Book Showcase: Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff

Book Showcase: Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff

Title: Grimm Woods
Author: D. Melhoff
Purchasing link:

Book Showcase: Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff
About the book:
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counsellors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.

About the Author:
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second-grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

Catch Up with Mr. Melhoff on his Website πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—.


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Secrets About Research

Secrets About Research, guest post by Shelley Shepard Gray

Since first getting published back in 2000, I’ve written a lot of books. I recently completed my 60th contracted novel, which was a milestone that still amazes me. When I first started writing I never imagined I’d sell one book.

Though I’ve written for several genres, most people usually ask me about my Amish novels and how those come together. I have to admit that writing an Amish novel that is relatable, is different from other books in the genre, and true and respectful to the Amish faith and culture can sometimes be a bit tricky. But perhaps that is why I enjoy writing these novels so much-they have helped me grow as a writer.

I’m currently writing my ninth series for Avon Inspire. This series is my longest-it’s six books. It’s also the first that will be published over two years. However, the process for HER SECRET, the first book in the series, began much the same as the eight series before. The first thing I did was research Amish communities and okay it with my editors. Most of my novels take place in Ohio. This is the easiest for me to research since I live near an Amish community and have quite a few Amish friends up in Holmes County. After I choose the setting for the novels, I also work with the editorial team on the series’ central theme. For this year’s series, we elected to set the novels Hart County, Kentucky and have them be fairly suspenseful.  

After those big decisions are settled, I visit the area. I chat with the Amish in the community, take lots of pictures of the scenery and houses, and plot out the book. Each Amish community can be very different from others. For example, in Sugarcreek, few Amish farm anymore there. So the Amish need to have jobs. Some of the men might be allowed to have cell phones for their work. That makes it handy as a writer, because my characters can communicate quickly and easily! However, in other communities, the church community’s rules might be more restrictive and the books need to reflect that. For example, in Pinecraft, FL, most Amish ride bicycles but in a few church districts in Lancaster County, PA no one is allowed to have a bike. It’s important to know details like that.

After all that is settled, I get my synopsis okayed by my editor and I write a sparse first draft. I realized quickly that if I tried to include too many details and descriptions about the Amish, the story dragged. I usually try to focus on a theme and a plot that could happen to anyone-but my characters just happen to be Amish. After I write a short first draft, I start adding details and descriptions.

Secrets About Research, guest post by Shelley Shepard Gray
Usually, I simply use my notes from my research trip. However, sometimes, I have to go to The Budget, which is the Amish and Mennonite newspaper. The Budget features reports from every Amish community in the world. I’ve also been known to either write a letter to my Amish friend asking for help with something, or even calling her. Most Amish don’t have phones in their house, but they do have a phone shanty. That’s a building that looks a lot like an outhouse but houses a phone that is shared by several families. My friend can listen to my message and then call me back. I used to really worry that I was bothering her, but I think she enjoys ‘being on deadline’ too!

Since I usually turn in a book every three months, around this time, I write a second draft, then hand it over to a beta reader who checks for timeline issues, word repetition, and about a dozen other things.

Whenever I get my first set of author copies, I always send a copy to my Amish friend who is so helpful. Years ago I asked her how I could improve my books. I was waiting for her to tell me what I was ‘missing’ in my Amish heroines’ characters. However, she told me some important advice that I’ve always taken to heart, and that is to always remember that the Amish are just like everyone else. My job is to make sure I write the best book that I can featuring characters who could be anyone’s next door neighbor. They need to be that relatable. That was a fairly tall order, but I’ve tried my best to do just that.

At the end of the day, it isn’t the extensive research or the attention to detail that makes a reader want to finish a book. It’s the story. That’s something I think writers and readers of any genre can agree on. Focus on the story first and everything else, with God’s help, will follow. 

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On: Website πŸ”—Goodreads πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—!

