Are Magazines an Endangered Species?

Not at my house! I subscribe to three magazines and can hardly wait for the next issue to arrive.

Especially Our Wisconsin with its gorgeous full-color photos and all things Wisconsin. Like our fascinating everyday people, interesting places to visit, and I-didn’t-know-that doings. Not to mention Wisconsin recipes, easy contests anyone can enter, themed puzzles, and more. It’s a fun, reader-interactive magazine. And …

A surprise arrived in this latest issue. A touching piece written my friend Linda Holtger. It appeared on a My Favorite Teacher page along with pieces by three other authors. Linda wrote about Miss Hodges, “a remarkable woman who changed my life” by helping Linda, then a child in elementary school, overcome a speech impediment.

Another favorite magazine is Guideposts. I love stories of people facing life’s challenges with the help of God. Don’t you?

I’m also finding Decision Magazine a big help. Only 42 pages, yet what a great encouragement in today’s world. It’s published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and includes news and views, past and present. My women’s Bible study group is currently using its August/July issue’s Building Faith feature written by Anne Graham Lotz. “Getting Serious” is a right-on, three-part study of 2 Timothy 4.

So … I’m curious. What favorite magazines make a difference in your life? (Let’s give a cheer for those magazines that give us ideas, encourage and uplift us, and improve the quality of our lives.)

Reader Power … Use It!

You have power! Every time you tell others about a book you just read, you exercise POWER. You just helped another reader discover that amazing book you read. Yes! Your opinion counts!

Okay … enough of the exclamation marks. But I wanted you to know how truly important your comments are on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Just little ol’ you? Absolutely!

85% of readers searching the Internet trust online recommendations. That means readers count on you to tell them what you thought of that last book you read.

That’s POWER!

Here’s the secret to using your power. Now stay with me here because I’m about to say something scary: Write a review. Doesn’t that just bring back those awful memories of writing and reciting book reviews in school? But I promise you … it’s much easier to write an online review.

All you do is jot down a few words telling what you honestly thought of the book.

Like this recent reader comment about Her Deadly Inheritance: “WOW! Great Read! The suspense, romance, mystery, and the call to trust God were all there. I stuck to the story like glue…”

Or this recent reader comment about Her Deadly Reunion: “Thrilling & Heartwarming! A very intriguing and heartwarming story filled with God’s love, forgiveness & grace. I couldn’t wait to return to it each time I put the book down!”

Yup! That’s all there is to it.

And …

The reader searching for a next great book or new author will thank you. The author will thank you. The publisher will thank you. Your book club will thank you. Talk about being popular, right?

Ready to get started? Join me over at Amazon books or Goodreads to write a review.

This month I’ve written a review about DiAnn Mills Burden of Proof and am about to write reviews for The Texas Rancher’s Return by Allie Pleiter and The Rancher’s Homecoming by Arlene James. As soon as I finish reading Rescue Me by Susan May Warren, I’ll pop over to write another brief review.

It’s easy and fun! So come along. Jump in and be a blessing.


Dear faithful friends and fans, is something missing? Not at all, But I do want to share exciting news with you!

To better serve you, my new website is becoming a reality.
If you go to, you will see the notice “Coming Soon” — this site will soon be incorporated with the new site.

What that means for you:

* You will find my blog and a host of other goodies for readers and writers of Christian romantic suspense at one location.

* The newsletter I’ve been promising you will soon be available. If you haven’t already signed up for it, be sure to do so as soon as the new website goes live.

Just wanted to give you a heads up, folks! I will announce the new website when it goes live so that you can see what’s happening, and sign up for both the blog and newsletter. Let’s stay in touch!

See you soon!

Exciting Party invitation with Book Lover Prizes

So excited about Monday night’s Christian Fiction lovers Romantic Suspense Party! Please do come and invite your friends for fun and prizes as five authors–including yours truly–each take a half hour to post contests, share fun facts, and answer your questions. Image may contain: 4 people, text

WHEN? Monday, October 22, 2018

  • EST: 7:00 – 10:00 (I’m on 7:30-8:00 in EST)
  • CST 6:00 – 9:00 (I’m on 6:30-7;00 in CST)

HOW to join in the fun:

Go to
and click on the “going” button!


