Friday, June 26, 2015

And It Shall Be Called...! i.e. "Title Reveal" & Blurb Share for THE SEQUEL! :-)

I've been waiting for this day for awhile now - and you, patient friends and readers, have been waiting for this day for awhile now. :-)

Today is The Day...
The day in which we have a "Title Reveal" {Yes, there is such a thing because I just made it up!} and the day in which I get to share the back cover copy {or "blurb"} with you. By the way, why must we call it a "blurb"? A "blurb" sounds like what leftovers look like after they've been reheated four times! Ahh... but we can't help the decisions others have made with the English language... ;-)

On to the Important Stuff. I'm thankful to the Lord God to share the title for the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums. It is:

{For those of you wondering, THIS IS NOT THE COVER! - image info available on my Pinterest board}

A Time of Grace, Book 2
All Our Empty Places

As you can see, this sequel is book two in what is going to be a three-book series, Lord willing. When you come to the end of All Our Empty Places, you will understand why there MUST be a third book! Which I am so excited about writing! :-D

And here is the "blurb" {yes, that word again!}:

~ ~ ~
Chetham, Rhode Island, 1935 - When the bank calls in her mortgage, newly-widowed abuse-survivor Sarah Picoletti believes that God has sent Doctor Samuel Giorgi back into her life for one purpose: to marry her, thereby rescuing her children from homelessness. After all, Sarah would have married Sam two decades ago… if he’d only kept their engagement.

But nothing prepares Sarah for the seemingly-insurmountable trials that greet her once Sam slips a gold ring on her finger. Everywhere she turns, the errors of Sarah’s past confront her, insisting on her inferiority and incompetence to handle this new life into which she has entered, and God Himself seems to have abandoned her. Will the empty places left by past hurts ever heal? Will Sarah ever feel that she is sufficient to live the life God has given her?

Compassionate and intensely poignant, All Our Empty Places paints the portrait of a woman of God broken by her past who finds the courage to step into a future overflowing with the grace of the Cross.

~ ~ ~

I'm hoping to share a COVER REVEAL with you in the next few weeks! :-) Thanks for being a part of my joy!

Grace and peace,

Friday, June 19, 2015

So I Finished the Rough Draft... What's Next?

Those of you who don't use Facebook may not be aware of the joy-filled announcement I made last Saturday evening regarding the sequel to The Fragrance of Geraniums. Namely, this:


God has been so gracious to me - I originally thought that this sequel would be more of a stand-alone companion novella, not a novel in-and-of-itself. But then He poured ideas into my brain, and the outline became longer and more detailed, twisting itself like morning glories vining their way around a trellis. :-) I'm a thankful lady. Thankful to the Lord God for the story ideas and themes, and thankful to you folks who read The Fragrance of Geraniums and asked for a sequel. :-) To you, for your encouragement and prayers - and to the Lord for answering prayer.

So, of course, what's next for this sequel? :-)

1. I am roughly editing this draft before passing it along to the small circle of brutally-honest readers who will tell me their honest opinions and where they believe the novel could be improved. :-) I'm almost finished with the rough-editing, so I should be able to pass this draft along to them within the next week. 

2. While they read, I'll be working on the cover for the sequel with my cover designer. If you have a mind to, I'd love for you to pray that we find just the right images for this novel! I'll also work on the blurb during this time.

3. With the remarks of those early critiquers in mind, I'll return to editing the draft, polishing it until it shines the best it possibly can for you.

4. More editing and proofing. Sending it to my proofreaders here, too. :-)

5. Read-throughs and more corrections.

6. Formatting for paperback and e-book.

7. Release! :-)

Lots of work ahead, but again, I'm so glad to have finished this draft - so excited to share with YOU more of the Picoletti-Giorgi-Kinner story.

Have a blessed weekend in the Lord!

