Monday, April 23, 2018

Writing Your Family Legacy

The importance of writing your family history can never be over emphasized. Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our very own story to tell. If these stories are unwritten, how are your children going to know of their ancestry, of their parentage, or even family traditions of the past? Are these stories and traditions going to be lost to your children simply because you failed to put them down on paper? It’s up to us to write these experiences.

You can turn your family history into a variety of fun stories. Remember, conflict is part of life. Don’t leave out what your grandparents suffered and why. You want your children to be proud of who they are. We must share these stories with them.

First, collect your thoughts. Write down any experiences that you remember. Talk to family members and discuss memories. Use letters they wrote to one another. Do research of that time period and find out what the country was going through, and insert it in the history of your ancestor. The turmoil of a country helps you to understand what your family went through and why they suffered. Did they live during the depression? If so, how did it affect them? What the country went through has to do with the circumstances of your ancestors. If they lived during World War II, it helps your children understand why their grandparents had such tough times, why they barely made ends meet, or why they had to flee a certain country.

Find out everything you can about the area, to both educate your readers and to make the setting feel real. If possible, go to the area you want to write about and walk around. Find out where your ancestors lived, went to school, and played. If you can’t go there, then do research and find pictures of that area. Study books at the library or search the Internet.

The time period is another important part of research. During the roaring twenties, bobbed hair was the rage. If your grandmother bobbed her hair and went to the dance marathons, write about it. If he or she loved reading books in the evening before retiring, it would be interesting to add what kind of light he used. Little details like this warms a story up and can bring your ancestor to life. Did he use electricity, candlelight, or an oil lantern? It sounds more interesting to say, “Grandfather sat in his overstuffed chair and read for hours with an oil lantern at his side.” Rather than just saying, “Grandfather read extensively before retiring.”

For those writing your own autobiography, don’t forget the importance of description. Remember, emotion is part of life and is an essential part of your story. Use it! Show, don’t tell! If you had been faced with a grizzly bear in the wild, did your face turn pale and your hands tremble? Describe your feelings when you fell in love. I asked my mother what it was like when she first met my father, and she said, “When our eyes met, my heart leapt within me and a warm glow filled my soul.”

Example of writing your family legacy: Sarah Eckersley Robinson, my great grandmother, was a beautiful woman and an example of fortitude and courage. Since she was deaf, Sarah relied on the Lord and followed the promptings given her. After returning from town, she sensed the presence of someone in the house. Acting quickly, she grabbed her broom and began searching her home. She had a feeling to check her bedroom, but when she entered the room, no one was in sight. She quietly stepped to her bed and looked under it. There she found an evil and lustful man crouched and waiting for Sarah, but he was not prepared for a strong and determined woman with a weapon in her hands.

With all the strength she had, she whacked him out from under the bed with the broom. She then hit him over the head again and again. Chasing him from the house, she continued beating him as he ran down the street. Sarah had spirit. This wicked man thought he could take advantage of her since she was deaf, but he did not expect such courage and fled.

Here’s another example. Frances Davies Clark, my great grandmother, noticed a band of marauders picking her grapes, stripping the vineyard of all its fruit. It upset Frances as she watched them filling their bags full of ripe grapes. She had babied those vines and this was her first crop. An idea popped into her mind. She quickly donned her husband’s military suit, hat, and cape. Grasping his sword with one hand, she strode out onto the porch, waving it in the air in a threatening manner and demanding in a loud voice, “Leave now or perish!” Terrified, the marauders dropped their bags and fled as fast as they could, in fear of their lives. When they had disappeared, she changed her clothes, gathered up the grapes and made grape jelly.

Another story of courage! When a mob stopped by at my great grandfather’s home, he was only twelve years old at the time. Gilbert Weaver described the leader as a “large, burly and murderous demon.” This was from the viewpoint of a young boy. When the leader ordered his mother to deny her religion or he would burn their home down, my great grandfather wrote: She stomped her foot with defiance and said, “You may burn it and be damned!”

