5 effective ways authors can cross promote

This article was originally posted at Anaiahpress.com

If you are an author, you’ve probably heard of cross promotion. You might even love the idea and want to participate in more cross promotion activities, but you might not know what it is or where to even begin.

Below, I’ve got five steps you can take toward cross promotion.

But first…

What is cross promotion and why is it important?

Cross promotion is not unique to writers and authors. Every company utilizes cross promotion. It is the process of expanding the marketing reach of your product (you, your brand and books) by broadening the audience exposure. More on how to do that below. Cross promotion is a win-win for everyone. You may end up with more sales, you may not. However, you will end up with more exposure. The more your face, name and books are seen, the more likely people will follow you (via newsletter or social media). Your name will be more recognizable across cyberspace. Most importantly, the more you help promote other authors’ services and books, the more they’re likely to help you. Generosity breeds generosity.

Now, how do you do that exactly? Here are five simple steps you can implement to help cross promote.

Participate in, and offer to do author interviews and guest posts:

Participating in author interviews on another author’s blog will help expand your name to another audience. Now that author’s audience is able to find out more about you. When you in return share that author’s interview post, you’re also exposing that author and heir blog to your audience. That’s cross promotion.

Newsletter swaps

When you gain a decent newsletter following, you can then offer to post a spotlight, blog post or interview post from another author or book in your newsletter. This exposes that author and book to your audience. The term ‘newsletter swap’ is just that. When you do a spotlight in your newsletter, then that author you’re spotlighting should post in their own newsletter, and therefore expose your book to their audience. Win-win.

Participate in multi-author book giveaways – or run your own!

Recently, I have seen many authors creating their own multi-author book giveaways. Contemporary Christian romance author Melony Teague, for example, did a multi-author Mother’s Day giveaway. This is great cross promotion. You are working together as a team of authors to promote each other’s books to each of your own audiences, therefore expanding exposure exponentially.

You can also join some that are run by companies like Booksweeps, Bookfunnel, The Collaborative Press and Celebrate Lit. The goal is to share the giveaway with as many people as possible so that you are helping both yourself and the other authors.

Participate in other authors’ street teams and launch teams

Authors should not be your competition. In fact, the opposite is true. You should always view authors in your genre as companions. You’re all on the same team. Everyone wants to both make money and build an audience. As much as you can, find those authors who you love, and those authors whose books are comparable to yours in genre, and share, share, share. Share cover reveals, interviews, giveaways, sales, release day blasts, teaser images and book reviews. If you share enough, then when the time comes for you to release a book and you need a favor, other authors will respond to your previous generosity of time and will be more likely to share yours.

In fact, that’s one way I was able to obtain an endorsement from a popular author for my second book, A Worthy Heart. The author’s initial response was that she doesn’t usually read for endorsements, but because I’ve shared so much of her books, reviewed many of them, and helped advertise for her during sales etc, she chose to read my book and write an endorsement.

Another quite popular author, when I asked her if she could endorse my book, apologized and said she didn’t have time, but she offered me a guest spot on her very popular and active multi-author blog. A blog I follow, and a blog in which I rarely see guest posts from. So that was fun and encouraging!

Invite other authors to join you during a launch party.

Throwing a launch party online can be fun and rewarding. You get to converse with your audience, and give away prizes, and of course, talk about your new book. What’s even more fun, is when you bring in special guests, who also give away prizes. You’re both offering them exposure to your audience and drawing in people to your launch party who know the other authors’ name but now your name. If advertised well ahead of time by all parties, doing something like this can help expand everyone’s audiences.

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In short cross promotion is a win-win for both you, and the other authors involved. Authors should not be your competition. In fact, the opposite is true. You should always view authors in your genre as companions. You’re all on the same team. Everyone wants to both sell books and grow their audience. If you take time to implement these tips, you’ll be well on your way!

Do you have any other awesome cross promotion tips? What has worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments!     

Book Review and Giveaway: Footprints on Her Heart

About the Book

Book: Footprints on Her Heart

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: November 23, 2021

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He’s saving the world, one animal at a time.

Trent Raines’ opinion, happily ever after has four paws and doggy breath. He spends his days isolated at the shelter, taking care of animals. Especially now that romance seems to be spreading across the islands faster than fleas in summer.

She lives a safe life behind the camera lens.

Kara Parker’s job at the animal shelter keeps her too busy to worry about romance. Sure, the boss is cute and all, but her introverted nature is perfectly happy as a photographer and website designer, thank you very much.

Even a quick trip to the mainland to retrieve a truckful of animals won’t change their minds.

Or so they think.

As Trent comes to understand Kara, he discovers there’s more than meets the eye in his quiet employee. Together, they plan a Christmas adoption festival that’s certain to empty the animal shelter in record time. Until a blast from Trent’s past puts all the animals in danger.

Sure, Trent and Kara are fine on their own, but they’re even better together.

What will it take for these soulmates conquer their fears and rescue the animals before it’s too late?

