Landing on “Right” with Amy Anguish

Landing on “Right” with Amy Anguish

Today, please welcome guest author Amy Anguish to the blog! Amy’s here to talk about the, ahem, joy of renaming her novel, published by Tulpen Publishing. I had the pleasure of designing the cover for this book, which you’ll see below. But for now, heeeeeeeeere’s Amy!
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Didn’t
Shakespeare make it sound so nice? The thing is, once an author has given a
name to her work, it’s hard to consider changing it. Even if it makes sense.
When I started writing An
Unexpected Legacy
in 2011, I titled it For
the Love of Smoothies
. All I knew was that the boy and girl would meet at a
smoothie shop and that would be the mutual love that would keep them coming
back together through any or all trials. The more I thought about it, the more
I knew they were going to have some mutual history in their family that would
need to be worked through before their own relationship could work. Other than
that, I really didn’t know where all the story would take me. I set out to
write a romance, period.

By the end of the process, I had a rough draft that included
two intertwined stories, one the main story of my original boy and girl, and
one from the past. I won’t tell much more now because I don’t want to give any
spoilers away. But let’s suffice it to say that I was a little surprised when,
toward the end of the editing process this spring, my editor suggested that my
story was more than a simple romance. It’s a Romantic Suspense or Cozy Mystery.
A mystery!? I don’t even read mysteries most of the time! How on earth did I
pull that off?
That’s what ran through my head.
Then, she recommended that I change the title. My working
title sounded too fun and flirty and silly, almost, for a book that had as much
depth and intrigue as mine evidently did. Don’t get me wrong. I was flattered
that she thought those things about my story. I was blown away by the thought
of changing something that had been my story’s name for almost six years. And I
was more than a bit bumfuzzled as to what to change the title to. 
We threw names back and forth, playing with various words
that included “Legacy,” “History,” “Surprise,” “Family,” and “Trouble.” I
didn’t want it to sound like just any other book that people would pick up. And
I hated the thought of giving up the fun title I had originally come up with.
But the more we talked (and polled her Facebook friends), the more it was
evident that it really did need to change. Finally, late one night, after being
up in the wee hours with my almost-one-year-old, I came up with “An Unexpected
History.” I’m married to a history teacher, so it sounded okay to me. My editor
changed it to “Legacy” because evidently some people think history is boring.
Who knew? Even though I still hated the thought of giving up my original title,
this was the first one we had come up with that I was comfortable with.
We sent the new title to the amazingly talented Roseanna who
had already been working with about three or four different ideas we had sent
her way for possible cover art. Once she had this title and the last idea, she
hammered out the beautiful cover that graces my book today. When I saw it all
together, I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. After all, this is my first
published book, the work of six years of writing and thinking about, editing
and praying and talking over. And there was this perfect cover that you could
see on any great book at a store. But this one had MY NAME on it. And really,
isn’t that the most important name anyway?
Roseanna here, jumping in to say that we did work the smoothie theme in…on the back.😉

An Unexpected Legacy

Smoothies brought them together, but will the past tear them apart?

When Chad Manning introduces himself to Jessica Garcia at her favorite smoothie shop, it’s like he stepped out of one of her romance novels. But as she tentatively walks into a relationship with this man of her dreams, secrets from their past threaten to shatter their already fragile bond.  Chad and Jessica must struggle to figure out if their relationship has a chance or if there is nothing between them but a love of smoothies.

Amy Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a cat or two. Amy graduated with a degree in English from Freed-Hardeman University and hopes in all her creative endeavors to glorify God, but especially in her writing. She wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.

Thoughtful Guest Post by Mesu Andrews

Thoughtful Guest Post by Mesu Andrews

Today I’m happy to welcome my friend and fellow biblical fiction writer Mesu Andrew to the blog, with a very special post. To go along with her upcoming release, Isaiah’s Daughter, Mesu has written a small devotional that is available as a free download to anyone who pre-orders her novel! And she’s here today to share one of those 14 devos…as it’s very appropriate to the season. Please join me in giving Mesu a warm welcome!


Isaiah’s Daughter
14-Day Devotional

Day Twelve

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him

~ Isaiah 7:14 ~

Which aspect of
Jesus’ birth is most amazing to you?