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Excerpt: Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker

#Excerpt: Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker

Title: Rachel’s Dream
Author: Lisa Jones Baker

Purchasing link:

#Excerpt: Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker
About the book:

Rachel Kauffman and Jarred Zimmerman seem to have nothing in common.  She's the outgoing youngest of a large, close-knit Amish clan, while Jarred is a young veterinarian who trusts the animals he heals far more than he trusts people.  However, when Rachel's horse falls ill, Jarred's struggles to save him show Rachel he's a man who cares deeply.  And the respect he feels for her gentle warmhearted ways soon becomes an irresistible bond. When Rachel tries to help Jarred reunite with his parents, it's an unexpected blessing..with one complication.  If he takes this chance to put his past to rest, it could separate him and Rachel for good.  Now, with prayer, love...and her hope chest's small miracles, Jarred and Rachel must find the courage to reconcile their wishes into a joyous life together.


That sudden acknowledgment hit her with such a strong emotional ferocity, she wasn’t sure what to say.  I will miss him.  I’ve grown accustomed to his soft, kind voice.  And I feel such a bond with Jarred, like I’ve never had with anyone.  What will I do without him? 

 As if sensing her thoughts, Jarred stepped closer.  “Rachel, thanks for lending me your ear.  There can never be a happy ending for what happened.  But I want you to know something.  Even when Cinnamon’s well, I want to keep in touch.”

His statement prompted a sudden sigh of relief.  “Of course.”

As Jarred stepped out of the barn, Rachel yearned for him to stay.  To tell him everything she was feeling.  So many emotions flitted inside her heart-frustration, compassion, gratefulness, sadness, and others she didn’t recognize-as he stepped into his truck and started the engine.

He wanted to keep in touch.  The words came as a relief because she never wanted to be without him.

#Excerpt: Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker
About the Author:

Lisa Jones Baker is a multi-published author with Kensington Books.  Her debut book of THE HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series, REBECCA’S BOUQUET, won a Publishers Weekly starred review.  A former teacher with a BA degree in French education, Lisa has been on 5 out of 7 continents, is a dog lover.  She enjoys positive thinkers , volunteering in her church’s food pantry, and strong female characters.    

#Excerpt: Rachel’s Dream by Lisa Jones Baker


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Interview with Marcia Gloster

Interview with Marcia Gloster @marciagloster #AuthorInterview

What genre do you write and why?

Is there a genre for difficult relationships? If so, that is mine.

My first book was a memoir. I Love You Today is both historical and women’s fiction. The book I’m writing now is fiction, sort of a ghost story. Everything book seems to start with a trigger, and I go where the story takes me. But there is always that thread.

Interview with Marcia Gloster @marciagloster #AuthorInterview

Tell us about your latest book.

I Love You Today is the story of Maddie Samuels, a young woman who comes to New York in the mid-1960s with the dream of being art director. Through sheer stubbornness and perseverance, she finds a job at a magazine, not as a secretary, but as an assistant to the charismatic and seductive art director, Rob McLeod. Although she has no intention of dating her married boss, she is soon drawn into his world and a tangled web of relationships. Told in two voices, the novel unfolds over five years. As they move from New York to London, Maddie and Rob peel back the patina on their seemingly glamorous Mad Men world and ultimately reveal the truths and lies they tell one another, and themselves.

Who are your favourite authors?
Milan Kundera, Stephen King, and Jean Paul Sartre

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers? 

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I became a writer quite unexpectedly. While shopping in Manhattan in 2011, I heard a song that triggered long-buried memories from when I was 20 and a student at Rhode Island School of Design. That last summer before graduation I studied painting at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg, Austria. It was a month that changed my life forever, and what happened in that shop at that moment in time led me to write my first book, 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction.

How do you research your books?
Reading books relevant to or about the era I’m writing about is useful for background. Google and its image search are great for researching specific details. For 31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction, which is about my summer in Salzburg in 1963, I traveled to Austria and England to speak with people who had been there. For I Love You Today, I contacted old friends and colleagues who had also lived and worked in the Mad Men era. In both cases I sought out those who had memories of the time that would augment my own.

