Monday, December 31, 2018

January TBR Reducer Challenge

If this article makes little sense, that would be because it's past three a.m. as I'm writing it, and I just remembered that I hadn't so much as thought about my blog and it's already Monday morning. I was busy all day, celebrating my daddy's birthday and finishing up a couple of books for challenges on Goodreads and taking breaks to stretch and eat a little something. Yep, I'm pretty exhausted right now. But I'm turning off my alarm and sleeping in if I can. Fat chance if a train happens by...

Happy New Year! May 2019 be filled with joy, laughter, and most of all, faith in God. I hope we all will dig a little deeper in our walks with Him this year.

Our first challenge of the new year will be...

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Border Between - a Christmas short story

Merry Christmas, my dear readers!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. I'll be spending the holiday with my parents and sister. Before we get to the gift-exchange portion of the celebration, we'll be reading the Christmas story about Jesus coming to earth in order to save our souls. This is my favorite part of Christmas.

Here's a short story for you to enjoy. It was inspired by YOU, my sweet readers, who participated in this contest.

Note: This short story made the finals of a contest. Further details below the story.

Copyright 2018 by Andrea Renee Cox. All rights reserved.

The Border Between
by Andrea Renee Cox
inspired by Kellyn Roth (and her brother James)

The cityscape puttered by the window. Helene Jackson checked her diamond-studded watch and tapped a single knuckle on the glass partition between the cab driver and herself.
The dark-skinned man glanced over his shoulder and gave her a smile of crooked but gleaming-white teeth.
“Can you hurry up a bit? I’ve got somewhere to be.”
He cracked the partition open a couple of inches. “Do you need more air? The air condition is broke. I’m so sorry. I think the heater work.”
Helene picked a speck of dust from her slacks and looked down her nose at the driver. “I need you to find the gas pedal.” She adjusted her handbag from one thigh to the other. “Whoever thought to use the heater on a seventy-degree day, anyway?”
“Are you happy for Christmas?” He gave her another smile, this time accompanying it with a bobble head-style nod, before looking back at the city street before him.
“Not particularly.”
“My little girl, she is so happy this morning. She tells me, ‘Papa, you bring much happy to passenger today.’ I tell her I will try.” A chuckle bounced across the space between them.
“I didn’t ask for a commentary, only a ride.”

Monday, December 17, 2018

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

One of my favorite books this autumn was Cara Putman's latest offering, Delayed Justice. This is book three of her Hidden Justice series, so check out the first two books first, to get the full picture on various characters that overlap from story to story (Beyond Justice is book one, and Imperfect Justice is book two).

Here's my review of Delayed Justice, as posted on Goodreads, with added graphics created just for you, dear readers.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Mrs. Putman must have a deep well of courage to have written this book. It isn’t an easy topic. Sexual abuse never is simple. Not only did she broach a difficult theme, but she handled it with a delicate and considerate yet reality-bearing hand. Her approach to the abuse felt masterful. It’s tough to balance the stark reality of sexual abuse and its victims and predators with the grace of salvation. Yet, that’s precisely what this author has done.

The two-perspective approach on the abuse—from a silent victim and one who has already found her voice—was brilliant, as it showed that both types of victims must pair courage with truth to see justice done here on earth. Living out the reality this book portrays takes guts and moxie, and I hope any man, woman, or child who finds themselves a victim will seek out help in order to obtain justice and complete healing.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Reader Input: Favorite Challenge?

It's that time of year when we think back on the year we're wrapping up. Here at Writing to Inspire, that also means thinking about reading challenges.

This is YOUR CHANCE to give me some VALUABLE INPUT.

What was your favorite reading challenge this year?

Here's what we tackled during 2018:

Monday, December 3, 2018

How Much Editing Does a Book Really Need? - Guest Jody Hedlund

Not so very long ago, I read an article about the editing that goes into the making of a book. I found it interesting and thought you might appreciate this behind-the-scenes look too. Please welcome my guest, author Jody Hedlund.

