New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 15, 2014)

It looks like there are some great new Christian fiction titles releasing this week!

I see one here that I’ll definitely be reading soon, and several others I’d love to try to sneak into the gaps in between writing chapters of my own novel in progress.

Do you see any on this list that look good to you?

Amish / Mennonite

Jedidiah’s Bride (Love Inspired) by Rebecca Kertz

Seasons of Tomorrow (Amish Vines and Orchards #4) by Cindy Woodsmall

Contemporary Romance

Forever Her Hero (Love Inspired) by Belle Calhoune

Her Unlikely Cowboy (Love Inspired) by Debra Clopton

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Loving the Lawman (Love Inspired) by Ruth Logan Herne

The Fireman Finds a Wife (Love Inspired) by Felicia Mason

North Country Mom (Love Inspired) by Lois Richer

Historical & Historical Romance

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles #1) by Beth White

Some Thoughts on Writing My First Synopsis

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about entering Harlequin’s Killer Voices competition with the first page of a novel I’m working on.  Today, I’m happy to report that not only did I get selected to advance to the next round of the competition (Yay!), but I was also able to get a 3-5 page synopsis describing my plot and characters in to my editor on time (Whew!).

As an aside, I love the fact that entrants have each been assigned to a given editor’s “team.”  That means, besides having teammates to cheer on, I can refer to “my editor” in posts like this.  Technically, I suppose I can’t claim to have an editor since I don’t have a contract, but I prefer to overlook that technicality for the moment.  ;)

Anyway, writing a synopsis of my novel in progress has been quite a learning experience for me, and I hope my readers don’t mind if I talk a little about that in this post.  (Sorry if you do mind.  For anyone experiencing book review withdrawal, allow me to direct your attention to Megan Besing’s review of The Pelican Bride by Beth White; it sounds fantastic!)

Okay, I promise, no more asides… I think.

Since writing a good synopsis has the reputation for being particularly challenging, the prospect of writing my first synopsis was a little, um, daunting at first.  I had a week in which to write it, and I spent the first half of that week researching what was expected in a synopsis and hammering out kinks in my plot.  My early attempts at synopsizing were thwarted by some remarkably convoluted explanations as to why particular details had to occur in a particular sequence.  Which stopped me cold.  Yuck!

I wanted to focus on action and emotion, not the nitty gritty details.  I realized I had to back up and allow myself to tell, rather than show.  Ground breaking, right?  It was for me.  I think “Show; don’t tell,” has got to be the most commonly offered bit of writing advice out there, or close to it, so telling felt a little unnatural.  But I told myself to get over it.   And when I gave myself permission to tell, the process got a whole lot easier.

I also realized that Act Two of my plot as I originally envisioned it really was a little convoluted, and if I couldn’t explain it succinctly, then maybe I should rethink that part.  I got out some three by five cards, wrote plot points out on them, spread them across the dining room table, and started rearranging.

That and beating my head on the table, but we won’t talk about that part.  ;)

I thought long and hard about which plot points were essential, pivotal moments for the characters and their relationship, and which ones were moveable or expendable.  In the end, I removed one plot point that didn’t really make sense and moved two other plot points to different locations within the narrative.  With those minor changes, everything else fell naturally into place.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I ran to tell my husband that my plot wasn’t broken anymore, so he would no longer be asked to stare at a jumble of three by five cards with me.  (Have I mentioned he’s incredible?  He really is.  And back to the point….)

Once I had the sequence nailed down for my plot, I found to my delight that the synopsis flowed.  I wrote systematically from beginning to end, just telling the story, one step at a time, leaving out nonessential details.  And when I reached the end, and my synopsis was two pages too long, I went through again, looking at each sentence to see if it was really essential to understanding my story, or if it could be removed or shortened.  When I was done pruning, I set it aside for a day, read it through, and discovered that I liked it.  And breathed a big sigh of relief.

I’m glad to have that synopsis done, but I think I’m hooked.  Forcing myself to write a synopsis of my novel before writing it, really helped me distill the plot down to its bare essentials and get a better view of how the various pieces interact with each other.  As a result I think I have a much better understanding of my story, and it will be stronger in the end than it might have been otherwise.  Frustrating as the process was at times, I’m fairly certain I’ll be doing this again with future novels, whether I have to or not.

