Writing Tips — Mary L. Hamilton

Today I’m happy to introduce Mary to you…


Suspense author M L Hamilton never let monsters under the bed bother her, but the man hiding in her closet kept her awake many a night. She never figured out who he was or how he managed to hide in her messy closet, but she has imagined all sorts of other scary situations since then that she hopes will turn into more mystery/suspense novels. Besides writing, she also enjoys knitting, spending time with family, and a little amateur photography. She and her husband live in Texas. You can connect with her here:

Website: www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mlhamiltonauthor

The Power of Words

Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Recently, I’ve been impressed with the power of words. It’s easy to think they’re simply an arrangement of letters intended to convey a meaning. And sometimes, truly, that’s all they are. But other times…

Put them together the right way and they’ll have us wiping uncontrollable tears from our eyes. Rearrange them or use other words, and our sides will ache from laughing so hard. Still another sequence of words might make us look over our shoulder and check the locks on our doors. Words can incite hostility or soothe hurt feelings. Words can inspire or discourage, build up or tear down.

This shouldn’t surprise us. From the very beginning, according to Genesis, God created the heavens, the earth, the celestial bodies, plants and animals by speaking words. Later, the gospel of John calls Jesus the Word, and all the gospels record how Jesus’s words healed diseases and brought people back from the dead. John also tells us describes how Roman soldiers and temple guards came to arrest Jesus. He spoke two words—only two words that caused this crowd of armed military men to draw back and fall to the ground.

As writers, our job is to harness the power of words. Some may perform like workhorses plowing a field, while others sing and dance like fairies in a fantasy forest. Are you aware of the power of the words you write? It’s hard to imagine, especially when you’re facing a blank page. But know the power of your words, and use it wisely.


A field trip gone awry. A student gone missing.

Haunted by a teacher’s worst nightmare for more than a decade, Elaine finally stumbles across a vital clue—and discovers someone will do anything to keep the truth buried. When her life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now Elaine must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friend is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.

Buy link: amzn.com/0692972641


Writing Tips — Davalynn Spencer

Today I’m happy to introduce Davalynn to you…


Davalynn Spencer writes heart-tugging, Western romance set along the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and a recipient of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. A former journalist and crime-beat reporter, Davalynn lives in Colorado where she caters to Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Connect with her via her website at www.davalynnspencer.com.

Take Aim

Not every bit of writing advice is what you want to hear—or what you should follow.

Nine years ago, I thought I could write anything because I did so on a daily basis. As a reporter for my local newspaper, I covered courts, crime, and school board meetings, 4-H fairs, chili cook-offs, and fatal auto accidents. Whatever was out there I covered—like a shotgun.

And then I followed a dream trail that took me to my first fiction writers’ conference.

“What do you write,” asked the well-known, over-worked author who had agreed to meet with newbies one-on-one.

In other words, what kind of fiction did I write? I had no idea.

Contemporary or historical? Romance, suspense, or a combo? Christian, general market, children’s board books or middle-grade stories? Thrillers, cozy mysteries, horror, sci-fi, or fantasy?

Blinking in the glare of the author’s highly successful spotlight, I handed over a children’s story about a hen that crowed (because we actually had a hen that crowed). I didn’t mention the other two partial manuscripts I’d brought—a 30-day devotional book for women and a contemporary romantic-suspense about a gal in a beach-side bungalow who thought she was being stalked.

The weary author thumbed through the hen story, handed it back with pity-eye, and said, “It’s a little late. You should have started this years ago,” or something to that effect.

I said thank you and took my thick-skinned reporter’s attitude to the next workshop on the conference agenda.

That was nine published books ago.

Thank God I didn’t let that 15-minute interview squelch my dream. And thank God I learned how to focus my writing efforts.

I do so much better at hitting the target when I aim at it.

The Canon City Chronicles

The complete collection under one cover: A preacher, a rancher, and a Colorado Ranger find and fight for the courageous women who make life in the Old West worth the struggle.

Links to purchase:



Writing News:

Forward progress: I’m at 150 of 365 prayers written Praying Through the Bible (Barbour, TBR Nov 2018) When I add in others I’ve started down the road, I’m over half-way through the rough draft.

Cracked Ice: What Happens When the Lights Go Out?, a short story collection from Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, should be released  today. I’ll add the link as soon as I have it.

Woo hoo! I’ve also complete the rough draft of the first three chapters of a new full-length book proposal.



