Friday, August 30, 2013

Bleeding Heart- Amber Stokes- Giveaway

Amber Stokes is hosting a tour for her new novel, Bleeding Heart.

17927845Description:  Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I really liked the theme of bleeding hearts, in the flowers and in the broken mirrors. The relationships were far more realistic than in many other novels, portraying emotions that are rarely touched upon. However, I wish that there had been a little more description of the settings. It was very minimalistic.

Author Bio: Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Writing Tip- Don't Stress on Rules

At one point in time, writing had no rules. There was no punctuation, or grammar, set spelling, or
even word order. You could write what you wanted, how you wanted, with no barriers in anyway to your creativity. Yet no one could read your work.

Even when translating the Bible, monks would use short hand for words because of the shear amount of handwritten work it was. And each monk had their own short hand. This means that one person might short hand "Thrashing" to "Thra" and another to "Thr". It made everything confusing. Which is why we now have rules to simplify things.

But the rules can feel constricting and stifling. They bind us in the fear of messing up. And then writing becomes more torture than fun.

We are told to not use "ly" words, to only use "said", to never end sentences in  prepositions. "Ing" verbs become our nemesis and pronouns leave us visibly shaken. Editing is a nightmare that keeps us up all hours of the day, and causes us to flee. And it shouldn't be like this.

The stress will eat away at you, and it will be seen in your writing. So step back and take a deep breath. Remember that rules are made to be broken (or at least tell yourself that). Because sometimes, we break a rule, and it's ok. Sometimes it's needed. Just write what you would read, and trust someone else to tell you if something didn't work. You can always fix it then.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Midnight Masquerade- Marcia McClure Tour

Midnight Masquerade tour 

 My Thoughts: This is a sweet retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This first half of the book dragged a little for me, with Evony spending a lot of time "revealing" information to Stavos. Once she was through with that though, the speed picked up a bit. Stavos was awesome and heroic. It was a really good, quick read and I was happy for Evony.

Note: Marcia McClure is 'the Queen of Kissing', which means she writes adult romance with descriptive kissing, but no sex. The age group of some of my readers lets me know that some may wish to be aware of this.

midnight mas Midnight Masquerade: Stavos Voronin was not as blind-eyed as many nobles and royals. Evony’s physical gestures—even the simplest movement of her hands—revealed that she had not always been destitute. The same was true of the children—of their polished manners and the boy’s knowledge of horses and tendency to be bold and fearless of strangers. Ah yes, Stavos enjoyed a good mystery. After all, interest in the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the royals of Abawyth was the very thing that had lured him to the kingdom—the enigma of Abawyth’s twelve sleepy princesses. And yet now—now his mind was all the more intrigued. Not only was the obscurity of what had caused the profound and baffling torpidity of Abawyth’s princesses laid out before him, but also he found his curiosity intensely piqued over the riddle surrounding the very lovely Evony and her siblings. As Stavos strode through the village resting on the outskirts of Abawyth Castle, his mind reeled with possibilities. His musings were drawn back to why he had come to Abawyth at all—to solve the conundrum surrounding the twelve beautiful princesses of Abawyth kingdom—to solve the seemingly impenetrable crux and thereby win the hand of one of Abawyth’s princesses, as his father, King Letholdus of Ethiarien, had commanded.

marcia  Author Marcia Lynn McClure Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.” Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.

    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/17/13   a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Writing Tip- Novel Rocket

This week, I do not have a lot of time to write out a tip, so I am going to give you a resource.

Novel Rocket:

Novel Rocket is a great resource for writing tips, tricks, and humor. They have one or two plots a day, ranging from discussions to stories of their own journeys. I love receiving their email feed because they always have worth while posts. Today's post was one of the funniest I have read in a long time and I think you should check it out. John Ray Who?

They have a page of listing for just about everything an aspiring write could need, ranging from cover design to editing. Rocket Pages.

There are some videos to listen to here.

And my favorite, the Novel Rocket Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Dragonwitch- Anne Elisabeth Stengl

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.

