The Secrets of Paper and Ink


About the Book



Title: The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Author: Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

Lindsay Harrel presents a powerful story of healing, forgiveness, and finding the courage to write your own story.

A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England—a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author—and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

More than 150 years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author


Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at

Guest Post from Lindsay

With every book I write, it seems God has something new to teach me. That certainly was true of The Secrets of Paper and Ink.

Lately, I am learning more and more about the power of our words. I’ve become more conscious of the words I speak over myself as well as what I say to other people. It’s more than “positive thinking”—the words we say ultimately contribute to the stories we weave, and I want my story to be as positive and hope-filled as possible, regardless of my circumstances.

I’ve also become much more aware of the lies that I tell myself—“you are not worthy, you are not enough, you will never achieve what you want to achieve”—and the need to replace those lies with the truths that God says about me. I have listened to Lauren Daigle’s song You Say on repeat lately, and it has become a theme not just of The Secrets of Paper and Ink, but one in the story of my very life.

So while I may not have experienced everything my characters have—I’ve never suffered emotional abuse, or been ostracized by my family, or been orphaned and alone in a world that seems against me at every turn—I have learned alongside them. I set out to write a book that would draw readers closer to the true healer and hope giver, and I ended up being drawn closer myself.

And that, to me, is the true power of story.

Musings on The Secrets of Paper and Ink

A powerful story of friendship, hardship, hope, and healing. This novel dealt with issues of broken commitments in a realistic way that not all Christian fiction does and I enjoyed it very much. Having never read Lindsay Harrel’s work before, I’m grateful to have found a new author to follow. The story was interesting and kept me going right up until the end. Dual timelines are my absolute favorite and the author did an excellent job portraying past and present day England. Looking forward to more of her work!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 26

The Avid Reader, February 26

The Power of Words, February 26

Carla Loves To Read, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Inspirationally Ever After, February 27

Kristin’s Book Reviews, February 27

Real World Bible Study, February 28

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, February 28

Carpe Diem, February 28

A Baker’s Perspective, March 1

Andy Carmichael, March 1

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

The Becca Files, March 2

Just Your Average reviews, March 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 3

Emily Yager, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 3

Genesis 5020, March 4

Reader’s Cozy Corner, March 4

Stories By Gina, March 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 5

Simple Harvest Reads, March 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, March 5

Remembrancy, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 6

Inklings and Notions, March 6

Just the Write Escape, March 7

Pause for Tales, March 7

Book by Book, March 7

Living Life Free in Christ, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

To Everything A Season, March 8

The Lit Addict, March 9

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 9

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 10

Janices book reviews, March 10

Bigreadersite, March 10

Henry Happens, March 11

Godly Book Reviews, March 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 11

amandainpa , March 11


To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away a copy of Lindsay’s first book The Heart Between Us!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.



Ladies of Intrigue



About the Book



Title: Ladies of Intrigue

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2019

Publisher: Barbour


3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author


Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit

Guest post from Michelle

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.

  1. Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.

Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.

  1. Because truth is timeless.

Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes.

In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.

Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!

Musings on Ladies of Intrigue

Whoa. The title says it all. I found each story in this compilation of three novellas heart-warming, page-turning, and you guessed it- intriguing! Michelle Griep does not disappoint in these historical fiction stories set in the 1800’s. I have to say my absolute favorite was the first in the collection, The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. With smuggling, mystery, and romance, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my all-time favorite novels, Frenchmen’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier. Add to that a few interesting personalities that bring to mind the well-known and annoying, Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and you’ve got a recipe for one great story! As much as I was reminded of two wonderful classics, Michelle Griep’s voice stands alone in it’s creative telling of a delightful story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch Reads, February 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

Bigreadersite, March 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8



To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!

Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.




Dusty Mauve, Homecoming, and the Day that Ruined Shoe Shopping

Every girl loves a good day of shoe shopping, am I right?

Well, you’d think so…then today happened.

My daughter received a fantastic homecoming “proposal” this week and so the endeavor to find that perfect dress and the shoes to match began.


