Wednesday Words – Erin Unger (GIVEAWAY)

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Please welcome author Erin Unger to The West Corner! She’s here today talking about books. Giveaway details are at the end of her post!

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Thanks so much for having me today!

Books are powerful. Whole other worlds unfold in a few well-stated sentences. There’s nothing like that feeling a reader gets when the perfect book is open on their lap and it pulls them in on the first page. It’s like a gift. Sometimes they make us rethink long held ideas. At times they mirror what we’re going through. And sometimes they remind us of areas in our lives we haven’t worked on.

But not every book is for every person. Sometimes it’s not the best seller that struck the right cord or the book everyone’s reading, it’s the one you stumbled upon on a special or heard of from a friend. It’s a God-ordained tool to show us His ways and plans.

As Christian writers, the power to transform is even more in our hands. We have the ability to show how great our God is and how he works in the most unusual ways at times. We use our gift to do more than only entertain, we want to make Him more real to our readers. We want to show them how to grow and change as our characters do. And it’s amazing that we can use fiction to do so.

Next time you pick up a book, see if you can find the message hidden in the character’s struggles. Maybe God used a writer to put it there just for you to learn from.

Comment below for a chance to win an eBook of Practicing Murder, and leave your email. Five people must comment for a prize to be given.

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About the Author

photo of author Erin UngerErin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Practicing Murder, releases March 29, 2019.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Practicing Murder cover artBook Description

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?

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Practicing Murder is available from Amazon and Pelican Book Group.

Wednesday Words – Nancy Shew Bolton

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Please welcome author Nancy Shew Bolton to The West Corner!

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I’ve really pondered over what I should write for this guest blog. I keep coming back to the event which has been my biggest challenge this last year. After 44 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, my husband John died suddenly in September of 2017. Both of us had struggled with health issues for the last decade or more, but through these challenges had learned to work on diet and lifestyle changes that we hoped would make our approaching senior years into ones strengthened by increased health. After 11 years of being unable to work and living on disability, John had started a job, and was delighted at the prospect of greater income every month than what we were used to living on. He had so many plans, and was happier than he had been in years. He always said he wanted to live his life with all his might, and leave it with, as he put it, “nothing left in the tank.” And he wanted to die working. And his hopes and prayers were realized, as he died at work, suddenly and quickly, after a life lived on his terms, and one devoted to God and his family.

I never thought I’d really have to live without him. Though he had so many health problems, he always fought through them and prevailed, and so I guess I thought he was somehow as indestructible as a person could be. And to be honest, I figured God would make sure to keep him here because I didn’t want to imagine living without him. Deep inside, I was afraid it would destroy me, or make me mad at God, and compromise my faith. I felt ashamed for having these fears, but had to face the fact that they existed.

The first few months of my bereavement passed in a kind of cushioned blur, where I knew God was carrying me through the worst part of the crushing pain, and I could literally feel the support of many prayers lifted up for me. I held tight to God, and gradually began to face some of my disappointment, anger and discouragement, and to pour these out before God. I stopped being embarrassed about what I thought of as my shortcomings of faith, and realized I could lay these in front of God, too. He already knew they were in my heart, and I needed to trust His love enough to be honest with myself. This is still an ongoing process as I walk forward, doing my best to figure out my life without my husband. There are so many layers to this difficult journey, most of them painful, some beautiful and inexpressibly comforting. What I do know so far, is that I truly can cast all my cares upon Him, and He will sustain me, even when I doubt, or crumble, or question His ways. He won’t leave me because of my shortcomings, doubts or fears. No, He will walk me through all of it, because He cares for me. What a comfort it is to know that. God’s love never fails! Never.

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About the Author

photo of author Nancy Shew BoltonNancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 43 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. Ever since she learned to write, she would jot down her thoughts and impressions in little snippets of inspiration in the form of poetry, song lyrics, or short essays. About six years ago, she decided to try her hand at writing a full length book. She’s since written five works of fiction, two non-fiction, and is working on an idea for a children’s book, as well as more fiction manuscripts.

