Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Starving Christian Writer | over at Wordquill

Ah, don’t you love stereotypes? I don’t know about you, but I have found that, more often than not, when I tell someone new that I’m a writer, their first reaction goes something like, “You must be famous! A best-seller!” Oh if they only knew…

But today I’m not actually thinking about the poverty of aspiring authors, the hopeless clicks on KDP to see if maybe—hopefully—we sold one copy today…or this week. My thoughts are going more toward the emphasis on “Starving Christian.” If you notice, we are called “Christian Author,” not “Author Christian.” Christian comes first—yet how often do we put the emphasis on author and neglect Christian?
Continue reading on

Friday, May 26, 2017

First Line Friday | 5.26.17

Happy Friday!! I'm trying not to bombard everyone with "The Secret Slipper" but since it released yesterday, why not use that first line? Makes my job of figuring out which of the 350 books on my bookshelves to choose from easier (I'll do that next week). ;)

The first line of "The Secret Slipper" is...

"Another grave. This time, a short one."
("The Secret Slipper" by Amanda Tero)

And I do promise... it's not a morbid story. ;) Today is the last sale-day for Kindle copies of both "The Secret Slipper" and its prequel, "Befriending the Beast."

Commercial over. ;P 
What is the newest book that you've read?
And... do you have a first line handy??

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vlog: Who's Who in "The Secret Slipper" | Blog Tour Day One

Also, in honor of release day, I'm posting every hour on my FB Author Page

In other news...the paperback is available TODAY on Amazon! I was holding my breath there for a moment. ;)

And...if you  have time, hop over to these lovely ladies' blogs and see what they have to say about "The Secret Slipper."

Leila has Slipper spotlighted on her blog.

Faith gave a five-star review on her blog where she gives a rundown of my characters' traits: "Rebellious, kind, angry, willing to risk everything, grudge holders, desperate, helpful, cruel, sweet."

Leona not only gave a give-star review, but she also interviewed me on her blog today. What are some of my favorite things about "The Secret Slipper?" I answer them there.

It would mean a lot to me (and them) if you hopped by and left a comment!

It's Here!!! The Secret Slipper Release Day! (Giveaway)

*throws confetti and dark chocolate and M&Ms and balloons*

The day has finally come for "The Secret Slipper" to be released into the world. :) You have all been such faithful supporters and encouragements. I seriously cannot thank you enough!!

Before I get into all the promo stuff, I have to give a shout-out to the lovely bloggers who are joining me with my personal blog tour. 

May 25, 2017
Amanda @ With a Joyful Noise | Release Day, Giveaway
Leila @ Leila Tualla's Bookshelf | Spotlight
Faith @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections | Review, Giveaway
Leona @ Great Books for God's Girls | Review, Interview

May 26
Emily @ Zerina Blossom’s Books | Interview
Kendra @ Knitted By God's Plan (Spotlight) and O'Scarlett Reviews (Review) | Spotlight, Review
Alicia @ A Brighter Destiny | Review, Giveaway

May 27
Katie @ His Princess Warrior | Review, Giveaway
Sarah @ The Destiny of One | Spotlight
Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Spotlight, Interview, Giveaway
May 29
Kate @ Once Upon an Ordinary | Review, Interview
Sarah @ Penumbra Reviews | Review
Dary @ Peculiar Miss Darcy | Character Interview
Julia @ My Joyful Journey with Jesus | Interview

May 30
Kenzi @ Honey Rock Hills | Review, Giveaway
Anita @ Christian Author: A.M. Heath  | Review
Judith @ JudithWNicholson  | Interview

May 31
Jesseca @ Whimsical Writings for His glory  | Spotlight, Review
Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae  | Spotlight, Review
Esther @ Purposeful Learning | Review, Interview, Giveaway

June 1
Kellyn @ Reveries Reviews  | Review
Victoria @ Victoria Minks Blog  | Spotlight, Review
Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook | Spotlight

