t?”
“Seeing you walk toward me.” He bent down and kissed her as if he had just come home from war. The baby squeezed a drool-covered hand between their faces. When Connor released her, his expression bespoke a mixture of affection and arrogance. On him, it was charming.
He passed a hand over the baby’s head, still gazing at Lydia. “Did you find what you needed to make your decorations?”
She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter.”
Connor’s brow furrowed and his brown eyes filled with compassion. “Of course it does. You were really looking forward to this Christmas. What happened?”
She couldn’t hide anything from him. “Five of the people I was counting on won’t be there.” She wanted to add that the news had crushed her spirit and might have ruined Christmas, possibly forever. She swallowed the complaint to keep it from passing between her lips, just like her mother had always instructed. “Roseanna is making Christmas dinner for Levi and Mandy and Everett and Bethany.”
Connor put his hand on her shoulder. “Your younger siblings have the right to make their own plans. That’s what happens when people grow up. Hey, you still have Andrew and me, your dad, and Isabella, plus your two elder sisters are coming with their families.” He caressed her arm. When she didn’t muster a smile, he continued trying to cheer her up. “What if I go into the forest and find a bunch of pine twigs and wind them together to make you some garland?”
He was kind to offer, but she had seen his attempts at crafts. The image made her chuckle. “No, that’s not necessary.” She readjusted the baby and pointed to Connor’s fistful of letters. “Did the messenger have anything for me?”
He flipped through the envelopes and drew one out. “You got a letter from one of your sisters in Woodland.”
“Splendid! Is it from Adeline or Maggie?”
Connor shrugged. “I can’t tell their writing apart.”
Lydia took the envelope and read it. An extra flourish adorned the L in Lydia. “It’s from Adeline. She’s probably letting me know what time they plan to arrive on Christmas.” Her excitement grew as she unfolded the letter. “Maybe they’ll come a day early and stay the night on Christmas Eve. Wouldn’t that be lovely?”
“Uh huh,” Connor hummed his answer as he opened one of his letters.
Lydia read Adeline’s letter twice. It was only three sentences, so it didn’t take long. Her cheeks grew hot and pressure built behind her eyes. She would not cry over this, and certainly not in public. She drew a long steadying breath and looked up at Connor. “They aren’t coming.”

Paperback available at these retailers and more:

eBook available for Amazon Kindle here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Interview of Author Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield is the USA Today bestselling author of several clean western romances including The Christmas Cowboy and Crumpets and Cowpies. Shanna has two new Christmas stories releasing this year, Capturing Christmas and The Christmas Vow. She's graciously stopped by my blog for an interview during her tour.

Thanks for joining, Shanna! I know you've been an author for a long time. Tell us about your favorite reader encounter or piece of fan mail/email/FB message. 

I’ll start by saying I love (LOVE) hearing from readers. The message that has meant the most to me came from a young woman who’d been suffering from postpartum depression and had been contemplating suicide. She read my book Heart of Clay and said it gave her such a message of hope, that she sought help and turned her life around. We’ve stayed in touch, and it’s been wonderful to see the direction her life is now headed. Whenever I need a reminder of why I write, I read her powerful message again.

It's good to hear how your writing touches lives. While writing your new stories, how did God meet you on the page? 

I have two new books releasing this week. Capturing Christmas is about hope and opening your heart. The Christmas Vow is about forgiveness and redemption. Those underlying themes all make me feel like our Father is there in the writing process. 

Where is your favorite place to people watch for inspiration? 
I don’t have a single favorite place, but I do tend to be a people watcher wherever I go. It’s amazing the conversations you overhear at the grocery store or the ideas that spark when you’re at the mall. 

If you wrote a letter to your younger self at whatever age you first dream of writing a book, what would the opening line say? 
(To my 16-year-old self) No matter what anyone says, what anyone tries to tell you can’t do — never stop believing in yourself.

Now to really stretch your creative writing muscles, please give us the summary of your new books in Haiku.

