How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


You may or may not have missed my post last week, but I had a good reason for its absence . . . family vacation! We visited my mom’s side of the family. My grandmother’s birthday is in June, and this year she turned 99. She is doing so well for her age! She has always been a reader, and she still devours a quantity of library books every month. 

If any of you have read the dedication of my novel Suit and Suitability, you may possibly remember I dedicated it to my grandmother Irene. She has always been a special person in my life. She was born in 1918, putting her at about a year younger than the middle Dashiell sister, Marion; so the Great Depression overshadowed her youth. But like many of the solid-gold Americans who lived during that decade, she came out the stronger for it. Although Suit and Suitability is not released in paperback yet, I did give her an unofficial proof copy because she was eager to read it. I am so blessed to have her!

Happy birthday, Grandma! You always have and always will inspire me and your many other children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

3-2-1 Write! Party Day Three

 Welcome to day 3 of the party hosted by Read Another Page! Today we are answering the question of favorite writing tools . . . and we can pick only one. One! I always have a hard time picking a single favorite of anything (except for color – blue is an easy winner), so I was waffling about my favorite writing tool until the last minute.

I was going to say my laptop, but that’s a given. So, I shall broaden the definition of “tool” and say my writing friends. The best thing about these “tools” is that I can’t control them, so they aren’t really tools. They are infinitely better than that! They are supportive, independent, and so very smart and astute, giving me advice, feedback, encouragement, and inspiration. When I first started writing seriously, I was terrified of letting anyone read and honestly critique what I wrote. I’m a fairly private person, so it’s not always second nature to share something so close to me as my writing. (Publishing is hard!) But once I do, I’m always amazed at how much my writing companions help me. 

Most books or other pieces of writing aren’t meant to resonate with one solitary person, so it’s very important to get personalized advice from someone outside your brain, preferably several someones, at different stages of your writing. They can tell you to [cross out] what doesn’t add to the story; they can ask you to clarify your ideas; they can help you when you don’t know where to go next; they can give you the encouragement you need to carry on when you think your work is no good. Writing and especially publishing would be a whole lot harder without these understanding people. Join with one or more honest critique partners and/or mentors to help your writing really blossom!

What would you say has helped you with writing the most?

My role in the party is finished, but make sure you visit Read Another Page tomorrow to find all the last-day posts. And don’t forget to enter this outstanding giveaway (full of writing tools). There is now a second-place prize of a $10.00 Amazon gift card!

The next stop on the party blog tour...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3-2-1 Write Party! Day Two - Writing Advice

Main Party Page

 Welcome to day 2 of the 3-2-1 Write party, hosted by Read Another Page! Today’s focus is on writing advice. There’s a lot of great advice out there, and not all advice applies to every writer equally, but I think I’ve chosen the two principles that help me the most. I would pass them on to any Christian writer.

  1. Write What You Know. This doesn’t limit you to what you know right now – it urges you to write about a subject that grabs you, and to explore and research the information you need to write a good story about it. Learning everything you can about your subject enables you to give readers an enthralling, enriching experience that makes them feel as if they have lived it. Readers like it when they sense their imagination is in the hands [of an author] who is completely familiar with the story’s world.

  1. Pray About What You Write. Counting down to the most important piece of advice brings me to this one. Pray about what you write on many different levels. Dedicate your work to the Lord, pray as you start writing, pray as you keep writing, pray when you’re stuck, pray when you’re discouraged, praise Him when it’s going well, pray about publishing plans, seek the Lord’s direction wherever you can . . . all of it is so important to our work as Christian writers. Whatever we do with our lives should be for the glory of God – especially such a powerful expression as writing. Don’t you agree?

What are your favorite pieces of writing advice?

Have you entered the Rafflecopter giveaway yet? It’s a grand prize full of several things that can help you fulfill any publishing dreams you may have! Also, make sure you check out Read Another Page for more party particulars . . . including the Quote Search. (The explanation for why I typed certain words in neon purple.) Also, visiting the other authors involved will give you the full experience. :) 

Go to the next stop on the party blog tour...

Monday, June 12, 2017

3-2-1 Write! Party Day One - Writing Books

Go to the main party page

Welcome to day one of the 3-2-1 Write party! Today [we shall have] the spotlight shining on our favorite books about writing. I’m sharing with you my top three favorites, the books that influenced me the most when I became serious about writing fiction.

I don’t read a lot of reference books on writing anymore, though there was a time I devoured them. Nowadays I graze on blog posts and web articles. But I have various titles on my to-read shelf, so I’m certainly not done with gleaning the vast amount of wisdom that’s out there. Besides being great tutors, most how-to-write books inspire me and urge me on to write, whether or not I need to apply what I’ve read to my current novel at the moment.

So here’s my un-ordered list:


  1. Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Hallie and Whit Burnett. This was one of the first books on writing fiction I ever read. Thus, though it may not have a lot of unique information, it shaped my understanding of the craft of fiction, teaching me what does and does not work when telling a story of any length – short story, novel, novella. It’s very thorough and well organized, divided into seven sections which have their own chapters. Whit and Hallie Burnett were influential American writers, editors, and writing teachers of the mid-twentieth century.

  2. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. I read this book right before I published my first novel, Family Reunion. Goodness, was it a book-saver! I tend to include way too much information in my works-in-progress; Self-Editing helped me realize what wasn’t needed in my manuscript, offering the valuable insight that less is often more when it comes to writing a story. For example, don’t use two words when one will do better, and don’t include scenes that provide information that’s already been given. This book also helped me refine my narration style, such as telling the story through what my POV character experiences. This is a book I definitely should reread, as first-draft writing habits are hard to break. (Note: I did not appreciate some of the language and examples used.)