How Much Editing Does a Book Really Need?
by Jody Hedlund

I just finished major edits on a book that’s releasing next summer (2019). It was a tough edit and took me a couple of weeks of full time work. Needless to say, when I got to the end, I was drained.
However, even though I’m done, I’m still in the early stages of editing and will have a lot more to do before the book hits shelves.
Here’s a brief overview of the editing process that most of my books go through:
Edit #1 (Self-Edit): After writing the first draft, I self-edit the book before turning it in to my publisher. Depending upon how much time I have (before it’s due to my publisher), I like to let the book sit (simmer) for a few weeks to a couple of months before I self-edit so that I can gain some perspective before diving back in.

Monday, November 26, 2018

It's a Christmastime Reading Challenge!

Did you have a happy Thanksgiving? My family and I certainly did. Good food, a movie marathon, a friend popped in… it was a grand ol’ time! Tell me about yours in the comments, if you like.

December is nearly upon us; can you believe it?! It’s so hard to imagine how quickly this year has flown by. Before the year is out, we’ve got one more reading challenge to go.

For this challenge, any book that has at least one Christmas scene works.

The reason I’ll leave this pretty wide open is because I can only read so many Christmas-themed books before I get burned out. I actually prefer books like Dear Mr. Knightley (by Katherine Reay) or A Season to Love (by Nicole Deese) that have one or two Christmas scenes but are otherwise not overtly holiday-oriented.

Yet, I have many friends on Goodreads who absolutely love Christmas books and read them throughout November and December. Nothing wrong with that approach. To each their own, and I’m happy for them. They may have the lion’s share of Christmas books this season.

For me, I’ll stick to small doses.

Please don’t misunderstand this.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Disaster - a short story

In honor of Thanksgiving, here is a short story that was so much fun to pen. Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 2018 Andrea Renee Cox. All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving Disaster
a short story
by Andrea Renee Cox

Smoke billowed from the open oven and filled the matchbox, galley-style kitchen. With a growl, Sarah swept a cookie sheet swiftly through the air around the raging fire alarm. She’d already turned off the appliance, but she couldn’t find her broom to nudge the battery out of the alarm. If she didn’t get it shut up soon—
Bang! Bang! Bang!
She jumped, dropping the cookie sheet with a clatter. Her poor attempt at a grand jeté didn’t produce anything close to the splits she’d seen the ballerina do in that ballet she’d seen last month, but it did get her over the pan and into the living room. When she flung open the door, she stumbled backward.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Purpose of Shame - Guest Roseanna M. White (Part Two)

As I told you last week, a couple of articles by Roseanna M. White have touched my heart and inspired me to re-post them (with permission from the author) so that you, my dear readers, may also enjoy them. Here is part two:

The Purpose of Shame
by Roseanna M. White

I'm by no means the first person to tackle this subject, and no doubt others have done it better than me. But last week when I wrote about "Actions, Reactions, and Being Better," I had an anonymous comment accusing me of "woman shaming/blaming." Another of those phrases that has been tossed around and turned into a fad, but which I think is often misunderstood.

But you know what? Part of the goal to #BeBetter is to know what shame is and why sometimes we need it.

First, let's cover where shame is bad and where you will NOT find me doing it.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Actions, Reactions, and Being Better - Guest Roseanna M. White (Part One)

Not too long ago, I read a moving article by Roseanna M. White. This article and its follow-up were important to issues prevalent in today's society. I appreciated Mrs. White's perspective and wanted to share it with you, my dear readers, so I requested permission to re-post these two articles. Thankfully, Mrs. White granted permission. What follows is the first of the two articles. The second is yet to come here on Writing to Inspire, so please revisit the blog again next week.

Actions, Reactions, and Being Better
by Roseanna M. White

One of the reasons I love writing historicals is to show that the heart of humanity has never changed. No matter whether you're talking about ancient Egyptians or modern Americans or anything in between, there are a few things that we will always seek--our dreams, our goals, our pleasures, family, love, escape from the things we fear.

But we think we've changed. Evolved. Graduated out of certain things. I wonder though. I wonder if we have.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Family Ties - a reading challenge

November is a time for family. We Americans gather around our tables the fourth Thursday of the month to celebrate Thanksgiving, during which we appreciate our family perhaps the most of all our blessings. When I was thinking about a reading challenge for this special month, I thought about how we could celebrate family.

What about a reading challenge called Family Ties?

No, not this Family Ties:

Though, I will admit to being addicted to that show when I was growing up. (Reruns were awesome back in the early- to mid-1990s.)