Footprints on Her Heart continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

Click here to get your copy!

My thoughts

I absolutely love Tabitha’s voice. I love her books and this one is no exception. This beautiful story can be read as a standalone, without any knowledge of the previous book – but Book 2, Stealing the First Mate, was excellent so I highly recommend you pick that one up as well.

Footprints on her Heart weaves together the journey of two beautiful characters who don’t think they deserve each other, nor do they think they deserve God’s love. I appreciated the strong spiritual themes woven throughout with the perfect blend of romance and tension.

Also, it amazes me every time, when I read a novel where one of the characters is a photographer, how well writers can capture the art of photography. It comes as no surprise since Tabitha is a photographer as well. But there was such beauty in her descriptions of Kara as she photographs various things throughout the novel. The descriptions were spot on and painted a detailed picture of the surroundings. I think my favorite was the wedding scene. where she is photographing 2 of their friends who are marrying.

I haven’t read that many novels which center around animals. I loved it. And honestly, all of Tabitha’s books involve animals in some way or another. In Book 1, the main character is a dog groomer, so there are lots of dog shenanigans happening. But even in Book 2, she manages to throw in pelicans, dogs, and horses. It’s so fun!

In Footprints on Her Heart, Trent is a dog shelter owner, so if you love dogs, I almost guarantee you’ll love this beautiful story. He cares about dogs as much as he comes to care about Kara. This is a wonderful contemporary Christian romance I highly recommend.

Independent Island series note:

All of the authors have done a superb job of creating books that can be enjoyed whether you’ve read zero, one or ten of the other books. The connections comes from the settings of all of the different Independence Islands.

However, all of the books under the same author have recurring characters and it is enjoyable to read those together. If you’re interested in this story, check out the rest of Tabitha’s Independence Island books to dive deeper into all her characters’ stories. Be sure to read her author’s note below.

Independent Island books by Tabitha Bouldin

About the Author

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Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

More from Tabitha

I love animals. Always have. I was the kid who always brought home the injured animals and tried to make them better. I am the adult who feels guilty for walking by a hungry cat without feeding it.

When I write, those animal-loving tendencies come out. My characters will rescue animals, care for them, and love them unconditionally. My contributions to the Independence Islands are no different. When it began, I knew I needed a pet groomer, and the animal shelter developed from Mel’s love of animals. That’s when Trent showed up.

Trent walked onto the page as Mel’s partner in founding the animal shelter, Forever Pals, but I didn’t know he wanted his story told until several months after I started writing the series. I tried putting him off, but Trent was having none of that. He’s a bit overzealous and ready to share his love story with you, even if he’d rather I didn’t tell you about his troubled past.

The more I dove into Trent’s story, the more I realized he’s the kind of guy you’d call in the middle of the night when a stray dog shows up in your backyard. He doesn’t care. He’d upend his entire life to care for the animals, and he loves each one instantly, no questions asked. People…not so much.

I had the best time writing this story. Footprints on Her Heart is one of those books that I fell in love with from the very beginning. The story put itself on the page, all I had to do was be the engine and let it come to life. Those are my favorite. I wish every book came as easily as Footprints. Even though that isn’t the case, I’ll always hold this one as a dear friend. Kara and Trent make such a cute couple that I think they need to make an appearance in every island book I write from here on out.

Giveaway

Please click on the image to enter the giveaway. Best of luck to you!

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: A Picture of Hope

picture of hope

About the Book

Book: A Picture of Hope

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: October, 2021

9781636090191 (1)

A Photojournalist Risks Her Life to Save Children

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing pilots taking off and landing—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. She enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they come upon an orphanage where nuns shelter children with disabilities. Can they help save them before the Nazis come to liquidate it?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

LizTolsma

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

Why Another WWII Novel Set in France

You may well read the back cover of my latest release, A Picture of Hope, and wonder why on earth we need another WWII novel set in France. After all, Kristy Cambron just had one. Melanie Dobson and Sarah Sundin will be coming out with theirs in 2022. So why did I feel the need to write my novel with the same setting?

First of all, I’m a Francophile. I love all things French. It started when I took French in high school. Everyone else was learning Spanish, but I wasn’t into being part of the crowd. There were only a few of us in the class, and it was great fun. We had a wonderful teacher. Being able to pull out some of that French, refine it a bit, and use it in the book was a blast. But I also love French food (who doesn’t?) and everything else.

Secondly, I hadn’t written about France before. When I wrote this proposal at least five or six years ago, I didn’t know France would be so hot. God did, and the book came about in His perfect timing. I’d explored the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Philippines. Such a shame that I was leaving out France, so I set about to write a novel located in that country.

Thirdly, there was so much good material to pull from. The French resistance, while small, did good work and sacrificed a great deal to get Jews out of the country and into Switzerland or Spain. The books that Kristy, Melanie, Sarah, and I write are all so different. Only the setting is the same. And when I found out that the famous mime Marcel Marceau was part of the resistance, I couldn’t help but giving him a cameo. Be on the lookout!