Writing a full-length work is much more challenging than she thought, and she has received so much valuable assistance from other writers, especially from the ACFW critique groups. Her husband has been supportive of her long hours spent at the keyboard. Many thanks to her beloved Johnny! And now she’s under contract with Prism Book Group with a novel set to be released in September 2014! What a journey!

Nancy loves to write character-driven stories about relationships of love and faith, since she is fascinated by the complexities within this emotional terrain. She thanks God and His Son for her life, her loved ones and the spark of creativity inside every person. She believes each person is a unique creation, with their own special voice and place in this amazing universe. God’s handiwork amazes her every day!

Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Website | Group Blog | Goodreads | Facebook

The Flip Side of Love cover artBook Description

In the unsettled days of 1972, music is the steady focus of Ruth’s life and the high point of each college day. But when her happiness derails in the span of a few seconds time, Ruth is left to piece together a life that becomes fraught with confusion and emotional turmoil.

Paul has worked hard to school his stormy personality into a career that satisfies his love of music and a desire to teach. Yet his own actions threaten to rob him of his vocation, his reputation, and his view of himself. Confronting his own shortcomings was not part of his plans. But when he meets Ruth, everything changes.

Amid the challenges of life in the politically and socially turbulent 1970s, both must find comfort and support through the music they love and each other.

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The Flip Side of Love is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Marilyn Leach

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Please welcome author Marilyn Leach to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about Christmas shopping in England.

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I took a deep inhale of the scent that was a midday English mist and fingered the floral inspired book mark in my hand. A deluge of muted pinks, blues, and purples, it was a gift from an artist’s heart, crafted by hand, on offer in a tiny shop some would consider far too narrow and cramped to be successful. Three people plus the shop clerk nearly filled this humble place. I was Christmas shopping in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, England.

photo fo English shop decorated for Christmas

My mind flashed to the mall near my Colorado home where over-crowded bustling, bright lights, and expensive shopping lists reigned.

My gift-buying in the tiny shop was an introduction to the fact that Christmas in England is a calmer, truly heart-warming, and much less commercialized affair.

Done with our shopping task, my English friends and I walked to the Carpenter Arms pub where we had a yummy lunch. The sizable blackboard, where menu offerings were posted, invited all to enjoy free mince pies and a caroling sing-song with the local church choir to be held that evening in the pub. The warmth of the fireplace added an extra tug to the event, but we had to make our way back to Berkshire and the Harris family home where we would continue preparations for friends dropping round for aperitifs.

Our celebration of Christ’s birth included visits to family in London and Hertfordshire, a midnight candle light service on Christmas Eve, lamb roast for Christmas dinner, the panto, and trips to decorated manor houses. But, I will forever remember Christmas shopping in a small English village.

About the Author

photo of author Marilyn LeachThough Marilyn Leach grew up in the Western United States, she became a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast after exploring the UK and making friends there. Her travels throughout England color her life and written works. Her most recent work includes the Berdie Elliott Mystery series a series of English whodunits that tickle the brain and add a giggle or two. Marilyn lives lakeside on the Front Range of Colorado.

Amazon | Website | Pelican Book Group

 

Candle for a Corpse cover artBook Description

Candle for a Corpse: A Berdie Elliott Advent Mystery by Marilyn Leach is a Christmas whodunit with plot twists, shifty suspects, and loving villagers. All of it’s sprinkled with English grace and humor. Who would believe an advent wreath could solve a murder? It can when Berdie Elliott’s at hand, a vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire. Fresh brewed tea, and high adventure with a spoonful of romance make the season bright.

Candle for a Corpse is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Barbara M. Britton

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Please welcome author Barbara M. Britton to The West Corner! She’s here today to talk about platform.

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Platform: Not The Clunky Shoe From The 70s

Every year I peel hundreds of apples for a Christian school’s apple pie fundraiser. I enjoy the community, great snacks, and conversation. This year I sat beside a high schooler who would like to make it big in country music. He has plans to migrate to Nashville after graduation. I asked him if he had his music on social media, and he shook his head.