My Thoughts: So, I would be thrilled if Stengl could continue to write The Tales of Goldstone Wood indefinitely. There is so much depth and history to this world, that I don't mind that it is not in chronological order. The themes are so real and relevant, without becoming preachy.

Dragonwitch is certainly not the least of these. The idea of the Smallman is perhaps the most sound metaphor for our world yet. Often I feel like the Smallman, wondering how I can be used for anything because I do not meet some idea of perfection.

The theme and brilliance would have made me rate this 5 stars, if not for a little disappointment. Sir Eanrin has come to be my favorite character in this series, but when Mouse called him a monster in this book ( The pet name Felix gave him in Heartless) she was right. In this book, he seemed to be truly nasty to the other characters. While he has never really been nice, he has not been so mean before. This is not a reflection on the author (there is a reason for Eanrin being this way), it just upset me.

Don't be deceived, however, the rest of the characters still make this worth reading and Sir Eanrin did have his redeeming moments of humor and guidance. Leta has become one of my favorites and I hope to see her in the future.

Buy from Deeper Shopping. It is cheaper here than on Amazon!
Buy the rest of the series here on Deeper Shopping.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Tip- Editing and Changes

So, I don't know about for you, but for me, college starts next week. On top of that, I just got a job this last week. For this reason, I will not have the time to read two books a week and will only be reading one. Mondays will now be Writing Tips and Fridays will be reviews. I hope to keep both going and do not want to miss any for you. If I happen to be able to read two books a week, I may switch it back, but it appears that I will be unable to do so until Winter Break or even next summer.

On a more productive note:

Editing Trick: A month ago, a friend of mine (who doesn't even write) gave me an amazing editing idea. I have been using it since and it makes the process so much easier as well as speeds it.

Before, when I got to a sentence or paragraph that I needed to change, but was not sure how to go about it, I would spend way too much time trying to fix it (around 30 mins). My friend suggested that when I reached these places, I copy the offending piece into another document and then replace it in the WIP with a number. Then, after I finished the rest of the chapter, I could come back and fill in the space with something knew. If I still could not come up with something, I could always look at it in the other document.

This was such a simple method, that when my friend said it, I face-palmed. How did I not think of it before?! It is amazing, and has earned my friend a place in the acknowledgements of my first published novel (when I have one).

 Some of you may already use this trick, but I decided to share just in case.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Hero's Lot- Patrick Carr- Review

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description:When Sarin Valon, the corrupt secondus of the conclave, flees Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But other forces bent on the destruction of the kingdom remain and conspire to accuse Errol and his friends of a conspiracy to usurp the throne. 

In a bid to keep the three of them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol's home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom. But Errol is also accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon, and kill him. To enforce their sentence, Errol is placed under a compulsion, and he is driven to accomplish his task or die resisting.

My Thoughts: I was so excited to read this and it did not disappoint. I loved it. Errol once again was once again the unexpected hero despite his reluctance. He is a hero that is easy to relate to because he has very real fears and emotions. He reacts the way many of us would if we were thrust into the same citation (other than we would not be quiet so awesome at it). I found that I wanted his life to perfect and was swept along in his realization that he had never controlled his life. I felt his pain at being someone else's puppet.

In this book, most of the secondary characters from the first play a larger role. I enjoyed learning more about Ru and Rohka, as well as Rale and Adora. A large part of the story also centered around Martin, Luis, and Cruk. While I liked the insight into Martin's thoughts, I was often upset to leave Errol's point of view for his. Because they spent much of the novel on different story paths, I little irritated. Still, Martin's separate journey gave information about Errol that I would not have seen otherwise.

Errol is a character with many weaknesses, balanced by prowess in battle. He is different than any other hero, and I enjoyed that. I can't wait to see what he becomes in the third book and to reunite with Liam so we can follow them to their singular path. When the final lots are cast, who will be King? And who will be Savior?