What courage this must have taken for her to do this! Martha Raimer’s husband had died from pneumonia and she had seven children to care for. Yes. The mob threw a torch to the house and burned their home down. Did this affect her heritage? It certainly did. As a result, one of her grandchildren wrote this poem in her honor.

What do we think of when we read of her?
With head held high, asserting staunchest faith;
Stripped of the haven that she held so dear,
Facing the hardships, ever true ‘til death.

Thanks, grandmother dear, for your ever-trusting heart.
Faith such as yours will bless us our lives thru—
Helping us chart our wavering steps with firmer tread,
Lifting us up to climb to your stature, too.
--Sarah Weaver Hulse

It’s important to write your family legacy. Your children will be grateful once they’re grown. They’ll want to know their heritage, what their ancestors stood for, and what they believed. Make your family legacy something your children will remember, something they will be proud of.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Importance of Promoting Your Book

As an author, we're so excited to get our book published so people can read it. Many people think that an author can now relax after their book has been written and begin their next book, but it’s not so. At this point an author’s responsibilities are just beginning. An author must promote his or her book by doing SIX THINGS that will enhance the book’s success.

1. Create an attractive website or blog. People want to know who the author is and what other books he or she has written. This is a way to introduce yourself to the public. Make sure that your website can be loaded easily. If it can’t be loaded within 10 seconds, visitors will give up. Make sure your images are optimized for web view. Don’t make the site too busy or visitors will feel overwhelmed and give up.

2. Give lectures! Public libraries are an excellent place to begin. They present programs every month for children, teens, and adults. The Friends of the Library usually sponsor events that will educate the public. Remember, when you come up with a program, it must be original, something different that hasn’t been overdone.

When I told various libraries that I could teach a writing class, they said it had already been done. I finally came up with another idea in which I could educate the public and promote my books at the same time. I could teach the public how to write their family history, their ancestor’s experiences, and autobiographies. Instantly, they were interested.

The most important thing is to begin in your own area and gradually spread out. You need to make a name for yourself for some libraries to pay for your services. So begin at home first. Remember to ask the libraries to order your books before you arrive. That way people can check them out and get to know you. I have now toured 17 states, presented around 500 workshops, and my books are in bunches of libraries.

3. Enter contests. This helps your book get out into the public's eyes. My first book, “Melinda and the Wild West,” was one of the top ten semi-finalists for the "Reviewers Choice Award 2007." Since it won an award, people became interested in reading my book.

4. Send your book to reviewers. Pick reviewers who specifically review your genre, otherwise the reviews won’t be as good. I have found many reviewers who have blogs and post reviews after reading a book. Their followers trust their opinion so this is a good way to go. Ask them to post it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on Goodreads. It is well known that someone will read a book just because a friend suggested it on Goodreads.

5. Get interviews. An interview on a blogger’s website is very important because his or her friends will read it and become interested in you and your book. You are developing new friendships this way.

6. Write articles for the Internet and newspapers. Publishing articles is a good way to be recognized as an author, and it will also enhance your web presence. These articles are important for your book’s success, for the one reason that people are getting to know you. Articles help you and your book to stand out and be noticed. There are some excellent websites to write articles online.

Why does writing articles on the Internet help you as an author? More books are sold on the web than anything else, so a good web presence is important. Before I began writing articles on the Internet, I would do a Google search for my website and my name. It wouldn’t come up. After I began submitting articles, my website popped up on the first page of a search. I was shocked that writing articles could make such a difference.

How do you begin writing for the web? All you have to do is sign up and begin writing. You can also contact the editor of your local newspaper and ask if you can write an article for their paper. Have an article ready in case they need a sample of your work.

Remember that your goal is not to charge them for each article, but to get your name out there so people will know who you are. If you have to begin writing articles free, then do it. You have to pay your dues before you’re recognized. The goal is to get your name out into the public with a good byline.