Here’s where the mother and author in me took over. I explained that he needed a platform and needed one now, years before he headed south to Tennessee. It isn’t easy being an artist in 2018 whether it’s writing or singing. Record companies and book publishers don’t want to start at square one with an artist. Having thousands of followers on social media translates into sales. With all things being equal, a company or publisher will take an artist with thousands of followers over an artist with a big goose egg when their name is Googled.

How do I know this? I’ve received the “you don’t have a big enough platform” spiel from an agent who liked one of my manuscripts. The story was good enough to show to an editor at a publishing house, but because I didn’t have the ‘followers’ needed to produce sales, I was rejected. Ouch!

What did I do after the rejection? I’ve worked steadily to build my followers on Twitter, Facebook, and to build a mailing list. At a recent conference, a literary agent said an aggregate of 5,000 followers across all social media platforms and your mailing list should be a goal for authors. Thousands of followers takes time to produce. And you want viable followers, followers who relate to you and like your art, not just followers who are using social media to find a wife.

My advice to the future country music star, was to start building followers on social media and to look into getting a domain name for a website. Platform can also be built with in-person meetings. Authors can teach workshops or classes. Professional organizations are a great way to meet fellow authors who become friends in the cyber world, too. Musicians can play at a local venue just as authors do local book signings.

If you are looking to start a career as an artist, diving into the social media world is a must-do in today’s technology-driven world. The earlier you start, the better. It’s the same strategy as making 3800 apple pies.

About the Author

photo of author Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little-known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. She is a member of RWA, WisRWA, SCBWI and ACFW.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jerusalem Rising cover artBook Description

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.

Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?

Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.

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Jerusalem Rising is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Erin Unger

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Please welcome author Erin Unger to The West Corner!

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Never give up! It sounds so easy to say but at times nearly impossible to do, right? Well, God had to show me a thing or two about waiting on Him and not giving up. My writing journey wasn’t this beautiful gallop across the meadows into publication. As a matter of fact, it was more like the ‘are we there yet, National Lampoons Vacation’ type with one misadventure after another. …And I almost gave up many times. I even stopped writing for almost a full year in my attempt to show God I wasn’t supposed to be the writer He called me to be.

I learned some valuable lessons through that time—like don’t even try to talk God into a different plan. I tracked forward and then backtracked like a million times. And don’t think I didn’t want to do it His way once I returned to His will. But finding it was like a scavenger hunt in the pitch black. Move forward, hit your nose on a brick wall. Turn left, stub your big toe. Go back the way you came. But it was all worth the wait—and the learning—to do it God’s way and in His time. He says:

Lamentations 3:5 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

I have a full year of harvest in 2019! Five of my romantic suspense novels will be releasing throughout the year. Because I didn’t give up.

If you know God called you to do something, keep pressing forward. Work through the obstacles and learn from them. Grow strong in your faith as you seek the finish line. He’s there waiting to bless you and love on you.

About the Author

photo of author Erin UngerErin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Practicing Murder, releases March 29, 2019.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Practicing Murder cover artBook Description

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?

Wednesday Words – Katie Clark

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Please welcome author Katie Clark to The West Corner!

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Hi everyone! So GREAT to see you here!

My book, The Rejected Princess, is a romantic fantasy tale of strange powers and true love. One of my favorite questions I get asked about my books is how I got my ideas, or what inspired the story.

I thought it would be fun to share my inspiration with you today in the form of visuals! The spark for this story came from a single sentence one of my teen students shared with me—but the rest of the story came together based on pictures in my head. Here’s a peek!

photo of ornate curving wrought iron staircase

This is the inside of Roanna’s home. She lives in the palace at Chester’s Wake, and this is the staircase she uses to get to and from the dining hall from the family wing.

photo of woman in black and white sleeveless gown

One of many fashions portrayed throughout the story!

photo of woman's black top hat with lace veil

We can’t forget accessories.

photo of antique lab equipment

Roanna’s story takes place amidst steam powered vessels and the workings of alchemists, botanists, and chemists.

photo of fantasy steam engine train

Steam powered engines, right?!

photo of man in historical clothing

My inspiration for Prince Benjamin Bellevue of Lox <3.

photo of steampunk pendant

You can’t have steampunk without neato devices, yeah?