For our Family Ties challenge, our main character's family ties should be featured.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth - Blog Tour + Giveaway

This week, I'm a part of a blog tour for Kellyn Roth's new book, Beyond Her Calling. Please read through the very end of this article, because there's lots of good stuff heading your way, including a giveaway opportunity that I'm sure you're going to love.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Reveries Co. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.


Sweet. Charming. Idyllic. Classy. Faith-filled. Romantic (in a sweet way). Scottish charm.

These are just a few terms that define Beyond Her Calling, book four in the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. I haven’t read the previous three books, so while I enjoyed this one immensely, I did feel I had missed a few things by coming in late. My remedy for this? Saving up money to purchase the full series in paperback and reading from the beginning.

I especially loved the innocent sweetness of this story. Ivy was quite refreshing with her take on the world. It’s not every day that a “mentally challenged” person is the lead of a novel, and I found it something to cherish, truly. Her perspective was my favorite, and I thought the aspect of her different way of thinking was captured perfectly.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Why NaNoWriMo is Crucial For Me

Finding focus is often a problem for me. As a writer, that is not good. It takes a lot of hours of concentration to create stories worthy of being seen by readers’ precious eyes. When one has undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, as I do, the battle for focus is significantly more than half the war for words.

When I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrimo) in 2013, I was skeptical that it would work for me. The goal for that writing challenge is to write a novel (50,000 words) in a single month. Well, that particular month is November, one of the busiest of the year for me. I had already discovered that my mind is very goal oriented, but I hadn’t yet attempted to set such a huge goal for myself in my writing journey. However, I felt like it was a challenge worth taking.

Monday, October 8, 2018

This is the Day - a short story

Here's another short story that's inspired by YOU, my faithful readers. (See this article for the contest and entry that inspired this particular story.)

Copyright 2018 by Andrea Renee Cox. This story may not be copied or reprinted without prior written consent.

This is the Day
inspired by Caitlyn Santi

“… and that little monster bit me when I was trying to take his vitals.”
Lena slammed the first of two doors on her coworker’s grumbling. She’d had just as rough a time as he—though, she hadn’t been on the receiving end of a teeth chomping—during the work at an apartment-building fire. At least they’d finally been released to come back to the station, where they’d been for the last hour, sanitizing and restocking the bus.
She angled an irritated gaze his direction. “Mark, I get it. You got bitten, it hurt. Move on.”
“I don’t think you’re getting it.”
The next door banged shut even louder. “I get it just fine. We both had a rough day. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go clock out and enjoy what’s left of the waning daylight.”
“Want to go to dinner?”
A skeptical look shot to her face before she could halt it. “That’s, what? The fiftieth time you’ve asked me out this year?”
“Oh, at least.”

Monday, October 1, 2018

Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer

I just finished this book late last night. It's one I highly recommend for anyone who feels their life has not gone as planned.

Here's my review, as posted on Goodreads. (Stay tuned for some more thoughts, unique to this website.)

“There’s grace in [God’s] eyes.”

If there’s one thing I hope people come away from this book with it’s that God wants to give us grace. He has such stores of compassion in His heart for us, if only we’d turn from our wicked ways and ask for His forgiveness. He loves us more than we may comprehend in this lifetime.

This book is all about second chances and following God and discovering yet again what His grace means for the people around us as well as ourselves. I’m happy to have read it, because it’s perspective-shifting. It’s eye-opening. It’s grace-giving.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Keep the Lights On - a reading challenge

Autumn is here, and hopefully cooler temperatures will usher in soon. What do you think of during autumn? For me, it’s sweaters, hoodies, hot chocolate, throw blankets, curling up with a few good books, school, hearing the cheers of football games from my house (I live a block away from the local field), costumes, pumpkins, squash soup, and trick-or-treating.

During October in particular, I also think of scary stories. That, most naturally, got me thinking of potential reading challenges for this spooktacular month. Since I don’t support most horror stories but know other people enjoy being spooked by them, I thought this month’s reading challenge should allow for various degrees of fright.

Speaking of scary movies, one of the few horror movies I’ve actually seen [and even better, enjoyed] was The Bat {1959}, starring Agnes Moorehead; it wasn’t really scary to me, more of a murder mystery, but it’s classified as “horror.”