36 copies still available! The good news is, I received another box of copies of Daily Wisdom for Women 2018 Collection, so I’m to give away more copies of the devotional. Only 5 remained on Friday, so hurry while they’re still available

5 remaining copies of 2018 Daily Wisdom

12 remaining copies of Captive Brides

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Mai-Order-Angels-Historical-ebook/dp/B07377M26S19 copies of any ebook that’s 99 cents.

Ho-ho-ho: All Christmas titles and collections from Forget Me Not Collections are available for 99 cents through the end of November, including the ones featured below.

Christmas Mai l Order Angels: Second Edition: 10 Christmas Historical Romances by [Franklin, Darlene, Hickey, Cynthia, AlLee, Jennifer, Lilly, Teresa Ives, Stowe, Tanya, Hall, Patty Smith, Greene, Anne, Rogers, Martha, Dooley, Lena Nelson, Boddie, Brandi]https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Mai-Order-Angels-Historical-ebook/dp/B07377M26S




A Christmas Masquerade: 7 historical romances at a Christmas ball by [Hickey, Cynthia, Lilly, Teresa Ives, Turner, Niki, Franklin, Darlene, Welborn, Gina, Whitham, Becca, Rogers, Martha]                                        Merry Matchmakers: 10 Christmas Novellas (A Merry Matchmaker Novella) by [Hickey, Cynthia, Franklin, Darlene, Mayne, Debby, Whitham, Becca, Martin, Gail Gaymer, Johnson, Jennifer Collins, Turner, Niki, Hall, Patty Smith, AlLee, Jennifer, Higman, Anita]



Special Contest

This is the year of nonfiction books!

That is, 12 chronological months, not calendar year.

So here is #1, just in time for Christmas shopping or for yourself, a perfect tool who want to get serious about their quiet time with God in 2018.

Daily Wisdom for Women is part of an ongoing year-long devotional series, with devotions aimed at specific holidays that take the reader from Genesis to Revelation over the course of a year. The picture doesn’t do justice to its beauty, the luxe feeling of its leather, the easy to follow pages.

I wrote the devotions for November (and, yes, for Thanksgiving).


One free book for every comment: Up to six copies of Daily Wisdom for Women, 19 copies of Captives Brides. If more than 25 people leave comments, 26+ may choose any of my ebooks that cost 99 cents up to a total of 50 total.

*One book per reader Unless you have a compelling reason for a giveaway copy for someone who doesn’t have internet access to comment on their own.*

Writing News — November 5

Victory Dance! Last Monday a host of people joined me in waging war on heaven through prayer. I’ve been feeling quite ill and getting desperate to get my bipap repaired. Monday afternoon, helped arrived, the bipap was fixed, and I’m sleeping well again!


That’s the big news this week. Every week, but I’m more aware of it today than usual.

In other news:

Forward progress: I’m at 125 of 365 prayers written and a third of the way through a book proposal.

Cracked Ice: What Happens When the Lights Go Out?, a short story collection from Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, is fixing to be released. We are finalizing the cover now.

Every writer has a different routine, but here’s what my usual day looks like except for Sunday:

6-9 AM Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, have my quiet time (which involves writing the prayer book). In no particular order.

9-1 Take care of the morning’s business (therapy, church, guests, etc.). Meet my daily writing goal. Eat lunch.

2-4:30 Keep up with the “when I can” stuff of writing: guest blogs, group projects, web material, finances, records, articles. Go to bed.

4:30 – ?? Eat dinner. Work on whatever I want, even if it’s nothing. 😊

Writing News — October 22

Now all together for the first time for the low price of $2.99:

MAPLE NOTCH ROMANCES: Eight Couples Find Love Over the Year Purchase here

I have completed 78 days of 365 for Prayer Through the Bible in a Year and written fifty-eight percent of All Roads Lead Home, my Harvey Girls/Charles Lindbergh story. I’m having fun traveling with my characters along the Santa Fe railroad line and visiting Harvey Houses from Waynoka to Los Angeles

I have a new widget on my website where I can add books. With over 100 books in my arsenal, it will take a lot of time to add them all but I’m going to start with my most current books. So check out My Book Table here

And below are a couple of my recent pictures.

Happy Mole Day tomorrow!

Reviews for “An Apple For Christmas”

An Apple For Christmas

Ruby Nelson trades her job in the laboratory for teaching in a small girls’ school in Vermont. Twin sisters challenge her position—and their father captivates her imagination. Will the orchard grower graft Ruby onto his heart?

