A Second Chance by Alexis A. Goring

alexis-a-goringToday we welcome my author friend, Alexis A. Goring, to discuss her latest release, A Second Chance.

Hi, Alexis! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Alexis: I love to write! Since age 9, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. God allowed me to follow my dreams…And a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing later, my dreams are becoming a beautiful reality!

I’m passionate about photography, good food, music and movies. I love shopping at my favorite malls and spending time with family and friends.

My favorite colors are purple and black. I love to wear those two colors together. Close seconds are deep shades of blue and pink.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Alexis: My books are Inspirational Romance/Contemporary Romance for the CBA market. My love for clean love stories and Hallmark Channel movies drew me to write this genre. I love a good romantic comedy and I adore a story where true love wins!

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Alexis: I prefer to see where an idea takes me. I’ve tried writing outlines before writing the story and it made it tough for me to write the story because it felt like all of the fun of it was gone. However, I do determine the emotional, physical, and spiritual GMC (goal/motivation/conflict) for each of my main characters before writing the story. My book editor Liz Tolsma advised me to do so and provided coaching as how to do that and it’s helped me to get a better handle on my characters. Thanks to this newly acquired skill, I am able to write stories that are solid.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

 Alexis: Re-writing when you already thought that your story was perfect. But a good editor knows best! So I take my editor’s advice and when I’m done, I see that my editor was right. I went through this process with my latest release, A Second Chance. It was re-written at least twice and adjusted several times before publication.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Alexis: Hopefully, in five years I will be an award-winning, well-paid writer with more published books and screenplays that are made into movies on the Hallmark Channel and the big screen! Maybe happily married too and experiencing my own happily ever after, the real-life version!

Thanks for dropping by, Alexis! And here’s where you can purchase Alexis’s latest book 🙂

Purchase link for A Second Chance 

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2kAP4HX


A Second Chance
book-coverNewly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life. 

Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.
Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

alexis-a-goringAlexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

Connect with Alexis at FacebookTwitterWebsite, PinterestGoodreads, and the “God is Love” blog.

Purchase links for Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories (book):

Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/2kygelo

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1Tm5T4P

Christianbook.com – http://bit.ly/2luh9RM

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Ten Reasons To Read Rooms (And All James L. Rubart Books)

ROOMS.

My all-time favorite modern fiction book by my all-time favorite modern fiction author.

Why? Let me share ten reasons. 🙂

10. Series or stand-alone. He writes both. I enjoyed the Well Springs Novel series and singles, like The Five Times I Met Myself.

9.  Page turners. I’ve yet to read one of his books that I could set aside for an extended length of time.

8.  Believable characters. I sometimes forget they’re just that. Characters.

7.  Relatable characters. In The Well Springs Novel series, I so related with the professor. For example, the way he approached the good and bad in life.

6.  Good plots. I read constantly so I need a good plot so I don’t get bored. His books aren’t boring. At all.

5.  Twists. And to go along with good plots, I like to be surprised. James L. Rubart definitely thinks outside of the box.

4.  Well-written. The writing is crisp and clean. Nothing to distract me from the story.

3.  Deep meaning. I could go on here forever. Each book deals with different themes and themes within the themes. I enjoy layered stories.

2.  Speaks to  your heart. The tissue I’ve went through reading these books? Plenty. I’ve laughed and cried with the characters like they were real people.

1. I just love them. In 2010, I read ROOMS and it really impacted my life. The main character, Micah, has to decide whether to run from his fears or face them. In the spring of 2011, I faced a challenge of my own. I wanted to go to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference near Asheville, North Carolina.

Only one problem.

I’d never been to a writer’s conference and the very thought terrified me. But like Micah, I chose to face my fear and go, shaking in my socks. I survived and even met James Rubart there, got him to autograph my book, and shared my story of how his book helped me.

One book that God used to speak to me made a difference beyond what I could’ve ever dreamed. I’ve been to six conferences since then.

Don’t ever doubt it. Books can have a part in changing lives.

Like mine.

Click to tweet: My all-time favorite #fiction book by my all-time favorite fiction author. https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com #write

Writing Prompt: Below is the book cover of SOUL’S GATE. Imagine you are by the fire. What do you smell? see? hear? taste? feel?

3 Questions Wednesday with Sandra Byrd

Author Sandra Byrd is a best-selling author who has published more than fifty books. She also mentors and coaches new writers. Please visit www.novelcoaching.com to learn more. With great pleasure, we welcome her to 3 Questions Wednesday!

First question–

What inspires you?