Read books from any combination of these categories:

Monday, September 17, 2018

31 Italians - a short story

Here is another short story inspired by YOU (see this article for details). This one is not a complete story as it will most likely become a full-blown novel -- if not a complete series -- because it's cranked up the wheels of my imagination. So, please understand going into it that it shall end abruptly, as this is a snippet from chapter one.

This story, once completed, will touch on some tough topics, such as alcoholism and grief, yet it will also bring along some humor and lightheartedness that are so necessary to balance out the heaviness of those deeper issues.

I'm excited about this story, but I won't have time to flesh it out completely yet, because I've got other writing plans in the coming weeks and months.

Copyright 2018 by Andrea Renee Cox. What follows may not be copied, published, or used without prior written consent.

31 Italians
Inspired by CutePolarBear

I hope you’re hearing this from me first.
If any of my siblings broke the news… Let’s say this: They have little tact. That doesn’t quite sum up the whole of it. They blow things out of proportion.
Way out of proportion.
There was… an incident... a series of incidents, you see. Rather small ones.
It all started with a butterfly…

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Lady of Tarpon Springs

I'm still on deadline this week. It's crunch time now! Any prayers you'd like to offer for concentration, focus, determination to cross the finish line... those are definitely much appreciated. Thank you, dear readers!

Here's a review of a book I recently had the pleasure of reading an early copy of (thanks, NetGalley!). I think you'll enjoy this story.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received from NetGalley an electronic copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

A lady lawyer, Greek divers, and an expressive author voice combine to create quite an entertaining and enrapturing tale of maneuvering through life’s trials while striving toward one’s dreams with hope for a brighter future than one’s past.

I love that this book featured Greeks without the mention of false gods. That is such a difficult thing to find!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Soundtrack On Deadline

This will be short and sweet, because I am on an editing deadline the next two weeks.

I often like listening to music while I edit. This time around, the album on my playlist is Overflow by Hannah Kerr. I'm enjoying getting to know these songs even as I'm making minor changes to a client's manuscript to polish it for your reading pleasure.

I've never heard her prior to receiving this CD for my birthday last month (thanks, Sis!), unless I heard one or two songs on the radio occasionally. I'm already loving it and am having fun figuring out which are my favorite tunes.

The first song on the album is especially important to me, because it takes the attitude and determination of a warrior to focus on a project till the end of the deadline.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Back to School Reading Challenge

Another school year has begun.

Do you have kids in school?

My tutoring work begins tomorrow (funny, I don't currently have students on Mondays, which is really odd for me), and I'm looking forward to it. My house is nearly too quiet with no youthful voices chirping about adventures and friends and dreams. To be able to help these amazing children with their studies and learning how to maneuver through life is a complete blessing and a wonderful challenge. I consider myself blessed each year I have the privilege to work in this capacity.

In thinking about work and school and education, I thought it would be fun to have a reading challenge inspired by these things. So how about...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Thinking About...

Here's what I'm thinking about this week:

Borrowed from Google Images.

Grace is something we can receive or give.
Both are tough.
They aren't meant to be easy.
They're intended to stretch our souls and grant us a new type of strength.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Five Things to Do When You're Stumped on Article Ideas

Here are five things to do when you can’t think of what to write for your next blog article.

1. Cruise Twitter or Facebook or any other social media site.
Most posts are simple tidbits into random people’s lives or self-promotions about the latest books, movies, products, etc., but they can make you smile or inspire you to find words of your own. I like cruising Pinterest on occasion, and every now and then I find a new type of dessert or crock pot dish to try. Once I taste the results, if it turns out delicious, it feels like I didn’t completely waste my time online. Haha.

2. Watch classic movies on TCM.
I’ve found quite a few gems on Turner Classic Movies, and the hosts give interesting facts and trivia about movies, directors, writers, actors, etc. Some of the information is a ton more than I’d care to know, but most of the time I enjoy learning what they have to share with the viewers. It’s always fun to see some old favorites, but it’s also entertaining to find new-to-me classic movies that pique my interest and inspire me to keep plugging away at storytelling.

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Whimsical Adventure

Have you visited your childhood lately?

Neither has Christopher Robin, but in the new Disney movie that shares his name, he’s about to.