What is a good byline? Along with your name, you can mention your book and provide contact information—such as your website. Here’s a sample byline: Written by Linda Weaver Clarke, author of Melinda and the Wild West, a semi- finalist for the “Reviewers Choice Award.” To contact the author, visit

Remember that an author’s duties don’t stop when the book is written. It’s just beginning. There are thousands of books published every year but you need to get out into the public’s eye and be recognized before your book will be noticed.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Romances in Several Genres

All these books are Sweet Romances for both young and old alike. Even though some are the first in a series, they can be read separately.


Melinda and the Wild West: BOOK 1 from A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho
Award: Semi-Finalist for Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award
Synopsis: Melinda Gamble wants to make a difference in the world. Without hesitation, she accepts a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho. She has many challenges such as trying to help a rebellious student, coming face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and finding herself in a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.
Review: From the first page I was captivated by this book. I had to continue reading, rushing to turn the page, I had to see what next adventure would catch up with Melinda. The plot is interesting: mixing history with fiction, adventure with romance. Ms Clarke, this is a piece to be proud of, well done!” -Debra Gaynor, Reader Views

The Rebels of Cordovia: BOOK 1 from The Rebel Series
--> Set in the late 1700s, Robin’s Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive the oppression. In this battle for freedom, a love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?
Review: “There is nothing like a nice, simple love story to put a smile on your face. And that is one of the things that Linda Weaver Clarke does. She will also have you laughing out loud, make your heart race and speed up your reading! It’s a story about a man that is smitten with a young lady during a time where men were complete gentlemen and the ladies were very proper. Once you start reading this book, the story will take you away. The Rebels of Cordovia is like a fresh breath of air.” –Missi’s Book Review


The Treasure of Isian: BOOK 1 from The Isian Series
Synopsis: Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant and she would do anything for him, even die for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted and they find themselves confronted by angry giants, soul-stealing elves, bewitched dragons, a vengeful water-witch, battling foes, and a mysterious kingdom. Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Garin must decide what the most important things are in his life. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom? And will Elani find true love?
Review: I love the mix of adventure and prophecy in this novel. Clarke takes readers away into an unforgettable and magical fantasy world with descriptions that paint the world in vivid colors. The magical creatures and diverse peoples that we meet kept me enthralled. All the while, the exciting and emotional plot was unforgettable. This is a book that I really had fun with.” -Jonel Boyko, Confessions of a Bibliophile

The Alliance of Isian: BOOK 2 from The Isian Series
Synopsis: Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials?
Review: “I love a good story with an arranged marriage in it--especially if it involves royalty. How could I not love this one? I loved how kind and gracious this couple was and how they worked together to find a solution to the problems at hand. I really liked the first book, but I loved this one! So far, they just keep getting better!” -Katie’s Clean Book Collection


The Bali Mystery: BOOK 1 from Amelia Moore Detective Series
Synopsis: Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, traces missing persons, checks people’s backgrounds, and protects them. With the help of Rick Bonito, a cunning and crafty man, her business is flourishing. When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.
Review: “Linda Weaver Clarke paints a beautiful portrait of the island of Bali. In fact, she made me wish I were there. Amelia and Rick were very realistic to me. I thought Rick’s Bucket List gave readers a great insight into his character. Throughout the book you couldn’t help pulling for these two to realize they were more than co-workers. The mystery and romance flowed beautifully through each page.” -- Socrates Book Reviews

Her Lost Love: BOOK 5 from Amelia Moore Detective Series
Synopsis: Julie Anderson feels a need to find the man she fell deeply in love with during her youth. When Julie went off to college to become a lawyer, she lost contact with her high school sweetheart. She now wants to know what became of Joey and why he stopped writing to her? This is an assignment that intrigues Amelia. The thought of finding a long-lost love seems quite romantic.
Review: “These are some of my favorite cozy mysteries and I know exactly what I'm getting with them--a fun, unique mystery that isn't too intense, mingled with a sweet, clean romance. I think Amelia and Rick compliment each other perfectly, both professionally and personally. Of course, since I'm a romantic at heart, I love the romantic moments in the story.” -Katies Clean Book Collection