For Capturing Christmas:

Captured images
Pale shades bloom in full color
Life altered by love

For The Christmas Vow:
Frosty glares of pain
Melt in the warmth of kindness
Sweet love rekindled
Wow, beautifully done! Thanks again for joining us, Shanna, and we wish you the best with your new releases.

Be sure to check out Shanna's new Christmas books Capturing Christmas and The Christmas Vow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

You're invited to spend Christmas with the Colburns!

Uncharted fans! Do you miss Lydia and Connor and the rest of the family in Good Springs? Me too!

I have good news... 
Christmas with the Colburns: An Uncharted Novella is available for pre-order and will be released November 3, 2015.

Here is a little about the story:

It’s Christmastime in Good Springs, and Lydia Bradshaw is eager for the light at the end of her year—the Colburn family’s big holiday gathering. When she discovers none of her siblings are coming back to the village this year, she believes Christmas will be ruined. As Lydia faces a gloomy holiday in the Colburn house, an unexpected romance brightens her favorite season. Will it be enough to rekindle the light of Christmas?

Christmas with the Colburns was my first novella and it was so much fun to write! In case you're new to novellas, they are a short readabout 2-3 hours. 

My goal was to write this story in such a way that if you have already finished the first three books in the Uncharted series, this will be the cherry on top, and if you haven't read any of the Uncharted books yet, this story works as a standalone. Either way, spend Christmas with the Colburns!

Pre-order ebook version for Amazon Kindle 

Pre-order an autographed paperback copy 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Vote for the Christmas with the Colburns cover you like best

Christmas with the Colburns is almost ready!

My cover designer, Najla Qamber, is a talented artist and brilliant designer. I’m down to the final detail about the cover, and I thought it might be fun to get your opinion.

Look at the two options below. Do you think the word COLBURNS looks better in cursive or block letters?

Cast your vote by leaving a comment below.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Author Interview: Brenda S. Anderson and Hungry For Home

Today I'm interviewing Brenda S. Anderson. She just released Hungry for Home, which is Book 3 in her Coming Home series. We'll get to the book details in a minute. First, I have a few questions for Brenda...

Welcome back to my blog, Brenda! I always enjoy having you here. You've published several books in the past year or so, and I know your influence is growing. Tell us about your favorite reader encounter or piece of fan mail/email/FB message so far.

My favorite piece of mail from a reader came from someone who'd read my first release, Chain of Mercy. Like my hero in Chain of Mercy, the reader's brother had accidentally killed someone in an auto accident. Chain of Mercy helped her and her brother's girlfriend find peace in this tragedy, and they're praying for her brother.

Wow! It's wonderful how God used your story to help someone. So often He uses our stories to teach us. While writing Hungry for Home, how did God meet you on the page?

God is constantly challenging me to see beyond my narrow perspective. In my new release, Hungry for Home, I focus on a homeless teen who mugs a woman. Not exactly hero material for a story, but God showed me the heart of this teen, the heart He sees, and I believe God shines through that.

Where is your favorite place to people watch for inspiration?

Oh, I have so many places, but walking the sidewalks of Minneapolis provides some of the best inspiration. You see such a wide range of people from the outwardly successful to the wildly dressed to the homeless. Seeing them all as children of God paints them in an entirely different light than their appearances might otherwise show us.

If you wrote a letter to your younger self at whatever age you first dreamed of writing a book, what would the opening line say?
Just go ahead and write! You don't have to wait until you come up with the perfect story, you don't have to be afraid of what others are going to say. God's given you the gift and the passion, and He rejoices when you use your gifts.

Amen! All right,
by now you know I'm a fun-loving girl, so of course I have something a little quirky for you to try... Please give us the summary of your new book, Hungry for Home, in Haiku.
A homeless young man
Mugs a woman but mercy
Is what she returns
I'm blown away! Great Haiku and great premise! I can't wait to read Hungry for Home. Thanks for stopping by today, Brenda.
Here's a little about Brenda's new release Hungry for Home... 
After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …A hungry, homeless teen. The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.

The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts. And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.