If you enjoyed Winnie the Pooh at any time in your life, this movie is a must-see. It’s a fun bit of whimsy that will transport you on an expotition (expedition, for those non-Pooh fans out there) into the sweet Hundred Acre Wood… and your childhood.

There were mischief and adventure, stubbornness and grace, family and heroics, danger and encouragement. It was everything that Winnie the Pooh always stands for… plus lots and lots of honey.

Pardon my gushing (or join me, if you like). Christopher Robin, starring Ewan McGregor, is one of my top two favorite movies of this year (tied with Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander). It’s everything I think a movie should be. Sweet, funny, sorrowful, happy, family-oriented, and full of adventure and hope. Did I mention whimsical? That isn’t necessary for every movie, but it never hurts.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Around the World - a reading challenge

This summer is flying fast! Tutoring is finished until the fall, I just turned in an editing job, and I’m finally getting a quick breath of fresh—but humid—air. So what will I be doing for the next few weeks, before the next wave of my two jobs arrives at my door?

Traveling the world…

… in a literary sense.

That’s right, friends. August’s reading challenge will take us Around the World.

Here’s what this means:

Monday, July 23, 2018

Skyscraping - a short story

I'm busy this month on an editing job, but I took out a bit of time to express my creativity. The result of that is this second short story inspired by YOU. (See this article for further details.) Let me know in the comments what you think about this one.

*Copyright 2018 by Andrea Renee Cox

inspired by Gabriellyn Gidman

A large cage with a squawking bird in it was shoved into Adrienne Stanton’s arms, causing her to fumble the huge stack of stuffed file folders she’d been carrying. “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Jacqueline Bronson swept her long, straightened brown hair off her shoulder with a manicured hand. Her perfectly-tweezed eyebrows arched in a menacing way. “I don’t care. My ex gave it to me—as if that was a good two-month anniversary gift—but we broke up last night, and I don’t want it anymore. Get rid of it.” She spun on her super-high heel and stalked back to her desk. The gray material of her power suit didn’t dare wrinkle when she perched on her high-end arm chair. No cheap rolling chairs for Ms. Bronson!

She glanced up with narrowed eyes. “What are you waiting for?” She gave her fingers a flick. “Shoo. Go!”

Monday, July 16, 2018

News Flash: Editing Update

I have exciting news to share with you. I'll be keeping this short, as I've got a persistent headache today, which is making concentrating especially difficult.

Do you recall when I shared the news about the sale of Ashberry Lane to the owners of WhiteFire Publishing? (The article may be read here.)

Well, I've been in talks with one of those owners, author and publisher Roseanna White. Earlier this month, she asked me to edit my first book with WhiteFire.

While I thought my editing career might have hit a major roadblock with the closing -- then the sale -- of Ashberry Lane, God had great plans in store for me. He has opened a new avenue to continue my editing career with both Ashberry Lane and WhiteFire.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

It's been many years since I first discovered Lynette Eason's suspense novels. I really enjoyed the Women of Justice series, which was the first one of hers I read, and I've been following her career with the publisher Revell since then. When the second Blue Justice book showed up on NetGalley, it took me half a second to request it, because I'd quite liked the first book and was eager to read the next one. I read Called to Protect last week, and here are my thoughts about it, as posted on Goodreads and NetGalley.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

My favorite two things about this book were how much the talents of K-9 officer Hank were featured and that the human trafficking angle was handled so expertly as to highlight the dangers of it while not delving into the nastiest parts. The author handled both of these things like an old pro, with lots of grace, spot-on details, and creativity.

A couple of key things were highly predictable to me, but that did not stop this book from easily sliding into my top-five list of new releases in 2018. There were enough surprises along the way that I was kept intrigued and flipping pages faster and faster the deeper I got into the story. The human trafficking aspect was perhaps the most inspiring angle of all, as there was so much hope for redemption and escape fused into each chapter. This isn’t an easy book by any means, as the aforementioned topic hints, but it is a must-read for all suspense fans.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Diving In

Things are so busy around here.

I read 82 books in the first half of the year, which quite shocked me, honestly. Only two or three of those were ones I didn't end up finishing, yet they are still off of my to-be-read pile now. Of course I'm not stopping there. I would love to duplicate the awesomeness during the second half of the year.