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writing Tips- Naming Characters and Story Excerpt

Naming characters can be one of the most frustrating things to do. To us it is like naming our own kids. The names have to fit the time period and character, have to be believable, and likeable. They are in short, a nightmare.


I remember for my first WIP (Death is Passing) I ended up with almost every male character's name starting with "J". I'll give you a list:

Hero- John
Friend- Joe
Mentor- Jackson Johnson (not kidding)
Others- Jeremiah and Jason

This was a problem. The "J" names became repetitive and often ended up alliterating: John and Joe followed close behind Jackson as they moved down the hall.

So I came up with a simple way to overcome this. I printed out a piece of paper with the alphabet on it and wrote names next to the letters. With that in hand, I would look to see what letters I had not used and picked any new names to go with those. I have since found it to be a great help in any WIP. When I coupled that with a baby naming website, it all became so much easier.


Then I started a fantasy (Bonded Souls) and wanted to use either made up names or ones that no one I had heard of used today. I found that in making up names, I tended to use a lot of the same sounds:

Heroine- Lan
Father- Atan
Father-in-law- Kan
Rider- Lantac
Trainer- Tintak

So I had to remove those sounds from any new names. New sounds gave me new names to play with:

Rider- Malok
Rider- Drenda
Baker- Rabulus (minor character)

Still, the name of my hero eluded me. What could I call him that would at once be knew, unlike any other character's, yet not be too weak or too strong. I spent a couple days freaking out about it and racking my brain for a name. Then one night, I was reading my Bible and came across the story where Caleb offers his daughter in marriage to man who can remove some enemies (don't remember who they were at the moment). The man who did it was Othniel, a man who later became a judge of Isreal.

Artist rendition of Othniel
I loved it. It was a name I had never heard of anyone having and it had belonged to man neither loud nor overbearing (I don't think that he ever said a word in that chapter and at one point his wife, Caleb's daughter, bosses him around) yet who saved a nation in time of need.

My hero had a name and it was O-t-h-n-i-e-l. Since then I have made a list of names from the Bible that I liked for similar reasons and plan to use them in later WIPs.


And couple months ago, I began a WIP for Five Glass Slippers and had a new challenge. I was writing a historical retelling of Cinderella, set in Ancient Rome. I needed names from the period and ones that meant something.

First off I will tell you that Roman names are very difficult, because they have a lot of rules based on gender and order of birth that we don't use. In this, I learned something the hard way. After naming my character with the baby naming website and my alphabet list, I did more research and found that my male characters all had last names as first names! I had to change them, though I didn't want to.

After all of this, I have learned that I have to live and learn and not be afraid of change. I also need to research before hand so that I don't have to change every character's name.

Now, because I have yet to reveal anything about it, I give you an excerpt from my WIP for Five Glass Slippers....


   The soggy black mess squished in Cardea’s hand and slided across her fingers. She fought back a gag and glanced away so she could cover her nose with her elbow. Any other chore would be preferred to picking leaves out of the garden fountain. Even going to the market with her stepmother and two stepsisters.

   Her stomach once again under control, Cardea looked back to the circle opening in the middle of the fountain from which she was removing debris. She pulled out her hand and lifted out a large clump of leaves, stems, and a number of other things that she did not want to contemplate. Dark water ran in rivulets down her arm and in disgust she flung the mess away. It landed in a small pile of other muck.

   Each time Cardea removed the congestions from the fountain’s pipe, a noxious smell found its way out. Like fish and mildew. She took a deep breath through her mouth and stretched her hand down in the pipe as far as she could. Her efforts were rewarded with a slight gurgle of water. A last yank and the water flowed freely, soaking the hem of Cardea’s tunic.

   Sitting back with a sigh, Cardea pushed her hair back with her wrist and glanced around. Now done with the fountain, she still needed to clean off the statue of Juturna and the stone benches of the grime they collected from the storm the night before. Then she would need to remove broken limbs from the tree set in the corner of the garden and rake debris out of the flowers.