Revealing December 2016 New Romantic Suspense

I’m excited to share American Christian Fiction Writers announcement of  two new christmasromantic suspense releases this month. Twelve other Christian novels in five other fiction genres are also listed at the above link.

Now …

For your convenience, I’m revealing here the two romantic suspense stories–one by Liz Johnson and the other by Susan Sleeman–both excellent authors I can easily recommend. Also, in keeping with this blessed season we all love, Christmas is a part of each story’s setting.


Romantic Suspense:

hazardous-holidayHazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson — Just in time for the holidays, navy SEAL Zach McCloud returns home from deployment–and discovers someone wants his family dead. When he married his cousin’s struggling widow, he vowed to help her and her seriously ill son, and now he’ll risk everything to protect them. Even if their arrangement is only temporary. Kristi’s certain an unhappy client from the law firm where she works is determined to hunt her down. But when a sniper bullet wildly misses its target, they begin to question whether it’s really her someone wants dead. Working together, can they figure out why they’ve been attacked…and keep little Cody from the nefarious forces dead set on making this Christmas their last? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

christmas-conspiracyChristmas Conspiracy by Susan Sleeman — When Commander Jake Marsh loses control of a hostage situation and Tessa Long is injured, guilt eats at him. He blurs the line between the professional and personal, and visits Tessa at the hospital. But when a man tries to kill her in her hospital room, Jake disregards all of the rules and regulations that have allowed him to control his world and vows to keep her safe no matter what. Trouble is, the situation brings back memories from his childhood of the loss of his entire family, and for the first time in twenty years, he fears he’s no longer in charge of his life, and knows when he’s out of control bad things happen. Very bad things. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

November Romantic Suspense Releases for Book Lovers

Can’t get enough of those wonderful romantic suspense novels??? Well, here’s a fresh release to entertain and inspire you from my friend, Marji Laine.

maji-lanes-counter-pointCounter Point by Marji Laine — Her dad’s gone, her diner’s closing, and her car’s in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose … except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)

Do you enjoy other genres, too. Go to American Christian Fiction Writers November Releases at to find new fiction releases in the following categories:

  • biblical (1)
  • contemporary romance (5)
  • contemporary women’s fiction (1)
  • historical (3)
  • historical romance (8)
  • speculative (1)

Book Lovers Treat–ACFW New Releases for October 2016

moody-seaYou love to read, right? Surprise–I do, too. Okay, that’s not much of a surprise. Anyway, this week I have a treat for all of us book lovers!

ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) just published its list of New Releases for October 2016. Taking a moment to dream here–sometime next year, my second novel might be included.

But for now, you can enjoy the two romantic suspense novels below. I’ve read stories by both of these authors, and they are excellent.

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon — After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime in the woods. But when someone threatens his neighbor, publishing executive Dana Lewis, Finn and Dana must work together to discover who wants her to leave her lakeside cabin before it costs both their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Revell–A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Identity Unknown by Terri Reed — When a John Doe washes up on the shores of Calico Bay, no one knows who he is—including him. But one thing’s instantly clear to deputy sheriff Audrey Martin: the man’s marked for murder. And she’s the only one who can protect him from the assassins who lurk at every turn. The arrival of a team of men claiming he’s Canadian Border Services officer Nathanial Longhorn only further complicates the matter. As his memories slowly start drifting back, Nathanial and Audrey work to uncover who wants him dead and why. If they don’t, this Christmas might be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

tangled-web-spiderAnother 41 October novels are arranged by genre on ACFW’s blog. Explore and enjoy!