Sandra: Art, in all its forms, and kindness.

Kindness is big for me also. My blog promotes small acts of kindness. 🙂 Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Sandra: I love those pebbled crayons – the ones that have little beads and bubbles of colors all squashed together into a mosaic. Do you remember making those when you were a kid? You’d scrape up bits of leftover crayons and melt them together? Life is such a fusion of love, joy, pain, waiting, rejoicing, sorrow and grief, hope and renaissance.  I love to write about the full human experience – and I’d want me, the crayon, to represent that!

I love this answer! The perfect crayon. Last question…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Sandra: I knew that I wanted to be a writer at six years old, as soon as I’d learned to read chapter books. Really! Then, I thought I’d better explore. So, as a kid, I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hair stylist career. I was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager and I then worked for a caterer till I went to college, both of which I truly enjoyed. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck.

I know your readers are glad you did. Thanks so much for stopping in! 

Sandra has graciously offered a print copy of A Lady in Disguise to one reader who leaves a comment. (U.S. addresses only)


A Lady in Disguise

Daughters of Hampshire, Book 3

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Drury Lane Theatre Royal. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.


After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than fifty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick, as was The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, was honored with a coveted Editor’s Choice designation from the Historical Novel Society. The second book in the series, Bride of a Distant Isle, launched in March, 2016 and the third, A Lady in Disguise is just out in 2017.
A devotionalist as well as a novelist, Sandra’s best-selling devotional for tweens, One Year Be-Tween You and God  was followed up with her first devotional for adults, The One Year Home and Garden Devotions.  The One Year Experiencing God’s Love devotional will publish in Fall, 2017.
She is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to edit and coach dozens to success each year.
Please visit www.novelcoaching.com to learn more.

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Stephen King’s “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”

I’d like to welcome a friend of mind, Cammi Woodall, to the blog today. She is sharing with us her favorite author…

Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Of all the authors who could have penned the above quote, Stephen King probably never entered your mind. What words do you think of to describe a King novel? Horror, terror, despair? Vampires and killer clowns running amok in small New England towns?

All true. Stephen King is, well… the King of Horror Fiction. Many of his novels include graphic depictions of violence and brutality.

Underneath these gritty themes, however, lies hope. Not just hope for some, but hope for all, no matter your appearance, age, background, economic situation, perceived abilities, race, gender… Hope for anyone willing to grasp it and never let it go.

Most of King’s stories revolve around ordinary people thrust into incredible circumstances. Whether it is a clique of misfit children battling a centuries-old evil, a veteran and his friends trying to dismantle a mysterious dome encircling their town, or survivors of an apocalyptic super-virus struggling to rebuild at the world’s demise, hope drives King’s characters in their fight against evil, whether supernatural or human-made.

My favorite story that best represents this theme of hope is a novella from the book Different Seasons, titled “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption”. Told in the first person, the story is narrated by Red, an inmate at Shawshank Correctional Facility. While Red narrates, his tale is about his friend, Andy DuFresne. Accused of a double murder, Andy maintains his innocence. His standoffish manner and calm determination turn the jury against him and he is sentenced to back-to-back life sentences in Shawshank. He’s basically never getting out.

If you’ve only seen the movie based on this novella, you need to read the story. Books and stories unfold so differently from their cinematic offspring. The movie does a good job by casting Morgan Freeman as Red and letting him narrate over the action, but there’s just no feeling like words unfurling on paper, your fingers itching to flip pages to see what happens.

Red takes us through Andy’s years in Shawshank. A loner at first, Andy soon becomes a member of Red’s group after an incident while tarring a roof. This also leads to him becoming a financial ‘pet’ for the warden and prison guards. Before long, Andy is doing taxes and filling out legal paper work for the employees. The warden recognizes his intelligence and soon has the inmate conducting an elaborate money laundering scheme.

Despite his friends and new consulting position, Andy’s life in Shawshank is far from easy. I warn you: this is a Stephen King story about a men’s prison. These men are serving hard time for crimes they committed. While detailed descriptions are not given, what is conveyed in crude terms and language lets you know exactly what is happening. Andy is targeted by a clique of bullies who torment him. He fights but doesn’t always win. No matter, because he fights again. He is repeatedly beaten and abused, but each time rises to carry on. He never gives up hope.

One afternoon in the prison yard, Andy tells Red about a small town in Mexico called Zihuatanejo. Dreams of the azure waters of the Pacific and what his life could be sustain him through the gritty reality of imprisonment. He tells Red of a tree standing sentinel in a field in Buxton, Maine, shading a stone fence. When Red gets out, Andy asks him to go to that tree and look for an unusual rock.

