DiscoverThe Because Fiction Podcast
The Because Fiction Podcast

The Because Fiction Podcast

Author: Chautona Havig

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Taking the pulse of Christian fiction, Because Fiction explores the lastest trends in Christian fiction, discusses genres, specific authors, new releases, and classics as well. If it's Christian fiction (or something readers love), we talk about it.
38 Episodes
Journalist, podcaster, and multi-genre author of Saving Ebenezer, S. Daniel Smith is this week's guest and here to talk with us about: His articles regarding missions during the Covid-19 pandemic His podcast and writing about science fiction and fantasy His fabulous Christmas novel, Saving Ebenezer (that I mentioned in Episode 21) If you want to skip to just our discussion of the book, you'll find that at approximately 23.5 minutes into the episode. But I encourage you to listen to Dan's heart for missions, what the Lord is doing with his writing, and how he got started. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Who Is S. Daniel Smith? Dan's first works were nonfiction articles for magazines and newspapers.  In fact, he has two recent articles about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting missionaries in different countries. I'll get those links to those articles and add them in later here.  I thought I had them but can't find them. Stay tuned for those. Dan always wanted to write fiction, so he decided back in 2015 to learn how to write fiction. So he made that decision and started learning writing craft using things like the Novel Marketing's 5 Year Plan to Becoming a Best-Selling Author. That program helped him learn to write short stories which will help him with writing longer works. His Facebook group of Sci-Fi fans led to Dan's podcast, Coffee in Space. Guys, it's a fun podcast, so if you love Sci-Fi or fantasy, you might want to check it out. I mentioned in the podcast that I'd listened to the episode with Madeleine Mozley, and if you enjoy Christian Sci-fi, I think you'd really enjoy that episode. Why Saving Ebenezer Is My #1 Christmas Book Recommendation This Year Saving Ebenezer is one of the best novel continuations I've seen. While staying faithful to the original story, he gives us more and shows us where Dickens fell just a bit short of the true goal of Marley's warning. He even brings in one tiny element of It's a Wonderful Life, which, of course, makes perfect sense.  After all, It's a Wonderful Life is a retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Saving Ebenezer begins seven years after the events of A Christmas Carol. It explores giving everything away without faith behind your actions. After an opening line that ripped out my heart, Dan then really made the whole Cratchit family come alive. He wrote with a flair and style very similar to Dickens without the excessive wordiness that Dickens employed. The characters stayed who Dickens made them to be, but they grew because that's what people do. Dan spoke to how the original manuscript for this went to a much darker place than he finally ended with in his final draft. Instead of that dark place, he and his editors and beta readers worked together to make sure the book ends on hope.  As we discussed in the podcast, Dickens focused on hope and love, but Dan brought the element of faith in here and created a perfect trifecta right there. Also... let's talk about a beautiful cover, guys.   Check this out.  See? Beautiful.  Here's the synopsis: Seven years after Jacob Marley and the three ghosts of Christmas changed Ebenezer’s life, Scrooge has a problem. He’s given away most of his money and brightened many lives, restored churches, and made London workhouses better for those living and working inside. If only all of that made him feel better about his life… Doubt plagues Ebenezer. Even with all of his philanthropy, he still has questions he can’t answer. Are the scales balanced? Did he do enough good after that fateful Christmas Eve to avoid Jacob Marley’s fate? And after a very special person dies, he adds another question: Why did God let it happen? When he falls ill himself, Ebenezer’s questions take on a new desperation. From the Cratchits to the workhouse fundraisers to nephew Fred, you’ll be reintroduced to several old friends, as well as a few new ones. With each visitor, Ebenezer tries to get closer to the answers to his questions. As the clock starts to run out, Ebenezer will need the words from an old friend to tip the scales in his favor. Saving Ebenezer picks up on a story started by Charles Dickens in 1843 with A Christmas Carol. Christians will appreciate a heartwarming story of God's love shown in tragedy while all readers will enjoy the common points between Saving Ebenezer and the original work. Even better than that... Read the book on Kindle Unlimited, and then go grab your kindle copy for .99!  That's right, Saving Ebenezer is on sale for just .99 right now. But once you are done reading it and seeing how awesome it is, go grab a paperback of the book for a gift or two or three. AND... leave a comment below about when you first read or heard A Christmas Carol read and I'll giveaway a copy next week. Also... did you hear what he says?  He is working on continuing the story of Belinda Cratchit and her adventures.  I'm so excited. To find out how to sign up for his newsletter, I recommend going HERE and emailing him. :) Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
One of the coolest things about having this podcast is the opportunity to talk with authors, see what inspires them, discover how they fell in love with writing. Some people decided to write as a child. Others had a teacher who inspired them. But I've noticed one common thread despite the differences in original inspiration. Every author has something to say. Some writers have a unique perspective, while others forge paths in directions no one has explored. There may be "nothing new under the sun;" however, authors often see the old in new ways. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Does Christian Romance Offer That Readers Need? In this week's episode, I chat with author Sara Beth Williams about her books, how she started writing, what inspired her first Christian romance book, and more. One of the greatest things we talked about was how so much secular fiction gets stuff backward.  And in Christian fiction, we might deal with the gritty side of life, but even in all that, we see the emphasis on what is good and right even when people don't get it right. But first, Sara's writing process. This woman is amazing. Her books have approximately a DOZEN drafts.  She tells us how she writes the emotionally charged scenes first, and then she writes in the rest of it. While she tries to keep those in order, she just writes them all and then creates an outline to help her fill in everything.  Wow! This reminded me a bit of Hallee Bridgeman's "layer" system of writing. Sarah Beth also writes a ton of backstory before she really gets going.  I hope I convinced her to take all that backstory and write another story for newsletter subscribers, so you might want to head over to her WEBSITE and sign up in case she really does. Oh, she's going to be offering spots on her launch team (can you say FREE BOOK as I mentioned in THIS episode). While she didn't plan to write a Christian romance series, research showed it was a good idea, and what she'd already done set it up for one, so she created a Second Chance Novel series.  All three books have titles with double meanings, and I LOVE that I caught it as I was reading. Sara Beth's books: Her first book, When Hearts Collide, is not a Romeo and Juliet retelling, however, there are hints of undertones from that play in the book. Guys, I'm in the middle of this book and I'm loving it. Additionally, I saw parallels between this book and Tammy L. Gray's, Mercy's Embrace. So, if you enjoyed that book, you'll probably love this! Not only that, but her publisher, Anaiah Press has a bunch of their books on SALE right now, so you might want to dash over and get your copies.  I'm going to get this book as a series. You can shop HERE. Meanwhile, the second book in this Christian romance series, A Worthy Heart, is a Selah Award finalist. We'll learn tomorrow if she wins.  Praying for all the finalists today!! The third book comes out in March of 2021, and it deals with mental health, grief, and of course, romance! :D She's writing a lot of depth into this series without making it heavy, and I'm impressed. Oh, and for a fun light read, she recommends Candee Fick! When Hearts Collide is similar enough to Nicholas Sparks' book, A Bend in the Road, that if you enjoyed that book, youll probably love Sara's!  :D Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Amish fiction tends to be a bit polarizing. Readers tend to love it or hate it. Are the criticisms valid?  One has to wonder because, despite the naysayers, Amish fiction has a huge following. What is so appealing about Amish fiction, what do readers expect, and is the claim that "If you've read one, you've read them all" a fair one? Amish author, Jennifer Beckstrand, joined me in a conversation about Amish fiction, her books, and a super exciting collection that released today, Amish Christmas Miracles. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why Amish Fiction Is Crazy Popular & More I had a list of questions that probably took poor Jennifer for a wild ride, but anyone who visits many of the Christian fiction Facebook groups, the Goodreads discussions, or just chats Christian fiction with friends knows that Amish fiction has rabid fans and derisive critics.  Knowing how readers felt about that, I thought it would be nice to get an author's perspective.  I asked about: Why people like Amish fiction. Jennifer loves it because enjoys a happy story, and she said that people appreciate the simplicity of the lifestyle and that it's a kinder, gentler romance than many contemporary romances.  I'm going to out her here and share that while I cut it out of the audio, she did coin a new word. "Kindler."  We had a good laugh over that. She also made a fascinating point about how it really does combine historical fiction with contemporary. That really hit home with me because the first Amish fiction I really loved was Suzanne Woods Fisher's Anna's Crossing series. Additionally, one of Amish fiction's most criticized elements is also why it is popular. Jennifer shared that publishers like it because Walmart does.  Readers know exactly what to expect from a book with an Amish cover.  The very predictability of general Amish plots is also what those readers like.  I found that fascinating. They also love the strong faith element of people whose entire lives are an act of worship. Are all Amish stories really the same? Not hardly. For example, in the collection we discussed, there are fourteen different Amish authors and Jennifer reckons that this probably means fourteen different locations including Maine and Maryland--two states that I didn't know had Amish communities. Some say that the characters in these books are a bit too "perfect," and Jennifer admits sometimes they are.  She and many authors like her, however, enjoy writing more flawed, relatable characters.  I pointed out that the tendency to write "Mary Sue" characters is by no means limited to Amish fiction, and after some reflection, I think that like many others, I've often held Amish fiction to a higher standard than other fiction. That doesn't seem quite right, does it? So we ended up discussing how genre fiction all have formulas within each genre and how the author's job is to avoid turning it into a cliche.  All the Amish aren't all alike! Not just location differences, but cultural differences within those locations make all Amish stories different.  They actually put a foreword in Amish Christmas Miracles pointing out that the different places would have different lives, rules, traditions, and things.  