   Resigned to her full day of work, Cardea climbed from the fountain. Each step sloshed green water. Feet returned to cold stone tiles, she could feel the dirt from the crevasses on her soles. She grimaced. Those would need to be scrubbed as well.

   “Cardea.” Surrounded by flowing silk curtains, Latona, Cardea’s stepmother, stood with her hands resting on the rail of her balcony. She stared down at Cardea, her face set in a practiced calm. “What are you doing?”

   “I am cleaning the garden, Latona.”

   Latona scanned the area from her lofty height and puckered her lips. “Be finished by noon.” She turned away and then stopped. “Once you are through, come to my room.” Expecting an affirmative response, she left without an answer.

   Water dripped from Cardea’s tunic and she gathered it to her hands to ring it out. She stared at the work before her and felt her shoulders droop. How could she finish in time?

I would love to hear of anything you may be writing for Five Glass Slippers or your challenges with nameing characters!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dragonwitch- Anne Elisabeth Stengl- Tour

dragonwitch tour

Tour Schedule  

My Thoughts:  So, I could officially read any book by Anne Stengl set in the Goldstone Wood through out infinity. If she just kept writing them, I would be so happy. This book starts out the Legend of the Two Brothers, which has been mentioned in previous books. I was so excited to see it and to meet all the new characters. I am sure that you will be as well.

Dragonwitch A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga! Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country. But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war. And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the one person who can wield it.  

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, STARFLOWER and DRAGONWITCH. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.
  Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/13/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 4, 2013

King- R. J. Larson- Prism Tour

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

King (Books of the Infinite, # 3)by RJ Larson
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1, 2013 by Bethany House

Akabe of Siphra is certain his people are insane. 

Why have they made him a king? 
What, in the name of peacetime boredom do kings do?

Frustrated by a lengthy silence from his Creator, the Infinite, Akabe decides to prove himself as king by undertaking a monumental task, his own lifelong dream: Rebuild the Infinite’s temple in Siphra. 

But Akabe’s impulsive decision sweeps him into a storm of controversy. The Infinite’s enemies join forces in Siphra, and beyond, conspiring to destroy the emerging temple—and to kill their king and his mysterious new queen.

R.J. Larson

R.J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women's Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman's Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter

My Thoughts: Can we follow God in faith even when he seems silent to our prayers? This is something that we often struggle with and that Larson approaches in her newest novel, King. For me, the lessons of this novel are much more applicable to my life and I enjoyed that aspect.

As to the story itself, the beginning seemed slow. It was a good portion of the book before the action began. While somethings happened in the part that I had been waiting for since book one, they seemed either too drawn out or too rushed.

Once passed the beginning, I enjoyed the story, lost once again in the escapades of Ela the Prophet. The ending was by far my favorite of the trilogy. I wish that there were more to the store. Maybe she can write a follow up series. *Crosses fingers.*


July 22 - August 16
Print copy of Prophet, Judge & King.  USA, Canada, UK only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Map Puzzle Tour...

22 - Launch!

Kien (Judge cover) is the original owner of the map... the scrolling mimics his sword...

Follow the tour to reveal the entire map!

23 – ADDLibrarian - Review
-          Rose & Beps Blog  "Compass"
24 – TheWonderings of One Person - Review

25 – TheOther World  "Beginnings"
26 – Piecesof Whimsy - "Romance & Action"

29 – JoJo’sCorner  - Review
-          Christy’s Cozy Corner  - Tracelands Recipe

30 – Proud Book Nerd - Munra - Siphra "upstart" king!
-          JL Mbewe - Review
1 – Worthy 2Read - Review
2 – Mommasez… - Review

4 –  Backing Books - Review
5 – Shannon’sBlog - Review
-          Mel’s Shelves - Review
-          A Tiffyfit’s Reading Corner 
8 – TellTale Book Reviews  - Review
 - CTF Devourer - Review
9 – Grand Finale

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Reason by William Sirls- Interview and 5 Book Giveaway!!

William Sirls, the author of The Reason, has provided 5 signed copies of his book for a giveaway here. Please leave a comment thanking him.