Along the way, I discovered some truly heartrending incidents that took place in France. They also compelled me to write this book. I long for the world to remember what happened so that we will never forget. And so that the atrocities committed there will never be repeated.

Fourthly, this was originally the third book in a series. Don’t worry – it’s a stand-alone. Maybe someday I’ll get to publish the other two. The women in the series are all American journalists in Europe. One is a reporter, the other is a broadcaster, and so I decided to make Nellie, the heroine in A Picture of Hope, a photojournalist. And where better to take pictures than on Omaha Beach soon after D-day. How she gets there is based on a very interesting true story, so be sure to read to the end for that one.

There are so many stories about WWII to be told and so many countries that participated in the conflict in one way or the other. The ground is so rich that we aren’t plowing the same parcel. You’ll find all of these books to be very different from each other, each with its own message, its own voice, and its own plot.

The focus in my book is on children with Down syndrome. I have a background in special education, and my husband and I adopted a child from the Philippines with an intellectual disability, so I’ve always had a heart for people with special needs. My daughter brings us so much joy that I wanted to share a glimpse into what these remarkable people are truly capable of.

So that is why I wrote a WWII novel set in France. Make yourself a cup of café au lait, butter up a croissant, and enjoy A Picture of Hope!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 28

Life of Literature, October 28

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 28

Genesis 5020, October 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 29

The Book Chic Blog, October 29

Blogging With Carol, October 29

Texas Book-aholic, October 30

Sodbuster Living, October 30

Spoken from the Heart, October 30

Elly Gilbert, October 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 31

Inklings and notions, October 31

Labor Not in Vain, October 31

CarpeDiem, October 31

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 1

Life, love, writing, November 1

For Him and My Family, November 1

deb’s Book Review, November 2

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 3

Betti Mace, November 3

Worthy2Read, November 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 3

Daysong Reflections, November 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 4

Vicky Sluiter, November 4

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 4

Older & Smarter?, November 5

By the Book, November 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, November 5

Connie’s History Classroom, November 6

For the Love of Literature, November 6

Bigreadersite, November 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 6

Rebecca Tews, November 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 7

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 7

She Lives To Read, November 8

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 8

Where Faith and Books Meet, November 8

Pause for Tales, November 9

Christian Bookaholic, November 9

Through the Fire Blogs, November 9

To Everything There Is A Season , November 9

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, November 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 10

Mary Hake, November 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of A Picture of Hope!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/12b83/a-picture-of-hope-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review and Giveaway: Written In Ink

Written in Ink

About the Book

Book: Written in Ink

Author: Sara Davison

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: August 4, 2021

Written in Ink - final cover

Everything he has built his life and future on has been torn away.

Cash McCall has loved Dr. Renee Dawson for half his life. Although they’ve talked about a future together, she has never believed it was the right time for them to get engaged. Now she has ended their relationship, and he has no idea why.

Everything Renee worked so hard for is in jeopardy. One agonizing decision has changed everything, and she has been forced to shatter the heart of the man she loves. And her own.

The extremist militant group The Arm is on a mission. Its leader doesn’t care how many innocent lives are lost in the pursuit of the group’s end goal, and Renee has seen something she was not supposed to see.

If Cash can’t get to her in time, Renee could end up in the crosshairs of the terrorists, and he may lose her—and any chance at the life he’d always envisioned—forever.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

I want to applaud Sara Davison for tackling tough topics in Christian fiction right off the bat. Without any hesitation, she delves into abortion and depression from many different angles. That’s definitely not something I have seen in Christian fiction and I think it is needed.

I was not a fan of Renee, the main female lead character, for most of the book. I just could not relate or even sympathize in any way. I didn’t like how she treated her boyfriend, Cash before the book even began (there were lots of hints to their backstory), and I didn’t like how she treated him during the story. However, the way she was able to really dig deep into Renee’s emotional turmoil, and the internal battle within, was fantastic and well done.

I found the 3rd POV interesting, and though it tied in to the plot, it presented itself more like a ‘movie’ than a ‘novel’ in that respect, but it worked. It was just different than the normal romance I’m used to reading.

Overall, well written, bold, and interesting to read, even if I found it hard to like the main character.

Read more about the story from Sara, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

About the author

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Sara Davison is the author of three romantic suspense series—The Seven Trilogy, The Night Guardians, and The Rose Tattoo Trilogy, as well as the standalone, The Watcher. She has been a finalist for more than a dozen national writing awards, including Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, two Selahs, a Holt Medallion, and three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a Word and Cascade Award winner. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children. The words on the mug she uses every morning pretty much sum up her life—I just want to sleep, drink coffee, and make stuff up. Get to know Sara better at www.saradavison.org and @sarajdavison.