Jennifer also talked about her original research when she decided to write Amish fiction, and after immersing herself in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish culture, she decided to set her books in Wisconsin and was dismayed to learn from an Amish friend that those Wisconsin folks were very different! People have ideas about what Amish is and isn't and when we impose our ideas of what is and isn't sufficiently Amish, we're kind of arrogant.  Fun fact: In my daughter's Amish town, I saw an Amish man getting out of a car at McDonald's, talking on the phone.  That's okay there. However, they're only allowed to use a certain kind of (uncovered in crazy cold Indiana, no less) sort of buggy.  Larger families have "three-buggy garages" because they need them to fit everyone into said buggy! When I read Buried Secrets by Rachel J. Good, my knowledge of the Amish was limited to groups NOT like the one Rachel was writing about and that yes, some Amish do decorate nurseries for their babies! Why is Pennsylvania Dutch used where it is and when it is? People love varying amounts of the Pennsylvania Dutch in their books, and as we were talking about it, I realized it would be a good thing to have a list of authors who use a lot and others who don't use as much for folks who enjoy it. Jennifer likes to use just enough to create that setting--a reminder to the reader that these people are actually speaking and thinking in Pennsylvania Dutch. The Amish Christmas Miracles Collection Jennifer (J.E.B.) Spredemann was talking about how she wanted to do a box set, so eventually, those two and Rachel J. Good got together and found eleven more authors who wanted to do it. Now I read Jennifer's story, Peanut Butter Christmas, and seriously.  Amish, Santa Claus, Miracles, and faith struggles... what more could you want from a Christmas story. How about absolutely adorable twin boys who don't quite get how this Santa thing works.  I also told my own Santa story from my childhood.  Eeep! The authors are as follows and I'm listing a few of each authors' books that I thought you might want to take note of: Jennifer Beckstrand The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series Sweet as Honey from the Honeybee Sisters series Andrew from the Petersheim Brothers series Kathleen Fuller Amish Christmas Miracles Amish Christmas Wedding A Double Dose of Love J.E.B. Spredemann The author's Amazon page Dana R. Lynn Her Amazon page of various series Susan Lantz Simpson Plain Discovery  (Book One of the Plainly Maryland Series) The Promise (Book One of the Amish of Southern Maryland Series) Rosanna's Gift   Lizzie's Heart    Ashley Emma Amish Alias Undercover Amish Lenora Worth Their Amish Reunion Her Amish Child Seeking Refuge Amish Christmas Hideaway Serena B. Miller  Her Amazon page of various titles Loree Lough A Little Child Shall Lead Them Series Mistletoe and Murder: A Christmas Suspense Collection Rachel J. Good His Unexpected Amish Twins His Pretend Amish Bride His Accidental Amish Family  Amish Christmas Twins Laura Bradford The author's Amazon page Tracy Fredrychowski Secrets of Willow Springs – Book 1 Secrets of Willow Springs – Book 2 The Amish Women of Lawrence County Love Blooms at the Apple Blossom Inn Adina Senft The Wounded Heart Herb of Grace Mary Alford  Amish Country Murder  Amish Country Kidnapping The collection is .99 but only until 11/15/2020, so grab it now! The regular retail price is 9.99, so you really want to grab it fast.  Seriously, Jennifer's story is worth the dollar price tag several times over all by itself, so grab it while you can. Find the full show notes at
I blame MSN Messenger. Well, maybe it was my friend who used the messenger as the conduit for her crazy idea.  Okay, so it wasn't exactly her crazy idea, but she did tell me about it. Millions of people writing fifty-thousand words in thirty days.  During the month of November.  Yep, November--you know, that month where you're pretty much going non-stop from dawn until dusk for a whole week doing preparations for Thanksgiving?  Yeah. That month. So, like any rational and intelligent author, I went over to the NaNoWriMo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) website and signed up. That was October 2006.  I haven't missed a year doing NaNoWriMo books since, although last year I didn't get my words validated in time.  Killed my "winning streak" but at least I know I actually DID the work.  That counts in my book. You can see my list of NaNoWriMo book (s) HERE.  I won't rehash them in this post. Needless to say, I began with the book that eventually became Discovering Hope, and this year I'm doing Flipping Hearts. Later in the podcast, I talked about how every October 31, I spend the day cleaning my house and that night I eat Chinese food, hand out candy to kids, and write my annual parody.  Here's a list of those parodies! The Night before Nano (A “T‘was the Night Before Christmas” parody) The Raven (as in Poe’s, of course) Tease (as in Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”) Till November (A “My Grandfather’s Clock” parody) Goin’ on a Book Hunt (Going on a Bear Hunt parody) Winking, Blinking, and Nod (ing)(Wynken, Blynken, and Nod)   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Without further ado, books that were once NaNoWriMo book (s) you can read TODAY. Janine Rosche:  This Wandering Heart: 2018 Nano and released this year to rave reviews. I guess you could say I started my nanowrimo book Nov. 1st 2018, got a contract with Berkley in March 2019, and it was published 2020.    2019’s book, is available on preorder—Glory Falls—third in the series—  releases in January 2021 Two people scarred by past trauma have a chance to write a new chapter in their lives, overcome loss, and find love in the third entry in the Madison River Romance series. Carolyn Miller: My 5th novel Miss Serena’s Secret was a NaNo project, written just after I finished writing Winning Miss Winthrop. I was so inspired I wrote 80k words in 30 days! Toni Shiloh:  The Maple Run series (Buying Love, Enduring Love, Risking Love) Jennifer Lamont Leo: My 2016 debut novel, You're the Cream in My Coffee, began life as a Nano project. And my 2019 Nano project, The Rose Keeper, will release in March 2021. Regina Walker:  We Go On Writing in NaNo gives me permission to spend a month totally consumed by writing and  letting things slide. I get back to "normal" (whatever that is) after the month us up. But my family all knows I'm pretty much in book mode during NaNo and one of the camps. And I get to write the way I like (which tends toward obsessively). That style doesn't work 12 months a year with a husband and 7 kids. But for a month I can feed them easy dinners and kind of glide on everything to do this thing I LOVE. Cathe Swanson:  Her only NaNoWriMo book in print is Baggage Claim but she’s got others in the wings she’s editing and such.  Seriously, you’ve got to read this book! Bethany Turner: Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish were... though I failed horribly at NaNo both times! ????? Starting again today! Carol Moncado: This is my 14th year. 9 of those 13 have been published in one form or another. 1-2 more may be completely revamped someday. 2 are unlikely to ever be. I nano because that’s where I started writing for real and started thinking this was a thing I might be able to do. My most important NaNo was around 2017 when I skipped two books ahead and wrote the bulk of The Indentured Queen. It has a character named and fashioned after my dying second cousin, and I wanted more than anything to get him a paper copy ASAP. It had gaps in the middle, but most of it was there, and he got to hold a copy six weeks or so before he passed. I know he read some of it but don’t know that he finished. Joanna Politano: A Rumored Fortune (my review is here) was a long-ago one that eventually was rewritten. The Love Note was last year's. Well, 50k of it Micki Clark:  Don’t Ask Me to Leave— a modern Ruth and Boaz Retelling. GOTTA  READ THIS BOOK.  SO adorable  Made it halfway before I had to stop and the COVER. Anne Perrault:  An Unusual Adventure  I didn't do much other than sleep and write that month lol. Naomi Musch: These three of mine (are NaNoWriMo book (s): The Deepest Sigh, The Love Coward, A Tender Siege (part of The Highlanders collection). Two others currently out of print that I hope to bring back. Logan Judy: Two of mine, actually. One, An Exalted Depravity (published in 2016, but was my 2014 project), and second, A Prison in the Sky, which is releasing here in about a week (was my 2015 project). I...take a long time to edit Kari Trumbo:  Kari, being the prolific gal she is, shared her NaNoWriMo project page with us! Sondra Kraak: One Plus One Equals Trouble My debut One Plus One Equals Trouble was a NaNo baby in 2015 and several others in the series since. I’m sad not to be doing it this year but I’m taking a few months off writing to take care of all the projects that built up in my list. I’m feeling sentimental about all these other writers participating! There will be another November... Joanne Markey:  Dreaming of More Joanne is an Aussie transplant to the Midwest.  She’s a homeschooling mom of a passel (seven or eight) children and writes delightful romance. Dreaming of More is her NaNoWriMo book. A fun tip about Joanne: her husband isn’t just the illustrator of HER novels, he’s the primary illustrator of my Marriages of Conviction series AND of the upcoming Ever After Mysteries! Amanda Cox:  The Edge of Belonging  This is one of those books that I keep seeing EVERYWHERE.  I mean, you can’t blink without someone saying, “Read this book!” So, I read the preview on Amazon.  Bought the book.  I’m dying to know what happens next. Piper Dow: Shades of Deception  Fun fact, her daughter is on the cover of her book and another daughter will be on the cover of an upcoming one! M.A.Malcolm:  His Last Hope   My debut novel "His Last Hope" (M. A. Malcolm). I started it in 2009 and then scrapped it and started from scratch for my first NaNoWriMo in 2013. It was a NaNoWinner. I then added another 39,000 words and published it in 2015. List of others written during NaNoWriMo:  Ruth Buchanan:  Collapsible and Flexible were both Nano babies!  (These sound HILARIOUS!) Judy Ducharme:  Blood Moon Redemption   Shawna Robison Young:  The Unsuspecting Heather Meyers   Tari Faris: You Belong with Me was her first NaNo project back In 2011. It's on my shelf to read. SQUEE! Alyssa Tillet:  Waves of Change Jane Lebak:  Shattered Walls, With Two Eyes into Gehenna, Forever and for Keeps, and Relic of His Heart were all Nano projects to start with. Oh, and Sacred Cups, too. Julie Arduini:  Entrusted   Robin Patchen:  Finding Amanda   (Read the synopsis.  AAAK!  MUST READ) Valerie Comer:  Sprouts of Love (2016) and Raindrops on Radishes (2018). Evelyn Grace:  Seascapes (Psst... sounds GOOD) Annette M. Irby:  Her Washington Island Series Christen Krumm:  It Happened at Christmas  (a YA twist on While You Were Sleeping!) Cathryn Brown:  Accidentally Matched Jessica White:  Song in the Dark  (Have to share the synopsis.  It sounds so good!) On the other side of darkness lies freedom … Hades/Persephone Inspired Romantic Suspense After graduating from Juilliard, harpist Jenna Fields returns home to Albany to escape her manipulative ex. But coming home means dealing with her mother who has orchestrated every detail of Jenna’s life. Waiting for a job offer that will allow her to escape New York and build a life of her own, Jenna volunteers to raise money for a local charity. Homicide detective Dean Blackburn spends his days seeking justice for the dead. But death taints everything including him. When his three Dobermans lead him to Jenna, he tries to resist the little siren. She not only starts a fire in his heart but brings light and joy to his lonely world. When her world crumbles beneath her feet and her dark secret revealed, Dean helps Jenna see that the key to escaping her mother’s gilded cage is already in her hands. Julie Carobini: Mocha Sunrise  But, there's one more way to look at this.  Not all authors are keen on the idea of NaNoWriMo. Jaycee Weaver:  Whatever Happens Next.  She says she writes slower for NaNo—likely all the pressure that doesn’t suit her recovering perfectionist tendencies.  She’s not trying it again, but I may be able to talk her into Camp Nano--less stress, more flexibility!  