Grace and peace,

P.S. FOR THOSE OF YOU ASKING ABOUT THE TITLE: Yes, the sequel does have a title - sort of! :-) Just this past week, I thought of changing one single word in the title. I'm asking for opinions... and will return with my final decision! :-) Thanks for being so patient!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Release Spotlight and Sneak Peek: NOT ABANDONED by MacKenzie Morganthal

This post is part of the official blog tour for MacKenzie Morganthal's Not Abandoned. For links to other wonderful spotlights, interviews, and guest posts on this novel, please visit: God's Peculiar Treasure Rae

Human Trafficking - noun 
The illegal movement of people, typically for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

Today, I'm honored to put the spotlight on author MacKenzie Morganthal. She's recently released a new novel entitled Not Abandoned which focuses on a heavy but oh-so-important topic, human trafficking, and tackles it from a uniquely Christian point-of-view.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed."
Luke 4:18 {nkjv}


Two words….human trafficking.

Four different lives…are altered forever.

Haley, a police officer in training, is thrust right into the heart of an organized human trafficking ring when a family friend is mysteriously abducted. Once the problem hits even closer to home, Haley will stop at nothing to see justice prevail.

With no way out once trapped inside the trafficking ring, is there any hope for rescue? When trouble arises and Caryn’s life is compromised, will she be able to survive or will help come too late?

Strength is tested and trust is broken in this mystery of seemingly impossible rescue and God’s loving redemption. After hearing those words, human trafficking, these girls will never look at their lives the same way again… and neither will you.


MacKenzie Morganthal is an eighteen-year-old Christian homeschool graduate. She loves writing, music, and most importantly Jesus. She resides in Pennsylvania where she keeps busy as a freelance author, worship leader, and creative arts director. She also loves going to concerts, and all things chocolate. While some people say she can be a little crazy, she always takes that as a compliment. She has been writing stories for eight years, and Not Abandoned is her first self-published novel.

MacKenzie would love to connect with you! Find her {all links are clickable}:

Twitter: @authorkenzie




          It was a prison like none other. With boarded windows and a tall fence, I’d almost forgotten what it looked like outside. The bars that caged me in were strong, but not as strong as the bars I’d put up around my heart. They could hurt me until I thought I was going to die…but they could never make me cry. Those bars around my heart made sure of that.
     How long has it been now that I’ve been here? Too long for me to keep track. I was only fourteen when I was brought here. But for such a young age, I work long hours in this prison cell. Day and night. The few hours that I would get to rest and just be completely alone were almost filled with more torment than my working hours. Because it was in those hours of solidarity that memories would flash through my head. Memories of my life before this hell-like prison. Memories of days when I was young, free and innocent. And then they’ll be interrupted with a recent memory. My bright eyes turned dull and empty…my vibrant smile turned upside down…my olive colored skin turned bruised and dirty.  Would I ever escape and become that carefree girl again? I’ve given up hope for that.
     I slowly open my eyes and glance around at the other girls in this room. Girls just like me. We all come from different backgrounds and have different stories, but we’ve reluctantly resigned ourselves to the fact that we all have one thing in common. And that’s our bondage to this prison that we’ve been forced to call our home. I hadn’t meant for my life to turn out this way. Neither did any of the other girls that I live with. Our lives don’t always turn out the way we want though…but I’d rather die than continue living the way I’ve been forced to live.
     There’s something else you must know about these prison bars. They don’t confine thieves and murderers, or law-breakers and criminals. No, not one of us has committed any sort of heinous crime. That’s the job of our captors. They are the criminals. Nevertheless, they are free and we are bound, forced into a life none would choose for themselves.
     Welcome to life in a brothel.

Is there anyone who can save me?