Christmas print – will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

I have two
daughters and was honored to attend each of their first births. Watching my
babies give birth to babies was an amazing privilege but pales in comparison to
watching them be mothers. Mothering is
not for the faint of heart, and I’ve often pondered the impossible task Jesus’
mother faced. So much intrigues me about her conception, Jesus’ birth, and her
life as a mom.
What was it like
to create in her womb the God who created her? Was her birth experience more or
less terrifying, knowing the Son she bore was God’s own? Instructed to call
Him, Immanuel—God with us—how did she
parent God?
I’ve heard folks
say it would have been easier to believe in God if they’d lived while Jesus
walked the earth. I’m not so sure. While we have the benefit of hindsight, Isaiah’s
conservative theology might have struggled to embrace God’s Messiah. Even Mary,
who lived moment-by-moment with a divine toddler, teenager, and adult Son, remained
as confused as His other disciples until the Spirit was given at Pentecost (Mark
3:20-21). Seeing doesn’t always make
believing easier. Jesus’ brothers refused to believe He was the Christ (John
7:3-5) until after His death and resurrection. Only then did James believe his
Brother had been God With Us, the
perfect representation of the Father’s glory.
“The Son is the
radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining
all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided
purification for sins,
he sat down at the
right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
~ Hebrews
1:3 ~
I think many in
Jesus’ day discounted Him as the Messiah because He was too common. He wasn’t
spectacular in any way.
“He grew up before him
like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or
majesty to attract us to him, 
nothing in his
appearance that we should desire him.”
Isaiah 53:2
What if we—the
Ones to whom the indwelling Holy
Spirit is available—actually have the easier path to faith. Immanuel dwells through
His Spirit in all who believe in
Jesus Christ. Perhaps Isaiah would envy us.
[Jesus said to His
“But very truly I tell
you, it is for your good that I am going away.
Unless I go away, the
Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will
send him to you.”
John 16:7 ~
benefits did the disciples have with a flesh-and-blood Savior that we don’t?
benefits do we enjoy with the indwelling Spirit that the disciples couldn’t?
Quote card ~ will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

About the Book

comes to the prophet Isaiah’s home as a five-year-old orphan,
devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive.
With tenderness and care, her lively spirit is revived, and the prophet
and his wife adopt Ishma, giving her a new name—Zibah, delight of the
Lord. As the years pass, Zibah wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy
determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But
loving this man awakens Zibah’s painful past and calls into question the
very foundation of her father’s prophecies. Can she learn to rely on
only Yahweh, who gives life, calms fear, and conquers nations?

Isaiah’s Daughter releases January 16, so this pre-order deal is good until the day before! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, Parable, Lifeway, or see the full list of retail affiliates from the publisher.

Guest Post Up Today on Writing

Guest Post Up Today on Writing

Because I only have the capacity for one blog post a day (ahem), since I’m a guest today on Go Teen Writers, I figured I’d just link you over there.

So any of you writers out there, hop on over to read my take on the Intuitive–versus the mathematical–mind. In fact, even if you’re not a writer, this could apply. I delve into the two types of minds that Pascal lays out, and how they affect our approach to pretty much anything.

See you back here tomorrow!