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Interview with Children’s Author Laurisa White Reyes

Laurisa is the former Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf Magazine and former editor for Maple Tree Press and Xchyler Publishing. She is currently the Senior Editor of Skyrocket Press. She teaches English composition at College of the Canyons in So. California. Prior to becoming an editor and novelist, she wrote for The Signal Newspaper, Antelope Valley Press, The Link Homeschool Newspaper, and Santa Clarita Valley Magazine.

Laurisa has been a presenter at the California Homeschool Network's Family Expo numerous times, as well as at dozens of schools and private organizations throughout California and Utah.

Welcome to my blog, Laurisa. Please tell us what Mickey Malloy, Wonder Boy! is about.

Mickey Malloy is just your average kid who loves comic books and superheroes. When a mysterious package arrives with his name on it, he finds a strange contraption inside. Urged on by his friend, Juanita, Mickey pushes the thing’s button and gets ZZZZZZAPPED! Suddenly, he isn’t a normal kid anymore, he’s Mickey Malloy, Wonder Boy! The human magnet! But what seems like an awesome superpower gets Mickey into more trouble than he could possibly imagine.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

Thanks for having me, Linda. The short answer is that Mickey Malloy was written to entertain my own kids. I’ve written twelve published novels so far, and before sending them out into the world for others to enjoy, each had to pass the Reyes Kid Test. Several of my kids (there are five of them) grew up reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants. They loved the illustrations and the silly humor. Mickey came into being with that in mind.

I love the "Reyes Kid Test" idea. What ages would be interested in this book?

Ages 6 – 9 is the ideal, though younger kids love having the book read out loud to them. And older kids can easily read this in a single sitting.

Tell me about the main character and what you love about him?

Mickey is like so many boys. He’d rather spend his weekends lying in bed reading a comic book or playing video games. He dreams of being a superhero. But then when his chance finally comes, everything goes wrong. (In hilarious ways, of course.) Despite all his mishaps, though, he has a good heart and finally gets to use his power to come to someone’s rescue, though even that doesn’t turn out quite like he would have planned.

Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?  I also send out a free monthly newsletter filled with book deals, cash giveaways, reviews and more. Your readers can subscribe here:

Thank you for this interview, Laurisa. I really appreciate it. I hope my readers will check out your books.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Interview with Romance Author Michele Ashman Bell

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. In fourth grade her
teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream
and would probably do well with creative writing. Her love for books
and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's
prediction come true. Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories. She is married and is the mother of four children, and a grandma of four with one on the way. Aside from supporting her children and grandchildren in all of their many activities, she loves to travel, do research for her books and eat chocolate. Michele is a Zumba instructor and loves shopping for shoes and purses and going to amusement parks. She would live in Disneyland if she could.

From one “St. Georgean” to another, welcome to my blog, Michele. Please tell us about your novel: Wish Me Love.

Charlotte Wells does not date. After surviving a broken engagement, she’s taken a leave of absence from the social scene. So when her best friend and coworker, Jack, challenges her to get back in the game, she’s not so sure she’s ready to play. But ultimately, curiosity gets the best of her, and Charlotte accepts the daunting challenge: she will attempt to have fifty first dates in her effort to find “the one.” Unfortunately, she quickly realizes that the dating pool mostly holds clown fish as she goes on one lousy outing after another. Without a good man in sight as summer ends, Charlotte cuts her losses and sets her sights on a fun-filled trip to her cousin’s destination, a wedding in Brazil.