  3. There was a mad scramble for this spot. I wish I could include several books here, but I’ll award it to Behind the Stories, compiled by Diane Eble. This book inspired me so much. Eble interviewed dozens of Christian fiction authors – including such greats as Janette Oke, Gilbert Morris, Randy Alcorn, and Jan Karon – and collected their honest stories of how they were called to start writing, how they got published, how they deal with fear and other emotions, and how they strive to honor God through their writing. This book doesn’t contain a lot of technical information, but it includes wonderful tidbits of advice for Christian writers, and for Christians in general as we all seek to please the Lord with our lives. My copy is particularly special to me because I had it signed by Bodie Thoene, my favorite author in the collection. 

What are your favorite books on writing?

Don’t go yet before you’ve entered the grand prize giveaway! Here is the link, and here’s what it contains:

    Paper copy of The Emotion Thesaurus 
    $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
    Free Cover Design by Victoria Lynn 
    $30 Blog Tour Orchestration by Faith Blum 
    Free Edit of up to 5000 words by Erika Mathews

The Emotion Thesaurus may very well become your favorite book on writing (I’m planning on getting a copy myself; it sounds amazingly helpful!).

Go to the next stop in the party blog tour...


    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    3-2-1 Write! Party Invitation

    This is your personal invitation to the 3-2-1 Write! blog party I'm participating in. I'd love to see you there! Visit our blogs next week to join in the fun.


    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    The Secret Slipper Blog Tour

    Welcome to June, everyone! Today I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Amanda Tero’s latest release, The Secret Slipper. I’ve been following Amanda’s releases for a while now (and reading as many of them as I can!), and I was particularly excited about The Secret Slipper, as it’s a retelling of my favorite fairy tale, Cinderella.

    About the Book

    Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

    Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

    As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

    Purchase HERE.

    My Review

    As I mentioned, Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale. The Secret Slipper is Cinderella with an intriguing twist it appears no one has ever written before: What if Cinderella’s father is the one who is looking for her? This creative turn of character made for a unique story that was able to focus on the yearning for family and belonging instead of the overdone romance, and, most importantly, how God turns out everything to work for the good of His children.

    The story is fast-paced and the plot is tight and well written. I read it in two sittings – I did not want to put it down. I found all the characters interesting, but I did feel I wanted a bit more character development among the major characters and differentiation among the more minor characters. But that’s just me! 

    I really appreciated the spiritual lessons that Lia and Raoul (Lord Kiralyn) learned, especially Raoul’s conviction about not leaning on his own understanding and instead praying and listening to God’s leading. That was something I needed to be reminded of, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read it; it’s really helped me over the past several days of life circumstances. It’s a very meaningful lesson to discover alongside Raoul.

    Another twist I was not expecting was in Lia’s character. She is the “Cinderella,” but she wasn’t the tale’s typical angelic maiden; instead, she had a lot of bitterness, which was actually more realistic. Although this was important to the storyline, I was a little disappointed that my normal favorite in the Cinderella tale was not more likeable to me. As it was, I was drawn to her mainly because she had my sympathy for her crippled foot. But her depth of darkness does allow God’s work to shine forth. 

    Although The Secret Slipper is the sequel to Befriending the Beast, I haven’t yet read the latter. However, I found The Secret Slipper reads fine as a stand-alone . . . except that it completely whets my appetite for Befriending the Beast

    In short, this novella immersed me in an intriguing story that was hard to put down and that truly spoke to my heart.

    (I purchased this book and was under no obligation to write a positive review.)

    About the Author

    Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

    “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

    Connect with Amanda


    Also Touring with The Secret Slipper
    (note that there's a giveaway going on!)
    May 25, 2017
    Amanda @ With a Joyful Noise | Release Day, Giveaway
    Leila @ Leila Tualla's Bookshelf | Spotlight
    Faith @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections | Review, Giveaway
    Leona @ Great Books for God's Girls | Review, Interview

    May 26
    Emily @ Zerina Blossom’s Books | Interview
    Kendra @ Knitted By God's Plan (Spotlight) and O'Scarlett Reviews (Review) | Spotlight, Review
    Alicia @ A Brighter Destiny | Review, Giveaway

    May 27
    Anika @ This Journey Called Life | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
    Katie @ His Princess Warrior | Review, Giveaway
    Sarah @ The Destiny of One | Spotlight
    Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Spotlight, Interview, Giveaway

    May 29
    Kate @ Once Upon an Ordinary | Review, Interview
    Sarah @ Penumbra Reviews | Review
    Dary @ Peculiar Miss Darcy | Character Interview
    Julia @ My Joyful Journey with Jesus | Interview

    May 30
    Kenzi @ Honey Rock Hills | Review, Giveaway
    Anita @ Christian Author: A.M. Heath  | Review
    Judith @ JudithWNicholson  | Interview

    May 31
    Jesseca @ Whimsical Writings for His glory  | Spotlight, Review
    Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae  | Spotlight, Review
    Esther @ Purposeful Learning | Review, Interview, Giveaway

    June 1
    Kellyn @ Reveries Reviews  | Review
    Victoria @ Victoria Minks Blog  | Spotlight, Review
    Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook | Spotlight

    June 2
    Hanne @ RockandMinerals4Him | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
    Erica @ Roxbury Books Blog | Spotlight
    Janell @ Views from the Window Friend  | Review
    Crystal @ Crystal’s Adventures for Christ  | Spotlight, Review, Interview

    June 3
    Alexa @ Verbosity Reviews  | Spotlight
    Faith @ Chosen Vessels  | Review
    Melissa @ Clothed with Scarlet | Review, Interview, Giveaway