Book habits can be expensive, especially when you like REAL books to hold in your hands, but there are ways to save money on paperback books, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites—five, to be exact! Before I get into them, though, I want to point out that this is episode is about PHYSICAL books.  There are lots of ways to get free or very inexpensive ebooks.  Just a few are: Kindle Unlimited Net Galley Free Kindle Store Additionally, there are services that notify you of great ebook deals.  Sites like: 1531 Entertainment Bookbub Faithful Reads Also, sign up for your favorite authors’ newsletters. Many give you a heads up first on when books are going free etc. Blog post for show notes is here: Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. But how can we get free or really inexpensive books without having to scour used bookstores or driving halfway across the country to go to stores like Ollies etc.? The First Cheap Way: Shop Sales! Yeah, I know. It’s rather unromantic and prosaic, but sales are huge. In just the last couple of months, I’ve gotten tons of paperbacks for under 5.00 each (some just a couple of dollars!) on sale from regular retailers like Amazon and Christian Books. Once Upon a  Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep. I got several copies of this one for about three dollars each—thick paperback. This thing is beautiful with deckle-edged pages. I’ll be giving away one of these in a big promotion I’ll talk about in a bit. The Santa Claus Chronicles: Heartwarming Tales from a Real-Life Santa by Rene Gutteridge and Dan Short.  This one was like 2.30.  Seriously.  Hardback, beautiful book written by an author I love?  SOLD. Bought four or five of those, too.  I’ll use them as inexpensive gifts with a mug and hot chocolate and squee! Instant last-minute gift. I got these from Amazon and they shipped free with Prime, too.  Get this:  It’s 3.40 right now. Check out the synopsis: Santa Dan’s Stories Will Soothe Your Soul     Thirty years ago, Dan Short left the corporate world to follow a calling—to give the gift of God’s love to children and adults alike. How did he do it? By becoming Santa Claus, of course!   These are “Santa Dan’s” tales of hope and humor, collected from his three decades of playing Jolly Old Saint Nick. And as you might have guessed, Santa has his share of stories to tell—some tearful, some joyful, and all of them filled with heartwarming Christmas spirit. You’ll meet some of the unforgettable people Santa Dan has encountered…  Anna, a young cancer patient whose fulfillment of her dying wish becomes a life-changing experience for those around her. Rose, an elderly woman with a longstanding grudge against Saint Nick. Terry, a precocious boy with more moxie than clothing. Front Yard Santa, a neighborhood icon whose passing prompts a poignant gesture from a fellow Santa. Faith, Hope, and Grace, three enterprising young girls whose overwhelming generosity befits their virtuous names.  …and you’ll be inspired to share the joy of Jesus with those around you! CBD had their mega sale recently.  Aside from Bibles I’ve been wanting to replace (at half the usual price), I got a book by Carrie Stuart Parks for around four dollars and one by Colleen Coble for three. Stores like and have HUGE numbers of Christian fiction titles for three to five dollars. Booksamillion also has good deals And really, doing a good search on Amazon can find you great deals. Quite by accident, I found yesterday that my book, Deepest Roots of the Heart was reduced from 12.99 to 3.40. Now, it’s up to 4.79 as I type this, so who knows how long it will be on sale, but that’s still a great deal.  I didn’t know anything about it, and that’s a book that doesn’t go on sale very often. In fact, the paperback sale price right now is less expensive than the Kindle usually is. My second suggestion for finding inexpensive paperbacks: online used booksellers! Amazon has a HUGE number of used and discount booksellers on their site.  You can buy almost any paperback for just a couple of dollars in good condition, and usually, you can get “very good” for around five. Many of the used books found on Amazon can also be shipped free with Prime (which totally blows my mind every time I see it!).  So, I always check to see if I can get the book with prime and what the difference is. Often, I can get a book in good to very good condition, shipped to my door for five dollars.  This is usually 1/3 of the retail price of the book. There are other online retailers, of course.  I’ve purchased from: eBay ThriftBooks Paperbackswap and others Facebook has several buy/sell/swap groups where you can sell the books you don’t want and find others you do. Two of them I found are: Buy, Sell, Trade Christian Books Christian Fiction/Nonfiction Buy, Swap, Sell A third way to augment your paperback book budget is… Join Author Launch Teams! First off, I should point out that not all authors send out paperback books.  Indie authors, for example, can’t always afford it—especially if they’re doing blog tours, such as the ones I’ll share with you in a moment, but we do sometimes. Just remember that being on a launch team is a responsibility.  You’re agreeing to share, to review, to promote that book when you join. While books are not meant as payment for the review and promotion, they do come with that responsibility I mentioned. See, as a Christian when we agree to do something, we need to do all in your power to DO what we agreed to.  Last year, I dropped the ball on two launch teams I was on. I agreed before my life fell apart while I took care of my mom. When I sign up, I always do it with the personal understanding that I’m going to give it my all if I possibly can, but even then, it hurt when I saw promotions I couldn’t keep up with. So, this year, a few opportunities came up, but I still didn’t quite know what the new normal was with having my mom living with us, still playing catch up, etc. So I didn’t do it.  It’s one thing for life to knock you out of the ring in the middle of a boxing match, but it’s another to sign up for the match and not show up to the ring at all. Seriously, though, authors need readers.  We need folks to tell others about the books because none of us like to be that pathetic one out there pleading, “buy my book!”  It’s so much nicer when people who love the book share why with others who might like it, too. And closely related is… join a blog tour/reviewer team. Seriously, review teams are great ways to get free books—ebooks and paperbacks.  You have to be willing to put in the time to read the books on time, post your reviews on time, and even accept a lot of ebooks before you’re given the coveted (usually limited in number) paperbacks, but if you’re willing to put that effort in, you’ve got a great way to get a LOT (as many as you can keep up with usually) of free books! My Fourth Suggestion— Library sales and Little Free Libraries I don’t know about you, but our library in our town has a “Friends of the Library” sale every year (often more than once a year).  You can get a ton of great books—even ones you don’t necessarily want yourself but you know others might want to swap you for.  It’s a great way to stock your “share” pile so you can… Go find the little free libraries in your town or towns you plan to visit.  Take along a stack of books.  Check and see if there’s anything in the ones you visit that you’d like, and leave one of those ones you got behind. I suspect you won’t find tons of Christian fiction that you haven’t already read in most, but I know many authors (I’m one of them) who when they have books handy and are in unfamiliar places, they go find these libraries and pop a copy of their books in them.  You might just find a treasure, and if not, maybe you could leave one, right? Finally, the fifth one: Giveaways Seriously, follow blog tours and enter the giveaways for free paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks. Companies like CelebrateLit have five to seven tours starting every week!  MOST of those give away a book!  Many give away Amazon gift cards.  Enter.  Get those gift cards, and save ‘em up. Also, new book releases. There are parties on Facebook, Instagram, and even private ones on blogs.  Like, for example, this week the Independence Islands authors are celebrating the release of Rachel Skatvold’s, Her Merriweather Hero. Starting with Rachel’s Blog today, October 27th, you can go from blog to blog, and enter to win paperbacks, ebooks, and even an audiobook of the prequel to the series. That link will be in the show notes, but it’s just an example of how you can follow new releases. This is why you want to be on all your favorite authors’ newsletters.  They tell you about these things! Then there are bigger promos like CelebrateLit’s quarterly (and then some) multi-author promos. Most of those include some ebooks and some paperbacks, and they also have a good-sized amazon gift card (usually two to three hundred dollars or more!) and #BecauseFiction Magazine’s monthly giveaways from their authors. Finally, there are seasonal giveaways. Summertime usually has a few good ones for beach reads and such.  Christmas and Thanksgiving both have Facebook parties and multi-author promotional things.  In fact, I’m doing a fun one with twenty-five different authors this Christmas starting December 1.  I’ll be doing an advent countdown of prizes folks can win—prizes donated by some of your favorite authors such as Liz Tolsma, Robin Pachen, Cathe Swanson, Hallee Bridgeman, Jaycee Weaver, Carolyn Miller, Joanne Markey, Laura Hile, Angela Strong… the names go on. Twenty-five prizes (many of them books and some paperbacks!  In fact, mine is going to be a prize box that includes one of those Michelle Griep books and one of those Rene Gutteridge books as well as a couple of mine etc!). We’ll also have a hefty Amazon gift card giveaway as well. Giveaways are a GREAT way to win the books you can’t afford to buy.  Yes, you have to be patient, but you can enter while you do other things. In Conclusion: Look, if you’re creative, you can get a lot of books for a very little bit of money. This gives you lots of reading material without breaking the bank. I could probably come up with a dozen more ideas (there’s always the library!  Help an author and ask yours to get that book you keep seeing shared everywhere!) Meanwhile, have a good day, go read a good book, and I’ll see you next week! Sponsor: This week’s is Celebrate Lit Publicity Group.  Celebrate Lit offers blog tours which are a great way for readers to find out about books and authors and what other readers like them thought of said books and authors.  Both authors and readers should go to, see what’s on tour this week, and see what books are available right now! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
So if there's one thing I LOVE it's Christmas fiction. So, this week, I'm going for maximum Christmas fiction impact--collections. Four, five, ten, fourteen books in one nice little file--often available on Kindle Unlimited! Who could ask for more? Every year, dozens of these fabulous collections come out, and I've collected the ones I've heard the most about, the ones that sounded the most interesting, and the ones that were shared with me.  These are all fresh, new collections for 2020. So, without further ado... Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you.   All the Great Christmas Collections Coming Out This Year! Okay, so it's a lie. It's not ALL the collections by a long shot, but I did manage to find a good variety of them!  SQUEE! What makes Christmas so awesome?  Well, I have a blog post about that! What makes fiction Christmas?  I've got a blog post about that, too! Finally, why do books make such great gifts  Here's a blog post about that as well. Okay, without further ado, we need to get to all the bookness! Historical: Joy to the World: Authors: Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, Erica Vetsch Kindle 9.99 Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors. In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness. Heaven and Nature Sing by Carolyn Miller Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms? Far as the Curse Is Found by Amanda Barratt One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts? Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart. A Western Romance Christmas Collection: Author: Nancy Jane Wyatt: Kindle: .99 or free on Kindle Unlimited A heartwarming collection of Christmas Mail-Order Bride romances, just in time for the holiday season. Follow along these touching stories of hardship and perseverance rewarded. Value priced for a limited time only! Clean Western Christmas Romance from best-selling author Nancy Jane Wyatt. Included in this box set: His Bride’s 1st Christmas on the Ranch A Christmas Wedding in Wyoming A Christmas Bride in Colorado Proclaiming Her Love at Christmas To Montana by Christmas Longing for a Warmer Christmas Regency Romance Christmas Collection: Author:  Grace Fletcher Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle unlimited A delightful collection of 8 Christmas Regency Romance novellas! Available at this low, low price for a limited time only! Another exquisite set of Regency Romance novellas selected especially for you this Christmas season. Journey back to the eloquence and majesty of this romantic era. This assortment of historical romances will keep you enthralled for hours of reading pleasure. These novellas are clean Regency Historical Romances. This Box Set includes: The Duke’s Christmas Sanctuary A Glorious Christmas of Forgiveness The Earl & Miss Abigail’s Christmas Delight The Earl’s Christmas Blessing Love’s Embrace at Christmas A Christmas Concert for the Duke The Earl’s Christmas Bride The Christmas Eve Ball Amish: Christmas Angels Collection 15 Book Box Set: Authors:  Hannah Schrock, Emma Ashwood, Elizabeth Downton, Serenity Jones Kindle:  .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited This beautiful box set collection contains 15 magical clean and wholesome romance Christmas stories. These Christmas stories are full of love, loss and hope, all at the heart of Christmas and the festive season. Even in troubled times the magic of Christmas lives on. Enjoy this collection. This Box Set includes: Dreams of Christmases Past The Two Christmas Gifts The Amish Christmas Angel The Maid’s Christmas Dream The Christmas Choice The Last Christmas The Christmas Clause The Christmas Grieving Christmas at Woodville Hall The Amish Christmas Box A Christmas Story of Two Sisters The Duke’s Christmas Confession The Christmas Escape Double Blessings at Christmas Kitty’s First Christmas An Amish Christmas Wedding: Four Stories: Authors: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman Kindle: 8.99 From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings. Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston Ryan Lapp had promised to marry Lorene Bontrager as soon as he was able to build them a house, but the day never came. Ryan moved away. Five years later, Lorene has settled into her old maid role, and she’s shocked when her younger sister announces her quick engagement to Ryan’s younger brother. As they rush to plan the wedding, Lorene is constantly around the family she almost joined. Worse, she’s forced to face Ryan himself, who has returned to town. As both Ryan and Lorene examine their own feelings, they must decide if they can find grace with each other—and the young people they once were—this Christmas season. There just might still be love in their future. Holiday of Hope by Kelly Irvin Henry Lufkin is one of four bachelors who lived in the West Kootenai, Montana, cabins that were destroyed by wildfires. He’s the only one of them who hasn’t since married, but he likes his solitude. Then an old friend asks him to care for his son, and Henry has to share his small cabin and his life with bewildered and rebellious ten-year-old Tommy. When the child encounters trouble at school, Henry reaches out to Tommy's teacher. Leesa Yoder never expected to find herself single and teaching sixteen young scholars, and she certainly didn’t anticipate an inexperienced bachelor telling her how to do her job. Amid the flying sparks, can Henry and Leesa see that there might be hope and love in this unexpected situation? Wreathed in Joy by Kathleen Fuller Mary Wengerd and Jakob Mullet have been best friends since childhood. Pressured by friends and family, they decided to date—with disastrous results. When they break up, their friendship is ruined. A year later, Mary is baking her Englisch friend’s wedding and groom cakes for a Christmas Eve wedding. Mary loves the Christmas season, and had always dreamed of marrying during that time. Now she wonders if she’ll ever marry. After she and Jakob form a tenuous new friendship, Mary breaks her arm. As he steps in to help her with the cakes, Mary is inexplicably and suddenly falling for him. But they've already dated, and that ended so horribly. Could it be better this time? A Christmas Prayer by Vannetta Chapman Widower Micah Miller runs the Amish Tour Company, offering Englischers a glimpse of a simpler life as well as tea at Rachel King’s. Rachel has never married and has recently lost her parents. When Micah comes across an abandoned and injured dog, he gives it to Rachel for company. As Rachel is charmed by the dog and shocked by news of the existence of family she never expected, her heart and mind bend toward the possibilities of change in her life—even toward the possibility of love. Amish Christmas Miracles: 14 stories to touch your heart and warm your soul this Christmas : Authors: Jennifer Beckstrand, Kathleen Fuller, J.E.B. Spredemann, Dana R. Lynn, Susan Lantz Simpson, Ashley Emma, Lenora Worth, Serena B. Miller, Loree Lough, Rachel J. Good, Laura Bradford, Tracy Fredrychowski, Adina Senft, Mary Alford Kindle: .99 (at least during preorder)  Releases on November 4.  