Brazil is a land of beautiful sights and delicious offerings—including Max, the charming brother of her cousin’s new husband. Max has all the makings of a Prince Charming in soccer cleats, and Charlotte’s happily ever after seems to be within reach. But love is a funny thing, and soon Charlotte finds herself wondering: could it be that her true love has been right in front of her all along?

This sounds like a fun story, Michele. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

There were three main sources of inspiration for this book:
1) Having three daughters I have heard my share of dating horror stories. I’ve always wanted to write a book about dating so I could use some of their stories. Once I decided to write this book I thought it would be fun to invite readers to send me their stories. I used some of them in the book. Truth be told, some of things people have experienced are worse than anything I could make up!

2) As a Zumba instructor I attended a workshop where we learned how to Samba, which is a dance style from Brazil. The instructor of the class is from Brazil and she brought “wish bracelets” for each of the class members. The bracelets are thin fabric ribbons that come from Salvador, Bahia, in Northeast Brazil. What happens with a wish bracelet is that you have someone tie the bracelet on your wrist with three knots. You make a wish with each knot and when the bracelet falls off your wishes come true. I did this and two of my wishes came true within a year and the third one has also come true. It took four years for the bracelet to fall off! I loved weaving these bracelets into the story.

3) I love Brazil! My son served an LDS mission to Southern Brazil and my husband and I picked him up and traveled through the country with him for two weeks. It was unforgettable! Also…my brother-in-law married a girl from Brazil on the beach in Natal, where my story is set. I wasn’t able to attend the wedding so I lived the experience through writing my book.

What kind of research did you do?

My favorite part of writing is research. I LOVE learning about places and people and occupations. Also, I tell people to be careful what they tell me because it will probably end up in one of my books!

For the dating stories I was able to use personal stories from my kids and other family members and stories from readers. I got such a kick out of reading about some of the crazy dating experiences people have had and had fun using them in the story.

Because part of the book takes place in Brazil I had to research the city of Natal and find out how one would arrange doing a wedding on the beach. Luckily I was able to ask my brother-in-law and sister-in-law since they actually had a wedding on the beach there.

Also, two of my characters play soccer (futbol) in Brazil, so I did research about that.

I love research, too. I understand how you feel. Tell me about one of the main characters and what you love about him or her?

I can’t say that my favorite character in all my books is the main character, I tend to like really quirky, unique characters so that usually ends up being a secondary character but in this book I loved the main character. She’s down-to-earth, her struggles are real, her situation is relatable and she’s someone the reader can cheer for and hope that good things will happen for her. She was burned by her fiancé and swore off dating. To open herself up and start dating again took a lot of faith and letting her guard down. She’s not perfect, but in her imperfections, she unforgettable.

Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?

Thank you, Michele, for this informative interview. I hope my readers will check out your book.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Interview with Fantasy Author and Publisher Mark Miller

Mark currently resides in Florida with his wife and four children. He has achieved some success as a Kindle Best Seller and having one of his short stories selected as a winner in the Florida Writer’s Association Short Story Collection. Growing up in Kansas, Mark graduated from Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences and received his Bachelor’s in Film from the University of Kansas.

Mark has written numerous novels, screenplays, short stories and digital series. Many of his stories are geared for the classroom. He has explored his spirituality, writing both with his father and daughter. Inspirational stories with positive messages are his goal with everything he writes and publishes under his imprint, MillerWords.

Welcome to my blog, Mark. Where did you get your inspiration for The Empyrical Tales?

My goodness, this has been an amazing experience. First, thank you for having me on the blog today. I have to be honest, this is not a new book. My writing adventure started 10 years ago, so asking me where my inspiration came from will take some cranking up of the WayBack Machine. Book 1 of the Empyrical Tales was my first traditionally published novel. There were lots of ups and downs, until, finally, I recovered my rights and am now able to publish it under my own imprint in a revised edition with a fresh new layout and a beautiful cover. So, that tells you some of the back story, but the inspiration was simple enough. I wanted a story that I could tell my children. I wanted it to incorporate the books and movies that I loved as a child (and now). The land of Empyrean is a place where myths, folklore and fairytales exist after their familiar stories have ended. It’s a place where we can escape from reality, like Oz or Narnia.