It’s kind of obvious that romantic suspense is my favorite genre, right?  But I also enjoy:

  • historical romance–especially Karen Witemeyer‘s novels. Every one of her novels is a must-read if you like novels set in the 1800’s in Texas. And who doesn’t?
  • some fantasy–like Gloria Clover’s “Children of the King” series available at Dessert Breeze Publishing. What an imagination and how beautifully she handles visits with the King (God the Father in heaven). Totally amazing!
  • contemporary romance, historical romance and Regency by Susan Baganz. You may enjoy Pesto & Potholes which takes place in Milwaukee and features a hero whose large family are avid Packer fans.

Actually, I enjoy novels by too many authors to name them all. You probably do, too.

So let’s “fess up”: What are your favorite novels and authors?

What’s So Fun about a Book Club?

pens-fiction-9-2016-pens-of-praise-book-clubWhat’s so fun about a book club? Apparently plenty!

I interviewed two friends about their respective groups. Shelly Zraik’s meets in Michigan. Becky McLafferty’s meets in Wisconsin. (That’s Becky on the left standing next to Susan Marlene Kinney and Kathy Leist.)

So, girls,what do you love about belonging to your book club?
BECKY: We so look forward to our meetings. What can be better than combining godly friends, godly books, and prayer? It just doesn’t get any better!

SHELLY: I love getting together to talk with my book club friends. The books are always interesting, and I hear and gain insights and new perspectives I had not thought about before.

Who started your group? Who leads it?

BECKY: Sue and I co-founded the Pens of Praise Christian Writers Fiction Book Club. We take turns leading, and everyone chimes in.

SHELLY: Amy Corron (an author herself) leads our book club and its discussions. It’s called the Bedford Alliance Church Book Club or BAC Book Club, for short.

How do you decide on the books you want to read and discuss?
BECKY: Often by word-of-mouth suggestions. We read the “blurb” on a novel, and possible author bio or reviews. Did I mention COVERS? Book covers are so important, and yours is fantastic! Then we choose by general consensus. We vary genres so everyone enjoys their favorites.

SHELLY: Amy chooses the book, although she is open to suggestions and usually takes them as long as she feels it would be appropriate. Most often it is a non-fiction book, but she usually chooses something fiction or lighter in subject matter for the summer meeting.

What is your group meeting like?
BECKY: We open the discussion with general questions about “major likes and dislikes.” Our members usually highlight passages or jot notes as they read, and then we comment on things that came to our attention. Usually those were noticed by a number of readers, which is fun! We compare notes and then discuss those questions that catch our attention. In addition to those you provided, we asked what points members really liked or found thought-provoking. We looked quite thoroughly at plotting and characterization, and also what wasn’t liked…in your case, there was absolutely nothing!! We had a lively discussion about the characters in great detail, including depth of character and character traits. We also examined character arcs and story plotting. You generously provided discussion questions for our group, which proved to be a valuable resource.
SHELLY: Amy emails discussion questions ahead of time so we are familiar with them. When available, she uses all or some of the author-provided questions and maybe adds a few of her own. She reads the questions, and we share as we feel led. Oftentimes we go off on a “rabbit trail” and have to re-center. <smiling here> We had such a wonderful discussion about Her Deadly Inheritance. We shared if/how we could relate to the various characters and situations based on our own life experiences, how we might have acted/reacted under the various circumstances, and how we felt about the plot twists and who were the villains, including when we figured it out. Everyone said how much they loved Her Deadly Inheritance and hoped there was another book in the series.
Where do you meet and for how long?
BECKY: Our meetings last about 2 hours, and as much of it goes toward the book discussion/review as naturally occurs. We usually meet at Kathy’s house, and she always provides a scrumptious treat.

SHELLY: We meet in someone’s home, whomever offers to host. Everyone usually bring some sort of snack to share. Discussion is approximately 2 hrs, with fellowship either before or after. Typically we are together for about 2.5 – 3 hrs total.

How often do you meet?
BECKY: About every six weeks, depending on members schedules.

SHELLY: Every other month, the odd numbered ones.

How many participants?
BECKY: It varies, but five regulars and sometimes more.

SHELLY: Participation varies, but typically between 5-10.

As you can see, book club groups are not all the same. If you’re in a book club now, what do you find most fun about it?