Does that mean I’m crazy?  ;)

New this Week in Christian Fiction (April 1, 2014)

Spotlight on…

Scarlett Says by Julie L Cannon

This romantic comedy’s description caught my attention as I was browsing new releases, so I thought I’d feature it here along with a list of this week’s forty (yes 40!) new releases in Christian fiction.

Description (From Publisher, Abindon Press):

One woman’s love of literature inspires dreams she never knew she had.

For 30-year-old literature lover Joan Meeler, there is no heroine so admirable as Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. Joan, with her quiet nature and love of good food, falls shockingly short of Scarlett’s outspoken passion, strength, and 17-inch waist. Yet as the secret hostess of an advice blog called Scarlett Says, she discovers she’s quite adept at dispensing advice in Scarlett’s devil-may-care tone.

Joan is happy to live vicariously . . . until she meets Charles, a Christian and faithful Scarlett Says reader, who suddenly has Joan dreaming of something more. Since Scarlett has never let her down, Joan digs deeper and deeper into her heroine’s mind, searching for something to calm her rising insecurities. But her search falls short, and Joan realizes that she must look within herself—and to God—to uncover the inner confidence she never knew she possessed.

Amish & Mennonite Fiction

Looking For A Miracle (Brides of Lancaster County #2) by Wanda E Brunstetter

The Plain City Bridesmaids: Three Ohio Mennonite Romances by Dianne Christner

A Plain Man by Mary Ellis

The Kissing Bridge (Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors #3) by Tricia Goyer

The Last Bride (Home to Hickory Hollow #5) by Beverly Lewis

The Amish Groom (The Men of Lancaster County #1) by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

The Wounded Heart (Amish Quilt #1) by Adina Senft

Contemporary Romance

The Mistaken Heiress (Heartsong Presents) by Shelba Shelton Nivens

Rodeo Song (Heartsong Presents) by Shannon Taylor Vannatter

Historical Fiction

For Such a Time (Women of Valor #1) by Elyse Larson

What Follows After by Dan Walsh

Historical Romance

Rainy Day Dreams (Seattle Brides #2) by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

The Lone Star Romance Collection: Five Stories of Untamed Love in a Wild State by Cathy Marie Hake & Kimberley Comeaux

Plots and Pans by Kelly Eileen Hake

An Unconventional Lady (Heartsong Presents) by Cynthia Hickey

Caught in the Middle (Ladies of Caldwell County #3) by Regina Jennings

The Preacher’s Bride Claim (Love Inspired Historical) by Laurie Kingery

Sincerely Yours by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Ann Shorey

Beloved Protector (Heartsong Presents) by Darlene Mindrup

Wyoming Promises (Love Inspired Historical) by Kerri Mountain

A Sensible Arrangement (Lone Star Brides #1) by Tracie Peterson

The Soldier’s Secrets (Love Inspired Historical) by Naomi Rawlings

The Husband Campaign (Love Inspired Historical) by Regina Scott

Willow Creek Brides: Three Loves Are Sweet Surprises in Historic Iowa (Romancing America) by Connie Stevens

Circle of Spies (The Culper Ring #3) by Roseanna M. White

Romantic Comedy

Scarlett Says by Julie L Cannon

Romantic Suspense

Top Secret Identity (Love Inspired Suspense) by Sharon Dunn

Perilous Waters (Love Inspired Suspense) by Sandra Orchard

Wrongly Accused (Love Inspired Suspense) by Laura Scott

Words of Conviction by Linda J White

Lancaster County Target (Love Inspired Suspense) by Kit Wilkinson

Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Apocalyptic)

The Turning by Davis Bunn

The Fearful Gates (Ancient Earth Trilogy #3) by Ross Lawhead

Women’s Fiction

For Such a Time as This (Women of Hope #1) by Ginny Aiken

The Road to Testament by Eva Marie Everson

Paige Turned (Paige Alder #3) by Erynn Mangum

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine

Reunion by Lauraine Snelling

Stardust by Carla Stewart

A Promise in Pieces (Quilts of Love #17) by Emily T Wierenga

Writing Update: Devising Devious Deeds (or Plotting Romantic Suspense)

If you’ve been following my writing journey thus far, you know that I’m approaching the end of my first draft of my first novel.  (Yay!)