I don’t know if it’ll be in Kindle Unlimited or not.  Stay tuned for an episode just about this set later! Spend Christmas in Amish country. As snow falls softly outside the window, curl up by the fire with this collection of 14 stories by your favorite Amish fiction authors. Let them transport you to Amish communities all across the country. Travel to small towns where horses clip-clop down the road, farms dot the snow-covered landscape, and families gather to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Sigh over sweet stories that touch your heart. Laugh, cry, rejoice, and smile as couples renew their faith and find their perfect soul mates. May you be richly blessed this holiday season! Contemporary: Melodies of Christmas Love: Releases today! Authors:  Lynnette Bonner, JoAnn Durgin, Chautona Havig, Annette M. Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Lesley Ann McDaniel  (Author), Sylvia Stewart  (Author) Kindle: .99 and Kindle Unlimited The Heart of Christmas - Lynnette Bonner When Wynn Mason sees police lights at Misty Cove’s one-and-only bar, she goes inside to investigate and is just in time to see her ex-boyfriend punch Ryland Sage in the face. What is the star of her favorite TV show doing in their tiny Pacific Coast town? Since Wynn is the only medical help for miles around, she has to stitch up his face—and also maybe his heart—all while protecting her own heart from the worldly charmer. Love on a Mission in Millcreek - JoAnn Durgin Angelia Ford wonders if she’ll ever live down her unfortunate outburst at the end of the Millcreek Elementary Christmas program. Sixteen years later, she’s home to care for her grandfather and prays the town’s citizens have finally forgiven her youthful indiscretion. Millcreek’s newest resident, Nicholas Sanders, recognizes the beautiful blonde server at the local diner, but it’s clear Angel doesn’t remember him. What better time than the festive holiday season for Nick to reintroduce himself to the girl he’s never forgotten? The Bells of New Cheltenham - Chautona Havig When Justine Driscoll decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham. A Christmas Duet - Annette M. Irby A breakup steals a cellist’s inspiration. How will she create new compositions for her ensemble’s next album? Perhaps the church’s handsome music director could help. Join Kate Fleming and Zach Tillmon as Christmas music brings them together on Whidbey Island, Washington. A Night Divine - Dawn Kinzer One chilly December night, a tragedy connects successful model Camryn Tate and outreach minister Trace Gardner. As they share a common mission serving the homeless on the streets of Seattle, they provide more than food—they offer hope. But as Christmas Eve approaches, secrets have the potential to break Camryn’s heart. To Hear the Angels Sing - Lesley Ann McDaniel Being guardian of her niece isn’t as easy as Devlin Welsh might hope. When her niece is invited to be in a church show, the free childcare is hard to pass up. But when Devlin admits to knowing how to sew, she’s enlisted as costume designer. How will she find the time? That movie I mentioned in the episode was: Home Sweet Home and you can actually watch it on Amazon Prime. Not sure why I thought it was Pure Flix, so sorry about that, Lesley Ann! One of Jonah Ryan’s favorite parts of his job as worship leader is working on the kids’ Christmas musical. There’s something about the woman who’s volunteering to design costumes this year that gets him thinking. Could there be more to life than music? Prairie Rose - Sylvia Stewart For many years, Rose Morris has lived alone with her dog, Rusty. Mitch Foster, a handsome, un-married neighbor, brings her a bright red geranium, and insists on helping with chores. But who should drive into Rose’s farmyard? The scoundrel husband who had deserted her and her teenaged son years before. Later, a pre-teen runaway, found in her barn, adds his troubles to her own, so Rose decides to re-capture the peace and serenity of Christmas. Take the quiz and find out which carol fits YOU. Five Gold Rings:  A CrossRoads Collection: Here's the episode I promised about Amanda Tru and the collections. Some of today’s best-selling Christian authors weave five completely new, unique, interconnected stories where once jilted lovers find worth more precious than gold. Christmas Mercy by Jaycee Weaver As the web of lies that kept Rob away from Vera and their daughter unravels, the months following his return, test their capacity for mercy, forgiveness, and a second chance at love. The Seven Year Glitch by Hallee Bridgeman Seven years earlier, Timothy left Leanne at the altar stealing years of happiness. Leanne rescues him from a rooftop in a floodplain and it is clear there is much more to the story. Can their love redeem the hurts of the past to rescue their future? Laughing All the Way by Lesley Ann McDaniel When Jessica's friends put her up to "fixing" their commitment-phobic co-worker, Conner, she doesn't take them very seriously. Conner doesn't know whether to laugh at Jessica or tell her to mind her own business. Ghosted at the Altar by Chautona Havig After his fiancée, Brenna, abandons Mitchell on their wedding day, she insists she loves him and still wants to marry him. As truths come to light, her little sister, Lauren, turns sleuth to solve the mystery of why Brenna ghosted Mitchell at the altar. Five Gold Rings by Amanda Tru When three relationship-challenged couples wish for Christmas weddings, commitment coach, Oliver, teams up with a wedding planner, TeraLyn, to help make their marriage dreams come true. A Star Will Rise: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology II Authors:  Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Angela D. Meyer, Regina Rudd Merrick, Marion Ueckermann, Candace West Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited on November 4 Christmas should be a time of wonder and expectation, but what if tragedy, illness, family secrets, or betrayal strip away every belief in what the future holds? And in a good and loving God? When circumstances beyond their control dramatically alter their lives, can broken, betrayed, and disillusioned people rediscover their faith and come to see that God's plans are far better for them than the ones they had imagined for themselves? Brenda S. Anderson | A Christmas Homecoming Eleanor Bertin | Love and Unexpected Stress Responses Sara Davison | Sixty Feet to Home Regina Rudd Merrick | The Twelve Days of Mandy Reno Angela D. Meyer | Returning to Christmas Marion Ueckermann | One Christmas Wish Candace West | A Garland of Grace Something Borrowed:  Christmas Weddings Collection The episode I referenced with the interview with Teresa Tysinger is HERE. Authors: Toni Shiloh  (Author), Jaycee Weaver  (Author), Mikal Dawn  (Author), Teresa Tysinger  (Author), Andrea Boyd Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited Old friends, new loves, and a borrowed tiara. Always Been Yours by Jaycee Weaver — Hanady's planning her dream wedding, but her injured best friend Keenan isn't the groom. If she can't see she's marrying the wrong guy soon, his leg won't be the only thing broken. All the Moore by Toni Shiloh — Leilah Anderson has been living behind the screen to hide her disability, then she meets Reggie Moore face-to-face. Can their relationship survive the truth and distance between them? A Holly, Bolly Christmas by Mikal Dawn — A dream wedding venue at Christmas? Sign Chahna Kapoor up. Even if her fiancé doesn’t know it… Somehow, This Christmas by Teresa Tysinger — When not-so-merry mishaps threaten wedding planner Cate Forsyth's holiday wedding and reputation, will her own happily ever after with sweetheart Noah Bennett melt away? A Promise So Sweet by Andrea Boyd — Lydia Osborn hasn't heard from her ex in ten years, so imagine her surprise when he shows up proposing marriage. Tis the season for love? Hearts Aglow: Four Christmas Novella Romances (The Christmas Lights Collection Book 5) Authors: Cathe Swanson, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig, Jaycee Weaver Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited Four Christmas novellas from four of your favorite authors in one collection designed to brighten your day and warm your heart this Christmas. Potato Flake Christmas: by Cathe Swanson Matchmaker, matchmaker, who’s getting matched? Both at crossroads in their professional lives, Claire and Jeffrey don’t need the matchmaking shenanigans of her grandmother or his great uncle. Although Jeffrey has fond memories of Christmas on the beach, Claire just can't imagine Christmas in a land filled with cactus and a different kind of sand. Can’t we order a freak snowstorm from some online retailer somewhere? Love is alive in the desert this Christmas. Here's that picture I promised. All I Want  by Toni Shiloh  When Angel is tasked to decorate Bishop's place, she longs to be seen for the woman she's become. He just wants to get through Christmas with his daughter and get on with his perfectly ordered life. Time together changes everything as her heart unexpectedly touches his. Snow Crossed Letters: by Chautona Havig  “...waitin' for the matchmakin' man with the (mail) bag..." When packages go awry in a series of snowstorms that bury Rockland in multiple layers of white two residents find cheering the elderly to be a big surprise! This and Every Christmas  by Jaycee Weaver Christmases past and present collide in a humorous yet bittersweet tale of a widowed tree-farm owner and his daughter’s music teacher as they collaborate to create a future worthy of her family’s wacky traditions and his family’s legacy. Grab your FIFTH ANNUAL Christmas Lights Collection, Hearts Aglow, today! And here are the links to both last year's paperback All Is Bright and this year's Hearts Aglow! But wait! There's more! One thing I didn't mention in the podcast episode because I didn't want to be too self-promotional, is that this year I took all the Christmas novels and novellas that I have that are not already in box sets and put them in some!  I call them Christmas Book Parties and they're broken up into these sets: Christmas Party in a Box (Set 1) 3 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas Romances (full-length novels). Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 2) 5 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas "Noella" (Christmas novella) Romances Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 3) 3 Contemporary Light Christmas Mystery and Suspense "noellas." Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 4) 3 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas Romances (full-length novels). For the website show notes, you can go here: Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
On Amazon, every time I went looking for a book, there it was. The Orphan Beach.  I'd not read anything by the author, Laura Thomas.  Each time I started to click through, something distracted me. Then, I had an opportunity to interview her, and when I discovered that it was that Laura Thomas, well... DUH! Discussing her writing and publishing journey, the books in print and those to come, by the time I finished chatting about all things books, I felt like I'd made a new friend.  Laura Thomas is a fascinating and delightful woman, not to mention an eclectic author!   Note: Links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you Why It's Always Good to Make Dreams Come True The moment Laura said hello, I had to ask about her accent. See, I knew she lived in Canada, but the accent said otherwise. So, English/Canadian author, Laura Thomas tells us about her childhood dream of being the next Beatrix Potter--a dream she'd never told anyone until, after decades of marriage, her husband winkled it out of her! Still in the throes of homeschooling, Laura began taking correspondence courses to become a writer and eventually published her YA series, the Tears Trilogy. Of course, picture books were still the dream, but she continued on to writing a middle-grade short novel, The Candlemaker. Being the eclectic author she is, Laura then turned to non-fiction as a gift for her daughter, Pearls for the Bride. It may seem an unexpected progression from those to romantic suspense, but... A vacation, a lifelong fear, and a disappointment inspired Laura's first romantic suspense novel, The Glass Bottom Boat.  Intended to be a stand-alone, an agent's request turned it into a series, Flight to Freedom. And this series is this week's featured book! There is supposed to be a box set, but I didn't find it on Amazon. Still, all three books can be had for under six dollars, and two are on Kindle Unlimited! And the third book in the series is The Orphan Beach. This book starts off with a bang! the death of a loved one reeling from a failed romantic relationship struggling with her faith and targeted by a crazed killer About Orphan Beach I haven't finished the book (and much to my disappointment!) but it has several key strengths. characters--I cared about them almost (if not) from the first word the covers (they grab you) in particular, the title of The Orphan Beach. Although Laura doesn't say she'll never write more in the series, but a vacation to visit family in England last year inspired a new series--suspense. Set in a small village in England.  Stick me in a suitcase, I'm going with her! And coming full circle, those picture books she mentioned?  Well, two are being shopped to publishers.  One is about a French bulldog and her adventures, while the other is about an octopus making friends with a tea party!  Laura is about to get herself a French bulldog puppy of her own, and plans to name her "Lulu."  That prompted me to share a song from the 1920s that I loved as a girl, and I've added it here for your fun, too.  :) And Frank Sinatra did a fun parody of this with Bing Crosby for those who love the oldie moldie! If you'd like to learn more about Laura, visit her at: Her website! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher You can read the full show notes at
The genius behind the deeply interconnected, multi-author CrossRoads Collections, Amanda Tru joined me for a fun night of laughter, insight, and hints about some of her personal upcoming work and the great stuff we can expect from the next couple of collections. Five Gold Rings is due to release this month, and the authors are so excited to share them with you.  But I'm excited to share the brain behind the books, Amanda Tru. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Mentioned in this podcast are The CrossRoads Collections: Out of the Blue Bouquet  Yesterday's Mail Under the Christmas Star Betwixt Two Hearts The Wedding Dress Yes When Snowflakes Never Cease and Five Gold Rings Next up is What Cannot Be Stolen! Also mentioned were Amanda's other fabulous books such as: The Christmas Card Series including: The Christmas Card A Cinderella Christmas and Once Upon a Christmas The Yesterday Series The Tru Exceptions Series The Brides by Mail Series Random Acts of Cupid To find out more about Amanda's books, visit To see full show notes after 10/15/2020, visit  
She's fun, she's witty, and she has some fabulous characters you've got to meet.  Today, I am chatting with Teresa Tysinger on the release day of her newest book, Suddenly Forever (affiliate link). We talk about how she got started writing, how she writes "in the fringes," and about the books she's written and has coming out soon! Visit for the expanded show notes (coming 10/2/2020).