Our mission started out fairly well, we found a gorgeous dress that she absolutely fell in love with in the first 40 minutes. It is simple and feminine with a beautiful lace pattern. The color? Dusty Mauve. Ahhhh, so pink and so pretty. Obviously I can’t share a photo of the dress just yet as that would break all the homecoming dress rules-you guys understand.

Next, we started the hunt for shoes and let me tell you, we had no idea what we were getting into.

Let’s start with the silver sparkles.


Gorgeous, but it they just didn’t match.


Next up, champagne gold…that goes with everything, right?




Okay. Now we’ve got it. Rose gold! That’s basically the same thing as dusty mauve, right?


No, my friends! No it is not! Appearances can be deceiving and just when we thought we had a perfect match, we discovered that dusty mauve makes rose gold look orange.

I’m telling you guys, if this color had a personality it would have the most narcissistic, self-centered disposition you ever did encounter.

At this point, even the color’s name was wearing thin on me. Dusty Mauve…how conceited. You’re just a powdery dark pink. Get over yourself.

7 stores and 4 hours later, we found the ultimate match! Jessica Simpson dusty rose heels! The colors blended perfectly and they had just the right amount of bling…and guess what?

dusty rose



We gave up. Shoe shopping has been ruined, at least for the time being. After venting our frustrations and kicking back a 10 piece McDonald’s chicken nugget, we finally settled on a plain pair of nude pumps–which just so happen to look like they were made for the dress.


Sometimes less is more. Tomorrow the journey for jewelry begins. Please pray for me…and don’t ever let me buy dusty mauve anything ever again.



Bash Writer’s Block in a Flash


Writer’s block. Ugh. The dreaded phrase. I’m pretty sure we all know what that is, so no need to define the term here. What’s important to know is how to get rid of it, am I right? Well, the first step would always be to admit it even exists in your reality. None of this denial business.


The next step is to write Flash Fiction.

Yep, totally serious.

Flash fiction has numerous definitions floating around the internet. Basically, it’s an extra-short, short story. Most sites classify flash fiction as anything less than 1000 words, some less than 700, and a few even define the genre as less than 300 all the way down to a nano story of 100 words.


Seems easy enough, right?

Haha…Ha. Ha. Not so much.

Though trying to cram a compelling story that makes sense into a piece shorter than most blog articles can be daunting, the process can also be incredibly rewarding…and in ways that surprised me. I had been stuck on a chapter in my current WIP, tentatively titled-A Temporary Home, for some time when I decided to take a break and work on a piece of flash fiction.

Deep in the throes writer’s block, I hadn’t been serious about the story at the time and was really just looking for a good distraction. What I found was so much more. Here are just a few of the ways flash fiction helped me out of a writing rut.

1. Practice

I was working. Most of us have heard the famous Picasso quote, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

A week had gone by without any progress on A Temporary Home. For me, that’s a long time. I mulled over the scenes that bothered me…and then mulled them over again. I thought, I daydreamed, I read, and still, nothing. As a writer, I like to think of imagination as a part of the job, but when that’s all you’ve done for a week, it doesn’t feel like you’ve done much of anything. I needed work to do and flash fiction provided that work.

2. Creativity

This sort of goes along with the work, but working on a new project allowed me to free my mind from present troubles and focus on something fresh. I also didn’t have any writerly guilt about it because I knew the story wouldn’t interfere with the work on my book. Flash fiction is a small enough project to be easily managed with any writing schedule.

3.  Audition

Audition? In the world of writing? Sure!

I took the opportunity to try on a new genre for size. All of my work so far has been contemporary fiction, but I’ve always held a fascination with historical novels. Why not use this chance to test those waters? Writing a short historical story allowed me to see if I liked writing in the genre, enjoyed the research, and really, if I was any good at it.