But I’ve put that on hold for a while to plot murder and mayhem (the fictional variety of course).

IMG_7917c

Which is to say, Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense (LIS) line is having a contest that they’re calling “The Search for a Killer Voice” (Twitter hashtag #KillerVoices).  The contest is designed to find talented new authors of inspirational romantic suspense, who just might wind up with publishing contracts with LIS.  At first, I was hesitant to enter because I didn’t want to set aside my first novel until it was complete.  But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that my first novel will still be waiting for me when I get back to it.  And this opportunity was one I simply could not refuse.

See, the idea I’ve had for my second novel, that’s been percolating for a very long while now, is one I want to target for the Love Inspired Suspense line.  And this contest is just the nudge I need to get it written.

Best case scenario, it may catch an editor’s eye and garner a contract offer (which would be AWESOME!)  And if I don’t make it that far in the contest?  No harm done.  I may even get some helpful feedback from the editors along the way that could benefit my writing in the long run.

So yes, I entered the first page of my next novel, and now I’m waiting with bated breath for the editors to announce which entrants will be advancing to Stage 2 of the contest.  Supposedly the decision has already been made, but we’re being kept in suspense until March 28th.

Meanwhile, I’m reading, plotting, and writing at an intense pace, because the deadlines in this contest are no walk in the park.  Unless that walk in the park happens to take place while pursued by a serial killer….  ;)

That, in and of itself, could make this contest worth entering, for the productivity boost that comes with a deadline!

As an aside, I’ve really enjoyed plotting the suspense in this book.  It feels kind of like playing both sides of a game of chess, where the stakes are life and death.  The mental exercise of considering what villain, hero, and heroine would do, and how each would respond to the other players’ moves, as well as how they would each expect the others to respond has been intense.  And a whole lot of fun!

So tell me, how do you feel about deadlines?  Appreciate or dread?  Or somewhere in between?

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Title: Dear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Literary, Romance
Published: 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley has found a place among my favorite books. I was swept away by the characters and the emotions, and simply had to keep reading to see what might happen next. So much for the errands I intended to get done that day….

Here’s what it’s about (from publisher Thomas Nelson):

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.

But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself “Mr. Knightley”) offers to put Sam through the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it’s pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is – once again – made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.

Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

And here’s why I loved it:

As I’m writing this review several days after reading the book, the characters are still with me, vivid and alive like cherished friends. And I’m tempted to dive right back into the book and read it again.  In fact, I already have read a few of my favorite scenes a second (and third) time.  The emotional resonance of those scenes is truly powerful.  I feel for the characters, their vulnerabilities and fears, and I want to see them find love, acceptance, and happiness.  Sam desperately wants to experience “normal” and I want that for her too.  It’s what drives her to grow and change and to confront her fears.

The format of the book is unusual in that it consists almost entirely of the letters Sam writes to her benefactor, Mr. Knightley.  Those letters are detailed accounts of the things that matter in her life, told in first person narrative format.  At times, it was easy to get swept up in the action, description, and dialogue Sam records, and forget that I was reading a letter.  And yet, the really great thing about the use of letters was getting to see Sam’s perspective on events more or less as they were happening rather than her perspective looking back from the conclusion of the story.  It gives a sense of immediacy, and allows the reader to see how her thinking changes as the story progresses.

The faith element in this story shows up in the subtle influences of Christian characters Sam encounters who love and accept her, and show her a reason for hope.  Given her fascination for literature, I loved the role her reading of CS Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader played in her growth and development, as well as her changing understanding of Scrooge in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  Framing her newfound understanding within a context of literature really seemed to make sense for her character, and provided a glimpse into the Christian worldview without becoming preachy.  I think this is a story that could be enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.

This is a must-read debut novel, particularly if you’re into Jane Austen or romance or literary novels or loveably flawed characters trying to find their place in the world.  Please, do yourself a favor and give this book a try.  And if you enjoy reading it as much as I did, you’ll be on the lookout for Katherine Reay’s next book, Lizzy and Jane, due out in October.

To learn more about author Katherine Reay, visit her Web site at http://www.katherinereay.com/ where you can find links to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and her blog.