A tragedy near the end of the book tears Andy apart and it scares Red. For the first time since he entered the gates of Shawshank, Andy seems hopeless. Red suffers through a fright-filled night, afraid of what his friend might do in his lonely cell at the end of the block.

I will stop there. If you want to read the story, it’s best not to know beforehand what happens to Andy.

Jump forward several pages and Red is now a free man. Time has marched forward without him and he struggles to match a new fast paced rhythm. He thinks how men often commit a new crime just to get back to the familiarity of bars and the routine of someone dictating when you can eat or go to the bathroom. He also thinks of a tree in a field. He thinks of his friend.

After weeks of searching, Red finds that tree in a sun-dappled field. He also finds a letter with the quote that opens this paper. It isn’t a long note, but powerful enough to make the ex-con cry. I cried too, because no good thing ever dies.

Our story ends with Red, a man rightfully imprisoned for 38 years, sitting on a bus staring out the window, a representation of the cell and bars where he’d been incarcerated. But he sees beyond the walls and glass to the endless expanse of sky before him. He is a man who hopes to see his friend again and shake his hand. A man who hopes the Pacific is as blue as in his dreams. A man, though beaten down and repressed for his wrongdoings, now sees the beauty of life and possibilities of his future.

A man who hopes.

That’s how the novella ends. In Red’s own words; I hope.

The first time I read Shawshank, I pictured Red on that bus reaching out with both hands to grab the beauty life holds for him. As I read each of his wishes, I couldn’t help but think of my own declarations.

I hope to touch the sky from the top of Machu Picchu some day. I hope my family and friends know how much I love them and depend on them. I hope I am using my talents and gifts in the way they were intended.

I hope.

Click to tweet: What words do you think of to describe a King novel? Horror, terror, despair?

Machu Picchu

Writing Prompt: As I stood in line at our local bank, I couldn’t help but stare at the man across the room. Could that be Stephen King? Only one way to find out. I stepped out of line and…

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Hope by Fay Lamb

I’m thrilled to welcome back to the blog, my friend, author extraordinaire, Fay Lamb. She helped me when I first joined the Scribes critique group as a newbie. I don’t think I could have made it without her constant encouragement. So what’s she up to these days? Let’s see…

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Fay: My husband and I have lived in Titusville, Florida, our entire lives though we didn’t met until we were in our twenties. We are actually fifth generation Titusvillians and two more generations (our two sons and our six grandchildren) follow us. We’re all still here in this small town where the building of a new bridge is entertainment, and don’t get us started on our new shopping center where everyone provides at least one update a day as to the progress. I think that our citizen’s interest in small-town life is pretty remarkable when you realize that Titusville is the gateway to space, and we have grown up watching rockets and space shuttles blast off and return from outer space. Our parents and grandparents were the generation that made those things happen, and Titusville, through it all, has remained small and neighborly.

My life has consisted of work as a court clerk, a legal secretary/paralegal, a church secretary, and various other jobs, including a stint in a mental hospital—working there, not voluntarily or involuntarily committed. However, at no time since my memory formed can I remember wanting to be anything but an author. School aptitude tests always indicated that I would be either a great librarian or an author. That should have been enough to lock me away, I think. However, every job I have ever undertaken proved good experience for my writing career.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Fay: I’ve never adhered to the admonition that writing in more than one genre can be fatal to a career. I do mainly write romance and romantic suspense, yet I do have a couple contemporary fiction novels I’d love to see published one day.

So, what draws me to the genre? True confession: when I first started out writing, you would never have gotten an admission out of me that I wrote romance. No, ma’am, not me. I wrote women’s fiction—oh wait—they told me women’s fiction doesn’t do well in the market. Therefore, I declared myself a writer of contemporary fiction so that someone might find an interest in it. Well, when I finished my first contemporary fiction novel, and edited it and edited it and edited it, one truth became blaringly honest. Anything without romance, no matter how much of a role it plays in a story, is boring. Since that truth struck me upside the head, I have never shied away from admitting I write romance.