So there you have it! A peek at the inspiration I used as I wrote my story, The Rejected Princess.

***Right now you can get the ebook copy for only $.99!***

Now it’s your turn! Tell me, which picture above inspires you the most?

DSC_8889About the Author

KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her romantic fantasy novel, The Rejected Princess, a supernatural survival novel, Shadowed Eden, and her dystopian Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

The Rejected Princess cover artBook Description

When Princess Roanna Hamilton’s parents arrange a marriage with a prince of Dawson’s Edge—the mysterious and backwards kingdom to the south—Roanna reluctantly agrees. But when Roanna is introduced to Dawson’s royal family, strange mind-bending anomalies are awakened within her, and she discovers the Dawsonian royal family holds secrets of their own. With threats growing daily, Roanna comes to realize the danger she is in. If Roanna is to save herself and her future, she must stall her marriage and squelch the growing rebellion—all while discovering how deeply her power runs.

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Rejected Princess is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Gay N. Lewis

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Please welcome author Gay N. Lewis to The West Corner!

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Treadmills: Are You on One?

I’d planned to buy a treadmill. Yep, even went shopping for the contraption. After pricing the horrid devices, I forgot about the purchase and joined a gym.

So, now, I go daily for my thirty minutes of agony on that spinning merry-go-round. Some people are hooked on physical fitness. They spend hours each day with strenuous activities. Not me. I’m addicted to cheesecake.

In my current Sarah book, Sarah and the Angelic Magical Makeover, the Superiors send my little dyslexic angel to help a female with a makeover. Sarah and Valerie join a gym, and like me, Sarah finds the equipment brutalizing. If you’ve read any of my Sarah books, you know she’s gonna cause accidents. Unexplained, funny, chaos. Sarah can’t relate to makeup and hair-dos either.

Here’s a scene from the book. Valerie and Sarah are in a salon for a new hair style.

Taylor led Sarah to a chair and draped a cloth about her. Margie’s stylist ushered Valerie to a chair and did the same. Sarah glanced at Valerie in the mirror, smiled and then returned her attention to her stylist.

Taylor fluffed her hands through Sarah’s snarled hair. “What color and cut are you wanting today?”

Sarah cleared her throat. ‘Uh, I’m not sure. What do you suggest?”

I think a blond shade will lighted up sections and give a shimmer your hair doesn’t currently have. What do you think?”

Sarah frowned. “My body has shimmered before, just not down here in this place and time.”

Taylor puckered her brow. “Yes, well, I was speaking of only hair. Would you like it to shimmer again?”

“Yes, please, but I don’t want to get into trouble with my Superiors.”

“I’ll go easy on the color, nothing too dramatic to interfere with employment. We’ll do a temporary color and see how you like it. It will wash out after a couple of shampoos. Since your hair is naturally curly, how about a shorter cut? You’ll add a mousse every time you shampoo then finger comb your style. It’ll be easy.”

Sarah lifted wide eyes to the stylist. “You’re going to put a moose on my head?” She pointed to her scalp. “You can’t do that. Animals are too big. Please don’t put any tiny insects up there either.”

Taylor snorted and attempted to cover her laughter with a cough. “No, no. Mousse is a product, not an animal.”

Taylor and Margie shared a look of horror in the mirror. They must wonder what kind of women had wandered into their salon and if they’d survive.

Taylor cleared her throat. “I’m going to the back to mix color for you. I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

Margie left to do the same.

Sarah glanced at Valerie. “I’m nervous. You?”

Valerie nodded. “I have no words to describe my anxieties.”

Sarah heard her tummy rumble. “I wish we’d eaten before we came in here. I’m hungry.”

“I’m too tense to eat and that’s a first for me.”

Sarah rubbed her midsection. “I hope I can hold out until we’re finished here. I’m ravenous.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah saw Taylor approach with a bowl. She set the container on the table and Sarah gazed at the contents. The goo appeared to be a creamy, yummy, caramel pudding.