Order Hungry for Home.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Inspiration, Embracing Sweetness, and Doing Research in the Attic

My great-grandmother's Bible and 4 leaf clovers from 1916
You’d think after releasing three novels in less than a year, I would’ve stopped for a breather this summer. I tried. Briefly. I really did.

But I had so many ideas...

I wanted to write a cozy mystery (there I said it!) and I wanted to explore what might happen next with Connor and Lydia in the Uncharted series and I outlined a Christmas novella and I started research for the next Founders story and... shew! I’m out of breath just thinking about it.

Having too many ideas can be just as bad as having none, at least for a girl like me. I’d never encountered this before: a head full of stories and an inbox full of readers encouraging me to write more. I’m a people-pleaser and a prolific writer. That can be a dangerous combination, friends.

I needed direction. I needed wisdom. I needed quiet.

I cried out to my Savior.

See, I’m on a journey here. I have not arrived. I’m winging it, but I’m not alone. I’m never alone.

The Lord was with me through the hurricane of ideas that devastated my mental summer vacation. While the gusts of voices and storylines and marketability statistics lashed at my peace, Christ so graciously held my gaze.

He reminded me of who I am and more importantly who I am in Him. And He took me to Proverbs 31:10-31 again and again. Thank You, Lord!

It’s a new month, a new school year (*virtual high five to my fellow homeschool teachers*), and soon to be a new season. I might be rushing autumn a bit—it’s 85 degrees out and I’m baking pumpkin cookies. That’s okay. I’m eager for cooler weather and a slower pace so I can settle in to a new writing project, cup of apple cider in hand.

Happy September, everyone!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Uncharted Series Prequel To Be Published By CrossRiver Media

You GUYS!!! I have great news!

If you read The Land Uncharted, you know the Uncharted storyline begins in the year 2025 in a hidden land that was settled in the 1860s by Americans. In the Uncharted series, the characters refer to their history as the founders’ story. Tidbits of the founders’ story are given throughout the Uncharted books and many readers have expressed their desire to read the story of how the founders came to the Land.

*~*~*~ Good news! ~*~*~*

I spent last winter writing the first book of the founders’ story. It’s titled Aboard Providence. I’m super excited to let you know that I've signed Aboard Providence with Christian publisher CrossRiver Media!

I’m celebrating with a giveaway. Enter to win the first three Uncharted books so you’re all caught up and ready for the journey Aboard Providence!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

30 Authors Give Advice to Writers in One Sentence

I recently asked a few authors if they could give a new writer one sentence of advice, what would it be. From award winning authors, New York Times best sellers, and powerhouse indies, here are their replies:

“Develop perseverance, a thick skin, and a love of rewriting because it takes all three to last more than a year in a writing gig.” Angela Hunt, Christy Award winning author with more than four million copies of her books sold worldwide

“Finish the book.” – Melissa Gorzelanczyk, author of Arrows, coming January 2016 from Randon House/Delacorte Press

“Measure your success as a writer in terms of things you can control—writing to the best of your ability, making your page count, finishing a project—not in terms of things you can’t.” Lisa Wingate, Christy Award winning author of The Story Keeper 

“Invest time and money in books, magazines, classes, conferences, critique groups, and webinars on the craft of writing, and then hang out with interesting people.” Kathy Nickerson, award winning author of Thirty Days to Glory 

“To help you find your voice, visualize the one person you know who best represents your target audience and write as if you’re writing personally to him or her.” Jennifer Case Cortez 

“Starting a novel is like any new relationship; make your book feel special or it will get bored with you.” Cynthia Port, author of Kibble Talk 

Find a critique partner or group who write in your genre so you will grow as a writer, learn the craft, and forge deep friendships with kindred spirits based on the work you critique and the critiques youll receive.” Heidi McCahan, author of Unraveled 

“If you know you’re supposed to be writing, prepare to push past multiple rejections, harsh critiques, and disheartening feedback to the reward at the end of the tunnel: finding your true readers, who will enjoy your books and tell others about them!” – Heather Day Gilbert, author of God’s Daughter 