Interview with Marcia Gloster @marciagloster #AuthorInterview
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I Love You Today is a story about complicated relationships. It is a wrenching love story. It offers an intimate look at life in 1960s New York, and an inside look at the publishing and advertising in the Mad Men era. And because I lived and worked in that time, the book has a historical perspective that isn’t fictional.

Who designed the cover?
It was a cooperative effort between the publisher and me. Being a book designer has its benefits!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I’m not writing, I’m usually reading or painting.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

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How To Avoid Biases In Writing

How To Avoid Biases In Writing, guest post by Joseph Carey

In today’s world, we see biases everywhere whether it is gender bias or bias of any other type. The unfortunate part is that many people do not even notice it. The main reason of this is that they are not affected by it. If someone targets them for the same things, they would notice it.

You might have read it and heard it many times that most writers use mankind to refer to entire humanity, which is also a type of gender bias. They should have used humankind to refer to all of us collectively. Instead of accepting their mistake and pledge to not repeat it later, they ask you to “Move on and get over it” which is not the right way to go about it.

It is the duty of writers and speakers to keep their writing and sayings free from bias in order to make this world a better place. Instead, they give justification that there is no need to replace “he” or “she” or his or her because there is no pronoun in the English language to replace these words.

Even if this justification is true, writers should always try to mix it up rather than repeatedly using him or her throughout their writings. This makes their writing gender bias. This is only one type of bias, there are many more that includes race, religion, culture etc. As a result, their writings spread hatred among the society instead of spreading the love. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of writing bias.

Writers can use words such as “They” instead of referring to a girl as “she” or a boy as “he”. They can also refer a person by their name. They can omit the pronoun and use different pronouns. There are many ways to avoid gender and other type of biases in your writings. Writers should focus on finding ways to avoid biases in their writings.

References to physically-disabled people are another common form bias in the writing. It is better to use less harsh words and sentences such as “uses a wheelchair” rather than highlighting the disability. These are only a few examples and there could be countless others.

All these direct references violate the people first philosophy, which says that when you are referring to a person in your writing, you should focus on the person, not the weakness or disability. You might have gone through many books where you will find the writer only pinpointing the disability of a person multiple times without focusing on the other aspects of personality.

There are many other ways to avoid other types of biases such as race and religion. You can collectively call them as humans instead of referring to them as white or blacks, Christians or Jews. A writer should do as best as they can to avoid any kind of gender bias.

Writers must review and revise their writings and make necessary adjustments to it before sending it for publication. With minor adjustments, writers can easily overcome all types of biases and make their writings more effective and refined. A piece of writing free from any type of bias has a much higher impact on readers as compared to writings laced with biases.

We need to think along these lines and take concrete steps in order to spread love in the world through our writings. If that does not happen, it will continue to sow the seeds of hatred and our world will never be a better place. Biased writings only create grudges against fellow humans and we should stop it now.

Joseph Carey is a Pro Writer and Blogger. He is passionate about writing fiction stories. In addition, he also works as an expert essay writer. He is a car freak and enjoys driving in the outback. You can join him on G+.

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Book Showcase: I Believe in Butterflies by Marian L. Thomas

Book Showcase: I Believe in Butterflies by Marian L. Thomas

Title: I Believe in Butterflies

Author: Marian L. Thomas

Publisher: L.B. Publishing (
ISBN: 978-0-9848967-9-0
·   ASIN: B06WLN7XN7

Purchasing link:

Book Showcase: I Believe in Butterflies by Marian L. Thomas
About the Book:

Seventy-six-year-old Emma Lee Baker has lived a seemingly ordinary life near the banks of Thomas Bay, but a shocking discovery turns her ordinary life into something altogether extraordinary.
Honour Blue Baker is the polar opposite of her gentile mother. There’s only two things in life she fears: her past and the idea of falling in love. Those fears come full circle when she returns to Barrow County to visit her mother, never knowing that her journey home will become a journey of a lifetime.