Leaning forward, Sarah scooped up s small amount of mixture with her index finger and promptly stuck it in her mouth.

Taylor gasped. “What are you doing? You can’t eat that! It’s hair color.”

Sarah licked her lips. “I thought it was butterscotch pudding. It doesn’t taste like butterscotch and it doesn’t smell like dessert, but it doesn’t taste too bad.”

Taylor took a giant leap to stand beside Margie. “Should we call 911? I’ve never had a client eat hair paint before.”

Margie scrutinized Sarah. “I don’t know. She didn’t swallow much. It was a small dab. Let’s call poison control and ask what we should do.”

“Don’t eat anymore of it.” Taylor admonished Sarah, and then the two stylists scurried off to find a phone number.

Sarah shrugged. “Why are they so worried?”

“You swallowed chemicals. I guess they need to find out if the medic should come and pump your stomach.”

“Oh, no way. I don’t need that. My stomach is big enough already.” Sarah patted her round belly.

At the end of the book, Sarah accomplishes her mission. Valerie, the earthling, becomes confident and healthy, both physically and mentally. Right choices do that for us.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if an angel came down to help us with doubt? Or weight? Or the myriad of problems we face? Like my treadmill? Or caregiving for my daughter who has early onset dementia?

I plan to put one step in front of the other on the treadmill of life. Is it fun to do the difficult? Nope. Not at all, but with God’s help, and maybe a little assistance from an angel like Sarah, it’s possible.

About the Author

photo of author Gay N. LewisA native Texan, Gay N. Lewis has written and produced videos and for over ten years, and she’s used her imaginative insight in the interior design field. As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country. Gay is a published author in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles. Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship. She writes an award-winning blog that features faith and humor.

Website | Blog | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

Sarah and the Angelic Magical Makeover cover artBook Description

How can a dyslexic, low-esteemed, inexperienced angel help Valerie, an insecure, overweight woman with a poor image of herself? To complicate matters, two men present themselves as possible mates for Valerie, but only one is the real deal. Can Sarah achieve a makeover while discovering the true love for Valerie?

Sarah and the Angelic Magical Makeover is available from Amazon.

Wednesday Words – Danielle Thorne

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Please welcome author Danielle Thorne to The West Corner!

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Paranormal Trouble

Happy October!

Fall is my favorite season. I love the changing trees, bonfires, and most of all, Halloween. It’s fun to dress up in costumes, drink apple cider, and make a few graveyard visits, but sometimes the ghostly can hit too close to home. As a writer, dealing with the paranormal is best done by telling stories, so I’ve written some of my thoughts and experiences into my paranormal series, Death Cheater.

For me, my paranormal “trouble” started after I visited some prehistoric Indian burial mounds in the southern United States. I wondered how many ancient souls had wandered through the nearby forest. What would it be like if I could see those spirits, and what would I do if there was contact?

Now, when it comes to all things ghostly, I am the biggest chicken. I believe in spirits, and yes, I’ve had my own paranormal experiences, but writing about them didn’t become a journey until my vacation to the mounds. I decided it’d be nice to have a paranormal super power if I had to contend with ghosts, and that determination became the driving force behind the story of Athena Gray and her life as a Death Cheater.

In Death Cheater, Athena accepts that she is different. She can bring butterflies back to life with just a wish, and sometimes stop people from crossing over to the other side. Her spooky ability keeps others at arm’s-length, but not Dan. He’s the most popular boy on Omega High School’s baseball team and wants to be her friend, but even Dan can’t understand the reason she acts haunted—until a spirit roaming the local historic burial mounds takes an interest in people Athena cares about, including Dan!

There was a growl, and the terror I’d been holding at bay zipped up my spine into my skull. I was sure my long hair stood on end, like when kids touched the electrostatic generator at the science museum. Something was coming for me, and it wasn’t something from the woods. It’d been following me all day. Maybe even my entire life.”