Please give us a description of book one: Journey of the Fourth Queen.

This is the start of a planned 8 book epic. At its heart, it’s the story of two sisters, Zandria and Olena. Personally, I like surprise and don’t like spoilers, so you won’t get me to give too much away. I will say this is the literal and metaphorical beginning of their Journey. Empyrean is ruled by four queens and one of them mysteriously disappears. Zandria and Olena go on their journey to find the Fourth Queen.

Tell us about book two: Search for the Lost Queen.

Book 2 starts the very next day after the end of book one. Can’t say too much without giving away the ending of the first one, but it is Zandria and Olena’s search for their mother. It expands the their world and introduces new characters like the tough, sarcastic elf Dew Lantisphere. She is forty-four years old, but because elves in Empyrean age slower than humans, she looks to be about the same age as 11 year old Zandria. Other main characters have their own subplots, but the whole thing comes together because the fate of Empyrean is always in the balance.

Did you have to do any research for this series?

Absolutely. Research, in my opinion, is essential to any writing. The old adage is “write what you know”, but if you don’t know it, research it. I wanted to bring a huge variety of myths and fairytales to life, so I had to dig deep. I’ve done so much research and incorporated it into the series, that I sometimes forget where it came from. Each book, however, has a different influence. Most of it is European and North American. However, Book 3: Mystery of the Secret Queen has a strong Egyptian background, while Book 5 will have an Asian influence.

You love to write Fantasy. What intrigues you most about this genre?

I write in most any genre from early reader adventure to adult non-fiction. An author friend of mine is fond of saying he goes where the story takes him. However, fantasy is in my heart. I was born in the 70’s, but I’m a child of the 80’s. I grew up in a fantasy world. Two words: Star Wars. Some might think it is sci-fi, but it’s actually an old-fashioned sword and sorcery adventure. That pop culture of books and movies shaped me and when I wrote a story for my daughters where the characters can magically live forever, that has preserved my own memories.

Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?

I have a landing page at, where I happen to be giving away the full novel of Journey of the Fourth Queen to anyone who signs up for the MillerWords quarterly newsletter. Most of my activity is done on our Facebook page –

Thank you again for hosting me! This has been a treat to switch out of my publisher hat and into my author disguise for a little bit. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning that MillerWords is accepting submissions at (guidelines are on both sites above).

Thank you, Mark, for this very interesting interview. I hope my readers check out your books.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Interview with Romance Author Jewel Adams

Jewel Adams is a wife and the mother of eight children, and a grandmother. She has been writing inspirational romance for over twenty years, and has over forty published works. Always one to share a message of God’s love through her stories, Jewel is a devout Christian Latter-Day Saint who loves the Lord with all her heart and has experienced many blessings and miracles in her life because that love, and she is secure in the knowledge of God’s love for her and all men. She is an inspirational and motivational speaker to both youth and adult audiences.

In her spare time, you can find Jewel curled up with a good book and a healthy stash of orange Tic Tacs. She and her family reside in Utah.

Welcome to my blog, Jewel. I love the cover to your new book. Please tell us about Women of Wisdom, Courage and Virtue.

Yes, this little booklet has a few personal spiritual thoughts about four righteous women in the Bible, why I revere them, and how their example has touched my life. I had been thinking about writing it for a while now, but then the prompting kept growing stronger, so I finally listened.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Well, when I say my prayers, I ask my Heavenly Father daily to bless me with the wisdom of Eve, the faith and devotion of Ruth, the courage of Esther, and the virtue and righteousness of Mary, mother of the Savior. These women emulated Christ in their lives, and since we are commanded to be like the Savior, what better examples can we find for the women of today who are truly seeking righteousness and holiness? They and so many others in the scriptures are perfect examples of what it is to be a royal daughter of God. I have studied and pondered the lives of Eve, Ruth, Esther, and Mary, and my love for them grows by the day. I want to share my love of these amazing women with others, and hopefully, readers of this booklet will be as inspired by them as I am.