William Sirls Biography: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. Once a senior vice president at a major investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering, where he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for. Life lessons involving faith, grace, patience, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. He is the father of two and makes his home in southern Michigan.


Description: When facing the impossible, will you believe?

Storm clouds gather over a small Michigan town. As thunder shakes the sky, the lights inside St. Thomas Church flicker . . . and then go out.

All is black until a thick bolt of lightning slices the sky, striking the church's large wooden cross--leaving it ablaze and splintered in two. When the storm ends--the search for answers begins.

James Lindy, the church's blind minister, wonders how his small congregation can repair the cross and keep their faith in the midst of adversity. And he hears the words "only believe."

Macey Lewis, the town's brilliant young oncologist, is drawn to Alex, a young boy who's recently been diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia. She puts her hope in modern medicine--yet is challenged to "only believe."

And Alex's single mom, who has given everything she can to her boy, is pleading with God to know the reason this is happening . . . to save her son. But she only hears silence and wonders how she can possibly "only believe."

My Rating:  4 Stars

My Thoughts:   My full review will come at later date, after I have time to write one deserving of this book. At the moment I will tell you that I enjoyed the life like characters and message. I hope that you all like it as much as I did!

And now, an interview:  
Is there anything that you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve spent three years in federal prison and consider myself to be the luckiest man in the world. If God can turn someone like me around, he can turn anyone around. I’m a living and breathing example of what can happen when you take the gifts God has given you and use them for your own purpose instead of for his glory. At the same time, I’m also an example of his incredible grace and forgiveness.

Have you always wanted to write, or is it a more recent thing?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a little kid, but never really put much time into writing until I did the original draft of The Reason.

Could you tell us a bit about your reasons behind writing The Reason?
I was inspired to write this story in early 2004, which on the surface was a pretty difficult time in my life. I had just gone through a divorce and was in the middle of activities that were hurting a lot of good people. Those activities would ultimately lead me to federal prison. 

I clearly remember walking down a hallway at a hospital in Detroit. I was there to visit my oldest daughter who had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time, I guess it would be safe to say I was pretty much drowning in my own pity party when I came across a young couple, probably in their late twenties, pulling their son in a little red wagon. The little boy was probably around three years old, hairless, frail, and he had a gray and ashen look that suggested the end was probably near. For me, it was one of those rare moments in life when you realize that your problems aren’t as bad as you think, and while I was trying to fathom the amount of stress this family was going through, this little boy looked up and smiled at his parents and they smiled back. It was one of the most beautiful exchanges I had ever seen, and something inside of me wanted to find a way to make those smiles last, because in so many cases, particularly in cases like that, they don’t. 

So over the next couple of years, as I continued to head down the wrong road in life, and continued to hurt everyone around me, I somehow, in the middle of all that destruction, I wrote a manuscript about a magical character who appears at a small Michigan hospital that has the ability to make smiles last. 

At the end of 2007, I entered federal prison and the story got scrapped. Prison is one of those experiences I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but at the same time, there are few things for which I would trade the experience, because from a spiritual standpoint, it gave me the opportunity to slow down and realize what is important. As my faith grew, I became increasingly anxious to share some of the things I learned involving faith, grace, forgiveness, and realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around me. At the same time, I didn’t want to come across as some jailhouse lunatic, so I figured my best way to share these lessons was to go back to my manuscript and rewrite it in a way that was a lot less “magical” and a lot more “spiritual.”

Do you have any plans to write another novel?
My next book, The Sinners’ Garden, will be out on December 17th, 2013. We have received amazing feedback from early readers and I’m excited for it to hit the stores.

Now, I know your publishing story, and I have to say that it is amazing, but some of my readers may not. Could you tell us about it?
Whenever I think about this, I shake my head. God has been too good to me. I’m fortunate to have missed the need to hunt for an agent or ever submit my manuscript to a traditional publisher, yet I still ended up working with the biggest Christian publisher in the world. 