Athena is a strong, independent character who understands she doesn’t have to fit in to be content with herself. High school doesn’t come easy though, because dealing with teen drama and her own anxiety issues are as difficult as accepting her grandfather’s death. With no parents to turn to and few friends, Athena has to dig deep when a dark angel enters her life at the worst time. He doesn’t just have information about who she is, he has demands.

Are there really such things as ghosts? Are there dark angels intent on making us miserable? How many of us have abilities we haven’t embraced? Death Cheater is an exploration into forces from the other side and our power to choose what is right over what they would otherwise influence us to do. It’s the perfect fall read that empowers and prepares you for the Halloween spirit.

Whatever you do this month, make sure to enjoy the changing of the seasons and all that nature has to offer. If you enjoy books, happy reading! And if you’re like me…

Happy Haunting,

Danielle Thorne

About the Author

photo of author Danielle ThorneDanielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, antiques, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next book is coming soon.

Amazon

Death Cheater cover artBook Description

Athena Gray is strange. Dead butterflies flutter to life with just a wish, and she saved her dying grandfather by willing him to live. The only person who doesn’t think she’s weird is Dan, the most popular boy on Omega High School’s baseball team. But who can have friends—or more—when a dark spirit shows up and stalks your every move? Dan can’t understand the reason Athena acts haunted, until the paranormal visitor turns to blackmail, forcing her to come clean about her gift. Manipulated into using her power for terrible things, Athena must stand up to the darkest force she’s ever encountered, before the people she cares about most get hurt.

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Death Cheater is available from Amazon. Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Wednesday Words – Kathleen Neely

Please welcome Kathleen Neely back to The West Corner! You can see her post on The Pros and Cons of Co-Writing HERE.

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The Power of Reviews

There are two things I do when choosing a book to read—I read the book blurb and check the reviews. My preferred venues for reviews are (in this order) Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble. If a book has fewer than ten, the sampling is too small to be significant. Statisticians would consider that to be an inadequate sample size resulting in unreliable feedback.

One of the most powerful tools a writer can gather is positive reviews. Those are like nuggets of gold.

Consider this data. Note—this is not hard research, just my ambling through the internet to obtain information.

  • Length of time an author spends writing a novel – approximately one year.
  • Length of time a reader takes to complete a novel – approximately 14 hours.
  • Length of time it takes to write and post a review – approximately 5 minutes.

When I was an elementary teacher, I received many gifts from students and parents. While this was fun and appreciated, the absolute best thing a parent could send was a note of appreciation. That always left me with a smile.

Your positive review is a note of appreciation. I urge you to say thank you to your favored authors by posting one.

Here are a few tips about writing reviews.

  • Select your stars. Five stars means you highly recommend this book. Four stars says it’s a good book. Three stars tells me it’s just OK. If we are going to rely on reviews, they need to be accurate. I personally choose to never leave a negative review. If I can’t give a book at least three stars, I won’t review it. That’s my preference, but you may choose differently. Even a negative review can be written with kindness.
  • Amazon will denote a review as a ‘verified purchase’ if you’ve obtained a copy from them. That’s always a good thing to see. Regardless of where you obtain your copy, speak in a professional tone. Avoid use of the author’s first name only. That sounds like a friend or relative reviewed it. Use the full name or the last name only.
  • Provide a sentence or two about the plot or theme, but don’t disclose the ending or any surprise elements.
  • Mention the main character by name. Discuss the author’s use of character development.
  • Include anything notable—humor, suspense, inspiration.
  • End with your reaction to the novel.
  • Double check your grammar and spelling. If it’s poorly written, readers may disregard it.

Once again, let me remind you of the time frames noted above. An author will work for approximately one year to provide you with about 14 hours of reading pleasure. Don’t allow a wonderful book to go unread when five minutes of your time could make a difference. Your review is like that note of appreciation. It will leave them with a smile.

About the Author

photo of author Kathleen NeelyKathleen Neely is the author of three books scheduled for release in 2019. The Street Singer will be available on Feb. 22. You can learn more about it at www.KathleenNeely.com. Her novel, The Least of These, won first place for the fiction category in a Fresh Voices contest through www.AlmostAnAuthor.com. It’s scheduled for release in May, 2019. Kathleen, a former elementary principal, is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. She lives in Greenville, SC but loves to travel to her hometown of Pittsburgh to spend time with her two grandchildren.