So, if you’re trying to think this one out, I have an example for you. It’s a movie I love to loathe. I’ve never had any interest in the story. The mention of any of the sequels cause my eyes to roll back in my head, but my husband loves it, and sometimes I suffer my way through it with him. Think about Rocky’s story. If it had only been about boxing, if he hadn’t fallen in love with Adrienne, would the movie still be the same? Why did Rocky go the distance—what moved him forward? Without romance, the movie ended with him going down and not getting up. In my version of the thing, Rocky would have beaten the crap out of Apollo Creed and gotten the title, hugged Adrienne, lived happily ever after, and there would have been no need for any sequels. Romance, for better for worse, is the reason that movie works and for those **rolling eyes** sequels.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Fay: I do prefer to see where an idea takes me. With my novel, Hope, when my publisher gave me my deadline for the release date, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hope and her hero, Danny, had taken me almost to the very end of the book.
In my current work-in-progress Frozen Notes, I found I’d already written 70,000+ words when I was told of the due date for an autumn release. The difference between Hope and Frozen Notes is that the 70,000+ words need a quite a bit of revision. That can be the hard part about letting your ideas take you where they want to go, but I will admit, that the plot of Frozen Notes holds together. The tweaking I plan to do, though, will make it a much stronger book, conflict-wise.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Fay: I honestly believe that I answer this question in a different way each time it is asked simply because life is constantly changing for us or for those around us that depend upon us.

Currently, what I find the most difficult is sitting at my chair and keeping my bottom firmly placed. This isn’t because of my desire to get up and down and do other things, but at this time in my life, I am dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s, and that person is living in her own story world and pulling those of us who care for her into it with her daily. Therefore, bottom firmly in chair for me for more than thirty minutes at a time is a luxury.

But if you look at my answer to Question 3, you’ll find that God was never surprised by what would be happening in the life of my loved one or how it would affect my life. He’s actually made a way that thirty minutes at a time works for me right now, and I am grateful for that because, though I long for all the time in the world to write, the quenching of that longing will come at a great price, and I’m just not ready to pay that yet.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Fay: Alive and writing, if the Lord so wills.

Thanks for dropping by, Fay!


Hope

Hope Astor is literally a starving artist, living off the good graces of her friends as she seeks help for the fatigue that has plagued her for over a month. Dr. Daniel Duvall is a noted oncological surgeon whose life hasn’t been the same since losing his sister in a car accident the year before.

When Hope receives her diagnosis, she understands that her carefree artist’s lifestyle has left her without any options to save her life, but her friends try to convince her otherwise. They persuade Hope to seek treatment from the best doctor she knows. Trouble is, Hope is the reason Daniel’s sister is dead, and she doesn’t think saving her life is on his list of priorities.


Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.

3 Questions Wednesday with Melanie Dickerson

I’m excited to announce the return of my friend, Melanie Dickerson, to 3 Questions Wednesday. Melanie was the first “real” author I’d ever met and she was so nice. She looked over my manuscript and told me I needed to cut the backstory in the beginning. At first it upset me, but when I settled down, I knew she was right. I had eleven chapters of backstory! Thanks, Melanie, for being honest with me. Now for your first question…

What inspires you?

Melanie: Fairy tales, history, and movies. I love movies.

Movies are great for inspiration. Tell us…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Melanie: Medieval red, because I love red, and I think of the red in Medieval stories as a dark burgundy color.

Red is in my top three colors also.  Last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Melanie: When I was around 5 or 6, I wanted to be a ballerina. Later I decided I wanted to be a novelist, but I gave up on that when I graduated high school and went to college. I decided to take up writing again about 15 years later.

So many of us are glad you went back to writing. 🙂 Thanks for joining us today!

Melanie has graciously offered to give away of a paperback copy of A Viscount’s Proposal to one person who leaves a comment. Don’t miss your chance to win!


A Viscount’s Proposal

Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents—or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage—alone and after dark—the ensuing gossip may force them together.

Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety; his father perished in a duel with his mistress’s husband, and Edward must avoid scandal himself if he wants to become prime minister. He certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged.

Can the culprit be brought to justice? Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career—and his life.


Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her Amazon author page, http://amzn.to/2mdb5Bx , her facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MelanieDickersonBooks/ and her website at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com

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New Release: Hope by Fay Lamb

Hope Astor is literally a starving artist, living off the good graces of her friends as she seeks help for the fatigue that has plagued her for over a month. Dr. Daniel Duvall is a noted oncological surgeon whose life hasn’t been the same since losing his sister in a car accident the year before.

When Hope receives her diagnosis, she understands that her carefree artist’s lifestyle has left her without any options to save her life, but her friends try to convince her otherwise. They persuade Hope to seek treatment from the best doctor she knows.

Trouble is, Hope is the reason Daniel’s sister is dead, and she doesn’t think saving her life is on his list of priorities.


Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.