June 2
Hanne @ RockandMinerals4Him | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Erica @ Roxbury Books Blog | Spotlight
Janell @ Views from the Window Friend  | Review
Crystal @ Crystal’s Adventures for Christ  | Spotlight, Review, Interview

June 3
Alexa @ Verbosity Reviews  | Spotlight
Faith @ Chosen Vessels  | Review
Melissa @ Clothed with Scarlet | Review, Interview, Giveaway


Surely by now you've learned a lot about "The Secret Slipper." To read the description (and if you want an eBook for the sale price of $1.99) head over here:

"Befriending the Beast" is also on sale for just $0.99, which you may find here:

Sales only last until tomorrow though!

If you're interested in ordering paperbacks, you may purchase them through Amazon, OR I'll knock a dollar off if you want me to sign it. ;) Paperback order form here. all know me... I love giveaways so if you're not quite wanting to get either book yet, you may enter my giveaway.

U.S. Giveaway: Enter to win the set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper”

International Giveaway: Enter to win the eBook set of “Befriending the Beast” and “The Secret Slipper”

Now, to get all anti-me for a moment...
What excitement are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Greg Howlett Music

The last two weeks, I've featured up-and-coming arrangers. This week, I'm featuring someone who's been in the arranging world for years. Even though I have not gone through Greg Howlett's courses, I do know he's got some good stuff out there. Just doing one small course of his (it was free sometime), I learned some tips that expanded my arranging. His website is here, for those of you interested in learning more. What's more, Greg Howlett has some free arrangements for you to download. 

He has a lot of videos on his YouTube channel (I'll admit, most of which I've not watched because I just haven't found the time to peruse YouTube), but here is just one of them:

Who is an arranger/musician you enjoy listening to?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dedication | The Secret Slipper

"The Secret Slipper" releases just day after tomorrow!! For some reason, this release seemed longer in coming than other releases...maybe because it has...

Today, I'd like to share my dedication page with you. Have you ever wondered how authors figured out who to dedicate their work to? Well, I don't have the answer. ;) But in writing "The Secret Slipper," I was thinking about one of the main questions I get asked by others: "Does your family support your writing?" Oh my. Yes. They totally support my writing. ALL of my family does--from my parents to siblings to aunts and uncles to grandparents. I feel so very blessed!! As I was pondering that, I started praying about dedicating this book to two very special people in my life:

It was just a week or so after I had decided to dedicate the novella to my grandparents that Grandma was hospitalized. She had gotten up from bed and ended up on the floor. Long story short, she had a bleeding ulcer that eroded into a main artery. By the end of her hospital stay, the doctors had done an embolism and she ended up with a complete transfusion. And she was able to come home. We personally believe that her recovery was nothing short of a miracle. It was very scary to realize Grandma was so near death (my other grandma passed away five years ago). In Grandma's words, "God pushed me out of bed." If she hadn't ended up on the floor and Grandpa found her, she would have bled to death that night.

All of that to say, I realized how very much I took my living grandparents for granted. They're both in their eighties and are in good health (besides Grandma's episode, she was in no pain and has had no health issues). And it just cemented the fact that yes, I wanted to dedicate my newest book to them. They always welcome my projects with smiles and encouragement, and doing this is just a small way to say "thank you."

Do you read book dedications? What was your favorite?

One last reminder--cause I don't want anyone to miss out on a deal: 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Scripture Graphics #40

If my heart is FIXED (set up) to sing and give praise, then unplanned events or people's words should not "ruin my day." If my heart is set on singing and praising God, then no matter what comes my way, I will be able to rejoice. The question, then, is: is my heart fixed?

This verse is situated in the middle of verses of trouble, enemies, and crying out to God. Never is there an excuse to stop seeking God.

"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Deuteronomy 4:5-6
We see this truth throughout Scripture: wisdom and understanding is directly linked to how diligently one keeps God's Word. It's not just about knowing God's Word, but about doing it.