Thank you to publisher Thomas Nelson for providing a complimentary copy for review purposes, via NetGalley.  This is my own honest review.

For more book reviews and other posts of interest to readers of Christian fiction, please subscribe to my blog at http://karencollier.com/.

Book Review: The Lawman’s Honor by Linda Goodnight

Title: The Lawman’s Honor
Author: Linda Goodnight
Series: Whisper Falls, Book 4
Publisher: Harlequin (Love Inspired)
Genre: Inspirational Romance

Linda Goodnight is known for sweet romances featuring a strong sense of family and community, and The Lawman’s Honor certainly lives up to that reputation. This is book 4 of the Whisper Falls miniseries based around a small town in the Ozarks that is named after a nearby tourist attraction, where prayers are said to be answered. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the first three books in the series, but I was happy to find that this one can stand on its own. Even so, now that I’ve been introduced to Whisper Falls through Cassie and Heath’s story, I find myself curious to read more about the town and its inhabitants and I can definitely see the appeal of reading the miniseries in its entirety.

Summary (from the publisher):

Love’s Duty

As assistant police chief, Heath Monroe never expected he’d ever need rescuing. But that’s exactly what Cassie Blackwell does when she pulls him out of a car wreckage. He’s surprised at the beautiful widow’s strength and joyous spirit. But he’s been burned before and is cautious to get involved. Especially since his investigation into the town’s drug operation might implicate Cassie’s ex-husband! Yet the more time he spends with her, the deeper he falls. Will he have to choose between duty and his growing love—or is there a way he can have both?

Whisper Falls: Where every prayer is answered…

My reaction:

I liked the premise of a policeman falling for the widow of the man he’s investigating. There’s some very real potential for conflict and challenges built in there to keep things interesting. Was she an innocent bystander or somehow involved? How will she react to his investigation and the information he uncovers about her deceased husband? Can they trust each other? And most importantly, how can they possibly find their way to happily ever after with the investigation coming between them? I thought the author did a great job exploring these questions (and others) and their ramifications for the developing relationship between Cassie and Heath.

I found the characters, both major and minor to be interesting and well fleshed out, and I loved the chemistry between hero and heroine as well as the witty banter between them. The pace of the romance and the various plot elements worked for me. In fact, I didn’t want to put the book down, from the opening onward. I think my favorite scene was when Cassie went to investigate the car crash and waited with Heath for help to arrive.  What a way for two strangers to become instantly well-acquainted!

The faith element in this one is relatively minor, featuring church attendance, prayer, and an emphasis on the importance of family and community. I enjoyed watching both characters learn and grow as Heath comes to realize the importance of family, and Cassie learns to open up and feel again, even at the risk of getting hurt. And of course, I loved the happily ever after. The epilogue tied things up in a refreshing way for Cassie and Heath as well as providing some further details into the lives of other characters previously featured in this miniseries.

If you’ve enjoyed any of the other books in the Whisper Falls series, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on a copy of The Lawman’s Honor.  Likewise, if you have enjoyed other titles in the Love Inspired line from Harlequin, you’ll want to check this one out too.  And, if you’re new to Love Inspired, this or another title by Linda Goodnight would serve as a great intro to the line.  She is an award winning and bestselling author, and has written quite a few Love Inspired romances.  In fact, she is one of a few authors that the Love Inspired editors have mentioned as recommended reading for authors new to the line and looking to get a feel for what makes a good Love Inspired romance.

To learn more about Linda Goodnight or to connect with her on social media, check out her Web site at www.lindagoodnight.com.  While you’re at it, you may also want to check out this imaginative interview with the hero of The Lawman’s Honor.

And if you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to my blog at KarenCollier.com for more book reviews and blog posts of interest to fans of Christian fiction.

Thank you to Harlequin for providing an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review.

See Also: Karen Collier Guest Contributing at Edgy Inspirational Romance

See also

If you follow the Edgy Inspirational Romance {and occasionally YA} blog, aka “EIR” you may have seen an announcement a couple of weeks ago that introduced me to readers as a new guest contributor to the blog. And if you missed it, feel free to hop on over there now for a few biographical details about me that you may not have known.