“Learn to thrive—in the struggle, in the joy, in the creative process—flourish in the messiness of it all.” Christina Yother, author of the Hollow Hearts series

“Study and know your genre back and forth, and make sure your cover, blurb, and contents all align with what the reader expects from that genre.” – Victorine E. Lieske, New York Times and USA Today best selling author

“You are the only person in the entire world that can write what you do, so believe, keep going and shine.” – Megan Easley-Walsh 

Take advice and guidance from experienced editors and fellow authors, but never allow them to change the story you feel driven to write.” Paul Cwalina, author of Dropping Stones 

“Write even when you don't feel like it.” – Lindsey M. Bell, author of Searching for Sanity 

“Don’t write what’s trending and don’t write for the market, rather, dig deep and write the story God purposed only you to tell.” – Brenda S. Anderson, author of the Coming Home series

“Learn your craft and persevere.” – Debra L. Butterfield, author of Carried by Grace 

Take a day of rest from your writing--that means promoting it as well!” – Lauren H. Brandenburg, author of The Books of The Gardener Series

“Don’t make it hard for people to find you.” – Marianne Sciucco, author of Kindle bestseller Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's Love Story 

Read, read, read and write, write, write.” RJ Thesman, author of the Reverend G series 

“Write what inspires you and not what you think will inspire readers.” – T.I. Lowe, best selling author of Lulu’s Café 

“Write from the secret places of your soul; only by risking your heart can you craft a powerful story that will touch readers.” Katy Huth Jones, author of Leandra's Enchanted Flute 

“Read your work aloud—it will show you your grammar errors, but more importantly it will teach you cadence and rhythm and help you find your voice.” – C.M. Keller, author of Screwing Up Time, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist

“If you want to grow as a writer, never be satisfied with your original efforts: you must fearlessly self-edit and rewrite.” – Sarah Ashwood, author of The Sunset Lands Beyond series

“Write what you want to know, and teach your readers as you learn.” – Lars D. H. Hedbor, author of Tales From a Revolution Series

“Never give up because the only good writing is rewriting.” – Steve Stroble, author of Fool’s Gold 

“Cultivate patience, and enjoy the journey.” Margaret Lynette Sharp, author of Sisters and Rivals 

“Write the story you feel in your heart, not the one others tell you to write.” Shannon L. Brown, award winning author of The Feather Chase 

“Join a critique group and never stop honing your craft!” Regina Tittel, author of the Ozark Durham series

“Take the time to find your own voice and when you do, don’t be afraid to use it.” Barbara Hartzler, author of The Nexis Secret

“Join a supportive group online or face to face, where you can collaborate with other writers.” – Melissa Miles, author of Burning Prospects

Writing is a gift of expression and creativity; don’t be afraid to share the work, improve the stories, and learn life lessons along the way.” – Julie Gilbert, author of the Devya's Children Book series

When faced with a roadblock, press on with courage.” – Nancy Kay Grace, author of The Grace Impact

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Than A Song: Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery

I desire to love God with all of my being, but to do that I must focus on His love for me revealed in the Gospel. 

Song lyrics that present the Gospel--the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ--give us a beautiful way to remember and meditate on the truth of God’s redemptive plan.

Slow down for a moment and read the lyrics to Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery by Matt Papa*

Come behold the wondrous mystery
In the dawning of the King
He the theme of heaven’s praises
Robed in frail humanity

In our longing, in our darkness
Now the light of life has come
Look to Christ, who condescended
Took on flesh to ransom us

Come behold the wondrous mystery
He the perfect Son of Man
In His living, in His suffering
Never trace nor stain of sin

See the true and better Adam
Come to save the hell-bound man
Christ the great and sure fulfillment
Of the law; in Him we stand

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Christ the Lord upon the tree
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the Lamb in victory

See the price of our redemption
See the Father’s plan unfold
Bringing many sons to glory
Grace unmeasured, love untold

Come behold the wondrous mystery
Slain by death the God of life
But no grave could e’er restrain Him
Praise the Lord; He is alive!