What a beautiful thought: that no matter what happens, God Himself holds our soul in life and keeps us from moving. If that alone doesn't make us want to praise Him more!!

What verse has been a good reminder for you this week?

Friday, May 19, 2017

First Line Friday 5.19.17

Happy Friday again!! Yesterday, I worked on the first stages of moving into a new bedroom. For the first time, I was able to pull out all of the books I've acquired the past three years and have them all in one place! Yeah...I counted up to 350 books (oh wait...I did forget about those that I was lending to friends). 

Which are now, mostly, temporarily shelved. My daddy built me a bookcase (these are closet shelves here) and once the glue dries, the books are in their new home! :) 

I pulled together the books I've not yet read... *insert scared emoji*

Approximately 130 books! :/ I could read solid a month and not catch up! This pile just may take me years. Have you read any of these books?

And then I counted up the most books from one author... Janette Oke wins!

Last but not least, I had a little fun with my current book infatuations: Civil War and medieval. 

Okay, okay, so FIRST LINE FRIDAY! Yeah, took me long enough! ;P I'll be honest, perusing through all of those books, I didn't stop long enough to find a first line. So I thought I'd change the rules. *gasp* ;) Today, you can choose the first line. See any of my books that you'd like to know the first line for? Just comment and I'll try my hardest to reply this weekend! I have a graduation I'm pianist at so my time isn't all free. 

And while you're at it...why not share a first line from your bookshelf?

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Beau Roberts music

Another week, another up-and-coming arranger. I'll admit, I may be slightly partial to this one, cause he's one of my students. ;) Just don't hold that against me and enjoy his music anyway. He currently only has three songs on his YouTube channel, but I'm fairly certain that he'll be adding more in the coming year. He has more than three songs on his website for sale. Here's one of his quick arrangements:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vlog: The Secret Slipper (about, questions answered, all that fun stuff)

Nine days until release day! Today I'm sharing a bit of the behind-the-scenes stuff with my first (I think?) Vlog post. :)

Have more questions about Slipper? Ask!!


If for some reason the video doesn't want to play:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Scripture Graphics #39

How often do complaints slip out of our hearts and mouths, without stopping to consider that God hears us...and that ultimately, we are complaining against the One Who allowed our circumstance?
Contrast this though with Psalm 69:30-31:
"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs."

How can we glorify God in our lives? By praising Him -- not just about the good things, but about everything.

"The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day." Deuteronomy 1:30-34
Fear and doubt are synonyms of distrust and unbelief. How much more faithful do we want God to be, so that He can have our full trust? He created all things...yet we struggle to trust in so many small things!

If we struggle giving thanks to God, maybe we just need to be reminded of Who He is and the great power He holds.

What have you learned from God's Word this week?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Grandpa Hugs | Book Review

Another children's book on the radar today! I really think I'm getting addicted to children's books...

Fuzzy bunnies, howling wolves, nimble monkeys, and other animals sprinkle the pages of this adorable little book, exploring the times that grandpa's spend with their grandchildren, such as playing games, reading books, telling jokes, and sharing a comfy, cozy chair. The rhymes are fun with a great flow. This isn't necessarily a Christian book (there is one reference to God), but it is very sweet and traditional. It is just the type of book that I know my daddy would like to read to his future grandchildren.
*I received this book from BookLook Blogger and happily gave my review*

Book Description

Grandmas are for kisses, and grandpas are for great big hugs! Grandpas are fun! They go on adventures, tell silly jokes, say funny things, and love to eat treats. This adorable board book celebrates how wonderful spending time with Grandpa can be!

Little ones and grandpas alike will love Grandpa Hugs, the charming, rhyming storybook about how special a grandpa can be to a child. This companion to the acclaimed Grandma Kisses celebrates grandfathers and all the love and fun they bring to the special grandkids in their lives.

Whether it is a gift from a grandfather to his grandchild, a grandchild to her grandpa, or as a sweet, creative birth announcement for a first-time grandpa, Grandpa Hugs is bound to warm the hearts of everyone who reads it.