Twenty-three-year-old Lorraine has hedged her bets on three things: love, butterflies, and the fact that she’s a white woman. When she discovers that her long-held beliefs are nothing more than fallacies, all she’s held dear is shattered. The hard truths force her to seek out a fresh start – far from the life she thought she knew – but that new life will not be without its share of perils.

Three women. One mission. An unparalleled journey for redemption.

Book Showcase: I Believe in Butterflies by Marian L. Thomas
About the Author:

Award-winning author, Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic story-teller with five engaging and dramatic novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation, and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on local, national and online radio stations.

Website Links:

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Writers and Tax Day

Writers and Tax Day, guest post by Wendy Corsi Staub

With 24 hours left to file last year’s income taxes, at this point, all I have to do is sign, seal, and deliver. Oh, and write a monstrous check to the IRS, but we’ll save that catastrophic circumstance for a future therapy session. I mean, blog.

Tax Day means the three banker’s boxes and myriad electronic documents containing last year’s receipts and financial paperwork can now safely be confined to an internet cloud and the spidery reaches of our basement crawl space, never to be handled again. (IRS Audit Gods willing)

It’s time to—gulp—turn my attention to three and a half months’ worth of this year’s finances, currently cluttering my real and virtual inboxes as well as my poor stressed right-brained brain.

Writers and Tax Day, guest post by Wendy Corsi Staub
Seriously. I’d have nightmares about this stuff if I could actually fall asleep. But I’m too busy funneling dozens of crumpled receipts from my wallet to various household surfaces, where our kitten invariably mistakes them for fresh paw-hockey-pucks and bats them to the floor, where I find them days later (lather, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat…)

When at last the receipts make it to my office, they sit in a lovely wicker basket patiently awaiting my post-Tax-Day attention. The beauty of the lovely wicker basket is that you can ignore the heap and stash it in the dryer whenever the cleaning lady comes, until it overflows. Then you have to buy a bigger lovely wicker basket, and remember to save the receipt, because it’s a business expense since it goes on your desk in your office when it’s not in the dryer.

Tomorrow, I will devote at least half an hour to processing this year’s receipts.

This entails reaching for the first one, uncrumpling it, and attempting to discern whether it is, indeed, even a receipt? Or is it one of those printouts you get when you buy a gift card? The ones you can never find when the person for whom you bought it tries to use it and can’t even though you spent twenty five bucks plus a $4.95 activation fee? 

Typically, upon determining that I do have a bona fide receipt in hand, I remember that my last birthday seems to have robbed me of the ability to distinguish smallish letters from each other, or from numbers, or from a child’s crayon drawings. I pause to search the house for one of my husband’s many pairs of reading glasses—the cheapo kind you buy in four-packs at CVS—because I’m much too young to need, much less buy, my own reading glasses.

Once I’ve borrowed the glasses, Windexed away fingerprints, pawprints, and—are those coffee spatters?—I return to the receipt, and sometimes find that it wasn’t my eyes after all. Occasionally, the type is already faded with age, or courtesy of some store clerk having shirked register-tape-ink responsibilities, or someone (cat? husband?) at one point spilled something on it (coffee? Husband!) and it’s too smeared to read.

Sometimes, even when the receipt is less blurry than it was before the readers, it’s more confusing. Either it’s itemized with cryptic scan numbers and not words (i.e. ABC123SquareRootOfPi instead of paper clips), or the name of the business is missing at the top, or it’s mysterious—i.e., Flummadiddle’s and not Staples or Starbucks.

Thus, it may require a good amount of detective work to determine that two or three seasons ago, I bought a pen or iced tea at a locally-owned shop during a business trip to…wait, which Portland is that?