Chapter One

          “If I have to tell you to get down here one more time…”
     Caryn cringed at the tone of annoyance in her mother’s voice. “I’m coming!” she called back quickly.
     “That’s what you said ten minutes ago, Caryn!”
     With an irritated sigh, Caryn dropped the ribbon she was trying to place in her hair and just allowed her golden curls to fall to her shoulders. She stood up and stared at herself in the mirror, her chocolate brown eyes scrutinizing every inch of the reflection.
     “Sorry, Mom,” Caryn mumbled as she hurried down the stairs and into the kitchen.
     “Let me see you,” Kathy Hampton instructed her daughter. As Caryn turned around so her mother could see her, Kathy got tears in her eyes. “You look beautiful, sweetheart,” she whispered, kissing her daughter’s forehead.
     Caryn smiled and stepped forward to give her mother a hug. “Mom, I’m so nervous,” she whispered into the woman’s hair. Her tone was low and she sort of hoped that Kathy hadn’t heard her.
     Kathy pulled back from their hug and took her daughter’s face between both her hands. “I was nervous my first day of high school too. But don’t worry. You are going to be just fine. Come home and tell me all about it, okay?”
     Caryn nodded and readjusted her backpack on her shoulder.
     Honk, honk!
     “That would be your sister waiting on you.” Kathy blew the young teenager a kiss as she walked towards the door.
     Caryn glanced back over her shoulder at her mom and waved. Despite her mother’s comforting words, she still had butterflies fluttering around in her stomach. I wish I didn’t have to do this.   
     “Hurry up, slow poke!” Avery called in a huff to her sister from the open window of her new Honda.
     Caryn opened the passenger door and flung her backpack into the backseat before sliding in. She barely had her seatbelt secured before Avery was flying down the driveway and out onto the main road.
     “Next time you’re totally taking the bus,” Avery grumbled, looking in her rearview mirror as she steered the car through traffic.
     “You know Mom and Dad don’t want me to take the bus as long as you have your license and can drive the both of us,” Caryn reminded her, leaning her head back against the seat and closing her eyes.
     Avery rolled her eyes and smacked her glossy lips together. The seventeen year old checked her reflection in the mirror quickly before turning her sky blue eyes back to the road and the traffic jam that they were stuck in.
     Caryn slowly opened one eye to peer at her older sister. The two blondes looked a lot alike, but they were complete opposites in everything else. They used to be close when they were younger, but had drifted apart as they grew older. Caryn certainly would’ve rather taken the bus than put up with her sister this early in the morning, but her parents had strict rules about that. They were to only take the bus if necessary and they were to never walk to school alone.
     Caryn felt her cell phone buzz in her pocket so she fished it out and opened the text message. It was from her oldest sister, Haley:
     Good luck today! You’ll be fine J
     The message brought a smile to her face. She quickly closed her eyes and imagined Haley’s smiling face. Haley had beautiful auburn hair that really brought out her green eyes.  She had a smile that could light up any town and those green eyes always seemed to sparkle. Caryn sighed deeply. She missed her twenty-one year old sister who was attending college somewhere out west. Caryn could never remember exactly which state her sister was in; she just knew that it was a long way from New York. Even though she missed Haley greatly, Caryn was proud of how well her sister was doing in school. The young college student was training to become a law enforcement officer. Ever since she was little she had wanted to major in criminal justice, so Caryn was happy that her older sister was following her dreams…even if it took her so far away.
     “Hello?” Avery snapped her perfectly manicured fingers in front of her sister’s nose. “Earth to Caryn.”
     Caryn rolled her eyes and pushed Avery’s hand away. “What?” she asked rudely.
     Avery pointed out the window. “We’re here,” she replied, quickly exiting the vehicle. “But if you want to be late for class, that’s not my problem.”
     Caryn groaned and slammed the car door closed behind her. After the dirty look she got from her sister, she didn’t even bother saying goodbye as she hurried in the opposite direction of Avery.
     Caryn quickly pulled out her cell phone to type a message back to Haley before she walked inside.
     Wish you were here. This is going to be a long day…