Available on Amazon.

Friday, May 12, 2017

First Line Friday 5.12.17

Happy Friday! Today's FLF, I'm featuring the first line from a new favorite: Paige Torn. I absolutely have to get my hands on book two!

First line:
“Living in Texas can be awesome. Or awful.”
Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum
You may see my review here.
And... about the book...
Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

Your turn! Share a first line!!
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Abigail Johnson music

It's Wednesday. The day I usually have a new WAJN video to share. If you've been keeping tabs, however, it's been a few weeks since that has happened, and I offer my sincerest apologies. I will spill that I'm working on another big music project that has taken my time away from weekly WAJN songs. Lord willing I'll be able to share more information in the summer.

This week, instead of my own song, I'd like to share about a fellow-arranger, Abigail Johnson. She has several songs up on her YouTube channel that you can find. She also sells her arrangements on Sheet Music Plus. Here is one of my favorites of hers:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Secret Slipper - last day to sign up!

Today is the last day to sign up for The Secret Slipper blog tour! (Also read: last day to get an eBook of "Slipper" for free ;) ) Slipper will be on tour May 25-June 4 and I'd really like to have just four more bloggers! If you've already signed up, please pass the word along to a fellow blogger and reader. SIGN UP HERE!!!

Now, for you...
or for me (?)...what are some questions you have about "The Secret Slipper?" It can be anything from process to characters to writing struggles to timeline...a question for me or the story. I'm thinking about working on something new for this release. ;) 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Scripture Graphics #38

What a good example for us to follow! How many things -- even "good things" -- do we jump into without first seeking God? Do we think we should prosper, if we have *not* begun with seeking God?

It doesn't matter how often I read this verse, I always need the reminder. What I need wisdom for today may not be what I needed wisdom for yesterday, yet when I ask God, He is always faithful to supply the wisdom I need.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:25
I know that I need the reminder to step back and evaluate what I'm letting come out of my mouth (and texts and emails, letters, blog posts, etc.). Are the words I'm saying building others up, or sending sparks? There is no excuse of, "Well, no one listens to me anyway." Someone is listening. What are they hearing?

We will always battle with our flesh, but "He giveth more grace!" With every struggle we face, God is there to give us His help, if we seek Him in humility.

Now it's your turn! What's a verse you read this past week?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Books I Read - April 2017

It's still April, isn't it? ;P Seriously, yesterday I wrote "April 5" TWICE--and I didn't even realize it until this morning. How many of you have a hard time transitioning into May?

So, now that I have convinced myself that it is, indeed, May, it's time for April reading recap! I actually read a lot in April (mostly in the beginning of the month). Like I may have beat January's book-count. Of course, many of these were short. ;) And most of them were fantastic reads!

Books I've been waiting forever to read...
Finally!! I was able to get around to books that have been on my TBR pile forever (or what seems like forever). The first checked off my list...


I was not disappointed! I thoroughly enjoyed Kate's Innocence and grabbed Kate's Capitol several months ago. I had to wait until my reading schedule was cleared up to read it. I'm happy to recommend this book to readers! There is more romance issues than in Innocence, for readers sensitive to that. But, you can see my review here.


Oh my word. Why did I wait so long to read this book?! It was SO, SO good!! You can read my fangirling enthusiastic review here.


I've seen this author around for a few years, so she's kind of been on my TBR list. I didn't know what to think of this book at first, as it was quite a different style...but in the end, I loved it. And since I've put the book down, I have been reminded of the message of the book several times in my own life. That makes it a wonderful read for me. See my review.


The last that got a little dusty on my shelves before I got around to reading it was Five Love Languages for Singles. This was also a good read and I felt like I learned a lot in it. My review is here.

Moving on...
Saddest read of the month...

I remember 9/11, so this book resonated and brought back a lot of the initial feelings of "when it happened." It was good to be reminded of 9/11. Full review here.