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Wednesday Words – Lauren H Salisbury (Giveaway)

Wednesday Words graphic

Please welcome author Lauren H Salisbury to The West Corner! Be sure to enter her swag bag giveaway. (More information below.)

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Most Christians know the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. It’s been used in many sermons I’ve heard over the years, and the main conclusion drawn is always that we should keep our eyes, and our focus, firmly fixed on our saviour in order to navigate the rough seas of life.

That’s not all I get from it, though. My favourite part has always been a couple of verses earlier, in Matthew 14v25-29.

Peter wasn’t the only disciple on that boat. They were all there, but he was the only one to walk on the water with Jesus. More than that, he asked to step out of the safety of that boat because he wanted an experience that we can only imagine.

He didn’t let fear of the unknown or clinging to safety hold him back. He asked to join his master knowing the only thing that would keep him afloat was Jesus. It must have seemed crazy to the others stood around watching, but Peter did it anyway, and he was the only one.

The others never got that experience. They still saw the miracle, but they didn’t experience it for themselves, they didn’t trust enough to try, to risk, to get out of the boat.

Yes, Peter grew scared in the midst of the waves, and I don’t blame him. Can you imagine what it must have been like? Doing the impossible with waves towering all around, he faltered. But he turned to Jesus and Jesus was there to hold him up again. He couldn’t do that if Peter was sitting on the boat with the others.

If we want to truly, completely follow God and have experiences with him beyond our wildest dreams, we have to be willing to get out of our comfort zones— get out of our boats. God wants us to trust him, and while ever we’re trusting our steady income or our comfortable lives, our good relationships and kind deeds, the solid wood of a boat, we’re not trusting Him.

Now I’m not saying we all need to give up our jobs, or sell everything and become missionaries. To me, stepping out of our boats means trusting God first, following His lead, and putting our lives and talents in His hands instead of our own. It might mean sharing our faith in Him with colleagues, or trying something new in our spare time that uses our talents, or putting our work out there for others to see.

Whatever it is, He’ll be there with us, to catch us and hold us up if we need it, to share something spectacular and life-changing. But we have to make the decision to join him ourselves. He didn’t make any of the other disciples join him on the water. It was up to them, and it’s up to us.

I took a leap of faith when I decided to give up my steady income and follow the call to write Christian fiction. Since then, I’ve had many moments of fear, but I’ve also had many amazing experiences and my faith has strengthened with each trial.

The characters I write about each display courage and faith in their own way. They step outside their comfort zones and learn to trust God when all seems impossible. Even though they populate a realm of science fiction, they face the same struggles as we do, and they get out of their boats. I love that about them.

Giveaway

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Click HERE to enter Lauren’s giveaway for a Conviction Swag Bag!  Swag Bag includes a handmade bookmark, a pendant, and more. Complete details are on the Rafflecopter page.

About the Author

photo of author Lauren H SalisburyLauren H Salisbury was an English teacher for sixteen years with an MA in Education. She is now a writer who dabbles with tutoring and lives with her husband and a room full of books in Yorkshire, England. She likes to spend winters abroad, following the sunshine and becoming the seasonal envy of her friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with family, reading, walking, crafting, or cooking. The Legacy Chronicles is her debut series.

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Conviction cover artBook Description

Can two people with opposing principles overcome their differences to be together?

Than has spent his life ostensibly having fun while secretly fighting for his people’s freedom. A member of the underground resistance, he is only ever serious around his comrades and his family. When an injury forces him to step down from active duty and his reluctant nurse sparks his interest, Than finds himself in uncharted territory. The fascinating woman will have nothing to do with him.

Menali’s past has taught her to keep her head down and trust that God has a reason for allowing the human race to suffer on U’du. When Than explodes into her life, he refuses to take no for an answer and challenges all of her preconceptions. He soon has her re-evaluating her priorities and wondering what life with someone like him would be like.

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Conviction is available from Amazon.

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