Here’s the link: Introducing Karen Collier! New EIR Guest Contributor

Go ahead.  It’s okay.  I don’t mind  waiting a bit for you to get back.

[Karen steals a moment to read a few pages of a novel on her Droid's Kindle app. Either that or she attempts to quell whatever chaos is being wrought by her toddler and pre-schooler.]

Okay, back?  Cool.  Me too.

I’m super excited about contributing over at EIR, partly because of all the authors, reviewers, and fans of Christian romance I’m getting to virtually ”meet” and “hang out with” in the process.  And partly because EIR is such a fun and entertaining read, it’s frankly an honor to be asked to join in the fun.

So why did I wait so long to mention it?  Because I wanted to wait until my first guest post went live so I could share it with you.  That first post went live this morning, so without further ado, here it is:

My review of Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer.  (Hint: I loved the story’s blend of light humor with tender romantic moments, and I’m happy to recommend it.)

In case you were wondering, I do plan to continue blogging right here at KarenCollier.com on a more or less weekly basis as well as making regular guest contributions to the EIR blog.

Thinking about following EIR, so as not to miss any of my posts there?  Great!  If you haven’t already met, I’d love to introduce you to co-bloggers Serena and Joy, and to Megan who’s also joining in as a new guest contributor.  And if you’re curious what EIR means by “Edgy,” be sure to check out their post entitled “What is Edgy Christian Romance?”

So tell me, do you prefer your Christian fiction edgy or sweet?  Are you a fan of romance or do you have another favorite genre?  Please leave a comment, subscribe, or connect.  I’d love to hear from you.

Audiobook Review: The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher

Title: The Shepherd’s Voice: A Novel
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Narrator: Pam Ward
Genre: Historical, Inspirational Romance
Publisher: Zondervan (2011 audio edition)

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love to listen to a good audiobook. Sometimes even if the book has been out for a while.

Say, more than a decade.

Okay, maybe that’s more than a while, but still… with apologies to those who have already read The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher, I’m going to go ahead and review it, because I just finished listening to it, and enjoyed the experience a great deal.

This RITA Award Winning Inspirational Historical Romance was originally published in 2000, but I got my hands on a copy of the 2011 audio edition at my local library.  I’m so glad that I did.

If you are a fan of Robin Lee Hatcher’s novels or you enjoy historical romance where faith plays a central role, and you haven’t read this yet, you just might want to change that.

Summary:

Set during the Great Depression in Ransom, Idaho, The Shepherd’s Voice tells the story of Gabe Talmadge and Akira Macauley. After 10 years in prison, Gabe cannot find work so he returns home out of desperation, hoping to find employment and maybe even acceptance from his father, a wealthy and influential man in the town of Ransom. But his hopes on that front are dashed when his father sends him away hungry and alone. Things begin to turn around when Akira offers Gabe a job on her sheep ranch and helps him regain his shattered faith and his hope for the future. But when tragedy strikes, his past comes back to haunt him.

My Reaction:

This is a charming story featuring a number of Biblical truths exemplified. Redemption, mercy, love, salvation, forgiveness. It’s got it all. There’s a fair amount of scripture quoted in this one as well, as the characters explore how best to deal with the challenges they are facing from a Biblical viewpoint.

Did I mention challenges? They are facing plenty of those. Gabe’s father is scheming to take Akira’s land and undermine their relationship. Town gossips are doing what town gossips do. And an angry drunk seeks revenge. But the challenges and conflict keep things interesting from beginning to end, as does the constantly evolving relationship between Gabe and Akira. In the end, I was fascinated by how the various story threads come together in unexpected ways, and the reader sees how ”all things work together for the good of those who love God.”

Specific to the Audio edition:

I thought that the narrator, Pam Ward’s voice had a peaceful, calming quality to it, which made for pleasant listening and seemed to suit the story well. She was adept at doing young and old, male and female voices, as well as introducing accents when called for. I found it easy to distinguish one character’s voice from another, and the voices seemed well suited to the characters.  Overall, an excellent audiobook experience and one I would gladly recommend.