Guess what? I loved it! Doing the research sparked a new interest in a time period I knew little about (other than biblical aspects I’d learned throughout the years). I safely assumed the story was fairly well done since Splickety was awesome enough to publish it on their Lightening Blog. So, big score! I found out I liked the process, enjoyed the research, and might want to explore that genre for a book in the future.

4.  Accomplishment

Yeah, yeah. We’re writers- we write for the process.

But really, don’t you just love typing ‘The End’? I know I do. Feeling stuck was really getting me down, but once I finished my flash fiction piece, A Golden Promise, I was ready to jump back into work on A Temporary Home with fresh inspiration because I felt capable again. I had set a writing goal, accomplished it, and reminded myself once again- I can do this.

All in all, writing flash fiction has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I really can’t wait to do it again.

Have you written flash fiction before? What was your experience like? Did the process help you with writer’s block? Tell me in the comments and leave a link to your story!

short story quote


Make Writing a Priority by Eliminating These 4 Things

4 Surprising Things to Get Rid of When You Just Don’t Have the Time


Most writers will say that writing itself is a priority in their lives, but is it really? What holds the seasoned writer back from penning a new novel every month? The answers can be numerous and complicated, but here are 4 surprising time-suckers to get rid of if you find yourself slacking—and no, none of them are Netflix—I’d never suggest such a thing!

Get rid of what doesn’t matter.

Sometimes this might mean letting the bathroom sit a day before its next scheduled cleaning. Let yourself be immersed in your writing without worry and distraction. When planning a block of time to write, don’t rush just to get to other chores. Its completely fine if your family eats an ordered pizza once in a while. Think of all the things you accomplish in a day and write them down. Does each activity really matter more to you than writing? If not, identify where you can make cuts…and do it!

Get rid of negativity.

Many of us have family and friends who support us. But some of us have at least one Negative Nancy in our lives who just doesn’t get it. Or, maybe they do get it, and they really just don’t want you to succeed. The psychology for why people do this is so far outside my ballpark, I’m not even going to go there. Ask yourself if everyone around you is really for you? Is anyone bringing you down? Personally, I’ll cut a toxic person out of my life faster than their legs can carry them. But that’s me. If you have negative people in your life who bring you down about your writing-simply don’t discuss it with them anymore. You don’t need their opinion or validation. Believe it or not, when we look at things optimistically, we tend to get a lot more done.

Get rid of doubt.

This sort of goes along with negativity. Perhaps ignoring a negative person’s opinion will also eliminate your doubt. But if it’s self-doubt you’re struggling with (and I think that applies to every writer in existence) then that can really eat up your time and impact your productivity when it comes to writing. When we doubt ourselves or feel we will fail, we tend to become big-time procrastinators. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can and will do this- but only if you actually take the time to do it!

Get rid of expectations.

Some writers try to meet word count goals and then wallow in the depths of despair when they’ve spent 4 hours staring at a screen and have less that 500 words to show for it. It’s been said time and time again—any writing is good writing, at least in practice. If you’re writing, you’re creating. And the more you create, the better those creations become. Give yourself a break. So what if you only hit 50 words yesterday? Those 50 words might be someone’s favorite line in your book one day! Keep going and give yourself room to be flexible.

I realize we could dive into this much more deeply than we have, but I think you’ll find if you rid yourself of these things, you might just have a little more mental room for that next chapter.

How do you prioritize your writing? What holds you back? Let me know in the comments!


Love in Three Quarter Time

Love in Three Quarter cover

This week I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan. This novella weaves a lovely tale about Evelyn, a woman close to my heart in both emotions and habit, who is unexpectedly swept away to Vienna, accompanied by her former co-worker–and, um…crush. A perfect Valentine’s Day read! And guess what? It released today! So, Rachel was kind enough to stop by and tell us a bit about writing Love in Three Quarter Time! Pick up a copy today–you won’t be disappointed!