What a foretaste of deliverance
How unwavering our hope
Christ in power resurrected
As we will be when he comes

What a foretaste of deliverance
How unwavering our hope
Christ in power resurrected
As we will be when he comes 

Here’s the link to Matt Papa’s YouTube channel if you’d like to listen to Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery

How do you preach the Gospel to yourself?

*Song Title: Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery, Artist: Matt Papa, From the album: Look & Live ℗ 2013 The Summit Church, Writers: Matt Boswell, Michael Bleecker, Matt Papa, © 2012 Bleecker Publishing (Admin. by Michael Bleecker), McKinney Music, Inc. (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) © 2013 Love Your Enemies Publishing

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

More Than A Song: The Lord Our God

If you’re anything like me (and I’m guessing every other Christian on the planet), you’ve encountered the following situation at least once in your Christian walk: you come to a crossroads in some area of life, pray about it, get godly counsel on the decision, feel certain you know what direction God is guiding you in, and off you go barreling down that path. Whatever it is, you’re certain it leads to fulfillment, optimal joy, and free rides on sparkly unicorns. Then you find yourself in the thick of it and it’s hard. It’s dark. It’s lonely. It’s not the warm fuzzy experience you were certain God had in mind when you signed on.

What now? Did God trick you? Lie to you? Abandon you? If He led you here, is He still good? Can He still use this—even this—for His glory?

Don’t move. Stay right there and listen. Wait for Him. He is there with you. He will not leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Read these lyrics from the worship song The Lord Our God by Kristian Stanfill*

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You're the Lord our God

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ‘til the end

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good

We won't move without You
You're the light of all
And all that we need

Here’s the link to Passion’s VEVO if you’d like to listen to Kristian Stanfill lead The Lord Our God

What song has helped you focus on the Lord?

*Song Title: The Lord Our God, Artist: Kristian Stanfill, from the album Passion: Let The Future Begin ℗ 2013 sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records, Writers: Jason Ingram, Kristian Stanfill © 2013 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Open Hands Music (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Sony/ATV Timber Publishing (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More Than A Song: Lord I Need You

As a worship musician, I often have the privilege of hearing and playing the same song dozens of times during a week. Some songs stick with me long after the song services are over. I’ll find myself using the lyrics in my devotional times or randomly throughout the day in prayer.

As a writer, I wondered if anyone else would benefit from this. So today I’m starting a new blog series called More Than A Song where we’ll slow down for a moment and mediate alone on the words we usually sing together.

The song Lord I Need You by Matt Maher* is a simple prayer, but the lyrics so beautifully echo the cry of my heart.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

The Lord knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8) and what we need most is Him. The nearness of God is our good (Psalm 73:28) even at work, even in traffic, even in the waiting room. He is there defending us, interceding for us, loving us, forgiving us, strengthening us, and making a way for us to escape temptation. Every hour, He is with us. Lord, we need you. 

Here’s the link to Matt Maher’s VEVO if you’d like to listen to Lord I Need You

What song is on your heart today?

*Song Title: Lord I Need You, Artist: Matt Maher, Album: All The People Said Amen, 2013 Provident Label Group, LLC, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment, Writers: Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher, © 2011 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Sweater Weather Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Valley Of Songs Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beyond Still Alice: 5 Books on Alzheimer’s You May Have Missed

Beyond Still Alice: 5 Books on Alzheimer’s You May Have Missed
by Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story

What do you know about Alzheimer’s? Anything? What should you know about Alzheimer’s? Something.

This is not just our parents’ disease. It’s a problem that has far-reaching complications, not only wreaking havoc in the life of the one afflicted, but in the lives of all those surrounding him or her: spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, caregivers, and the greater community. Its impact is exponential: For each one of the 5.3 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there are another 5.3 million (at the very least) affected. These people are our families, neighbors, co-workers, friends, and acquaintances. As our lives intersect and intertwine, this disease affects all of us.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Take some time this month to learn more about

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June is Audiobook Month

 A few years ago the Audio Publishers Association declared June "Audiobook Month". Yeah, I didn't know it was a thing either ...until I had three books released on audio.