Tell me about one of the women and what you love about her?

Oh, that’s so hard, because there is so much about all of them that endears them to me. But Esther always comes to mind right off.

In the waiting room of the temple, there is a beautiful painting of Esther. I always plant myself on the bench right in front of that painting and ponder Esther while I wait. She was such a courageous and obedient woman, and I long to be that courageous and obedient with every fiber of my being. She married and came to love a powerful king who had put his first queen away because of her disobedience to his command.

Going unsummoned before her husband, knowing she would be in danger of losing her life, was a brave and selfless act on Esther’s part. It was a bitter cup and a sacrifice she was willing to make because of her love for her people and her love for God. In that way, she was an example of Christ. “Greater love hath no man than this.” How can you not love and revere her?

I know exactly how you feel because that is why I love the story of Esther. You have written another book called By Invitation, Your Place at The Feast. I love the cover. What is this book about?

By Invitation is also a small book of personal thoughts of hope and inspired truths about how Jesus Christ’s atonement can work in each of us. It’s also about becoming more spiritually prepared for the return of the Savior. It was co-authored by my friend, Jordan Jantz, and it contains some of his thoughts as well.

Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?

Right now, I am using the Til You Come Back to Me Again website as my main site. It is constantly being updated:

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Jewel. I hope my readers will check out your books.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Interview with Romance Author Charissa Stastny

Charissa Stastny is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children who are the light of her life. She’s an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of poppies and irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and nature. Though born and raised in Las Vegas, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She shuffles kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well though. She currently lives in Utah with her family, where shuffling cards isn’t required.

“With witty dialogue and a fast-paced plot, this feel-good book will stick with you for days.”Taylor Dean

Welcome to my blog, Charissa. What is the Ruled Out Romances Series about?

In this new series of stand-alone stories, star-crossed lovers meet, but rule each other out. But life, with its quirky twists and tangled turns, brings each of the unlikely duos together again and again until they yield to the magnetic pull between them and discover their unique happily-ever-afters.

This series sounds intriguing. Please give us a description of book one: Game Changer.

Orange chicken was a game-changer.

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention.

Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game.

As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves?

Tell us about book two: Package Deal.

Angels come in different packages.

Single mom Spring has no desire to date again. At her best friend’s wedding though, she is surprised when a handsome man’s flirtations charm her, instead of annoy her. But when her toddler runs up and calls her Mommy, she can tell by his reaction that her daughter is a deal-breaker. He can’t escape fast enough.

Hudson Sandel proudly owns his bachelor status as he attends his little brother’s wedding as best man. Too bad the only woman who tempts him there has a daughter that rules her out. Instant fatherhood will never be on his agenda. Yet when the kid throws a tantrum, he swoops in to help keep her from ruining his brother’s special night. When he leaves though, he can’t get the gorgeous blonde out of his head. Playing hero to her child made him feel uncomfortably good, and he doesn’t know quite how to feel about that.

As fate, lollipops, and toddler tantrums keep throwing the angelic duo into Hudson’s path, will he risk his heart and dreams on a package deal, or stick to the sure road leading to professional success and glory?

What are the names of the next two books in this series and when will they be ready?

Collateral Hearts – book 3 (Coming later in 2018)
Corporate Crush – book 4 (Coming later in 2018)

Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?

Thank you so much for this interview, Charissa. It’s always a joy to have you visit my blog.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Interview with Romance Author Renee Riva

Renee Riva has been writing stories ever since she won her first writing contest in the second grade. She combines her memories of a happy childhood( growing up in a big Italian family with a bunch of noisy siblings she wouldn’t trade for anything in the world), the heart of a “hopeful” romantic, and adds a big dose of gentle humor to delight the hearts of readers. She loves writing romantic comedies and both contemporary and historical novellas about young love.