More from Sara

The Rose Tattoo Trilogy is set in one of my favourite small towns in Canada—Elora, Ontario. It was such a joy to develop the setting in this series, describing the quaint shops and the natural beauty of the gorge, places I have wandered through countless times. In the first two books of the series—Lost Down Deep and Written in Ink—the real-life fifty-nine stone steps built into the hillside and leading down to the river that runs through the gorge plays a big part in the story, as reflected in this excerpt:

The fifty-nine stone steps set into the side of the hill felt like twice that many as Cash descended slowly into the ravine.

The Elora Gorge was a natural wonder, with a steep rock face flanking both sides of a narrow river. The beauty of it was lost on him, though, and had been for five years, since the night his sister Tessa had traipsed down these stairs and onto the ice. Ice that had shattered beneath her feet, allowing the frigid river to steal her from them forever. Simply being here now drove daggers as sharp as those shards of ice into his chest. How did Jude deal with it when he’d been the one who had lingered at the top of the steps, too tired after a long day to go after her in the cold and dark, until he’d heard the ice crack and his sister scream?

By then it had been too late.

Below is a photo of the actual steps down to the river. I have been up and down those steps many times, and while they aren’t that easy to traverse (especially the going up part!) the effort is well worth it when you reach the bottom and find yourself surrounded by beauty, as Cash does here.

A cool spring breeze brushed across his cheeks. High up in one of the trees, roots clinging, against all odds, to fissures halfway up the rock across the water from him, an owl hooted, the sound drifting across the ravine. Moonlight glinted off the water, sending sparks of light skittering across the surface. Cash scanned the gorge. As far as he could see in either direction, the beauty of the night, of this place, filled his senses.

Something flowed through him like the water passing between the rocky banks. Cash withdrew one hand from his pocket and held it to his chest. What was that? He struggled to put a name to it. Peace, maybe?

Personally, the Elora Gorge has always been a place of peace for me, as it is for Cash in Written in Ink. Do you have a place you go when you need to get away from the chaos of life and experience peace?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 23

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 24

Inklings and notions, October 25

An Author’s Take, October 25

Texas Book-aholic, October 26

CarpeDiem, October 27

For Him and My Family, October 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 28

deb’s Book Review, October 29

The Sacred Line, October 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 1

Life, love, writing , November 1

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 2

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 3

Vicarious Living, November 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 4

Sodbuster Living, November 5

Mary Hake, November 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon card, a paperback copy of Written in Ink, a pair of rose earrings, and a pack of temporary rose tattoos!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/126b5/written-in-ink-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review and Giveaway: The Petticoat Spy

The Petticoat Spy.

Book: The Petticoat Spy

Author: Elva Cobb Martin

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: October 5, 2021

A Charles Town belle and a blockade runner ignite fireworks in more ways than one during the American Revolution.

To Anna Grace Laurens, the war is like a distant bad dream until her family’s Charles Town plantation is burned and her parents murdered by those loyal to the king. She flees on horseback and leaps into the Cooper River to escape her pursuers.

As John Cooper Vargas sails his sloop down the river, he spots a woman diving into the water. After firing on the Tory raiders chasing her, he rescues her and offers to take her with his parents to an island hideaway for the duration of the war. But she has other plans, including revenge for her parents’ deaths. She insists he drop her off in Charles Town, even with the British planning a massive attack by land and sea to retake the city, the Pearl of the South.

John employs his sailing skills for the patriots, risking capture and death, but he enjoys his skirmishes with the British navy blockade to bring goods from the islands to aid the cause. But when Charles Town falls to the British, he docks his ship in a secret cove and joins Francis Marion’s militia. This decision lands him wounded on a harbor prison ship where more men die than on the battlefield.

Anna Grace braves the deprivations, first of a city barricaded against the British, and then one surrendered and ruled by fists of iron under the English flag and injustice. Can she find a way to rescue John before it’s too late?

As both American and English armies gather near Yorktown, Virginia, for a pivotal battle, can John and Anna’s love for each other and their faith in God preserve them and help forge a new nation?

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts

This was the first I have read by this author and she has a unique, interesting voice, I will give her that. I found much of her story engaging and entertaining and descriptive. The opening was quite engaging and pulled you right into the story. I appreciated the faith elements woven throughout.

I found most everything presented historically accurate, except for John Cooper’s behavior. He was quite the gentleman – except when it came to physical contact and advancement toward Anna. That’s what I found most unrealistic.

I felt his actions and the rapid development of their relationship were not believable. There was very little ground for them to have built a relationship on in the first place. Without that proper believable foundation, the rest of the story, while well written and engaging. In the era of this novel, relationships were not nearly so physical so quickly. I just wish there had been some proper relationship building woven into the beginning of the novel because it was well written and fun to read otherwise.

I also felt as if Anna didn’t do very much spying, which the title indicates she would do a lot more. John did his fair share, as he was part of Marion’s men and worked with a merchant spy, but I was rather disappointed that Anna didn’t do a lot of ‘spying’ or aiding in the cause as the title suggests. Perhaps another title would’ve served the story better.