     “What are you looking at?”
     Haley whipped her head around to see a young man standing over her shoulder. “Oh hey, Jake, I didn’t even see you there,” she smiled up at him as she lifted up her cell phone, “I was texting my sister,” she explained, continuing down the college hallway towards her dorm room. 
     “Ah, you never told me you have a sister,” Jake noted, stepping in front of her and leaning his tall figure against the doorframe with a heart-melting grin. 
     “Well, you never asked,” Haley teased, reaching past him to unlock the door.  
    “How old is she?” Jake prodded.
    “Fourteen,” Haley answered slowly, giving him a sideways glance.
     “So does your family live far from here?” Jake asked curiously as Haley sorted through her mail on the kitchen counter just inside the dorm room.
     “Boy, being nosy today, aren’t we?” Haley walked back over to the doorway and crossed her arms as she smiled and raised an eyebrow at the young man standing before her.
     Jake shrugged. “I just want to get to know more about you, Haley,” he flashed that award-winning smile and added, “So how about we go out sometime?”
     Haley laughed, “Still trying to get me to go on a date with you?” She pretended to punch his arm. “I’ll think about it and text you later, okay?”
     “Okay, but don’t make me wait too long,” Jake called over his shoulder as he disappeared down the hallway.
     Haley rolled her eyes. She hadn’t known Jake very long; they had just met at the beginning of this semester. But even still he could make her heart race with just one word. He was such a nice guy, and she blushed at the thought that he seemed genuinely interested in her.
     Haley shook her head. She couldn’t think about Jake right now. She was too busy with her studies and couldn’t possibly consider a relationship on top of all that. School would just have to come first.
     “Was that Jake?” Anna, Haley’s roommate, asked curiously.
     Haley nodded absentmindedly as she pretended to sort through the mail again.
     “You need to give the poor guy a chance, girl. Get a social life,” Anna instructed her as if reading her previous thoughts.
     Haley sighed. “I don’t have time for that.”
     “Make time,” Anna commanded, “You’re in college now. You’re supposed to have fun and party in college. Once you graduate and go to work full time, then you won’t have time for anything. Have fun while you’re in school.”
     Haley grinned at her friend. “Are those words of wisdom supposed to impress me?” she teased.
     Anna nodded. “Oh yeah, I worked hard on that speech.”
     Haley threw her head back and laughed. “Take your own advice, girl.” She grabbed a bag of potato chips and opened them, popping one into her mouth. “You haven’t gone on a date since last semester.”
     Anna grinned. “I prefer to give the speech instead of taking the advice.”
     Haley laughed again and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket to glance at the last text message her little sister had sent to her. She sighed and looked up to gaze out the window of her small dorm room. She wished she could be back in New York with her family. Colorado was so far away…the miles were too long.
     Maybe by the middle of the semester the homesickness would ease down. But somehow Haley wasn’t so sure about that.


Where can you purchase
{all links are clickable}

CreateSpace estore: 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

THE DIAMONDS TOUR: An Interview and Giveaway with Debut Author Rachelle Rea!

This spring has brought a glorious blossoming of new books, debut authors, and awesome blog tours!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Rachelle Rea, the author of The Sound of Diamonds, the first book in "The Steadfast Love" series, releasing June 15, 2015! I know that many of you snatch eagerly at excellent historical fiction, and if Rachelle's writing over at her blog is any indication, I believe that we historical fiction readers are in for quite a treat with "The Steadfast Love" trilogy. :-)

First, however, here's Rachelle's "official" bio:
Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring fellow authors in the craft. A homeschool graduate and retired gymnast, she wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.

Now, let's pull up a chair, pour some peppermint tea, and chat awhile, shall we? (Rachelle's giveaway is at the end of this post.)

What’s The Sound of Diamonds about, Rachelle?
With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

How did you get the idea for The Sound of Diamonds?
I love this question. I’ll never forget driving down Central Avenue on my way to college when a song came on the radio. I have forgotten what song but I remember thinking a portion of the melody sounded like diamonds. And then realizing what a weird thought that was. I spent the summer writing a book to figure out what the sound of diamonds actually meant.

What kind of research went into this novel? What part of it did you find the most interesting?
This is my favorite time period so I’ve always done a lot of reading about it. That helped. Probably one of the most interesting parts of the research process, though, were those nitty-gritty details I never saw coming. Like the day I had to randomly Google how many miles a horse can travel in a day, because that would determine how long it would take my hero and heroine to make it to the coast.

How has your relationship with Christ influenced your writing?
My relationship with Christ inspires my writing. The only reason I feel like I have a story to write is because He is already writing such a beautiful one with my life. I wouldn’t have the guts to write a story in which Gwyn goes through such a tragedy if I didn’t know there’s Hope for her and all others like her. I’m so grateful for all God has taught me about Creativity—and that He chooses to give me a story to tell.

What's the message that you'd like readers to take away from The Sound of Diamonds?
I’d like them to see that God’s love transcends even the toughest tragedy. Gwyn and Dirk learn that sorrow is no match for hope, and I’d love for someone who picks up my book to be able to say the same.