At last, the receipt has been deciphered, entered into my records, and dropped into another lovely wicker basket to await eventual transport to a banker’s box and (a year from now) the spidery basement. I reach for the next receipt, and—hey, look, three hours have passed and I haven’t written a word of the novel that’s due tomorrow.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking I should hire an assistant to handle these things. Trust me, assistants come with far more complicated financial paperwork.  Oh, yeah, and I just wrote that monstrous check to the IRS so I’m too broke to spend on anything pricier than…uh, whatever it is that I bought back in January for eighty-nine cents at an unrecognizable store in an undisclosed location.  

Writers and Tax Day, guest post by Wendy Corsi Staub
New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy novels. Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and their two children.

Catch Up With Wendy On Her Website πŸ”—Goodreads πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—!

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Excerpt: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Excerpt: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Title: Dating the It Guy 
Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Published by Clean Reads

Excerpt: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
About the book:
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.

Book trailer

He put the magazine between us, and when I moved forward to see it, he put his arm across the back of my chair. Now lots of guys did put their arms on chair backs, even Kirk did that with Rory, and he definitely wasn’t interested in her, but I couldn’t help but hope it meant something. I got this shivery feeling, and he asked if I was cold. I shook my head. I always got a feeling before something major was about to happen, and it has nothing to do with being cold, but I didn’t know why I got the feeling. Grandma used to do the same thing and always said, “Somebody just walked across my grave.” Somehow I didn’t think Brendon would understand if I told him I needed to move my future burial plot to a less high-traffic area.
“Are we still on for the art fair?” he asked.
I had only been circling it with hearts on my calendar since he asked.
“Sure, I think I’m still free,” I said.
We finished up our work, and he walked me out to meet Kylie.
“Okay, I’ll pick you up at three tomorrow,” he said, walking off.
“Can I ask a stupid question?” Kylie asked as soon as Brendon was out of earshot. “What’s he like? Because he’s so well-known, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up with your whole life under a microscope. I mean, my mom remembers his first birthday party pictures being shown on the news. And he’s hot, but he’s not like I-know-I’m-a-hottie hot, but more like a confident, ‘Yes, I am hot. Any questions?’ I mean, he has to have noticed there aren’t any guys who look like him walking around.”
“I should tell him what you said.”
“Don’t you dare,” Kylie said.
“I get what you mean—he’s grown up with everybody knowing his dad and watching him, but he’s pretty down to earth.”
“So what’s up with you two? You guys didn’t do any work last Saturday, and now you’re going to an art fair.”
“I dunno. He just asked me to go with him.”
“Asked you to go with him as his study buddy or asked you to go with him because he’s desperately in love with you?” she asked.
I said we were just friends, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“Okay, duh, obviously I like him, but let’s be honest. He’s out of my league. He’s out of most people’s league. It’s weird because normally if I like a guy then one of two things happens—either he likes me and asks for my number…or I find out he’s not into me and I cry in my pillow and listen to man-hating music for at least three days,” I said. “But this time’s different because he’s, I dunno, not just ‘some guy.’ I mean, I’m not putting up a shrine to him in my room, and I haven’t rooted though his garbage can, but I have as much chance of going out with him as Kirk does of getting an ‘A’ in this class.”
“You listen to man-hating music?” she asked, and I narrowed my eyes at her. “Whatever. Anyway, Em, he’s asked you out once already, and you are seeing him tomorrow. Plus, he’s always staring at you.”
I said he was probably just bored in class today, but she wouldn’t let it go.
“I’m not just talking about today. When we watched the movie on Monday, he watched you instead, and whenever I see you guys, he acts like there’s no one else in the room,” she said.
I couldn’t hold back the big, stupid smile spreading across my face. “He does? For real?”
She nodded. “You know, it’s weird. Here you were all upset you didn’t have a partner at the beginning of the semester, and then you ended up with like, Mr. Perfection, as your partner.”

Barnes and Noble:

Excerpt: Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
About the Author:
Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, ​Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she's addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She's also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.
Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

Connect with Krysten:
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