We had originally planned on self-publishing The Reason, and a few months before the self-published version of the book was going to be released, we were comfortable with the story and decided to print 100 advance copies to create a little buzz. I then contacted some of the biggest churches in the country and asked if they had any avid readers who would be interested in reading an advance copy of the book and then maybe provide me with feedback. Once I had permission, I included a letter with each copy sent. In the letter, I introduced myself and provided my phone number and email address, and also mentioned I would greatly appreciate it if the reader would let me know what they thought. 

I didn’t hear anything for a month or so, and I was expecting, at tops, maybe a half a dozen responses. Beyond getting any general feedback, I also wanted to identify recurring themes or concerns readers had so that I could make revisions before the final version of the book was released.

Then I received my first email from a woman out west that said she enjoyed the book and couldn’t wait for it to come out. It was an awesome feeling. And then I received a phone call from a woman that ran a church bookstore, wanting to know how they could buy it. Before I knew it, we had around 250 responses from men, women, teenagers, and ministers, sharing how the book affected them in ways that I couldn’t believe, and these responses were so heartwarming that they literally changed the reason I want to continue to write. 

Fortunately, one of those advance copies we made ended up on the desk of a receptionist at Thomas Nelson, and it was her response to the book that resulted in it being passed on to their fiction team. Just before we were to release the self-published version of The Reason, Thomas Nelson picked up the title along with a request for me to write two additional titles. Once again, God has been quite good to me, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Your novel, The Reason, has a number of characters. Is there any one that you most sympathize with?
I would have to say Dr. Zach Norman. He reminds me quite a bit of the way someone I know very well used to be. Money and possessions can serve as some people’s God, which leaves very little for the real God. 

What was the most difficult part of actually writing The Reason?
Forgiveness is something that I have received more of than I truly deserve. Forgiveness plays a huge role in all of our lives on earth, whether it be giving it to someone or receiving it from someone. With that said, the most difficult scenes for me to write were Zach Norman in the cemetery and Carla under the bridge. These scenes reminded me of the only real forgiveness any of us ever need, and I found myself wiping tears off my cheeks while writing both of these scenes.

In addition, it was also difficult writing the scenes involving Brooke and Alex. I believe that the bond between a mother and a child is much different than that of a father and child. I had a lot of help capturing the emotions a mother would have when she finds out her child has a serious illness. I’m very pleased with the way these scenes turned out and I’m truly grateful for exceptional editors.

Here on Backing Books, every Wednesday we have a Writing Tip. Do you have any tips or tricks to share with us?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the best advice anyone can give about getting better at writing is to write a lot and read a lot. Also read before you write, as it greases the wheels and gets you in the mood. When you have writer’s block, write about your writer’s block. Just like anything, the more you practice, the better you will get. I haven’t taken any writing classes, gone to conferences or worked with writers groups, but I do have a group of reader friends I show my work to that I trust to tell me what I need to hear, instead of what I want to hear. Also, if you are writing fiction, try writing your ending first, that way your characters have targets to hit. Before you know it, they will be telling you what to do.

Is there a Bible verse that inspires you?
I have two. 1 Timothy 1:15 and the 23rd Psalm. In Timothy, Paul is basically telling us he is the worst sinner in the world, but it’s okay … because he is forgiven and SOMEBODY has his back. No sinner is beyond that somebody’s saving power, and I think we know who that is. 

In the 23rd Psalm, really what David is saying is that despite being the richest and best looking guy in the history of the planet … nothing matters more than him being comfortable with God managing his life. Once we put God at the center of everything, it’s amazing how the rest of puzzle pieces all come together.

And finally, my favorite question for every author: Is there anything that occurs in your novel that has happened to you in real life?
Zach Norman turning his life over to God. He busted out of a routine of selfishness and is also a recovering control freak, much like the guy that created him.

Are there anyways for readers to learn more about you and your book?
I love to hear from readers and they can find me at, on Facebook (William Sirls) and on Twitter @williamsirls
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