A Tribute to the City of My Heart

vienna1As a reader, setting is often as important as any of the starring characters.  When I was 10 years old, I read Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene for the first time.  Before this, my only real conception of Austria was the Sound of Music.  As much as I loved Vienna Prelude’s history and music and love story, I loved Vienna itself. It became the city of my dreams.  For years when anyone asked me “where you would go if you could go anywhere?” I would say, without a beat of hesitation “Vienna.”  My love for Vienna was very much intertwined with Thoene’s brilliant use of it as a canvas for a pre- WWII love story between an American journalist and a violinist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.    I lived in that world often, tucking into its pages, listening to the Bach and Haydn and Mozart pieces Thoene describes so vividly in her canvas of the onstage and backstage world of Vienna’s orchestras.  Vienna is so beautifully described in the book that the first time I visited, I immediately knew the basic directions and proximity of several famous buildings because I was so familiar with them through Thoene’s fictional world.  Vienna in person—as in fiction—does not disappoint. It is a city that is opulent and grand and filled with glorious customs and history.  I describe the ornate Baroque architecture as being dollops of too much whipped cream. Wandering down the Kartnerstrasse can be deliciously overwhelming.  Taking a trolley on the carousel of the Ringstrasse, hearing Mozart waft from every crevice and corner, sitting at a table in the Café Mozart piercing that first bite of torte while chasing it with that first sip of Einspanner (Coffee and Vienna are as simultaneously intertwined as Waltzing and Vienna).

I had long wanted to write something in tribute to the city of my heart and decided after my most recent trip there last Christmas, that it was time to pursue a few Viennese romances.  In the Vienna trilogy of novellas I am releasing this year, I wanted the romance between the couples in each of the three stories to be met with the romance of the city.  These stories are as much as love letter to Vienna as they are a magical look at three different couples.

vienna2And while I was writing Love in Three Quarter Time, I was ecstatic to realize I was writing for my own enjoyment.  While I also enjoy writing my traditionally published books, I knew that I had no holds barred in letting my romantic nature fly.   While I always intended to release the story for readers, this is the closest experience I had to sitting in my childhood bedroom writing in a teddy bear notebook.  I was writing like no one was watching and it was wonderful.   I was writing a dream. My agent wouldn’t have to pitch the book, editors and sales people wouldn’t have to meet at long board room tables to discuss its financial prospects. This was just me, Vienna and romance…   My romance with the city hopefully encapsulated in the story of a young woman who learns as much about herself and her perceptions of love as she does about the city she spends time in.

My romance with the city hopefully inspires readers to take a look at Vienna and maybe day dream their own trip just as I do every time I read Vienna Prelude.   But as much as I want people to fall in love with Vienna, I want to inspire them to take a look at romance in a different way.  This Valentine’s Day—married or single— take a moment to acknowledge romance in its many forms. In a delicious cup of coffee at a neighbourhood café, in a walk in the snow just when the sky is cotton-candy twilight, in reading a favourite poem aloud, in visiting a museum, in seeing a local concert.  Romance is an art form and a movement as well as an emotional attachment between two people and Love in Three Quarter Time hopefully moves readers to think of the many different tenets of love.

You can get your copy of Love in Three Quarter Time today on Amazon! Visit Rachel’s blog to learn more or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by!


5 Reasons I’m Grateful to be a Writer

Being a writer isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

Wait…what? You mean I can’t just churn out an amazing story and become a millionaire?

Noooooo. No, you can’t. Well, maybe if you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but let’s face it, we’re not.

The good news is there’s some pretty cool perks to being a writer. Whether it’s your full time gig, a second job, or even a hobby, there’s a few very special things to be found in the world of words. Here’s a short list of reasons I’m grateful to be a writer.

1. I may have a lot of feelings, but I’m glad I have a healthy way to express them.

Ok, I might be a tad moody from time to time. I also tend to fly high on the wings of anticipation as one of my favorite fictional character’s, Marilla Cuthbert, said. But, I’m super grateful for all of those wicked emotions because I love assigning them to the characters in my story. Not to mention the cathartic benefit of  working through those emotions by jotting them all down!