This week I got to chat with author Kari Trumbo about her historical fiction, her upcoming new genre, a surprise genre her agent is working with, and her September release, Secret Beach Boyfriend in the Independence Islands Series! Note: please forgive the recording quality. I had to choose between no Kari or working with what got recorded, and I chose the latter. Show notes and links forthcoming.
One of the highlights of my year was spending a couple of hours talking to David Rawlings last May. He was on the show (Episode 12) to talk about his upcoming (now released) novel. After we finished an interview about his writing and his upcoming release, Where the Road Bends, he stayed online to record another episode with me--one I'd tried to record myself and failed. See, I wanted to do an episode about what makes fiction "Christian" but there was one problem.  It came out horribly negative.  While I'm not one of those people who thinks everything needs to be sunshine and roses all the time, I did want this podcast to mostly be encouraging about something we all love rather than a downer. That got David talking, and a little like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks, you really oughtta listen (and I now feel every one of my 50 years).   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Makes Fiction Christian and Is That Good? In this episode, David Rawlings and I have a lovely conversation about Christian fiction, what makes good fiction, good writing, and what makes fiction, Christian. It begins with trust with your readers and ends with knowing that there is purpose in your words.  We need something more than, "What would Jesus do (talking about Charles Sheldon's book, In His Steps)?"  As good as that book was, it's been written. We need to write the book for today. Cara Putman defined Christian fiction as not just salvation stories but REDEMPTION stories.  The gospel is about more than just what Jesus DID do... it's also what He continues to do in our lives.  Too often we make Christian fiction all about these salvation stories, but if Christian fiction is only about salvation, then where does that leave Christians? But how does a prayer, a verse, or walking into church make it Christian fiction?  Too often if you remove the Christian element from the story, nothing changes. So, after sin on the page, if going to church doesn't change the story, how is it Christian? A few things to note about writing as Christian authors. Just having Christian on it doesn't make it immune to critique. In fact, despite many people thinking you shouldn't criticize a Christian author's work, David and I both hold the opinion that all Christian fiction should be held up to the measure of quality and the Biblical standard.  It's actually good when readers push back against something. I used the illustration of how readers often ask me why I believe this or that, assuming that because my character does, I do. But I have my characters believe and do all kinds of things I don't agree with, not as a "how-to manual" for Christian living, but as a reflection on why people believe things and do the things they do. Christian fiction has come a long way! From back with one of the first novels, Pilgrim's Progress in the sixteen hundreds, to David's The Baggage Handler from 2019, Christian fiction as a genre has grown!  In particular, in the past 25-30 years, it has gone from a rather sanitized genre at times to a more realistic representation of mankind, the sinful nature, and the redemptive arc Christ works in our lives.  When I first started reading, you couldn't have wine mentioned (unless in a very derogatory way, out of wedlock babies had to be from prior to salvation, and similar things. It's as if we recognize that it's time for the genre to grow up a bit.  We can handle solid meat now. What is Christian fiction? Evangelical?  To reach people? To challenge one another? Entertainment? To justify a worldview? Possibly to push back against the secular criticism of a Biblical worldview? The church used to be known as the standard for excellence in the arts. After years of being kind of the "trendsetters" in art, music, and literature, and then somewhere in the last hundred or so years, we lost it.   Christian fiction is one area--the first stuff I read wasn't the quality writing that it is today.  There were exceptions, of course.  Even amid the meh stuff I read in the nineties, there was Michael Phillips' awesomeness. David Rawlings is new to Christian fiction, but he's noticed that it is often defined by genre (i.e. it's romance) or something. Do we collectively define it by genre since we haven't defined it well otherwise? When I went to Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, I saw, "no sex, no foul language, no gratuitous/graphic violence). If that's the definition, Dan Brown is a Christian fiction author, and David and I both agreed that he probably wouldn't agree to that definition. Next, we explored the idea that Christian fiction might be that which flows naturally from a life sold out to the Lord. David brought up the example of C. S. Lewis and his Narnia series. In that series, Lewis never mentions God at all, but you see Him in Aslan, a type of Christ.  I also recalled the movie The Shadowlands where they show Lewis stating his thoughts about prayer. I embedded that clip below:  Why we need varied fiction: One of the other things we discussed was how people in different situations of life and with different personalities need different kinds of fiction.  Two women both abused as children and struggling to survive in rough neighborhoods might need opposite encouragement.  One may need an Amish romance to escape the harshness of her world. She may desire an escape from the reality that is her hard life. The other may hate that and find it fake. For her, the reality of fiction that shows people in her circumstance rising above or plowing through life makes all the difference. As authors, we have to consider the parable of the talents. How do we use our gift or our calling to do what we're supposed to do? What do we write that best showcases what the Lord wants for and from His people? And ultimately, if our focus is to glorify God with the talent He has given us, then whatever we do with that focus in mind could be argued as the definition of Christian fiction--at least on the one hand. Why do we write? If we are authentic to who we are and what we believe, then what we write will reflect our faith and values and the God we believe in.  Maybe that's what Christian fiction is, or at the least, where it begins. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
What Is So Great about Listening to Audiobooks? Audiobooks are one of the fastest-growing segments of the book industry. But why?  Why take up to three times longer to "read" a book listening to it than you would if you just cracked the covers?  Why sometimes pay more for a book?  Just what is so great about them? In today's episode, I'm sharing pros and cons, tips for getting the best deal and listening experience, and even a peek into the production side from my personal experience. So, before we get into what I love and why I think audiobooks are a great way to go for some of your reading time, I first want to acknowledge that there are negatives.  Let’s get that out of the way so we can talk… about talking books! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Biggest NEGATIVES: It requires your attention. It’s easy to become distracted while listening—especially at first.   That can be annoying, especially when you’re like me and you listen to a lot of mysteries on audio.  Missing that clue can be a killer!  Literally and literarily! A lot of people cite this as the reason they don’t listen to audiobooks.  “I become too distracted and miss stuff.”  Well, I won’t argue.  I did, too—at first.  The rest of that story is actually on the positive side, so I’ll leave it there but this does lead to the next negative. If you do get distracted, or if you lose your place and for some bizarre reason your host didn’t save it, or if you were on an mp3 at home or something, well… yikes! Going backward or forward thirty seconds at a time to find the last place you remember listening is a pain! Expense. Okay, depending on how you listen, audiobooks can be expensive. I’ll talk more about how to find more affordable ones etc., but in general, if you pay full price, you can easily spend 25.00 per audiobook. OUCH!  However, with subscriptions, sales, credits, and all kinds of things that again, I’ll get to later, you can bring that price down low… sometimes to free.  No joke.  However, as an author who has spent THOUSANDS of dollars getting her books on audio, I just want to point out why they’re expensive. You pay someone to write the book. You pay someone to READ the book. That 10-hour book probably took thirty or more hours to produce! You pay a service to put that book up somewhere and host it—like a streaming movie service. It takes space and costs money to hold it there. Everyone needs to get paid. Again, though, with things like subscriptions where credits can be as low as ten or fifteen dollars, you can get that same 25.00 book for the same price as a paperback—and someone is reading it for you.  Grab a bowl of grapes, recline on the chaise longue, and enjoy! Bad narrators: Seriously, this is the worst.  It is why I almost didn’t become an audiobook listener. I had a series I’d always loved—mystery, of course—and decided I was going to listen to the audiobook while I did my workout.  Queued it up, got it going, and about screamed right there on the treadmill.  I hadnt’ listened first.  Barbara Rosenblat had spoiled me. This woman's’ voice wasn’t bad. She just read. SLOW.  Ended at almost 1.5x speed just to make it bearable… and possibly because I wanted it over with. Let’s face it.  A bad narrator for an audiobook can be like a bad movie adaptation of your favorite book. Like Kiera Knightley butchering Pride and Prejudice or something.  Not that I have an opinion on that. Narrators can sound all wrong to us.  They can have voices that personally grate on your nerves, much like certain writing styles.  For example, one of my favorite audiobooks my mom can’t stand.  Why? Because it’s read by folks with British accents. My mother can’t stand British accents and even gets annoyed with CS Lewis because many of his books have British vs. American spelling and it drives her nuts.  ME, I find it interesting how two countries can speak the same language… and not. Biggest POSITIVES Improved listening skills. I put this in a book once because it was such a big deal to me. Here’s the scene: Undaunted, Lauren took a different tack. “Well, if you don’t like mysteries, what do you like? You do read, don’t you?” “I do… but I like audiobooks better.” The words flew out of her mouth before she had a chance to decide that she did actually want to speak them. “So… basically you’re lazy. Got it.” “Lauren!” But Mitchell laughed—a real laugh with crinkles around his eyes and a dimple that she hadn’t seen before. “It’s okay. I used to think that, too.” That caught her attention. “Really?” “Yeah… before I went to school and studied storytelling. An audiobook narrator isn’t the same thing as a storyteller, but the vocal medium is something that resonates with me. I also like it because I can’t “skim” an audiobook. I must listen or it’s difficult to find what I missed, so I tend to pay closer attention to an audiobook than a print copy.” More about Listening... So I talked about how it’s easy to get distracted with audiobooks, but what I didn’t say then was how great it has been for making me a better listener—not just to books but also in general.  Sermons, people, everything. In fact, I went looking for articles to see what they had to say about this and found THIS great one. Among things like how it improves fluency and pronunciation, how it helps with memory, focus, and attention spans, it talked about how it improves critical listening skills.  I can say that is definitely true in my life. Multitasking Another advantage is that you can listen to audiobooks at times you could otherwise not “read.” Driving, walking, working out, cleaning house, when you’re too sick to read but you aren’t sleepy… Sure, you could binge-watch your favorite TV shows over and over, or… you could read the next book in that series you’ve been reading… with your eyes closed! I listen to audiobooks while I'm cooking.  The family often comes in and just waits while I turn off the book so they can chat, but if no one comes in, I get my book "read."  I also listen while cleaning, driving in the car, walking/exercising (hey, it happens!), the works! Different avenues for consuming your media engage more than one sense which is excellent for retention. You can even choose how fast or slow you read! Some people find they enjoy audiobooks more for nonfiction than for fiction.  And vice versa.  I’ve found both are true, but the key is to try both and give it a chance.  I started listening to audiobooks with books I’d already read. It was a way to visit with old friends in a new way and at times I otherwise couldn’t have been reading. Sponsor: This week, to celebrate the release of Christmas on Breakers Point, I'm giving away a free copy as my way to celebrate and  to give one listener a chance to try out audiobooks! If you're reading this at, you can find that post to leave a comment and win HERE. My Published Audiobooks are: Ready or Not: narrated by Jennifer Drake Ford Past Forward Volumes 1 & 2: narrated by Sarah Pavelec (future volumes coming soon! Deepest Roots of the Heart: narrated by Thom Rivera Christmas on Breakers Point: narrated by Christa DelSorbo who is working on the next book in that series, right now… Dual Power of Convenience!  It should be out soon, folks! Okay, so what do I Love about Audiobooks? So we’ve talked a little about how I started listening, and I WILL get to the amazing Barbara Rosenblat in a minute, but really started listening when a friend recommended a book I hadn’t had time to read yet. Again, it wasn’t a Christian fiction book—it was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  This epistolary novel was read by about five different narrators and seriously, it’s so brilliant that I have no doubt I’ve listened to all eight hours at least ten times.    But here’s the thing.  The reason I have is: A. It’s a brilliant book B. The narrators are awesome. I’ve caught nuances of humor that I might have missed in reading.  Just think about it. I have no doubt I’d have read the book in three hours if I read the paperback.  But listening to it at regular speed (my preference but we’ll get to speed in a second), makes me slow down and allows my brain to really process the words in a totally different way. But yes, some people read at 2 and even 2.5 times the usual reading speed (kind of like me with that horrible narrator). I also love that it engages other parts of my brain like I said up there.  I went from listening to that book to purchasing another one by the same author.  