The first month of my two-month summer session of tutoring is completed, which reminds me that summer certainly does fly. I'll get a full break from tutoring in August, and I plan on enjoying it. In the meantime, I will appreciate the moments I get to work with "my kids." They grow so fast and learn so much over the course of even a short summer session.

July is another Camp NaNoWriMo. It's hard to believe it's arrived already. I'll be diving in on several projects for it.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Trip Into Yesteryear - a reading challenge

One of my favorite genres of books is historical fiction. While I'm becoming quite partial to WWII fiction, there are many other sub-genres under the "historical fiction" heading that I enjoy. There's something pleasantly nostalgic about slipping away with a book that carries me into the past for a while. Another thing I like about these novels is that they help me learn about pieces of history that I might not have learned in school or my own research. The history of the world is extremely vast, and I love getting snippets of true information through fictional stories about different events and figures that played key parts in shaping societies and cultures around the globe. Those books inspire me to learn more about the truth behind the fiction.

Do you have a favorite flavor of historical fiction books? What is it about historical stories that pull you in for hours of enjoyment?

The reading challenge for July is...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Last to Call - a short story

This is the first of the short stories inspired by YOU, my dedicated readers. I appreciate all of you so much, and the contest I held a while back was only the beginning of showing you how deeply I appreciate your following my blog. This short story is a little longer than I intended, but once I began discovering the characters and situation, I simply couldn't stop until they'd had at least a piece of their say. In fact, I'm thinking of expanding this one into a full-length novel at some point. After you read it, please tell me: What would you think about this one becoming a full-blown novel?

*Copyright 2018 by Andrea Cox.

Last to Call
inspired by Angela R. Watts

An owl screeched as Tristan tromped through the dusk-shadowed Garden of the Gods park. It was his favorite place to think after a long day’s work at the shop. Being a mechanic was tough, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything.
He checked his phone. No texts or voice mails. Why was it that the one person you wanted to ring you was always the last to call?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Complex Grace

Hello, everyone. Today (Sunday) is one of those days where I'm not exactly sure what I want to write about. Nothing is really jumping to mind other than a One Word update. Now, I'm still contemplating what I'm learning, so I am unable to fully express everything. Please bear with me as I share with you as much as I can.

It's been a fascinating journey so far. I just hope my failing words shine at least a little light on the beauty of God's work in my life. Perhaps His Light will shine through this article to someone.

If it's one thing I've learned about grace this year it's that it's complex. Grace is complex in and of itself, but there are even more complexities about how many things it is connected with.

So far, I've found out it's connected to trust in God, faithfulness (of God to us and us to God), and it's forgiving others (especially when they don't deserve it, which reflects what Jesus did for us on the cross) and ourselves. That last one--the forgiving of oneself--is sometimes the trickiest one to learn, but I'm certainly trying hard. I figure it will be greatly freeing once I get the hang of it, thanks be solely to God.

Monday, June 4, 2018

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

Last month, I enjoyed a fun story written by Karen Witemeyer that features a women's colony. Here's my review, as posted on Goodreads and NetGalley:

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Boy, oh boy! Or should I say, Gal, oh gal!

This adventure featuring a women’s colony was a delightful tale that kept me in stitches from page one through the finale. I can hardly wait to get to the next installment or two. I really liked how it featured an explosives expert as well as the suffragette movement. Though the latter is not my favorite topic ever, and a couple of moments in the story were a tad abrasive in pushing women’s rights, I thought it was handled in a funny way in most instances, which took the sting right out of the women-only stance that irks me. Ms. Witemeyer’s trademark humor was laced into every aspect of this book, sometimes delicately while other times were in-your-face hysterical.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Nothin' Beats a Classic!

I love a good classic. I've been trying to add in a few classics to my reading list in the last few years, as I didn't read very many of them when I was growing up. Are there any other contemporary-written novel lovers out there who'd like a bit of a nudge to dip back into the classics?

I think I can help with that!

In June, the challenge is to read classic or vintage books. To me, these are books published at least 50 years ago. Please include the year of publication when sharing which books you'll read for this challenge.

Need some ideas?

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Perfect (for me) Stay-cation!

Summer is practically upon us, as thermometers and The Weather Channel folks have been telling us. What are your plans? Are you getting ready for a vacation?

Or how about a stay-cation?

That's what I'm doing right now!