2. I may doubt myself at times, but others do appreciate my work.

I don’t have to radically change someone’s life with my writing for it to matter. When someone says that they simply enjoyed one of my stories, I feel as though I’ve added value to their day. Nothing feels better than putting a smile on someone’s face!

3. I might not be wealthy, but I love my job.

Even if you haven’t made a dime, writing is still a job. It’s work. Period.

There is tremendous joy to be found in doing something we love. All the money in the world could never make up for the happiness and exhilaration that writing brings.

4. I might not be the most talented writer, but God has given me the freedom to use my gifts.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the one who pens the next literary masterpiece. But, you know what? I don’t think any of our author predecessors did either. If there is something you love to do, and you feel you’re pretty good at it-do it! There’s a reason we feel drawn to certain activities and vocations. Practice and learn and eventually, you might just be the next Jane Austen!

5. I might not be the most popular kid on the block, but I’ve made friends in fellow authors I wouldn’t trade for all the success in the world.

I can’t tell you how much the level of support I’ve received from other writers–better writers- has impacted me. To find so much support in such a competitive industry was not only heart-warming, but surprising as well. I’m grateful for each and every one of my author friends-the ones I’ve spent time with and the ones I only know because of the wonderful internet!

These are just a few of the reasons I’m grateful to be a writer. What are yours?

Tell us in the comments!

Not a writer? Tell us about yourself and what you find to be grateful for in your profession!






Joy in the Morning


Quite a few experts in the field of writing say to find a time that works best for you and stick to it. That’s easier said than done for us working writers.

By working writers, I mean those of us who work a job, raise a family, or have other commitments besides getting to wake up and write all day.

And I’m pretty sure that encompasses most of us.

I find the morning to be the best time for me, creatively speaking. Considering I’m due to work at 7:00 AM, that isn’t always possible. So, I’ve found a compromise. Instead of taking advantage of weekend mornings for extra sleep, I rise early, about 5:00 AM, grab a steaming cup of coffee, and get to work.

The first part of that work is prayer. I know I need guidance with my work and I’m developing a habit of requesting that from God daily.

Once I feel properly equipped, I find the sweet song of morning birds coupled with a soft background of classical music really gets me into the world of my characters.

Every day is new, perhaps that’s why mornings hold such a tranquil hold on my heart. Because with each new day, comes the possibility of new stories, new ideas, and new blessings.

What time of day do you find yourself the most productive?

(image credit @peaceforthestorm)


4 Reasons to Get Up and Go to a Writers Conference

This past week, I had the pleasure of attending my very first writers conference. The St. David’s Christian Writers Conference in Grove City is an intimate affair where all sorts of bookish people gather. The theme this year was Created to Create, and though I only attended half-time as a commuter, I left feeling just that.

A conference is something I’d put off over the past year. Fear, anxiety, and perhaps a bit of intimidation at this whole new world I was entering kept me at bay. Seriously…first day of school-type stuff. Once I gained the courage, I decided to bite the bullet and go. Here are 4 solid reasons you should get up and go to a conference yourself. You won’t regret it!

1.  Learn.

As writers/bloggers/editors, we are never done learning. There are always new techniques and perspectives that can further enhance our work. A conference is a great place to take classes and workshops that hone our craft.

The amount of information I gathered in 3 short days was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I took a class, taught by author/acquisitions editor, Eva Marie Everson. She is also the director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference and President of Word Weavers International (talk about a qualified instructor!). Foundations of Fiction through Film not only forever changed how I view movies and television, but also gave way to an entire new set of writing skills.


2. Resources.

Conferences offer a seemingly never-ending amount of resources you can access to better your projects. From agents to editors to critique groups, opportunities to have your work looked over aren’t hard to find. Using those chances to receive constructive criticism can only help you.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jim Hart from Hartline Literary Agency at St. David’s. His expertise enabled me to understand the process of acquiring an agent and the challenges many agents and writers face when shopping a book for publication.

Though our work is what matters most to us, learning how the industry functions is equally important. What good will dumping all your energy into your project do if you never learn how to navigate the proper routes to publication?