Welcome to my blog, Renee. I understand that seven of the Forget-Me-Not-Romance Authors have each written a short story. What was the inspiration for Sweetwater Romances: A Valentine Sampler?

In early December, one of our Forget-me-not-romance authors was noticing how much readers liked romantic Christmas collections. It made her think first, we are writers of romance, and, second, an upcoming holiday is all about romantic affection. What if we could get something short and sweet ready in time for Valentine’s Day? Each piece would be like a chocolate in a sampler box, the first one making the reader want to “taste” the next. After one night of mulling it over, she pitched the idea to our publisher Cynthia Hickey. She posted it on our authors’ Facebook group to test interest. The collection filled in half an hour! She set the length at 6,000 words and then slammed down the deadline –January 1st! Oh my, that put all of us in a scramble!

Please tell us about your short story that you wrote.

My story, Sweetwater Café, revolves around Shelby Smith who has been a waitress at the café for six years. She’s hoping for a reason to leave Sweetwater, when a handsome woodworker arrives in town to restore a historical barn. Here’s my best description of what happens next:

Welcome to the Sweetwater Cafe in the small town of Sweetwater, Kansas, where EVERYBODY knows your name! For Shelby Smith, enough is enough. After six years of working the BBQ Lunch Special under the overbearing eye of grumpy, Great Aunt Beula, Shelby is ready to get out of Dodge... until a handsome, young, newcomer walks into the cafe one frosty February morning. Can Chase Tanner change the direction this city wannabe is heading, and help to heal a family at the same time? C'mon in for a BBQ Sweetwater Burger and find out!

Are any of the stories connected to one another, such as: Do the characters know one another or live in the same town?

Yes! We are all connected! There are seven shops in Sweetwater, Kansas, and we each chose our shop to be in charge of, and were free to visit other shops. We have: A café, hardwood store, B&B, candy shop, dress boutique, photography shop, and a bakery. Willow from Toolbox Trinkets comes to my café for lunch. I (Shelby), go to the Bon Bon Boutique to buy a dress for my hot Valentine date with Chase. Chase goes to Sweet Nothings to buy chocolate for Shelby. A few of the couples go to a Valentine Dinner at the B&B. The challenge was coordinating with the other authors so we had all of our stories in sync with one another. Fortunately, Cindy Amos, bless her heart, read all of our stories to make sure they jived with the others!

List the website of each author so my readers can check out their recent and past books they have written?

Cynthia Hickey Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold over a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, one cat, and three box turtles. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.
 Website at
Cindy M. Amos is a freelance nature writer with nonfiction publications in numerous national magazines for ministry work and mentoring students in the sciences. From a career in natural resources management and endangered species conservation along the Atlantic coast, she now writes nature-infused inspirational fiction about people living close to the land from her post in the Midwest.
Jennifer AlLee~ For the first 10 years of her life, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary in Hollywood, California, one block away from Hollywood and Vine. Over the years, she worked in numerous fields, including as a church secretary and an administrative assistant at a cable company, but whatever the position, writing always became part of the job description. In 2007, her first novel was published. Since then, she's published 11 novels and quite a few novellas with five different publishing houses. While she's thrilled to be living her dream as an author, Jennifer considers raising her amazing son to be her best creative achievement.
Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching. Find Martha at:
Christina Rich, a mother of four children, a grandmother of one, a romance author with Harlequin’s inspirational line, Love Inspired, Forget Me Not Romances, and photographer, and is currently working on several non-fiction books.
Brandi Boddie writes historical and contemporary romance. She resides in Texas, where she loves spending time with her husband and dogs, a cocker spaniel and a schnauzer who both aspire to be food critics.