Cover Reveal…and massive celebrating

img_5842Okay, this week has been CRAZY…and it’s ONLY Tuesday!

At least it’s the good kind of crazy, right?

I have so much to share with you guys!!! (and….of course, I’m saving my favorite for last…so don’t scroll down and steal my thunder 😉

  1. There is a fabulous Scavenger Hunt going on right now involving kisses, misses, and chances to win 8 super novels! You can find out ALL about it here! And since I’m not above name dropping….can I just say it’s an honor to have my name beside authors like Melissa Tagg, Jessica Patch, and Sara Monzon 😉

2. My first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, is FREE on kindle this week. (So you can buy this and save your money to actually purchase the next two items on the list 😉   This story has garnered so much praise and it’s such a fun book. 16640751_487167148073737_1130643388656871229_n


3. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to write my first
novella! A fun, romantic comedy with a touch of Jane Austen flair! It’s up for preorder in this compilation with some other fantastic stories (and authors). And the price is superb! Check out this beauty and make sure you preorder today for just .99!!!!

This story is all about romance, humor, The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, UK, AND a homicidal bonnet. Be prepared 🙂


4. Okay, okay….arjtwyaback-coverwebjpege you ready for my Valentine’s GIFT???

That might be a bit melodramatic 😉 but I’m so excited about this novel. This romantic comedy releases on April 6th and is my very favorite book I’ve written so far.

Why? Because I poured all the things I love best into one story…and hopefully an entire series.

Just the Way You Are is the book equivalent of my FAVORITE dessert!

Filled with romance, humor, mystery, adorable kids, hilarious families, England, Appalachia, Blue Ridge Mountains, a swoony British hero, an adorable heroine….and Scooby Doo references. What’s not to like, right? This story may have more of me…and my heart than any other story I’ve written to date.jtwya-web-frontjpeg

So….without further drama. Let me show you the cover to Just the Way You Are!

Isn’t it sweet!!! AND you can preorder it NOW!!!

I cannot wait for you to meet Eisley, Wes, the Harrisons, the Jenkins, and Lizzie! This is definitely a romantic comedy….with a little bit of old-fashioned Hollywood magic sprinkled in!

Only $4.99 to preorder!!

So….what do you think? Sound like a story that’s up your alley?


God’s Story in The Thorn Keeper

TheThornKeeper 500x750 (1)Today is the release of my second novel, The Thorn Keeper, and I’m so thankful for the reviews that have come out so far. Here’s why. The main focus for most of the reviews is not the history or the beautiful romance, but the amazing love of a rescuing God.

Catherine Dougall made choices that branded her as a flirt and ultimately left her expecting a child outside of marriage. Now redeemed, she takes her tenacity and determination and turns them toward serving others, especially outcast women. In the middle of a war-torn country and a class system that leads to desperation and death for many ‘fallen women’, Catherine brings the same hope she’s come to know through God’s grace.

And since romance isn’t in her future, she’s ready to find a way to help rescue others in a similar situation as herself. However, God’s plans are quite different as he places the upright and distinguished Dr. David Ross in her life. His kindness, generosity, and ability to see beyond the stains of her past, bring them together and challenge the social systems plaguing on every side.

At the heart of this story is the truth that God is in the business of rescuing lost people. It’s what He sent Jesus to do over 2000 years ago, but is at the very heart of who God is. A rescuer. He doesn’t just give us second chances, he takes all of our mistakes, missed chances, and failed chances, and places them on his Son – so that He bears the brunt of our failures. It’s a beautiful love. A life-changing love.

An eternal, unfailing love that takes the remnants of our lives and fashions them into something beautiful.

Visit the book page of The Thorn Keeper. Read the adventure, romance, humor, and redemption story for yourself.

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Interviews and Bookmarks! The Grand, New Adventure

TTBbookmarksTime is closing in on my debut novel’s release day!! I can’t believe it’s only a little over a month away!

This week I had two FIRSTS to lead up to next month’s release.

My very first radio interview as an author!!


The arrival of my bookmarks.

Now I have to say, Dianne Barker with Spirit FM was so sweet and eased my nervousness with her kindness. Interestingly enough, about five years ago, Dianne and I had enjoyed lunch together in Johnson CIty, TN and discussed the aspect of trying to get published. For her, it was an attempt to reenter the publishing world. For me, it was a dream of finally getting published.

Funny how we had the opportunity to reconnect after all those years for this interview. I’m in constant awe of God’s weaving past moments and present ones together in surprising ways.


Since my personal writing funds are in short supply at present, I had to design my own bookmarks, which is a daunting task. When they arrived on Tuesday, I was so tickled with the outcome – and they provided the first ‘tangible’ momentum of the publishing journey!

So…the countdown has begun for the release of The Thorn Bearer!

As a writer, what are some things you’ve done to prepare for a book release?

As a reader, what sorts of things have you seen authors do for their book releases that you enjoyed?

Who’s Got Character with Siri Mitchell

My first introduction to contemporary fiction was reading Siri Mitchell’s fantastic novel, Kissing Adrien. I’d decided never to write a contemporary novel up to that point, but something about the humor, suspense, and excitement drew me in, not to mention Adrien and France. Two years later, I’d completed my first contemporary romantic comedy. Funny what God uses to shock us into his plans J Kissing Adrien is one of those books where you read the last chapter about seven times before you can put the book completely down….sigh.

Siri Mitchell doesn’t just write in the contemporary vein. Her most recent novels have been more historical, with enough emotion pumped through them to create a reality t.v. show. Each novel seems to hold a deep message that spans the years to relate to our struggles in our lives and cultures of today.

To learn more about Siri Mitchell, visit her website at:

Time for Q & A:

1. Who is your favorite heroine & hero you’ve ever written? Why?

I have to say Claire and Adrien of Kissing Adrien. That book was my first in print and the writing experience was magical. Their relationship was so tender and playful. The story nearly wrote itself and they both seemed to sparkle. Some of my other characters in later books have been deeper and more complex, but those two characters were just pure fun.

2. What is the ‘behind the scenes story’ for the creation of that hero & heroine?  

I was an American living in France, just as Claire was. Although all of the cultural differences she noted and spiritual thoughts she had were mine, I have to say quite firmly that she was not a re-creation of me. It was fun to place my experiences into someone else’s life and see how they would change the course of events. The book was derived from a non-fiction manuscript I had previously written and the point of both was to examine how sometimes we mistake our culture for our Christianity. Adrien was a conglomerate of all of the French men I had the good fortune to meet. It was fascinating to watch how they interacted with the women in their lives.

Siri’s novel, She Walks in Beauty has one of the BEST heroes in it and boasts of Siri’s usual historical detail, but her brand new release, Unrivaled, has a hero of similiar stuff. You won’t want to miss either of these Siri Mitchell historicals!!! I think they might be my favorite of her historicals.

Kissing Adrien is still my FAVORITE contemporary of hers.
Character Creation Tip for the Day:

Joy. Don’t discount the joy of writing amazing characters. There’s a lot of hard work involved, maybe even some heart-ache, but the bottom line is that memorable characters are written Unrivaled Siri Mitchellfrom the passion that flows from the author’s pen. There may be frustrations along the way, but if you’ve been following the posts for the past month, all of the authors expressed the fun and joy they experience when breathing life into their heroes and heroines.

If there is no joy behind the process…no excitement in the creation by the creator, then maybe you’ve lost the purpose behind your writing. Joy of the author sets the pulse of the character.


A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

Oh la la! Seriously! Laurie Alice Eakes newest novel, A Necessary Deception, is a must read for the reader who likes a little bit of everything wrapped up into one book. There is mystery, danger, romance, revenge, chases, escapes, true love (anyone else feel like they are hearing the first few lines of the movie The Princess Bride?)

But all of those things are involved in this novel about God using people and situations to draw His children to Himself.

Young widow, Lydia Gale, desires to do the right thing – but what is the right thing? When she graciously pays one of her husband’s debts by helping a handsome French prisoner gain parole, it begins a chain reaction of scenes that will change her life forever. Threats, kidnappings, and mysterious exploits shake the foundations of Lydia’s life just as she is trying to calm the typical storms of her sisters’ entrance into Society.

It’s an elegant portrayal of the glamour and extravagance of the London Season with the true corruption of it all underneath the lace and manners. Even the illusive villain follows Eakes imagery of the ‘appearance’ of right – so by the end you’re wondering who is genuine and who is not.

Without a doubt the hero, Christien de Meusse, is a worthy portrayal of the opposite. Someone who should not be trusted, but whom Lydia can trust. And he’s SO tres bon to look at too 😉 My, oh my, what a great bunch of romantic tension between the two.

Laurie Alice Eakes spins a tale that keeps you guessing up until the end. Her historical detail is impeccable and the way she draws the reader into the period snares you into the story so that you cannot escape. With page-turning suspense and delicious romance, this book is a delight to read.

Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Love on the Line with Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist’s newest novel, Love on the Line, is definitely a novel worth ringing home about. With rich historical detail, humor, suspense, and enough romantic tension to have all sorts of bells ringing, this story captures the essence of the changes during the turn-of-the century that affected the changing relationships between men and women.

Georgie Gail isn’t a typical Victorian gal. Besides having an occupation outside of the family, she’s strong-willed, smart, and a little eccentric (which is another reason she’s likeable). While she’s busy keeping the phone lines going in Washington County, TX and bird-watching on the side, an unlikely hero slips into her life.

Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum has a score to settle with the notorious train robber, Frank Comer, but the outlaw has evaded all of Lucious’ attempts to catch him. Assigned to go undercover as a telephone repairman, Lucious (aka Luke Palmer) has to work in close quarters with the sassy telephone operator. Sparks of all sorts fly between them igniting romance, humor, and intrigue that ends up shedding light not only on the truth behind Frank Comer, but the truth about what real love means.

From hat-making to sparkin’ to pistol-firing lessons and a little bit of everything else in between, Love on the Line is the perfect call for any romance reader.

There were moments I wanted to laugh out loud – pistol-lessons, luscious…

There were moments my heart squeezed from the tension – tweezers.

There were moments my heart ached for them both – betrayal & siblings

And other moments I wanted to sigh from the tenderness – phone calls, yellow dresses, & ice cream

It’s such a sweet story as only Dee can write. Maid to Match is still my all-time favorite of hers, but Love on the Line will definitely not disappoint. Fabulous & fun story!

Provided by Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Conference Tips with Kim Sawyer

Here’s one lady who should know about conference tips!!! Kim Sawyer has been getting things ready for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference behind the scenes for months – and with her sense of humor and kindness, she’s probably lined up another group of volunteers to make the conference more forward with as few glitches as possible.

Kim is know mostly for her historical fiction, but her YA Katy series (Zondervan) adds showcases the wide spectrum of Kim’s writing talents. Speaking of Katy, Kim’s YA novel Katy’s New World is a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards – so Kim is going to have a VERY full weekend.

Congrats Kim!

So….what are the top three things we should bring to conference?

3) Business cards to share with new friends, editors, and agents, and one-sheets of your proposal if you’re pitching. Bring more than you think you’ll need–better to have it and not need then need it and not have it. I also suggest bringing the first chapter and synopsis of your work, just in case someone wants to “take a peek.”

2) A realistic expectation. Don’t go with the idea that you’re going to be snatched up as the next Jane Austen–go with the idea that you’re going to meet wonderful people, gain knowledge that will help you grow in your craft, and have a time of fellowship with likeminded folks. Anything else is frosting on the cake.
1) Be PRAYED UP. Conferences can be exhausting, emotionally. So spend time in prayer, asking God to bolster you and to be present during the long hours. He has a reason for calling you to this place, so be open to His voice.
Oh Kim – what great words! Thank you for reminding us of His call on our lives, not only as Christians, but as writers.
Are you guys ready for conference with realistic expectations? God’s plans are not always the ‘feeding five thousand’ or ‘calming the storm’ types of experiences – sometimes He comes to us as a still small voice.
What expectations do you have for conference?