3. Friendship

Even if you show up alone, without knowing a single soul there, you are guaranteed to leave a conference with at least one new friend who shares the same interests as you.

I received such a warm welcome at St. David’s, I felt completely silly for ever being nervous in the first place.

If you’re a writer, you’ll meet other writers. Blogger-other bloggers. Editor-other editors. These are your people! Go. Meet them. Develop friendships. Because friendship in the competitive world of books isn’t just the cherry on top of a meticulously built sundae, it’s a necessity.

Writing is hard. Having support makes it easier.


4. Fun.

Conferences aren’t all work and no play.

From pink-sequined hats to weather reports through interpretive dance, St. David’s offered up a level of merriment I hadn’t experienced in months.

Writing a book is serious business. Taking the time to let loose and have a little fun, all while learning new ways to sharpen your skills, lightens the load.


So, what are you waiting for? Go! Get yourself to a conference!

Been to a conference recently? Tell us about it in the comments!


Meet Teresa Tysinger: Someplace Familiar Blog Tour



Welcome to the Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger. Teresa stopped by today for a little Q&A about this debut novel, a contemporary southern romance with themes of faith, hope in new love, and grace. It’s the first in a series of books set in Laurel Cove, a fictional town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I’m joining other bloggers this week to tell you a little about the book and spread the news about the giveaway Teresa is hosting! Be sure to enter to win a signed book and more from Teresa at the end of this post. And leave your comments and questions below—Teresa will be stopping by to visit with us!

Q&A with Teresa!

1.       Where did you get the inspiration for Someplace Familiar?
The inspiration for the book came from two places. First, my memories of my own great-grandmother’s charming home and gardens inspired Livy’s Gram’s cottage. It gave me the chance to catalog my memories into a living story. Also, I am completely enamored with the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Having grown up in Florida, when I attended college in the mountains, I fell in love with the area and knew writing a story with it as the setting was meant to be!

2.       What is it about the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that made such an impression on you as the setting for this book?

Oh goodness, the list is so long! I love the four distinct seasons—each offering something uniquely beautiful and enchanting. The culture is rich, eclectic, and full of whimsy. And don’t forget the slow pace of easy rocking chairs, bubbling brooks, rustling trees, and the gentle roll of both the mountains and the southern drawls. I love it all!

3.       Christian romance is a popular genre. What defines the genre for you as a writer?

The story of Christ’s love for us is the truest, most pure romance. So, when a book of fiction can combine the love story between two humans with the transforming, powerful love of God it’s the best of both worlds. I personally enjoy romances that show readers that real life and relationships are messy and the “happily ever after” isn’t necessarily riding off into the sunset, but rather comes with sacrifice and compromise. So, that’s what I aim to write, too!

4.       What is your favorite part of the writing process?
My favorite part of writing a book comes at the earliest stages. I love naming characters and being creative putting the plot together. At that stage, anything is possible and it’s okay to be a little messy with it!

5.       What was the biggest challenge about the decision to self-publish Someplace Familiar?
Oh boy! Self-publishing has taught me so much about the business of being a writer. The most challenging part is keeping all of the spinning plates moving and not crashing to the floor. Editing, design, marketing, networking, etc. These days, however, even traditional publishing requires authors to be major players in every step of the process. So, I think all authors must learn to multitask—and, for me, that’s a challenge.


About Someplace Familiar


Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts to discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

Someplace Familiar is available on Amazon. You can also add it on Goodreads!


About Teresa Tysinger


Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa on the Web,  Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or her Amazon author page!


Someplace Familiar Giveaway

ENTER HERE to win a signed paperback copy of Someplace Familiar, a custom 8×8” canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (in honor of the book’s heroine, Livy, who is an artist), and $10 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced on Teresa’s website on June 18 once the tour wraps up. (Open to continental US residents only; sorry international readers!)

Thanks for stopping by, Teresa! Can’t wait to read Someplace Familiar!