So Happy Audiobook Month!!!

Some little know facts about audiobooks...
  • Audiobook really is one word.
  • All 3 of the Uncharted audiobooks are available on iTunes, Audible and Amazon.
  • FYI for authors who still hold their audio rights: in my experience audiobooks sell as well as paperbacks. Hop on and find a narrator so your story can make someone's commute more interesting.

Check out the samples of the Uncharted audiobooks below. I adore all three of the narrators!

If you'd rather read about the books, go here.

Enjoy and Happy Audiobook Month!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Query Tips With Editor Megan Easley-Walsh Plus Giveaway

Today I’m interviewing Megan Easley-Walsh, owner of Extra Ink Edits. Megan’s specialty is content editing, and I can tell you from personal experience, she is fabulous, but today we’re talking about queries.

Thanks for joining me on the blog today, Megan!

Many of my blog readers are aspiring authors. For the writers at the very beginning stages of their publishing journey, please explain what a query letter is.
Thanks so much for having me, Keely! A query letter is really important to writers, as it’s the first impression that an agent or editor gets of both the book and also the writer. It’s a short one-page introduction with the aim of piquing the agent’s or editor’s attention.

What are the key elements in a good query?
A good query consists of a hook, a short paragraph or two about the plot and a short paragraph about the writer. It’s also important to list

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And Then There Were... What?

It's been a while since I blogged about my writing journey. My apologies to those who follow this blog for that purpose. The truth is: I spend most of my writing time working on stories, so everything I have to say ends up in books instead of online. I've tried to keep this blog active with author interviews, book release details, and giveaways, which are all fun but not the reason most people follow a writer's blog.

So here's what I've been up to...

I originally purposed to write a 3-book series, to tell the finding love/finding their way stories of three siblings living in a hidden land. Did that. And then a month before The Land Uncharted was released, I started writing the founders' story. If you've read any of the Uncharted books, you know what I'm talking about. Details for that book's publication forthcoming.

Now comes the question I've been hearing several times a day lately: what's next?

Good question.

I have ideas. Notebooks full of ideas.

They say to do this author thing right, a writer must stick with their genre (histori-fi-mance, anyone?) and build their audience. Great, because I love the Land and could write a dozen more books about Lydia and Connor and the Colburns and Good Springs and what is over the mountains. Seriously, what is over the mountains?!

But every time I start working on the next Uncharted book, my mind wonders to a mystery set here in our world and our time. I can feel the setting and smell the air and hear my main character's voice. (Not literally, so call off the guys in white coats.)

The point is: I'm building an audience *waves to new fans* and people are loving the Uncharted books. Super! I'll keep them coming as long as the Lord allows. But how far of a stretch is it from the Uncharted series to a mystery (nothing gory, you know me) set here and now?

Personally, I don't think it would be genre-hopping for me to write a mystery since the Uncharted books are such a genre-mash and include mystery. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Uncharted Inheritance out today!

Today my third book, Uncharted Inheritance, is being released. I'm blissfully excited and miserably hollow all at once. This is not my final book, but it is the last book in this particular story arc. It is also my personal favorite thus far. Bethany Colburn is the baby of the family. She is curious and naive and daring and... oh boy!

Description: Bethany Colburn finally turns eighteen and Everett Foster is about to confess his love for her. When a new man arrives in the village of Good Springs, he brings charm Bethany has never encountered and illness the Land has never known. While the medicinal power of the gray leaf tree is put to the test and the Colburn family’s strength is stretched thin, Bethany must learn to protect her true inheritance. Uncharted Inheritance weaves heartbreak and hope while delivering long-awaited answers in this suspenseful story of life in a hidden land.


Uncharted Inheritance is also available an as audiobook.
Audible | iTunes | Amazon

I'm giving away an ebook copy of all 3 books in the Uncharted series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway