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Book Review: Shadow Stalker

Do you guys remember the movie Jerry McGuire, when Jerry declares his love for his wife and she tells him “you had me at hello” That’s the best way to describe this book.  As a crime mysteries lover, this book just sucked me in. I dare you to read the prologue and not read the rest of the book. A little spoiler if you allow me. In that prologue there’s a scene and the author says something like…and she saw her mother’s head explode in front of her eyes. I was sold. I know, it sounds morbid, but it is that good.

I sat patiently for hours at a doctor’s appointment without complaining because I was so into the book that I was in no rush to be called in. I think has been a long time since I have been upset that a book ended, but the good news is that it’s a series so I’m definitely going for book 2, because I need to know what happens. So I take this opportunity to tell the author to hurry up and write it…LOL!

In a nutshell, this is the story of a woman who watches her parent’s being killed as a child. She’s protected by family members who adopt her for a while. She grows to become a private investigator, which sometimes gets her in trouble. The people who killed her parents are after her and now she needs to use her skills to protect herself, but also to protect her current investigation and the investigation of her new partner.

I give this one five stars with no hesitation.  I’ll keep you posted when I read the next one.

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Missing you hurts

Missing your love hurts

Your love hurts

Hurts so deep inside

Every day that you’re not with me

Its like the world stops spinning

This pain is so real

This pain is so true

Missing you is killing

Every part of my soul

I pray to God for healing

I pray for his comfort

But not having you near me

Is taking me to a new low

I love you

God knows that’s true

And for every minute you’re away

My heart just keeps spitting out blood

This poem, although not included in the book, was  written by one of the main characters in my new novel, “A Brother’s Vow”. Join me in this journey through the deepest of pains, hitting rock bottom and healing. Once you’ve read the book, come back and tell us who do you think wrote it? If you guess right, you will get a free copy of my very first book, “Growth Lessons”.

A Brother's Vow (Final)A crazy promise made during a night out with his twin brother will change Randall’s life forever. Will he be able to keep the promise he made or will his past cause him to go against everything he’s worked hard to achieve?

“Randall Benson and his twin brother Brian think nothing will change in their happy, close-knit family. Their parents worked hard to establish a business and a heritage of godliness for their five sons. Randall does his part for the business, but doesn’t buy into that heritage thing. He just wants to have fun, until a series of events convinces him he has to change for the sake of the people he loves. His mother’s selfless love isn’t enough to change him. The protection and example of his brothers isn’t enough. The promises he’s desperate to keep aren’t enough. Are there really forces at work that Randall can’t control on his own?

This is a story about interconnected lives and the consequences of the actions of everybody in the family. It’s not just about one black sheep and his struggle to change. The spiritual lessons you can learn from each member of the Benson family surprise you as you make your way through this complex story and navigate their successes and failures. This isn’t women’s fiction. It’s complex adult fiction with a message for everyone who has promises to keep. By Mary C. Findley

Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords.

New Release: A Brother’s Vow

I’m very happy to announce the release of my new novel  “A Brother’s Vow” Writing this book taught me a lot about Grace, family dynamics and spiritual warfare. It is amazing how God uses everything to teach us and push us to grow to the next level. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Blessings… Naty

A Brother's Vow (Final)

You can obtain your copy today at

Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords.

(Print copies will be available within the next few weeks)

Randall Benson didn’t think life could be any better. His job with the family business allowed him to travel and meet new people. His relationship with his girlfriend the model, gave his access to all the red carpet events and parties, yet there was no requirement for him to be faithful. Although his family doesn’t approve of his careless lifestyle, they love him and do whatever they can to keep him from self-destructing. Yet Randall’s only concern is Randall.

Randall’s world begins to come undone after a series of unexpected events. As Randall tries to settle down and become more dependable, his twin brother Brian seems to be headed down a path that Randall is way too familiar. Brian makes an unusual request that nonchalantly he agrees to keep. He never thought that he would have to keep his word, but he does. As Randall struggles to fulfill his promise to his brother, he is confronted with challenges from his past. Will he succumb to his past and risk losing everything he’s worked so hard to accomplish?

Persistent Love

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Download on Kindle ( http://amzn.com/B00CHAE3QS)

Free Tuesday May 14th and Wednesday May 15th

Persistent Love:

Christian Romantic Suspense Novella set in 1685, England.
Fear has been Tara’s constant companion since age nine when she witnessed her mother’s murder. Tara’s father moves his family to the ancient castle of Raven’s Cliff, far from the ships that could carry her back to India and the answers she believes lie there. Andrew offers her friendship and guides her gently to the One who will give her peace. Will she find hope for something other than revenge?

A Brief Q&A with the Author, Laura J. Marshall.

Q: Did you learn anything along the way as you wrote Persistent Love?

A: I learned writing is harder than I ever thought possible. I also learned that even in the head-banging, why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself moments that writing is part of who I am and I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.

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Laura J. Marshall is the full-time mother of five sons and part-time writer and blogger. She operates a popular blog called The Old Stone Wall. Laura is the best-selling author of the Battle Cry Devotional Series. Visit www.LauraJMarshall.com to find out more about Laura’s books.

Intuition and Breaking Writer’s Block

I’ve read that women’s intuition is a real thing—it stems from a woman’s ability to keep an eye on the periphery, store what she observes on a subconscious level, and then make connections with that information that a man’s more linear thinking can’t do.

It’s a gift. A talent.

And we know what God asks us to do with our gifts. We need to invest them to bring back a profit to the master. The servant in the parable of the talents who buried his talent to keep it safe, was not his master’s favorite. God wants a return on what he has invested in us.

When we writers hit a wall, get blocked, or just don’t know what to do next with our story, we tend to turn to others for help. It’s good to check your story line against a solid framework, like Bell’s Plot and Structure, and it’s great to let trusted friends have a read and give feedback, but don’t dismiss your intuition. God gave it to you so that you would use it.

Is your writers block presenting as a terrible blank first page? Let your intuition help you start out. Ignore the nagging voice that keeps asking if your idea will sell, and focus on what you love. Do you have a great character in mind? What places does that character naturally fit? Do you have a great setting you’ve always wanted to write about? Who would you naturally see there? Your answers will be all you own, springing up from your deep memory. Flesh out your people and your world and see what kind of stories build from there.
Not a seat of pants writer? It’s okay. Neither am I. Once you have a background built, feel free to plot with as much care and structure as your heart desires.

Do you have a great start on a story but you’ve hit a wall? Try this: Write a scene from sometime in your character’s past. Pick a time of transition or stress for your character: his wedding, her graduation, moving to a new school, losing a parent. Seat of pants this one for me. Don’t plot it out, just let your intuition carry the scene. What happens and how your character reacts to it should open up new connections in that subconscious of yours, where you have been storing little details about your story, but didn’t realize it. Of course, this scene won’t go into your book, but knowing your character better should help you move your story forward.

I secretly think all writers have women’s intuition, even the men. How else could we draw whole worlds out of our minds? Well, whatever you call it, intuition, imagination, inspiration, or just plain paying attention, don’t let this gift from God go to waste. Let your mind wander, to unstuck your work in progress.

Traci Tyne Hilton’s newest story, “Cupid’s Cappucino” is available just in time for Valentine’s Day! Find it in the romance collection. Heart Bouquets at amazon.com!

DSC_3163Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.

Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci’s work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com

I HATE COMMAS, COMMAS, AND MORE COMMAS!

By Lillian Duncan

I gladly admit that I hate commas. I much prefer to ignore them when I write. Those kind souls who critique my writing are always pointing out my comma failings (and I so appreciate them).

So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Since I needed to write a post about writing tips, I decided to improve my own writing in the process, or so I hope. Instead of writing about what I know I’m on a quest to find out what I don’t know about commas!

I asked some other writers to give me rules about commas as a first step. Here’s what they’re saying:

Linda Samaritoni gives us RULE # 1: Use a comma in direct address, meaning names.

EXAMPLE : I’m here to help you, friend.

Gail Kittleson, author of Catching Up With Daylight (to be published 2013), gives us RULE # 2: Use a comma after a subordinate clause used as an introduction to a
sentence.
EXAMPLE: After we watched our team lose, we headed to the malt shoppe.

Louise M. Gouge, author of A Suitable Wife, December 2012, tells us about RULE #3: Use a comma to separate independent clauses (complete thoughts) when they are joined by these transition words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

EXAMPLE: We wanted to go to the movie, but none of the films caught our interest.

Amy Cattapan, aspiring author and a middle school English teacher, gives us RULE #4: When including a full date in a sentence (month, day, and year), put a comma after the year as well as between the day and the year.
Example: The conference held on September 21, 2012, was a great success.

I give you RULE #5: Use commas to separate a series of at least 3 objects or events.

EXAMPLE: She woke up, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast, and then left for the day.

I’m checking out the Chicago Manual Of Style, which is what many fiction writers use as the ultimate grammar and punctuation resource. I’ve spent more than an hour reading questions about commas and CMOS answers on their website.

A few things have become clear to me.

Commas are troublesome to lots of people not just me.

There are lots of ambiguous situations concerning commas, but the CMOS people have a consistent answer. If the comma helps to clarify a situation use it. If the sentence doesn’t need clarifying then don’t use it.

In many situations, commas can or cannot be used, and either way would be right. That makes me feel better. I guess it comes down to personal preference and what your editor prefers.

The CMOS website points out that good editing smoothes the way for the reader. And I guess that’s why writers need editors. My job is to create the story, and the editor’s job is to smooth out the bumps.

But I’m hoping my editor has a few less commas to add in my next story!

YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT:I purposefully left out some commas in the above post and possibly a few accidentally. Leave a comment if you find a sentence that needs a comma with an explanation why. You may refer to the above rules to make it easier.

Lillian Duncanwrites stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

New Release: Dawn Singer

“Janalyn Voigt is a fresh voice in the realm of fantasy. Her writing is crisp, her perf5.500x8.500.inddverbs muscular, and it’s all wrapped up in a lyrical style. Blending action and romance, Dawn Singer is a journey through fear, failure, and faith, and I look forward to its sequel.”

– Eric Wilson, NY Times bestselling author

of Valley of Bones and One Step Away

Paradoxical Truths Revealed

A new speculative fiction story releases this summer that captures several paradoxical truths, including: freedom comes through sacrifice – AND – victory comes through surrender. allegorical fantasy readers will be spellbound by the incredible imagery and symbolism throughout Dawn Singer, authored by Janalyn Voigt. Some of the key points in the book include:

Freedom through sacrifice. When the willful but reverent main character, Shae, learns her secret identity, she has to decide whether to accept her true calling. Although it may cost her everything, the salvation of a nation hangs in the balance. Shae represents the church. We each must lay down our will and our lives to bring freedom to others.

Overcoming prejudice with unity. In Dawn Singer, the clash is not over color of skin but between classes of being. Elderland was already inhabited by the Elder nation when the Kindren entered it from another world through a gate that closed behind them. The Elder accepted the Kindren’s occupation of Elder land because they didn’t want to live in the areas where they settled—areas within reach of garns (goblenesque creatures) and welkes (giant birds of prey). Dawn Singer opens as an unknown enemy stirs strife between Kindren and Elder in an attempt to divide and conquer Elder land. As a result, the alliance of Faeraven, a group of Kindren kingdoms ruled by a widowed High Queen, begins to fall apart. This story arc, which spans three novels, is based in large part on Voigt’s father’s experiences of prejudice as a half-breed Native American.

Serving rather than ruling. As the High Queen’s health fails, Kai, the hero of Dawn Singer, must choose whether to reign and rule in his homeland or to continue in service to the new High King at her death. Kai’s decision inspires Shae to make her own.

Conquering fear by not letting it consume you. In Pilaer Hold, an ancient place of defeat for the Kindren, wraiths rush toward Kai and Shae’s other protectors. They draw their swords, but the more wraiths they dispatch, the more arise. They learn that to defeat fear, something else is needed.

About the Author:

Janalyn Voigt, creating worlds of beauty and dangerJanalyn Voigt’s epic fantasy trilogy, Tales of Faeraven, starting with Dawn Singer, is published by Harbourlight Books. Janalyn also writes in the western romance genre. She is represented by Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary. Her nonfiction publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press (now David C. Cook) and Pentecostal Evangel. She serves as a literary judge for several national contests and is an active book reviewer. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. Janalyn lives in a quiet corner of the Pacific Northwest, where she discovers worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

CREATING WORLDS OF BEAUTY AND DANGER

Website: http://janalynvoigt.com

Blog: http://janalynvoigt.com/blogStarbucks Card

Comment for a chance to win one of these prizes

• $25 Starbucks Gift Card

• Autographed Copy of Dawn Singer

Your Life A Legacy for Kids

I had the great opportunity to read this book this past weekend and all I canYour Life a Legacy for Kids say is, Where was this book when I was growing up? Especially now in the summer, parents run out of ideas of things to do with their children while at home and why not do something that not only is fun but that matters. I also can see how this book has the great potential to help teachers develop so many skills for children.

This book encourages children to explore who they are, as well as their dreams. In a society where dreams have been dictated by the media, this gives them an opportunity for the children to create dreams of their own. The great thing about the activities in this book is that they can be generalized for all ages as long as the children can write or draw. Each child will feel important and included in the activities.

I enjoyed the real life stories of children who have participated in this project, especially the story about the kid who wrote about the Mustang car. Sorry my readers, you know I don’t like to give too many spoilers so you will have to get the book to find out.

I really enjoyed this book. I don’t have kids, but I do interact with many and I look forward to introducing them to this concept.

The author of this great book is Joy Dekok. She is the author of 7 published books, a national speaker, author coach, and social media manager for several clients. She and her husband Jon live on 35 acres of field and woods in Minnesota with their dogs Sophie & Tucker. You can find more about Joy’s books on her website www.joydekok.com

We got awards!

My new blogger friend and great writer Holly Michael from Writing Straight has awarded The Rising Muse with the One Lovely Blog Award. How cool is that! I’m so humbled and appreciative for the consideration.

But that was not all, she also awarded me with the Reader’s Appreciation Award.

As a writer you have no idea how honored I feel. We live for our readers, to connect with them and provide for them the information, inspiration and entertainment they seek, that’s why we exist. Thank you!

Now I believe the rules require that we share the joy with our favorite bloggers and I shall do just that.

The One Lovely Blog Award goes to… Nancy Jill Thames and her blog Queen of Afternoon Tea. I met Nancy through twitter and she’s a very supportive blogger and friend. She interviews different authors on her blog and is a lover of tea. I’ve learned about different writing styles through her blog. Very well deserved, Nancy!

Last but not least, the Reader’s Appreciation Award goes to…Rebecca LuElla Miller and her blog Rewrite, Reword, Rework. This is a blog that provides a lot of great information for writers and I could never express enough how grateful I am for how much Rebecca has expanded my writing tool belt.

Congratulations to the winners!

WF: From the inside out

WF: Worship Friday

As we surrender the deepest layers of ourselves to the one who created it all, the deeper our intimacy with Him will be…

Happy Friday!