A Tribute to a Historical Writer and a Friend

A Tribute to a Historical Writer and a Friend

Last Friday, my morning was interrupted by some terrible news. Golden Keyes Parsons had been killed the evening before in a tragic traffic accident. My heart still aches at this news. It would have regardless, but especially because I’d just exchanged emails with Golden a couple hours before the accident. I had a Skype call scheduled with her book club for this past Monday. The same day I was sending her edits on her book, The Gift of the Inn, that WhiteFire is scheduled to publish this autumn, in time for Christmas.
Sudden loss is always hard. I can only imagine how her family is feeling right now–Golden was a woman of deep beauty, inside and out, who loved nothing as much as her family. This was clear within minutes of talking to her. She was a woman who loved her Lord and believed first and foremost in doing the work He called her to do–also clear in a single conversation with this amazing lady. She leaves behind her a true legacy of love and light and service. It was an honor to know her.
I met Golden online many years ago. We were both members of an off-shoot of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) called HisWriters, that was for writers of European-set historicals. I had my biblicals set in Rome and was working on the series that eventually became Ladies of the Manor. Golden had just contracted her Darkness to Light Series with Thomas Nelson, about the Huguenots of 17th century France, following a family through trials and tribulations that eventually led them to America.
Waaaaaaay back in 2009, when I was re-releasing A Stray Drop of Blood as a paperback, I asked Golden if she would read the book for me, to endorse it. She agreed and provided an encouraging quote for me to use–and then asked a question. She asked if WhiteFire was accepting submissions from other writers. She had a series of Biblical novellas she’d always wanted to write, and Stray Drop made her think it would pair well with WhiteFire.
She was the first author friend to ask this question. In the last 8 years, WhiteFire has signed nearly 30 authors, and she was one of the first few. We published her Hidden Faces series, those four biblical novellas about the unnamed women of the Gospels. So not only did I get to know Golden as a fellow writer, as a friend, but she became one of my authors, and I her editor. Which was so hilarious to me at the time, as I still felt like a kid in comparison to her. 
As the WhiteFire list grew, our authors became a bit of a family themselves. And Golden always called herself “the grandmother of the WhiteFire crew.” She was always there to pray with us, to encourage us. She always, always proved herself a woman of grace and wisdom.
A few months ago, her agent contacted us about another book Golden wanted to place with us–this one set in Colorado during World War II. We ended up contracting The Gift of the Inn, a Christmas story about reunion and love. Given that edits were underway, I’d been talking to Golden a good bit about her book, her website, her vision. So looking forward to bringing life to another of her dreams.
Tragedy will always leave holes in our lives; that’s part of existing here on Earth. Everyone who loved Golden can take solace in the sure knowledge that she’s with her Father in heaven. But we’ll miss her. And we’ll remember. And we’ll do all we can to honor the name and memory of a woman who epitomized a good Christian, a good person, a good writer.
I am proud to have counted myself her friend.
The Lost Girl of Astor Street Hunt: Clue #25

The Lost Girl of Astor Street Hunt: Clue #25

Welcome to the Lost Girl of Astor Street Scavenger Hunt! 
We’re here today to celebrate the release of the most awesome young adult novel I’ve read in years: The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

What makes the book so awesome? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Your clue for Stop #25: motives.

If you’ve gone through the entire Hunt, 
then this is the last clue, 
and you ought to have created a sentence. 
Enter it here 
for your chance at the prize!


My Friend . . . Sharlene MacLaren

My Friend . . . Sharlene MacLaren

One of the very first writing-friends I made was a sweet-as-pie lady named Sharlene MacLaren. I volunteered to influence for her first two books, and I loved them so much that I wanted to run a special promotion. I put together a game revolving around the setting for Loving Liza Jane, and through that I spent quite a few emails getting to know Shar. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my review made it into the book, and by the time I reviewed the last book in her Little Hickman Creek series, my endorsements had made it onto the cover.

Around the same time, I joined Shoutlife, which was then pretty knew. Shar and I chatted quite a lot over there, exchanged stories about our families, and promised to exchange hugs at the ’07 ACFW conference. Since then, we just assume that I’m on the list for influencers for all of her new books, and we still keep in touch through the social networks and the occasional emails. And every time I see her name on the ACFW loop or one of the sites we’re both members of, I get a grin on my face. Shar is one of those people who leaves you with a happy sigh in your heart after talking to her. She is so friendly, so caring, so loving . . . she genuinely wants to know what’s going on in your life, and you walk away from a conversation with her feeling like you matter. Is there any better kind of person?

I asked Shar to share a bit about her story. I already knew some just by piecing together our conversations, but she filled it out a bit.

After a teaching career, Shar faced retirement and a question: now what? What did the Lord want her to do with her life? She started having dreams in which she’d written a book, but she dismissed them. After all, what did she know about that? But the dreams persisted, and finally Shar surrended her heart and sat down to write. The ideas came pouring out, and her journey began.

She started along the bumpy road with a Publish America novel. When that didn’t really sell, she learned the craft and found a home as one of Whitaker House’s premiere novelists. With two contemporaries and five historicals (currently) under her belt, Shar in thrilled with her position at Whitaker and looking forward to many more books with them. Next? The rights to that Publish America novel finally reverted to her, and she rewrote it, renamed it, and it’ll be coming out from Whitaker soon. I personally can’t wait!

I’ve done a Story Time Tuesday on Shar, so regular readers probably know how much I love Shar’s writing style. She writes from the heart, with characters deep and beautiful, stories with just enough suspense to heighten the romance, and always some soul-searing truth that strikes you right in the heart. I have read and loved each of her books thus far, and I know when I pick up a new one that it will be even better than the last.

If you want a good read–and a good friend–check out Shar MacLaren. Her books will touch you, and if you look her up and drop her a line, I guarantee she will reply and win you over with her charm, love, and sweet spirit. She is one lady I can’t wait to hug again!

(I’m putting her book info below. Click on the pictures for my reviews!)