At first, I blamed the narrator for me not liking it, but then I realized I just couldn’t get into the story. Since then, I’ve listened to a whole lot of books!  Most of them mysteries.  I particularly like mysteries because you do have to pay close attention.  That doesn’t come naturally to me, so I improve my listening by choosing mysteries. Anyway, I’ve listened to: All the Amelia Peabody books All the Mrs. Pollifax books Most of D.E. Stevenson's books All of the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries All of the Cherringham Mysteries available on audio as well as the Mydworth Mysteries by the same authors. I’m working on the Daisy Dalrymple from Carola Dunn before I move onto Patricia Fisher by Steve Higgs and then Albert Smith’s Culinary Capers, also by Higgs. But that’s not all!  Christian Fiction I’ve listened to includes: Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson (GREAT BOOK as well as awesome narration), The Edge of Truth by Kimberly Rose Johnson (also good), Seal of the Sand Dweller by R. Rushing (nice, precise pronunciation that gives it a hint of an African to English accent without being overdone), Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon (great Aussie accent for those who like accents) And so many more. The Audiobook Production Process: About four or five years ago, I decided to plunge into producing my books in audio with no clue what I was doing. Looking back, it’s a similar route I took in publishing my print and ebooks.  I picked what I thought people would want first, got them going, and did not count the long-term cost. See one thing authors don’t remember is that readers like to “binge” on series and authors’ books.  So, when I finish a book in a series on audio or kindle or print, I want that next one there.  As an author, I forgot that with audiobooks. I SHOULD have had the funds lined up for all of the books in ONE series before I started.  Instead, I went with my two most popular series, expecting to alternate between them and allow both series to pay for the next one.  Well, at this point, I haven't even made back the money I put out in the first place because of that first thing up there—people see that the whole series isn’t there, and they don’t want to go with it until it is.  OOPS! Also, while I KNEW the cost (astronomical. We’re talking hundreds of dollars per finished hour, which is how long it takes to listen once it's produced rather than how long it takes to produce it). I didn’t exactly COUNT it.  I didn’t find out from other authors how long it took to recoup.  If I had, I’d have saved longer and done the audiobooks later. However, some great things have happened and I’ve learned a lot. Past Forward was the first book I did—volume one.  I went with Sarah Pavelec with that series, and I LOVE her as a narrator.  She has the perfect voice for Willow and her enthusiasm for the project really helped.  Unfortunately, she’s crazy busy and just doesn’t have time to get going on more books.  I’ve been waiting for another book for quite a while and don’t know when either of us will get back to that one.  Meanwhile, I think I have a solution to get the rest of those up, which is IMPORTANT to me. Then, as I said, I went on to start the Aggie series.  I really did want each of these to come out one after the other so folks weren’t waiting long.  They’ve been waiting a couple of years, and as busy as Jennifer Drake Ford is (if you’re in California, you’ve heard her voice as the announcer of the next episode of this or that on a few things Death in Paradise for one!  EEP!  She is AMAZING but again, busy, and I really can’t afford her. After that... The publisher of my book, Deepest Roots of the Heart found out that I’d been saving for a specific narrator for that book and GOT HIM for me.  Seriously, Thom Rivera was amazing. He worked so hard to find out how I saw the characters, how I heard them, and he even caught a typo in them. Christa DelSorbo has just started narration—first with my Christmas on Breakers Point, and next narrating for Sally Jo Pitts and her Autumn Vindication—love it so far. Now she's working on Dual Power of Convenience, and Bookers on the Rocks is slated to be released at the same time as the books this January. SQUEE! Also, a friend’s son is practicing at audio narration and he’s using Highlands to do it. Seriously, guys. He’s NAILING my character of Tony in Highlands.  It just goes to show that if you have a love for reading or vocal acting, you can start a career on your own.  :) Things to remember: You can listen to books FREE through places like Hoopla with your library. You can find deals on audiobooks from places like Chirp You can sometimes get lots of book options from places like Scribd (which I always want to call scrib-ed).  If you use THIS LINK, you will get 60 days free (and I'll get free days, too!) has free books every month or really deals on them. I got Jamie Jo Wright’s The House on Foster Hill for five dollars! Amazon/Kindle/Audible In case you weren’t aware, Amazon owns the biggest retailer of audiobooks—Audible.  Here are a few things to note there: You can bundle audible books with Kindle books and get GREAT deals. For example, if a Kindle book is on sale for .99, you can often get the audiobook (if available) TOO… for an additional 1.99. So for less than the full price on a Kindle book, you can get them both. If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader, you can often get audiobooks FREE through it. I’ve been listening to a lot of books this way—the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries (not Christian but cleaner than most books) by T.E. Kinsey,  and the Daisy Dalrymple books by Carola Dunn. Some books aren’t that expensive! the Cherringham mysteries by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards and read by Neil Dudgeon (great narrator) are like six dollars for three books.  I really have been enjoying those, but again, not Christian and the latter books in the series have a few more words sprinkled throughout that I didn’t appreciate. Nothing atrocious, but totally unnecessary. Audible Perks You can return an Audible audiobook you hate, just like you can return a kindle book.  Some limitations may apply, but if you don’t abuse the return or exchange policy, they’re eager to ensure you’re happy with your listening experience.  I returned one book that I’d been assured didn’t follow the blechy title.  I was deceived. I returned with no trouble at all. You can try out Audible with TWO free books (instead of their usual one) by clicking my affiliate link below! Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
“Read Laura Hile’s ‘mercy books,’” she said.  “You’ll love them,” she said. “She was right,” I say. That was about ten years ago and my introduction to today’s guest! What a delightful writer!  What hilarious books! Add to those more about those characters we love so well, and what isn’t there to love? I read those “mercy books,” and then read everything Laura Hile writes when she writes it! In this episode, we talk about Laura’s books, the Mercy’s Embrace series (about the unlikeable Elizabeth Elliot), Darcy by Any Other Name (a Darcy/Collins Freaky Friday-ish mashup), So This Is Love (Charlotte Lucas’ story), and As Only Mr. Darcy Can (unpublished romp about Darcy, Elizabeth, and the rogue Wickham!). There’s also a nod to the “A Very Austen” anthologies but that’s an episode for another week. Note: links are likely affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. 5 Delightful Reasons You'll Love These Books 1. Redeeming characters: The “Mercy Books” The Mercy’s Embrace series comprises three books about the eldest Elliot daughter, Elizabeth, from Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  What I loved most about these books was how Laura Hile kept Elizabeth herself while still giving her an excellent character arc with growth and redemption. We talk about why it is reasonable for Elizabeth to have that kind of redemption in her life (excellent training from her mother, spinsterhood on the horizon, and then a plot thing that puts things in perspective for her). I also learned that the character of Admiral McGilvary was actually a fellow author’s creation first and she took him on an gave him a story. I never knew that! 2. Quirky humor While you find it in all of Hile’s books, her quirky humor really shines in her Regency “body-swap” novel, Darcy by Any Other Name (my review). Laura’s imagination never ceases to amaze me.  Who but she would ever say, “Oh, I know. Let’s make Darcy and Mr. Collins swap bodies and see what happens”? Seriously, Laura Hile knows how people tick, and she’s not afraid to expose them.  However, she also writes with compassion, even for unreal characters, and we talk about when authors take some of these things a bit too far. In Darcy by Any Other Name, she also discusses the changes her Darcy character goes through as a result of not being trapped in a body that people fawn over (for reasons more than just physical.  This isn’t the A&E movie. He did not just climb out of the pond.  Minds out of the pond scum, if you please…)  ? 3. Flipped tropes One of my favorite things is when someone takes a trope (romance in general in this case) and flips it on its head.  In So This Is Love, Laura Hile takes two people who aren’t interested in becoming attached to anyone and sets them in a place where it’s safe to get to know someone.  Both have baggage and dashed hopes.  Both are confident and content in their own skins—and not.  #becausehumans One of my favorite parts of this book is how she used a smidge of inspiration from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  I like the idea, and while I haven’t read it yet, I bought it the moment I could, because Laura Hile is definitely an “insta-buy.” 4. Comeuppance In As Only Mr. Darcy Can, Laura shows what happens when the anonymity of a “secret admirer” prompts actions that may or may not be wise as well as giving jerks their just deserts.  Wickham is at his old tricks, and Darcy’s determined to save Lizzy from him… but um… is she the one in peril?  I can’t wait for its release so we can see! This book is slated for a late fall or winter release.  Squeee! 5. A grasp of human nature From Darcy to Collins, Lady Catherine to Sir Walter Elliot, Laura Hile’s retellings of characters we all love (and love to hate) shows a keen insight not only into how Austen’s mind worked but into human nature as well. (I’d argue it shows a rather clever brain in Ms. Hile, too!).  You see this not only in the full-length novels shown above, but even in the novellas she has in the A Very Austen anthologies. A Very Austen Christmas A Very Austen Valentine A Very Austen Romance I’ve not reviewed the last one because, well… I have a novella in it about Margaret Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, and reviewing it felt awkward. I’ll get over it.  Probably sooner than I should. Sponsor: I’m sponsoring Laura Hile’s books because I think they’re awesome. So, if you’d like to win a copy, tell me who your favorite Austen character is and why.  Just leave a comment in the show notes ( and I’ll draw a winner for an eBook copy of any of her books (including the anthologies). Stay tuned for more from Laura when we talk about the A Very Austen anthologies in an upcoming episode! You can find Laura at: Website  Facebook Instagram Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher  
Most readers have a good idea that historical fiction requires heaps and heaps of research. It's obvious that you have to find out what happened when and similar details, but what other sorts of things do authors uncover, and do those things ever spark new ideas? Cultural norms, seemingly unrelated historical facts, and word usage are just three things that can completely change the direction of a story! Getting things wrong is crazy easy to do, even with hours of research, and sometimes you just can't find the answer no matter what you do. This week, we're going to chat about some of the things I've had to do in researching my books.   Crazy Things Historical Authors Have to Research Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. General History: Okay, let’s start with general history.  Look, even a mere fifty years can completely change the world we live in. Imagine what changed between 1800 and 1850.  While the rules of civility weren't that different between the Regency and Victorian eras, they also were quite different.  It's easy to assume that the earlier eras were more conservative, but often later eras become more restrictive, often as a backlash against earlier excesses, which can be seen in the Victorian era as well as in things like the homeschool movement of the late eighties through the early twenty-first century, for example. A personal pet peeve: Sensibilities. We often like to read about the plucky girl who defies social norms and strikes out on her own. I used the example of a woman who wants to be a doctor in the eighteenth century or a girl riding on the Pony Express. We see the Earl of Snobsbury who just wants to study the Egyptian beetle and forget about his title, but most of the time, that thing didn't happen.  Yes, we like to read about exceptions to the rule, but when every book that comes out is that exception, we then risk "understanding" history through a warped lens. Historical events sometimes shape the direction of a story or are more necessary than expected. I shared the example of the assassination of President McKinley and the subsequent execution of Leon Czolgosz--in the electric chair. More about that can be read in this BLOG POST. It would have been unrealistic for that not to be mentioned in a book where a main secondary character is the mayor of a major city and a book about an electrical scheme! Later in that same series, rules of mourning became an issue. Because Queen Victoria died, I allowed myself a tiny bit of leeway that I otherwise wouldn't have risked.  America, a daughter instead of a spouse, after her death, et cetera let me cut normal mourning in half for a daughter with a wedding date set (and a mother who insisted they go on with the wedding, of course).  Did I stretch too much?  Probably.  However, I made an attempt to show that they were cognizant of the situation and kept things simple because of that as well. Research also changes directions of some stories.  Case study: Deepest Roots of the Heart The Battle of San Jacinto.  Researching that changed everything.  Twenty minutes! I couldn’t believe it. However, that also gave me insight into Santa Anna’s men, and I learned that they were very poorly trained.  So, my character running AWAY when all the men went running wasn’t implausible. Instead of having to make him get turned around and lost, I was able to make him run because he was a coward.  Look, the other fit his character, too, but this one made the story richer. At the time, I read stuff about Sam Houston and the Battle of San Jacinto. Then I moved onto learning about San Francisco, the voyages around Cape Horn, about Alta California, and the lifestyle of the Californios.  I read fiction written at the time and about the time if I can.  During all that time, I learned a whole lot about Juana Briones. Food! Sometimes food is just so very different.  Even today the difference between a British biscuit and an American one is the difference between dinner or breakfast bread and a sweet treat. Chocolate--hot drink or candy bar? Dry cake-- stale or just with no icing?   There are so many food differences that change everything when given half a chance. Words— were they in use?  Did they mean the same thing?   If you want to know how to make those American biscuits, would you be asking for a receipt or a recipe?  Depends on what year you ask! Pocket: sewn into a garment or something you tie on and hope you don't lose?  (And I suspect now we know why some people call wallets "pocketbooks." Nice: this one has meant many things, beginning with ignorant or idiot Cute:  it once meant “bowlegged” or quickwitted.  Two completely different things. It only changed around the 1830s to mean “attractive” in some way. Keen: Eager or anxious to do something (slang) was in use by 1901 Peachy Keen?  Adding that adjective didn't come until the fifties! I don’t write a historical scene without looking up if some word was in use at that time AND if it was used the way I’m using it.  Even the simplest ones can trip you up. And with words, there’s the other side.  Certain ones were in use… but have made a comeback. Snarky is one example. Also, perfectly normal words in a perfectly normal way can’t be used because they SOUND modern when they aren’t.  I used the example of someone having the "coolest backyard in town."   How do we keep it all straight? Well, books, libraries, experts...  It's a jungle to wade through, isn't it? On the other hand, we have it so much easier than people fifty years ago did. We have huge search engines at our fingertips.  We also have even more inaccurate information than ever before thanks to anyone being able to throw up their opinions--kind of like me with this podcast. ;) Going back to Regency as an example, when I go try to look up something, HALF or more of all the search terms are going to give me Victorian replies.  I have to work down and down and down until I find the right thing.  Sometimes, even that isn't enough So, how does this all play out?  Well… My process looks like this. I pick my time and check the world’s events. Is there something going on that will make it impossible to do what I want to do? Then I start reading about things related to it—from the era if possible. I try to get as many primary sources as possible, but the further back you go, the harder that becomes.   I create a general list of scenes and for each one that may include some specific information, I start gathering everything I’ll need for that. If possible, I travel to the area. Usually, it isn’t. I mean, for the Madeline books… that area doesn’t exist.  For DROTH I went up to Napa and drove the roads I have my characters drive.  I took the time to really look and it was amazing how I’d written exactly what I wanted… except that I’d assumed it was Sonoma when it was actually Yountville.  How cool is that? The museum there was awesome, too. Spent a small fortune at it. I start writing. Any word at all that I don’t know for certain I saw in a book written prior to the time of my book, I look up.  Yes, I looked up “really” once because I know how much we overuse it. When it’s done, during my read through, I check EVERYTHING again. I also pray.  A lot. By the time I've finished a contemporary book, I can probably say I’ve usually done between twenty and forty hours of research on stuff--job skills, how a football play works, what songs are popular in what genres... that sort of stuff. However, historical research can easily take well over two hundred. Every time I add up the hours for DRotH, I remember more and it goes up.  The last count was closer to 250 on that one.  The Madelines are taking me about a hundred hours these days because I did so much with the first two. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
This week is the final episode in our three-part series on classic retellings, continuing stories, and mashups with Sandy Barela from Celebrate Lit Publishing. Before we get to the brainstorming session (the last part of a nearly two-hour recording that I broke up),  I gave a short, mini-gush about one of the books we discussed in Episode 13 (about the great ones already in print).  I loved the book, Dust, by Kara Swanson and had to rave about it for a few minutes.  My review for that book is HERE. Then… onto our brainstorming session and a reminder about the contest! Ready for the Great Stories from This Exciting Contest? One thing we didn’t remind authors of in this episode is that anything we came up with in this brainstorming session is fair game. If you liked any of the ideas or suggestions, please do feel free to run with it—either for the contest or just because you want to write it! In no particular order, I know we discussed: Alexander Dumas and his Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, Man in the Iron Mask, and some of his family history. Dickens, of course (in passing). Edgar Allen Poe Shakespeare (we pretty much turned everything of his into something) Louisa May Alcott (Come on… Eight Cousins?  Please!) Lewis Carroll Sir Walter Scott:  Particularly Ivanhoe… in space! Both The Scarlet Letter (Amish?) and The Scarlet Pimpernel (WWII?). Jules Verne Jack London H.G. Wells Frankenstein So many more! I wrapped up the episode with a couple of things. The Celebrate Lit Story Mashup/Retelling Contest! To enter: Fill out THE FORM with Name Email Story idea What inspired you By August 31, 2020. Then, by December 31, 2020,  Send in the following: The first 3 chapters (as clean as you can edit them) A full editor’s synopsis (tell everything that’ll happen—share all the spoilers) A marketing plan To learn how to make a good marketing plan, join the discussion at Christian Authors Anonymous over on Facebook. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
So, we were supposed to be going over the final story mashups and retellings with Sandy Barela, but then something happened today that changed all that. For the past four weeks, I've been putting my bestselling series, Past Forward, free.  This serial novel comprises six volumes and over half a million words. Well, since I put Volume 1 free again for five days, I decided to ask readers from my Facebook reader group to give me a line or two about what they liked about it. One gal said this: Willow was in a 20+ year quarantine. She not only survived, she thrived and gives us a lot to think about. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. How One Simple Comment Inspired This Episode Let's talk serial novels. First, what is a serial novel?  Well, if you've ever read Dickens or Sherlock Holmes, you've probably read what was originally a "serial novel"--a novel told in increments and released at regular (or it should be) intervals. Past Forward was originally released that way.  Each week, readers would get a free episode of about 3 or 4 chapters. Once the entire series was written, those episodes were compiled into "volumes" that were each the length of a regular novel. Finally, those volumes were compiled into two collections of three volumes each (And Collection 1 is just 1.99 through 8/12/2020).  Eventually, those broke off into other serials like HearthLand and the current serial in progress, The Vintage Wren.  Note: we'll be continuing Cassie this fall!  Sorry for the delay but it's been a year, okay? Back to Willow.  She resonates with people, you know?   I think this is because: She’s content She’s intentional about her life They made a point of infusing beauty into everything They didn’t “worship at the feet” of the all-mighty time-saving god. (I really did put in a note that said, "be nice, Chautona" right there. There are a couple of quotes from the book that people often repeat, and they show why people are drawn to and inspired by Willow. Regarding time: After dinner, he watched as she washed the dishes with hot water from the tap but lit an oil lamp when the room darkened. The soap she used to wash the dishes was a grey mixture she poured from a jar on the back of the sink, which he learned they’d made themselves. “Do you make all of your soap?” “Yes. Mother has recipes for every kind of soap. Dishwashing, laundry, skin, hair…” “Will you continue to make it or will you buy soap now?” She eyed him curiously, as she hung the kitchen towel on the rack and untied her apron. The apron surprised him. He hadn’t seen anyone wear an apron for years. Her answer surprised him more. “Why would I buy something so easy to make? What would I do with my soap making time?” Regarding rest: She notices her rug is old and worn and she needs to make a new one, but can’t figure out how her mother had planned big projects like that. She needs to read her mother’s journals to figure it out, but she feels like she doesn’t have time (maybe that soapmaking time, huh?) but there’s a natural resistance to that. It goes like this: Her mother’s voice echoed through her thoughts, tugging a weak smile from her lips. Every day needs its Sabbath. She’d heard those words every time she tried to fill her evenings with anything that could be construed as work. Evenings were for anything but needs—a time to relax and rejuvenate before the next day. People often tell me that they would like to be Willow. After talking with hundreds of readers over the past eight or so years, I realized that it isn’t always the hobby farm life that people want. They want that intentionality—that lack of rushed living. Inspired by her diligence, they want to feel like they’ve done what Thoreau talked about. He said in his book Walden, I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” And I think that idea is what actually resonates so well with people.  In a similar way to Willow and Past Forward , other books have inspired me like this. Lindsay Harrel's book The Joy of Falling inspired me to honor my husband now while he's alive. Show that appreciation today.  You can see more about that in Episode 10. And Heather Woodhaven's book, Secret Life of Book Club taught me much about myself. You can learn more about that in Episode 11. Finally, I thought of it last minute, but in Episode 2, I gush about Pepper Basham's book, Jane by the Book . But that book (as well as her others) taught me a lot about romance. (Actually, now that I think of it, so did T.I. Lowe's book Driftwood Dreams. You can listen to that gush in Episode 15 )  And review HERE.)  These romances really got me thinking about a book I was writing and helped me do two things. They inspired me to examine my own life (Heather Woodhaven's was a part of that, too) and see just how honest I am about my opinions on romance and They helped me see where my character got her issues. I promised a few links and I have another one for you as well. Past Forward Volume 1 (Free through 8/14/2020) Past Forward Collection 1 (includes Volumes 1-3 and just 1.99 through 8/12/2020) Free Kindle Books and Tips is featuring Past Forward Volume 1 today.  I get their daily emails and have found books I don't think I ever would have seen before if I hadn't gotten those emails.  Not all the books are "my kind of book" but Michael does have a "no erotica" and "no too sexualized" cover policy which makes it nice. is a great place to find Christian podcasts that will help you keep the faith! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher  
What's Better Than a Great Novel? How about THIS? A novel written in verse. Yeah, I dreaded it. What if I didn’t like it? What if it was—oh, Lord, please no—in free verse. What if it wasn’t and it read like a children’s rhyming book until I wanted to tear out my hair? What if… The world is full of what-ifs, but one I didn’t have to worry about was “what if I don’t like Joiya Morrison-Efemini’s book, Petrified Flowers. After a couple of swipes of the Kindle page, I was hooked. On the line. Sunk into the depths of a story so rich it wouldn’t let me go. And here’s where I confess even more. Yes, the book is written in a hybrid of rhyming and free verse. Yes, I fully expected not to like it. And of course, I was absolutely wrong. Also in This Episode: Joiya and I talk about her journey from lawyer to stay-at-home-mom and author, how she got started writing novels in verse, and about her new work-in-progress that isn’t in verse. We get the story behind her three books: The Notes They Played  The Impossible (you want this NOW. And I haven’t even read it yet)  Petrified Flowers  Petrified Flowers is her most recent release, and Joiya talks about how an HBO documentary, Class Divide, that discusses an elite private school in NYC situated directly opposite a housing project. That story stayed with her until she just had to write the story that kept me ignoring my own work. Thanks a lot, Joiya. No, really. I needed a break. Now I’m using the second half as my reward when I finish this book!  I was fascinated to discover that our writing processes look quite similar (and completely opposite). While she dons running shoes to do her brainstorming, I jump behind the wheel of our car and toodle on down the road. Still, she’s probably much healthier than I am, but I think I’m okay with that. Seriously, though, we had a great time, laughing and joking. I get this gal—just the kind of person you hope to have as your neighbor. As we talked about her favorite books as well as the racial issues in her books, she shared several books she thought would be beneficial to people hoping to understand the turmoil in our world today. They’re top of my non-work TBR pile now. Because after talking with Joiya, I’m ready to listen much more than I ever have been before. It’s not that I’ve never cared about racial inequality and ugliness. I hate it. However, sometimes it comes at you in the form of an attack that puts you naturally on the defensive. Joiya came at it from a different angle that drew me into a conversation and made me eager to listen, to understand. The books she recommended were: Out of Dust by Karen Hesse (a beautiful example of novels in verse)  Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison  So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Uluo  To learn more about Joiya, visit her at her WEBSITE. And seriously, pray for her physician husband and Joiya’s family. Being on Covid frontlines can’t be easy for any of them. VISIT to enter a giveaway for a copy of Petrified Flowers Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
After several failed attempts to get this episode out all month, it's here... some of my favorite Christmas books, the books others recommended to me, and some of the exciting new and best Christmas reads coming this fall! From older books I rarely see people mention, to some people always recommend to me, and especially some of the exciting collections coming this  Christmas (lots of books for a tiny price or "FREE" on Kindle Unlimited--affiliate link), What more can we ask for? Single books, series, collections--this episode has it all. Note: some links may be affiliate links that provide me with a commission at no extra expense to you Some of the Best Christmas Reads Coming in 2020 First up: some of my favorite Christmas books--ones I recommend you read this year! Contemporary: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball— Donita K. Paul Snow Angels & Hope for the Holidays by Cathe Swanson. She writes delightful characters with quirky and eccentric elderly and snarky fun for others.  Love, Laughter, and Luminarias —Jaycee Weaver 12 Days of Snowmen (think I said it wrong in the podcast)—Monzon Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones Sincerely, Jem by Kate Willis Like a Winter Snow  (a semi-sequel” to Secrets of Paper and Ink)—Lindsay Harrell Christmas at the Red Door Inn with Liz Johnson A Caffeine Conundrum— Angela Strong. Hilarious. Must-read romantic mystery Melody Carlson and Karen Kingsbury both have really sweet Christmas books—fluffy but that’s always a nice thing about Christmas fiction—you can take it fluffy then. Historical: A Very Austen Christmas (If you like Regency and Austen, this is a fun way to have quick reads that way) Michelle Griep’s books, 12 Days at Bleakley Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts (She also wrote The Old Lace Shop, but I found the first-person/present tense jarring for a historical novel) The Hope of Christmas Collection— WWII fiction stories at Christmas time. Jodie Wolfe, Linda Matchett, Teri Wangard Christmas Books Recommended to Me Tinsel in a Tangle—Laurie Germaine Saving Ebenezer— S. Daniel Smith. This book about Scrooge’s story AFTER the end of A Christmas Carol. I’m so excited because Dan will be on the podcast this fall, so watch for that episode. "Red Boots" by Kate Willis (a FREE short story on Amazon—just 9 pages) Christmas Carol Society and 24 Days before Christmas by Rebekah Jones Once upon a Christmas— last year’s collection with contemporary retellings of such stories as: Little Mermaid Cinderella Snow White Sleeping Beauty etc. Taking Chances— a four-book series by Joanne Markey. Who doesn’t love kids, couples, and puppies? Amanda Tru’s Christmas Card Series—a new one coming in September, too! Heard good things about Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock and Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Rushti A Wreath of Snow —Liz Curtis Higgs.   2020 Christmas Collections to watch for! Hearts Aglow: The FIFTH ANNUAL Christmas Lights Collection —Toni Shiloh, Cathe Swanson, Jaycee Weaver, Melodies of Christmas Love—Lynnette Bonner, Lesley Ann McDaniel, Annette Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Sylvia Stewart, JoAnn Durgin, and myself. Something Borrowed: Christmas Weddings Collection Amish Christmas Miracles: Their WEBSITE Joy to the World (A Regency Collection)  Carolyn Mille,  Amanda Barratt, Erica Vetsch Five Golden Rings by the CrossRoads Collection authors: We’ve done a couple of sets before—Under the Christmas Star and When Snowflakes Never Cease. Those aren't even a drop in the bucket of the amazing Christmas books coming, but they'll give you something to get started on until releases start rolling out this fall!  Meanwhile, I guess I'd better finish mine! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
We met almost twenty years ago on a message board. As an American, married to an Irishman, living in England with her adopted children (from several countries), her mere existence fascinated me. Her kindness and humor drew me in, but… I know, I know. It’s self-serving and shameless, but our mutual love for writing and Austen is what actually cemented our friendship in the beginning. You have her to thank for keeping me from messing up the cultural facts in my Regency novel. And, you can thank her for breaking me of the terrible habit of using non-parallel phrases. I do, however, confess to throwing in an “it’d” every now and then if I know she’ll be reading it. Just to make her smile. Or shake her head. Or both. Because of her, I learned to love and appreciate Emma by Jane Austen, but we’ll get to that in a moment.   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why I LOVE Barbara Cornthwaite & Think You Will Too In this week’s episode of Because Fiction, I got to chat with Barbara Cornthwaite… way over on the other side of “the pond” (and thanks to internet issues, now and then one of us sounds like we’re in it, but for the most part, it’s clear. Barbara Cornthwaite’s first book, A Fine Young Lady takes place in a Victorian village and features a character who seems deceptively shallow at first—all the appearance of a “fine young lady” without any substance—and then grows into the best meaning of her name. Verity. It features interracial adoption in the Victorian era, baby farms, and a whole lot more. Our family loved it so much that I had to hound her to put it in print for my daughter (and I’d totally forgotten that tidbit!). Barbara went on to write a retelling of Jane Austen’s, Emma from Knightley’s perspective. The George Knightley Esquire duet including Charity Envieth Not and Lend Me Leave. That’s where I first learned to appreciate not only the original book but Emma as a character. Through Knightley’s eyes, you see what it is otherwise difficult to see from an individualistic, ruggedly independent, 21st-century, American mindset. In recent years, she’s been working on more Emma stories—one for the honeymoon and after, and one about Miss Bates. I don’t know about you guys, but I think she should get a move on! I want all the stories! Then came the A Very Austen Anthologies. Those are: A Very Austen Christmas  A Very Austen Valentine’s  A Very Austen Romance.  In these anthologies, Barbara Cornthwaite has novellas about: Edmund Bertram and Fanny Price (Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey) Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (Pretense & Prejudice) John Knightley and Isabella Woodhouse (John Knightley Wins a Wife) One of the other Austen Anthology authors, Laura Hile says she’d read Barbara’s grocery lists, they’re so beautifully written, and I heartily agree. However, recently, she’s been working on something completely different. How opposite can you get from Regency balls and gowns? How about… Contemporary Cozy Mysteries? (I think I’ve been a bad influence… shhh… don’t tell. It worked this time). When we recorded the episode, we hadn’t settled on titles for her books, on the series title—nothing. However, with book one now available and book two releasing on July 24th, well… I think it’s time to let a few cats free from all their baggage. (sorry, it’s late and been a long day, folks!) What could possibly interest anyone about a fortyish college English professor (which Barbara was… just a few years younger… ahem), a college town, and a bookstore with the captivating title of “Frank’s Bookstore?” Tons. Barbara Cornthwaite writes a solid Christian fiction cozy with both spiritual depth (exploring wishes versus convictions and how sometimes we confuse the two) with an interesting mystery that kept me second-guessing myself, Brought to Book is the first title in the Wilkester Mysteries. The second book, Snuffed Out, is even better on the mystery score. She managed to stump me. I could only tell who it wasn’t. And yet, I had to be wrong because I was convinced it wasn’t anyone! I’ve read the first few chapters of book three, Written Off, and am eager to see where this one goes. So… who’s with me on trying to get Barbara to write more in this series? If you don’t know because you haven’t read any, I recommend moseying on over to the links above and snagging one or both. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read there. Or, if you’re a die-hard Austen fan, check out her retellings and expansions of Jane Austen’s original stories. You’ll find that Barbara stays true to Austen’s characters even when she fiddles a smidge with the story (as in Pretense & Prejudice). To learn more about Barbara, find her at: Website (in progress) Facebook Page: Goodreads: Amazon: For synopses of the Wilkester books… here you go! Brought to Book: There's nothing in Emily Post about dealing with murder.  Katrina just wanted to spend time among the books at Frank's Bookstore. Yes, that's an unimaginative name for a store, but Frank's an unimaginative guy--or he was. Now he and his murder are the reason Katrina is spending her spare time with Wilkester detective, Todd Mason. Or, that's what she tells herself. Why would anyone want to kill Frank Delaney? Who would do it? And is Katrina herself even safe? Mixing faith, literary humor, sweet romance, and a cozy mystery that will keep you guessing, Barbara Cornthwaite's first Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read. Begin your investigation of Brought to Book today. Snuffed Out: Picnics can be murder… scenes. What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body. What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is. Who killed him?  Why?  All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself. Uh, oh. Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.  What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that'll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite's second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read. Snag Snuffed Out today. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Trends come and go in all areas of life, and fiction is no exception. However, one popular trend in the past decade or so is one that I think (and hope) is here to stay. Whether you call it dual timeline, time slip, or split-time (my favorite), novels with multiple timelines that while originally distinct, merge into one beautiful picture are definitely some of the most unique ones out there. I recently got to speak with Morgan Tarpley Smith about the new book she’s co-authored with award-winning author slip time author, Melanie Dobson. That book, A Split in Time: how to write dual timeline, split time, and time-slip fiction is so amazing. I’ve been reading it on Kindle Unlimited while I wait for my paperback to get here, and… wow. Author or reader, if you love split-time fiction, you want to check out this book. Note: links are probably affiliate links. They don’t cost you anything extra, but they do give me a small commission. Why Split-Time Novels are the BEST Are there differences between the terms dual timeline, time-slip, split-time fiction? Morgan Tarpley Smith says yes and no… it’s all up to the reader and author these days. Will it ever change? Who knows, but she really gets you thinking. She didn’t change my mind on my preference for one term (or mostly my bias against one), but she did make me really think about it. Morgan and I talked about what makes time-split fiction so good, and she really pointed out how well-written books have so many tiny nuances that come together in really beautiful ways. While I was editing the episode, I thought of another one we didn’t discuss. Think about it. In a sense you’re getting two, three, and sometimes even more stories in one, fabulous book. While I tried to get her to tell us what makes a time-split novel not so good, that didn’t work so well. What I got out of it, however, is that when you know what makes great time-split fiction, the not-so-great ones will jump out at you and you’ll know why you didn’t enjoy them as much. Their book will help with that. As we said several times in the episode, this book is not just for authors. Readers will get a lot out of it. However, authors. If you listen close, you’ll hear Morgan describe this as “a time-split workshop in a book.” (or something close to that). YES! That’s exactly what it is. Check it out on Amazon. Okay, we talked about a LOT of authors and books in this episode, so I’m just going to list them. Courtney Walsh: If for Any Reason (not your classic split-time novel, but it does have dual timelines and includes what is essentially an unreliable narrator, too!)  My review is HERE. Melanie Dobson  Catching the Wind  (Available on Kindle Unlimited, even!) Memories of Glass (I listened to Memories of Glass on audio, and highly recommend it. If you don’t have an Audible subscription, you can have a FREE 30-day subscription and get TWO audiobooks during that time. :) You can do that HERE. This one is also on Kindle Unlimited!! Kristy Cambron (her castle series is WONDERFUL. I have reviews of them. One is HERE. Jamie Jo Wright  The Curse of Misty Wayfair (and my inability to get that title right) The Echoes Among the Stones (my mom loved it!) The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus (coming soon!) Amanda Dykes Whose Waves These Are  Set the Stars Alight Heidi Chiavaroli The Tea Chest Freedom’s Ring Rachel Hauck The Writing Desk The Wedding Dress The Memory House (my review of that is HERE) Amanda Cox— The Edge of Belonging  Lisa Wingate The Story Keeper Before We Were Yours (two thumbs up from my mom!) The Book of Lost Friends Susan Meissner The Shape of Mercy (FABULOUS BOOK—my review HERE), The Last Year of the War A Fall of Marigolds Lindsay Harrel— The Secrets of Paper and Ink (more, Lindsay, MORE!) My review is HERE.  You can also listen to us talk about it in Episode 10. Cathy Gohlke— Secrets She Kept (and her other books are great, too—even if not split-time fiction) Michelle Phoenix— The Space between Words (That just went on my TBR list!) Split-Time Fiction... awesome stuff, right? Again, the book is A Split in Time: how to write dual timeline, split time, and time-slip fiction by Melanie Dobson and Morgan Tarpley Smith.  Here's the synopsis: What are the key elements to writing a time-slip novel? Where do you start in your plot? How do you weave together multiple storylines? In A Split in Time, time-slip authors Melanie Dobson and Morgan Tarpley Smith help fellow writers navigate and then master the challenges of writing a novel with two or more storylines. Within these pages you’ll find: Thirteen key components for split time fiction Practical tips on building the time-slip structure Interviews with bestselling novelists like Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner Analyses of multi-storyline techniques Resources to build compelling split time characters, craft your ideas, and weave together multiple timelines Whether you are a seasoned writer ready for a new journey or a first-time novelist wanting to learn the split timeline format, this workshop-in-a-book provides the necessary skills to weave two or more compelling stories into one time-slip novel! “A Split in Time is the only craft book I know devoted completely to writers who want to write in the time-slip genre. . . It’s an absolute must for anyone writing split time novels.” - Heidi Chiavaroli, award-winning author of The Tea Chest “This book is a gold mine of information for those looking to write split time fiction. Highly recommend!” - Lindsay Harrel, best-selling author of The Secrets of Paper and Ink To learn more about the authors, you’ll find them at: Melanie’ Dobson Website Time-Slip Fiction Facebook Goodreads Morgan’s Tarpley Smith Website Facebook Facebook Group  Goodreads Group  Instagram Goodreads Twitter Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
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