I have two weeks off from my copyediting and tutoring jobs but no money to travel this time. So, I've decided a stay-cation is the perfect vacation for me. How am I spending it?

Catching up on household chores, for one thing, but that sounds like too much work to focus on for long.

The fun stuff includes:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt + GIVEAWAY

Beth Vogt recently switched from writing contemporary romances to penning women's fiction. She's talented at both genres, but I think she's found her niche. I guzzled her latest story, Things I Never Told You, in only three days.

Here's my review, as published on Goodreads. The pictures here are new for your benefit, friends. They include a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Stay tuned for the giveaway at the end.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. What follows are my honest thoughts and opinions.

This five-star, page-flying book felt very much like a soul-deep, sister-love letter to Ms. Vogt's own sisters, which enhanced the emotional aspect of this story for me. Surprisingly, I only teared up a couple of times in this maiden read. I have a feeling that will change in future readings. This is an amazing and deeply emotional story.

One thing I really enjoyed about it was how the mood reminded me of one of my favorite movies: Collateral Beauty. Both that movie and this book feature journeys toward accepting the realities of loss and grief. That's a journey that's crucial to our existence, because nothing lasts forever here on Earth.

The pace of this story was super fast. I flew through over 400 pages in only three days. Three days, y'all! That's pretty epic for me and that many pages. The content of the story -- all the ups and downs, drama, misunderstandings, love, passion, and heart of the Thatcher sisters' lives -- wasn't always easy to read about, but the toughness of this story is handled with such exquisite grace and redemption and humor that I couldn't help but become completely immersed in the story world Ms. Vogt had created. Of course, her characters helped out a lot, because they were very realistic and, quite frankly, studies in human nature. I admire how Ms. Vogt was able to craft such true-to-life perspectives and draw out the inner thoughts that make familial relationships so tricky to navigate.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Giggle and Butterflies - a Short Story + Contest

Are you ready for another original short story?

I had a blast writing this one, and I hope you enjoy the lightheartedness of it. Stay tuned till the very end, because there's an opportunity for you to help me figure out what to write next.

* All material under COPYRIGHT by Andrea Renee Cox. This story may not be copied, reprinted, or quoted without prior written permission. *

Perspiration dribbled down the arm Jessica was scrubbing with. She wiped her brow with the other, just-as-sweaty forearm, and pushed herself to finish cleaning the base of the shower stall. Would the soap scum spots never come completely clean, no matter how many different cleaning products she applied, along with elbow grease? She huffed, and the puff of air flicked a few stray strands of ginger-colored hair away from her face. Unfortunately, the hair flopped back and stuck to her cheek.
A few minutes later, when she felt her arm was going to fall right out of its socket, the upbeat tones of one of her favorite classic songs tripped into her range of hearing. Fred Astaire’s voice lilted about dancing cheek to cheek with his gal. A smile spread across Jessica’s face, and she found new vigor for her chore.
Suddenly, the rag was ripped from her hand.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Support Our Troops Reading Challenge

I have always admired the members of our military. They sacrifice their time, abilities, and sometimes their lives in order to preserve the freedoms we Americans enjoy.

Our reading challenge in May will be one way of thanking them for their service.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Latest News on Ashberry Lane Publishing

Another twist to the story of Ashberry Lane Publishing took place this last week. Here's the update as shared in the AL newsletter:

We are thrilled to report that WhiteFire Publishing has purchased Ashberry Lane. They will continue the publication of our backlist, as well as new releases, under the Ashberry Lane imprint. We are excited about this development, as we did not seek it out, but it was a gift from God.  See the press release below for more information.

Press Release Announcing the Sale

Cumberland, MD (16 April 2018) - WhiteFire Publishing today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ashberry Lane Publishing. The acquisition, which is expected to close by June 2018, is subject to customary closing conditions.
WhiteFire Publishing is a leading small Christian publisher specializing in competitively priced e-books and print editions for authors such as Melody Carlson, Roseanna M. White, Dina Sleiman, and the late Golden Keyes Parsons. Since their founding in 2005, they’ve grown to a list of over 75 titles by over 25 authors, many of which have won various industry awards. With books across multiple genres and a young reader line to launch this summer, WhiteFire’s line embodies their motto of “Where Spirit Meets the Page.”