The Petticoat Spy is on tour with Celebrate Lit publicity. Check out all of the blog spots below. Find out more behind the scenes from the author, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

About the Author

Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.

More from Elva

I loved researching and writing this historical novel in a day when our nation’s true history is being threatened by political change agents. My faith in our godly heritage and the courage and faith of so many true Americans was confirmed as never before. Who can ever discount the wisdom, bravery, and escapades of Francis Marion, Andrew Pickens, and Thomas Sumter that helped save South Carolina after the British retook Charleston? Who can doubt the prayers and courage of George Washington and the Continental Army, and the many brave patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, or who suffered privation and loss of property but who never gave up the dream of a free nation? We are the land of the free because of the brave.

In honor of the brave patriots, I placed quotes from leaders in this period at the head of each chapter. Here’s the quote I chose to introduce the book:

The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in the course of the war that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith. –George Washington, August 20, 1778.

Many interesting tidbits I found in my research surprised me. Francis Marion was dubbed the Swamp Fox by his British pursuers who could never catch him. His battle tactics gave him the distinction of being the father of modern guerilla warfare and the inspiration for Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot. Also, Marion did not drink alcoholic beverages. The drink he prescribed for himself and required of anyone who joined his militia was the old Roman drink of water mixed with a little vinegar. Today we know this as a fortifying concoction, and it probably prevented scurvy and was a natural antibiotic for the militia.

Another surprising tidbit I learned was about George Washington. Barely into his second term as president (1793) the popular French Ambassador Genet stirred up a furor with a lot of the colonists. He wanted to force Washington to join France in their renewed war against England. Having just won our independence, the president refused to lead our fledgling nation back into war. Ten thousand people gathered in the streets of Philadelphia, the nation’s then capital, day after day, and threatened to drag Washington out of his house, raucously demanding that America take up France’s struggle for liberty as France had done for America. The peace and unity of the new nation seemed to be hanging by a thread.

Just when it seemed like the new nation would fall over the precipice into anarchy, America was ultimately saved, according to the later retired Vice President Adams, by an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the capital city. “The coolest and firmest minds,” he told Jefferson, “have given their opinions to me, that nothing but Yellow Fever…could have saved the United States from a total Revolution of government.”

The exploding epidemic sent those who could afford to, fleeing the city, and those who couldn’t, locked themselves up inside their homes.

I discovered this incident of heated colonial protest during the recent rioting and destruction of property that rocked our American cities in the summer and fall of 2020. It actually gave me hope for our nation. It seems there have always been hotheads in every generation who rise up against the rule of law and order. However, America and our wonderful Constitution have been preserved, and we give God the praise, and pray for His continued help.

The Petticoat Spy is, above all, Anna Grace Laurens and John Cooper Vargas’ love story. It’s also the story of the patriot dream and victory over an undefeated British military while also dealing with serious supply shortages and conspiring neighbors who hated the dreamers.

It is my prayer that both threads will inspire hope and encouragement to all my readers.

Elva Cobb Martin

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 5

Life, Love, Writing, October 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 6

Rebecca Tews, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 8

Texas Book-aholic, October 9

Joanna Bair, October 9

Inklings and notions, October 10

Betti Mace, October 11

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 11

For Him and My Family, October 12

deb’s Book Review, October 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 15

Connect in Fiction, October 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 16

Connie’s History Classroom, October 17

She Lives To Read, October 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elva is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11dd3/the-petticoat-spy-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review and Giveaway: Seasoned Grace

Seasoned Grace: Hooper Island (Independence Islands Book 14)

By Melissa Wardwell

Contemporary Christian Romance

About the Book

You can run from your past, but you can’t escape it.

Though he disappeared that day, Raylin McReynolds never believed her father died at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

So, when a mysterious letter arrives from Breakers Head, informing her that she would find him on the Independence Islands off the coast of Georgia, she has no choice but to find a job, get there, find her father.

As mainland troubles encroach on Hooper Island, Sean Anderson devises a plan and presents it to the island pastors and his cousin, Scott. The result: Grace Mission—a place where those struggling can find the help they need.

What he didn’t need was a distraction in the form of a newcomer to the islands—a mission volunteer, no less.

Others at the mission, Beth and Scott, see more than just frustration brew between Raylin and Sean. What will it take to convince Sean and Raylin to stop bickering long enough to see what’s obvious to everyone else?

Raylin’s on a mission to find her father and protect her heart, but neither seem willing to cooperate.

Seasoned Grace continues the Hooper Island stories of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

My Thoughts

This was a fitting story to read in September, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a day that changed US history forever (and the history of the world, really) I thought Wardwell’s depiction in the beginning of that day 20 years ago was well done for this genre and this story in particular, as it portrayed just the right amount of fear, emotion and desperation. Not too graphic, and not too emotional. Unless you were in New York on 9/11 and have had personal close experiences, those first few scenes should be just fine.

Overall I enjoyed this story. I’m seeing more stories with double couples involved recently. (essentially two storylines woven together between 2 different couples) I found no problems with this method of story telling here, as the plot flowed smoothly. Actually I would have even appreciated more background info on Raylin’s father’s past. We do find out where he was 20 years ago, and then discover who he is in the present, and Wardwell does go into a little bit about where he was for the past 20 years, but I think it would’ve been fascinating to know more details there.

I love double meanings in titles, and this one particularly hit the mark. This was a great romance with a solid message of Grace and Love.

Independent Island series note:

All of these books can be read as stand alone stories. All of the authors have done a superb job of creating books that can be enjoyed whether you’ve read zero, one or ten of the other books. The connections comes from the settings of all of the different Independence Islands.

However, all of the books under the same author have recurring characters and it is enjoyable to read those together. If you’re interested in this story, check out the rest of Melissa Wardwell’s Independence Island books to dive deeper into all her characters’ stories. Be sure to read her author’s note below as she reviews some of her earlier Hooper Island books.

Hear more from Melissa below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell

She doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee.

When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

More from Melissa

Here we are, in the middle of the collection. The third island—Hooper Island. Have you enjoyed the journey so far? I hope you have, I’m sure you have 😉

Seasoned Grace quickly became my favorite addition to the Independence Islands Collection. It is a little more serious on a few of the topics than my first two contributions. Now that a foundation has been set, I felt like I could get a little deeper into my character’s emotions and pasts. People are complex so writing two-dimensional characters are not something I like doing. I want readers to see the secret hurts that mold them into the person they are, and how God can heal those painful areas.

Grace is the running theme throughout this book. Grace enough to let things go, the Father’s grace, showing grace to those around us, and any other form of grace that might come up. Grace is like salt and pepper. It gives the right kind of flavor to our lives. At least I think that is a life quote Gram would tell Beth.

There is one chapter that you will see one of the new characters lay out their painful past in a rather quick way in a conversation with another character. This character suffered much in their life that some will struggle with understanding how they could talk about it so freely (which is why I am shining a light on it now).

When a person has found healing in life by following Christ and has allowed Him to take away the sting of what others have done to them, those moments become easy to talk about with others. Especially if it means that the one listening will seek healing for themselves.

This conversation in the book is intense and thought-provoking. It also displays the level of grace required to see people the way God might see them instead of through our tainted lenses. I found myself crying as I wrote it because I know how freeing it is to forgive and let the Father heal a wounded heart.

Seasoned Grace also has several returning characters—Beth and Scott, Thaddeus, Amara and Dante, Sarah Reid, and her boys. There are also two new faces, Raylin and Sean, as well as a couple of other mobile business owners who come together to help Elnora Island bounce back from a hurricane.

All my contributions to the collection flow from one book to the next like a television series. While the other writers may have written their stories to be independently read from the others, that is not something I have done. Trust me when I say that it wasn’t my original intent. As I saw my five stories develop, there was a constant feeling of community and character interaction throughout the books. I couldn’t just leave some characters behind, never to be heard from again, while I bring in new faces. It just wouldn’t be right. They have developed friendships and that cannot be overlooked. That said, when they come together at the end for Thanksgiving dinner, they, and you the reader, will have a pleasant surprise.

So, stay with me, push through, read on—it will all be worth it in the end.

P.S. I realize that I gave a recipe for Scrumptious Independence, but not Heart Pressed. I apologize for that one.

I hope this one makes up for it. This is Scott’s favorite:

Fish Tacos

Oil

If you don’t have a deep fryer (like me), get a thick bottom, deep pan

Use natural oil, like corn or canola oil

Gauge the temperature with a candy or deep fry thermometer

Fill your pan no more than 2/3 of the way

Heat the oil slowly to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit

too low of heat, you will get greasy fish

too high of heat, you will burn the fish

Fish

Cod works the best, but Salmon is pretty interesting option as well.

Rinse it off after thawing if you use frozen fish, excess water will make your oil spatter

Pat it dry with paper towel – I use a lot of paper towel, but I feed five adults

If fish pieces are thick, cut into 1 inch-ish strips.

I use Panko fish batter for my batter. I don’t make it from scratch

Slowly place coated pieces of fish into the hot oil and let it cook until golden brown.

While that cooks, prepare your toppings.

Cole Slaw

8oz. bag of pre-shredded Cole slaw mix

1 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp of sugar

1 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip

1/4 cup of mustard or 1/2 tsp of mustard powder

Avocado

Make sure it is ripe—soft, not hard

Mash it wit a fork

Cut a lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice over the mashed avocado

Sprinkle salt and pepper on it

Stir together

Layering the taco

Spread some of the Avocado mixture on a tortilla

Place a strip or two of fried fish on top

Finish with Cole slaw mix

Enjoy!

Seasoned Grace is on Tour with Celebrate Lit

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Texas Book-aholic, September 25

Blossoms and Blessings, September 25

Inklings and notions, September 26

HappyWhenReading, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, September 28

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 28

Aryn the Libraryan, September 29

The Sacred Line, September 29

She Lives To Read, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reviewingbooksplusmore, October 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 3

Life, love, writing, October 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 4

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 5

Splashes of Joy, October 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 6

Blogging With Carol, October 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 7

Mary Hake, October 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11b5d/seasoned-grace-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: To Bring You Back

To Bring You Back: A Contemporary Christian Romance (Rhythms of Redemption Romances Book 1)

By Emily Conrad

About the Book:

He’s determined to confront the past she’s desperate to forget.

When Adeline Green’s now-famous high school crush descends on her quiet life, a public spotlight threatens to expose her deepest regret. After eight years of trying to bury her mistakes under a life of service, she’s broke financially and spiritually. The last thing she can afford is feelings for the man who took center stage in her past—even if he does claim to know the secret to her redemption.

Gannon Vaughn and his rock band, Awestruck, have conquered the music industry, but he can’t overcome his feelings for Adeline. When he hears she’s struggling, he sets out to turn her life around and win back the love he lost to poor choices eight years ago.

But when Gannon’s fame and their mutual regrets jeopardize their relationship anew, will grace be enough to bring them back to God and each other?

To Bring You Back is the first of the Rhythms of Redemption Romances, a series of Christian, rock star romances.

My thoughts

Emily Conrad has done it again. Such a beautiful, romantic and heartwarming story. As a musician and lover of romance novels myself, this book checked every box I could have ever wanted in a contemporary inspirational romance novel.

Emily brings together two broken, flawed characters, and walks them on a journey of rekindling their past romance, past dreams unrealized, and their faith. The added bonus of the hero as a rock star kicked this romance up a notch. The collision of celebrity status life – the glitz and the ugly – with normal-civilian life added even more conflict and intrigue. The slow burn romance kept me turning pages late into the night. Gannon’s character was so well developed, I swear I could hear him playing and singing on the radio at the store after I finished reading. I loved this story.

I admire the fact that Emily tackled some difficult, even somewhat taboo topics – like drugs, alcohol and mental health. I’m a huge proponent for more Christian/inspirational fiction tackling these tough topics because we’ve all either known people who’ve been there, or have been there ourselves.

Great story. Highly recommended!

Huge thanks for the honor to have been given an advance reader copy. I was not required to provide a positive review.

Also by Emily Conrad:

Available on Amazon

Also Available in Audio

Read my review of Justice

From the Heart Friday: Anchor My Heart

Anaiah Press

About the book

In the aftermath of tragic loss, worship leader Matt Lawson is grappling with debilitating anxiety. The blessings he’d taken for granted—a dream job, a woman he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life with, and his God-given musical talent have crumbled at his feet, leaving him reeling in despair, unable to face the wreckage of the life he’d envisioned for himself.

Tara Pierce is ready to put past hurts behind her as she prepares to graduate college and take a leap of faith in her career. When Matt’s grief causes him to isolate himself from everyone he knows, she refuses to stand idly by and do nothing. She has traversed similar terrain before. No one deserves to travel that road alone.

Unexpected attraction flares as Tara reaches into the sea of Matt’s grief and helps ground him in reality. But Matt’s not ready to give…

View original post 1,774 more words

5 Friends to more romances you’ll adore

Friends to more romance is a popular trope throughout both Christian fiction and general market romance. Some of the best chemistry is kindled through a long-established friendship between two people. Other times, chemistry comes out of nowhere between two people who’ve known each other forever. And while love can bloom immediately in some relationships, other relationships, like Joel and Serena’s in A Worthy Heart, need a strong foundation of friendship first.

I have compiled a list of my favorite friends to more romances below. Be sure to drop the title of your favorite friends to more romances below!

Stealing the First Mate by Tabitha Bouldin

Ok so I just reviewed this and I can’t stop talking about this beautiful story of Friends to more. Nigel and Darcy have been friends since they were little kids. They’ve become so close, in fact, that they share everything. Well, almost everything.

Ordinary Snowflake by Jennifer Rodewald

A single mom, a snowy Christmas, and a Secret Santa gift. Perhaps her romance days aren’t over after all.

This one brought me to tears. These two main characters had been friends for years. Throw in a love triangle, and a healthy dose of frustration between the two friends, one who has loved the other for a long time, and you’ve got yourself a tension-filled, heartfelt Christmas romance.

The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

If I had to pick a top book for this category, this one would be it. Brook and Justin have been friends a long time. The way White conveyed that fact so beautifully on the first page immediately drew me in. Their friendship walks the line between friends and something more, but circumstances beyond their control prevent them from ever considering anything farther. When those responsibilities carry each of them far away from each other, it becomes impossible for Justin to ignore his true feelings. I adored this entire story for all of the elements woven in – friendship, romantic tension, honor, loyalty, a little bit of rivalry, mystery and intrigue and danger. Such a great read.

While It Was Snowing: by Tari Faris

This one too, is a delightful Christmas novella about two friends. Gideon and Danielle had been friends for so long they didn’t think anything of it, until Danielle is forced to dress up for her friend’s wedding. Then, everything changes. It’s so cute, you guys!

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

This one is quite popular, if you’ve been around the internet long enough. Brit and Zander have been friends for so long, and Brit has no intention of changing that. In fact, she’s afraid even thinking about something more will ruin their entire relationship. But Zandar isn’t about to wait around forever.

Have you read any of these? Tell me, what’s your favorite? Hit me up on Facebook, Instagram, or in the comments below!

Two of my books are also Friends to More Romances. Both A Worthy Heart and Anchor My Heart are available on Amazon, Kindle Unlimited and in Print.

Book Review: Dogwood Winter

Dogwood Winter

Book:  Dogwood Winter

Author: Candace West

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: August 24, 2021

A Lukewarm Correspondence. A Tattered Reputation. Two Hearts at Odds.

He is walking away while she is fighting to walk.

After a springtime swim, Ella Steen is stricken with a dire illness, leaving her without the use of her legs. Meanwhile, Dr. George Curtis, the man she secretly loves, faces ruin. For over a year, the crusty New York City bachelor and vivacious spinster have exchanged dozens of letters and formed a wary friendship.

Neither are willing to open their hearts completely. Until they face each other. The past looms between them, however. Does George still love another or is his heart completely free?

A trip to Valley Creek holds the answers. Instead, when George and Ella arrive, they encounter obstacles that force other truths to the surface. Is George brave enough to confront what he fled in New York? Can Ella confess why she hates dogwood winters? Will their hearts survive?

If only their pasts would keep out of the present.

Click here to get your copy!

My thoughts

What a beautiful series ending. I read this one first, but it is perfectly beautiful and heartwarming and emotional on it’s own without the added benefit of the restoration of friendships and relationships from the past 2 books. I highly recommend this series overall.

What these two endure within the first few chapters is more than most people could handle. Such grief and such struggle. Deep and encompassing, I knew it would take a lot of healing to bring these 2 back. And what a fantastic and heartwarming journey it was to read through as they found healing both emotionally, spiritually and relationally.

Candace’s writing is absolutely fabulous and full of southern charm. Timeless, yet right on par with the time period in which she portrayed. She’s definitely a new favorite historical author to add to my list.

Find out more about Candace, including a family recipe. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

About the author

Author pic

Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. At twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen, book one of the Valley Creek Redemption Series. By weaving entertaining, hope-filled stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three bossy cats.

More from Candace

Biscuits and gravy has been a staple for generations in my family. It’s perfect for any occasion or breakfast, dinner, and supper. Yes, in our neck of the woods, dinner is lunch, and supper is—well, supper.

And then, we have biscuits and gravy with a twist. We’ll shove the traditional aside for a bowl of chocolate gravy. That’s right, chocolate.

Now, don’t get grossed out. Some people believe chocolate gravy is this weird, mysterious concoction made with meat grease. It’s the gravy part that boggles their mind, but it’s actually straightforward and easy—not true gravy at all. Trust me, if you like chocolate, you’ll want to try this. When you butter a biscuit and drizzle the chocolate over it, you’ll get a little taste of heaven on earth.

And you’ll get a little taste of the Appalachians and Ozarks.

My grandparents, both raised deep in the Arkansas Ozarks, were raised on “chocolate an’ biscuits” and passed the recipe down to us. Throughout the mountains and in pockets throughout the country, you’ll find this lesser-known treat on kitchen tables and family gatherings.

Every recipe is a little different. Every family has their own special way of making it. My family likes their chocolate gravy a little thinner while my husband’s family wants theirs to be the consistency of pudding.

In Dogwood Winter, my characters would’ve eaten chocolate an’ biscuits. Their corner of the Ozarks is famous for it. I can see Ella and George, along with the Steen family, gathering around a table, saying the blessing, and passing the fare to each other. The only skeptical one in the bunch would be George, a New Yorker who wasn’t raised on it. One bite would make him a believer.

Have you ever eaten biscuits and chocolate gravy? If not, would you try it?

This is our family recipe.

Chocolate Gravy

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tbs Hershey Cocoa powder

2 ½ tbs flour

Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan

Add 1 ½ to 2 cups of milk (depends on the thickness you want)

Bring to a boil and cook until thickened (3 or 4 minutes) Note: Bring to a slow boil and continually stir. Remove from heat then add 2 tbs butter and 1 tsp of Vanilla extract. Pour over buttered biscuits and enjoy!

Blog Stops

deb’s Book Review, August 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Connect in Fiction, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

For Him and My Family, August 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 30

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 30

Connie’s History Classroom, August 31

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 1

Texas Book-aholic, September 2

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 3

Daysong Reflections, September 4

Britt Reads Fiction, September 4

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 6

Life, Love, Writing, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Giveaway

My book review and giveaway for Dogwood Winter by Candace West, on tour with celebrate lit. Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1161b/dogwood-winter-celebration-tour-giveaway

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