What will you be working on next?
I’m excited about the upcoming release of the next two books in the series! The Sound of Silver comes out in October and The Sound of Emeralds will complete the trilogy in February of next year. So I’m hard at work getting those books ready… ☺

Now for some split-second questions :-) --

Favorite book?
Hope was Here by Joan Bauer
Favorite movie?
The Decoy Bride
Favorite place to write?
At my desk overlooking the forest in my backyard
Cake or ice-cream?
Ice cream
Favorite/special Bible verse?
Isaiah 30:18, because He rises from His throne for love of me
Dream vacation location?
Anywhere with ocean
You have the ability to time-travel. What century and country do you choose?
I’ll be lame and pick my book’s setting. 16th century England rocks.
You are given the opportunity to meet anyone, past or present. Who is it?
Elizabeth I, of course.

Friends, I hope that you've enjoyed getting to learn about The Sound of Diamonds and its author as much as I have! Interested in learning more? You can visit Rachelle: 
Amazon Author Page:

The Sound of Diamonds is available for pre-order/purchase at:
Barnes & Noble: Coming June 15th
CBD: Coming June 15th
Amazon Paperback:

In honor of the release of The Sound of Diamonds, Rachelle Rea is holding a delightful giveaway! Enter below (It's a clickable link.) and spread the word! :-)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tricia Mingerink's DARE: Author Interview & Giveaway!

One of my favorite things about being an writer?
Meeting other wordy people who are also afflicted with stories running through their heads!

Today, I'm so pleased to introduce you to debut author Tricia Mingerink, whose Christian fantasy novel Dare released Tuesday, June 2, 2015. {And we are participating in Tricia's generous giveaway! - More on that after the interview!}

Who is Tricia Mingerink? Here's her official bio:

Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursing backwoods adventures across the country. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, and her blog.

Now grab a cup of coffee and a pistachio cannoli, and we'll have fun getting to know Tricia a little better. :-)

How did you get the idea for Dare?
TRICIA: Lots of places. It was like a whole bunch of inspirations came together all at once. I’d been doing research on the Dutch Resistance in World War II, which inspired a lot of the structure of the Resistance in Dare. My friends also held a Bible verse memorization challenge where we each set goals for how many verses we wanted to memorize. It made me think about how much I take the Bible for granted, and from there of course I began asking what if my Bible were taken away? What if it were illegal to own one? Many Christians around the world have to already face that reality. And, finally, it came from me wondering if I would have the courage to stand up for my faith even if my life were threatened for it. 

Have you based the people or events in the book off real-life people/events?
TRICIA: I got some of my ideas from my love of history, and my imagination took it from there. 

What's the message that you'd like your readers to take away from Dare?
TRICIA: You don’t have to be a brave or tough person to find courage. True courage can be found even by the most weak and scared person if they look for it in the right place. 

{Alicia here: That last bit reminds me of one of my favorite fantasy characters - Frodo Baggins. :-) "I will take the ring... though I do not know the way." On that note, I may or may not be rewatching LOTR this weekend. ;-)}

Now for some split-second questions!
I have to choose? Seriously? Fine. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


My family’s cabin deep in the woods.

Ice-cream. It’s a family tradition. My brother even had ice cream instead of cake at his wedding.

Romans 8:28

Anywhere that has mountains, waterfalls, and lots of hiking.

The history lover in me has too many places I’d like to visit, though I know history too well to want to stay in many of those places for very long.


Courage could cost him everything.

Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time.

Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.
Someone will die.


Enter to win a Grand Prize giveaway to celebrate the release of Dare! Prize includes an autographed paperback of Dare, a necklace like the one Renna has in the book with a sterling silver cross pendant, a medieval dagger (not sharp) like the one Leith carries, and Dare-themed bookmarks! (Due to the difficulties in shipping weapons across international borders, this giveaway is open to US residents only). The winner of the giveaway will be announced at the end of the Facebook party on June 10. To participate in the Facebook party, go to:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of the official blog tour for Dare. CLICK HERE for fun posts from other participants!