Book Review: Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry

Title: Stress Test
Author: Richard L. Mabry
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Inspirational Medical Suspense
Release Date: April 2013

Stress Test captured my attention from the start and wouldn’t let go. It’s the first title I’ve read by Richard Mabry and I’m looking forward to reading more by this talented author in the future. Highly recommended for fans of medical romance and medical suspense who haven’t already had the pleasure of reading it. And yes, I’m a little late to the review party, as this title was released a year ago, and there’s already a more recent title available from this author (Heart Failure), with yet another due out in April (Critical Condition). Still, I couldn’t resist adding my voice to the existing critical acclaim for this one.

About Stress Test:

As the story opens, Dr. Matt Newman’s life is on the brink of significant change, but the changes in store for him aren’t the ones he had planned. He’s working his last night as a private practice surgeon, about to embark on a new career in academic medicine, and contemplating proposing to his girlfriend. Instead, he’s attacked and kidnapped by people intent on killing him. He escapes with a head injury and wakes in the hospital ICU to find the police believe he’s not a victim, but a murderer. To top it off, his girlfriend breaks off their relationship, wanting nothing to do with the suspicions surrounding him. And his new job, likewise gets put on hold.

My Reaction:

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a novel featuring a handsome hero in distress, so Dr. Matt Newman was instantly appealing. I’ll also admit that the cover drew me in before I ever read a word. Just look at that cover. Doesn’t Matt look like he could really use a hug? I was curious to read his story, and within the first chapter, I was fully hooked. I cared about Matt and was rooting for him the whole way through.

The plot is full of suspense, danger, and unexpected twists and turns that kept me wondering. How could things possibly turn out well in the end? And who is behind the attacks against Matt and why? There’s also a thread of romance throughout the story, which I enjoyed. It was well written and proceeded at a believable pace.

Throughout the story we see Matt’s Christian faith grow from nominal to an important part of his life. As he faces the adversity into which he’s thrown he begins to learn to lean on God, and his interactions with Joe, Rick, and Sandra reinforce that and encourage him to continue to grow in his faith. I thought the faith element was handled well, coming across as genuine and not preachy.

I haven’t read many medical themed novels before, but I found the medical details fascinating. Richard Mabry did a great job orienting the reader by explaining unfamiliar terms and concepts without letting those details intrude on the story or slow the pace.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more books by Richard Mabry in the future. Highly recommended to fans of medical romantic suspense, as well as to fans of romantic suspense in general.

An electronic copy of this book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, for review purposes. Opinions expressed in this review are my own. To read more of my reviews, articles, and writing updates, please consider subscribing to my blog at karencollier.com.

To learn more about author Richard Mabry, check out his Web site at www.rmabry.com or his blog at rmabry.blogspot.com. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Writing Update: Finding a Balance Between Blogging and Writing My Novel

Book review blogging is great fun.  I love spreading the word about a book I really enjoyed reading.  It’s also nice to get free electronic copies of some great books, often before they’re officially published, in exchange for writing honest reviews.  But the best part is that in the process, I’m learning a lot about what does and doesn’t work in a variety of published novels.  And that’s something that I can apply to my own writing.

Balancing Blog and Novel

Balancing Blog and Novel

Trouble is, all this reading, blogging, Facebooking, and tweeting has seriously cut into the time I’ve been spending on actually writing my novel.  In fact, between you and me, there were six weeks straight during which I didn’t write a single word of my novel.

Not a good thing.

At first, I was trying to get ahead in my reading and blogging so I could be sure to post reviews and articles on a consistent weekly basis.  Then, as time passed without writing, the details on where I was in my novel and where it was headed began to fade, making it harder to get back into it.  And before I knew it, six weeks had passed without writing a single word of my novel.  Gasp!

This week, I decided it’s time to change that.  I re-read a half dozen chapters of my novel in progress to bring myself back up to speed on where my story is going.  And I’ve been making a point of devoting time to my own writing each day, regardless of what books are waiting to be read or blog posts are waiting to be written.  Best of all, the excitement for writing my novel is back.

Don’t worry.  This blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m still here, still reading and reviewing, still writing articles.  But my novel is moving along again too.  A little bit at a time.  Yay!  I’m still trying to find the right balance, but I think I’m on the right track.

Anyone have any tips to share on balancing competing priorities or finding more hours in the day?  If so, I’m all ears.  ;)