Favorite short story...


We're going to pretend that this isn't my only short story read in April. Seriously, if I had read others, this would have still made it to favorites list! Honest, truly. It's free! So get it and read it. And if you need more persuasion, you may read my complete review.

Favorite inspirational read...


This book was SO good!!! It is properly named "gems." It was easy to read, as it was just a bunch of short quotes (a few paragraph-long), and they were so good. Yeah, it was just good. I highlighted like half of the book. I don't know that I have more in my review, but it's here if you're interested. ;) This is another free Kindle book.

None of the books I read this month were "never read again" but two of them were kind of on my neutral list.

This was highly informative and I will likely read it again. Review here.


I laughed at parts in this book, but some parts also fell a little flat. My review is here, for more of my thoughts.

Children's books...
I think I'm getting addicted to reviewing children's books. ;) They are so cute and very handy to have on hand in case I need to gift them.


This one wasn't on a review program; I grabbed it at a thrift store and am so glad I did. See My review.


I read God Loves Mommy and Me in March so was happy to review this one as well. It's just as cute. My review here.


And this one. SO cute. So adorable! I love this little book!!! You can read my full thoughts here.


There you have it! My books of April. What did you read in April? What were your favorite reads? Have you read any of these books? If so, do you agree with my thoughts or not? Why?

What are your anticipated reads of May 2017? I'm going to see how far I can get in these two beasts of books. I'm already about 120 pages in Sherman (research reading) and 1 1/2 stories in Holmes (my first time reading Sherlock!).

Friday, May 5, 2017

Behind the Scenes | Giveaway, Blog Tour, FLF

Happy Friday! I'm here with another book for review and First Line Friday. ;)

First Line:
"Pressing her nose against the glass of the carriage window, Miss Permilia Griswold felt her stomach begin to churn as she took note of the throngs of people lining Fifth Avenue."

Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Jessica – A Baker’s Perspective
Trisha – Joy of Reading

BehindtheScenes_mck.inddAbout the Book

Book: Behind the Scenes  

Author: Jen Turano  

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance  

Release Date: April, 2017

To order your copy, click here.

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country. When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

My Review
Another laugh-out-loud read!! I don’t always find authors to be humorous, but Jen Turano has it down. I got many strange looks from my family when I just couldn’t hold back a giggle (or ten). 

I would say that Behind the Scenes is definitely a character-driven novel. I fell in love with Permilia, Gertrude, and yes, Asher and Harrison (here’s hoping the next in the series is about Gertrude!). All of the characters were very well developed and interesting. I loved how Turano leaked out what they were doing and consistently made changes in their character growth and trust (or distrust) of others.

The plot seemed a little scattered at times because there was SO much going on between the main threat presented, family relationships, etc. It was all very interesting, it just seemed that occasionally the main threat was forgotten for a while (and, seeing as it was dangerous, how could one forget it?).

This was a very clean book. I would say it is Christian, because it definitely speaks of God, but it didn’t strike me as having a solid message woven throughout the entire story—more in the latter half. Also, I’m not 100% sure that I fully endorse some of the thoughts presented (such as, “Follow God, hope for the best”—this is probably me being slightly nit-picky).

There was romance, of course, but it was comical. I didn’t find it to be extremely emotional-driven. There were a few times of flutters and such, but honestly, I don’t remember any extreme detail of emotions and kisses (which is a personal plus here).

Due to the era, there was a bit about the suffrage/progressive movement. I personally don’t fully agree with the movement, but I did find it to add historical accuracy.

All in all, this was a super enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to book two in the series.

*I received this book complimentary of the author and Celebrate Lit, and happily provided my review.*

About the Author


Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

Blog Stops

April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 29: Karen Sue Hadley
April 30: Lighthouse Academy
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 3: Book by Book
May 5: Baker Kella
May 6: A Greater Yes
May 6: Just Commonly
May 8: Giveaway Lady


To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
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