Conference Tips with Siri Mitchell

One of my top FIVE historical authors is Siri Mitchell. Her books have a unique flavor to them with deep threads of faith interwoven through a colorful story. I love her contemporary novels too, but (to me) her historicals hold so much more depth.

Siri is an encourager too. Five minutes with her will make you aware of how much knowledge and insight into the writing world she has to share. She is one of the quiet dreamers, an observer, and a creator of beautiful fiction.

What does this award winning author tell us to bring along to conference???

1.       A cardigan sweater (or some sort of wrap or jacket). To keep you warm in those air-conditioned hotel conference rooms.

2.       Spontaneity. You never know what kinds of information you’ll learn or wonderful people you meet if you break with the schedule you’ve set up for yourself and ‘go with the flow’ instead.

3.       Courage. To meet new people, talk to your favorite authors, pitch to agents and editors. You can do anything for 15 minutes, right? A conference is just lots of 15-minute intervals strung together

Love it!! I feel so much better about breaking up my conference experience into 15 minute increments. It certainly doesn’t seem as frightening that way 🙂

Siri, thanks for the wonderul tips. Will I have the opportunity to have a cup of Caramel Hot Chocolate with you again this year? Here’s hopin’!

You can learn more about Siri and her books at

Conference Tips with Ruth Logan Herne

For the unpubbed author, there is nothing better than finding people who support and encourage you.

People who teach and guide you.

People who tell you the truth, critique with love, and have a snarky sense of humor.

Ruth Logan Herne has been one of those people for me!

One of the fabulous fifteen of Seekerville, Ruthy has made an amazing hit into the published world since her first book Winter’s End came out in March 2010, Ruthy has successfully released  FIVE more books with many more to come! Her novels have consistently received excellent reviews and Winter’s End is a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards this year (I plan to CHEER in person!!! Probably annoyingly loudly. Go, Ruthy!!)

So, without further ado, what are Ruthy’s top three conference tips?

Oh, honey, that one’s easy.




Everything else is extraneous.




Can’t make a cake without flour…

Writing’s your flour. THe basic ingredient.

Simple, yet profound. Thanks Ruthy.

Without words on a page, there’s little chance of publication – so….we have some work to do. 🙂

To learn more about Ruthy’s books, visit her website at or stop by Seekerville!

Do you have someone or more than one someone who encourages you along this writing journey?


photos courtesy of

Conference Tips with Ruth Axtell Morren

Why not follow Julie Lessman with her ACFW workshop partner, Ruth Axtell Morren.

The first time I read one of Ruth’s novels, I was moved to tears. Her portrayal of romance framed in by the grace of God was truly breathtaking.

If you’ve never read her novels, I strongly recommend them – especially if you like to see how unlikely characters end up together AND if you like to experience a story woven with strong threads of redemption. They are truly lovely.

What does Ruth have to say?

I’d have to say as an introvert, although I love conferences with their chance to see fellow writers in person and talk up a storm and soak up all kinds of information, come nightfall, I have a terrible time shutting my thoughts off to sleep, so this time around, I’m going to bring some Valerian or over the counter sleeping pills and an eyemask to help in that dept.;
   friends’ cell phone numbers so we can connect during the conference. It’s like a zoo there, and I want to make sure I don’t miss people I either only know online or whom I only get to see rarely;
   non-judgmental attitude so I don’t begin to feel either full of myself or insecure by measuring myself

Thanks so much for these important tips, Ruth. Speaking of cell #s and meeting important people – I can’t WAIT to meet you!!! So excited you will be at ACFW this year!!

And the non-judgmental attitude? Definitely! As a pubbed-author-wannabe, I can easily see myself as leaning toward the ‘insecure’ side.

Thanks for being here today.

If you all would like to learn more about Ruth’s books, check out her website at