Learn more at Amazon


What a wonderful Christian fiction story. Mac has recently lost his wife and is now raising his twin daughters, Pipin and Margil. They have an Apple orchard that Mac operates and the girls help with. The girls are attending an all girl school and one is doing better than the other. When the school teacher comes out to visit about the girl’s grades, how will Mac respond? This was a very good short story that I would recommend for even middle school aged kids. I really enjoyed this book.



This is a cute little novella. Light and refreshing story. Good historical Christian fiction. This is the first story by Darlene that I have read, I enjoyed it. This is the story of Ruby Nelson who gives up the job that she loves to go teach at an all girls school.



Ruby Nelson is the new teacher at an all girls school in 1895 Vermont. She enjoys teaching these young girls, even the challenging ones. There are twin girls, Pippin and Margil, in her class that have captured Ruby’s heart. The twins father, Mac Cortland, owns an apple orchard he and his deceased wife started years earlier. Ruby is very interested in the apple orchard as she has worked with apples before moving from New York. She also finds her heart drawn to Mac.

I enjoyed this novella very much. Loved the way Ruby and Mac interacted and the twins were delightful.”

  • TINA


Authors are always grateful for reviews and I appreciate every review I receive for one of my books. Thank you to these ladies for sharing their thoughts. Happy Reading, everyone!

Writing News — October 15

***NOW AVAILABLE FOR 99 CENTS. TAKE ME HOME: Three Romantic Novellas by John Denver***

I have completed 55 days of 365 for Prayer Through the Bible in a Year and written the forty percent of All Roads Leads Home, my Harvey Girls/Charles Lindbergh story.

I am sad to say one publisher has passed on my proposal for 60 Days of Renewal in Isaiah. However, the proposal is still viable. I’m also working on a proposal for a full-length contemporary romance tentatively titled Holiday of the Month Club. It’s the first time in several years I’ve written a proposal, so it’s a little scary! It’s good to know you’re cheering me on!

And speaking of holidays, wishing you a happy. . .


Drafting a Cohesive Plot with Linda Wood Rondeau


By Linda Wood Rondeau


There are many ways to plot your story, including creative non-fiction. Some prefer to use the Five Act or Three Act approach. Some like to use a skeleton approach, like a blueprint. Some get their story down, like the frame of a house, then tweak and fine-tune their story events. I am a panster, or as some term this trait, an intuitive writer. Rather than create chapter-by-chapter synopses, I allow my story to evolve naturally.

Whatever plotting method is chosen, there are similarities that bear noting, events that help your story plotline remain cohesive.

  1. Initiating event: Here we get to know your protagonist. Establish relatability. An introduction to your character’s world. For example, here is the initiating event for Hunger Games. When we understand Katniss’ love for her sister, her later choices make sense.
  2. Inciting event: The protagonist is thrust, either by choice or circumstance, toward a collision with destiny.  In Hunger games, this when Katniss decides to volunteer as Tribute.
  3. Crisis event: This is where your protagonist is “all in.” There is no turning back and the only course is to move forward. The prince is in heavy battle with the dragon. The protagonist makes a decision that cannot be reversed and propels the rest of the story. An example of a crisis event is found in Titanic, when Rose gets off the lifeboat. It is the last one, and the ship will sink. Her decision propels the rest of the story.
  4. Climax: Luke uses the force. Everything that has gone on before now culminates in this last battle or act. The volcano must erupt.
  5. Denouement: The release or tying up the story. This is the natural result of all that has gone on before and leads to a satisfactory ending. This does not necessarily mean happy-ever-after. Rather an ending that makes sense given the previous events.


Award winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. A veteran social worker, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.

Tired of war, the world’s nations surrendered their weapons and formed a global government called The Accord, a democracy patterned after America’s constitution. However, The Accord proved too weak and greedy men reformed United Earth under the rule of The Constitutional Government, a faux democracy. Manipulations have now created the potential rise of United Earth’s first dictator. Many believe only reform will preserve the benefit of a global government. Factions arise, each with a differing opinion as to what those reforms should be. Jacob Goodayle, leader of the Western America Network, believes his group should declare an independent sovereign state. Edwin Rowlands, President-elect of United Earth has proposed an amendment to The Fourteen Articles of Constitution. His preservation act would make defection from Citizenry to any outworld, past, present or future, an act of treason punishable by death. Jimmy Kinnear, leader of the Revolutionary Army, believes only revolt will save the world. Reformists like Bridget Cavanaugh and Ian McCormick believe the current government can be reformed from within. Ahmed Fared, Second to the President-Elect, strives to save the status quo. In a world where engineered flesh have become little more than slaves and religious expression of any kind is forbidden, Christ Followers struggle to maintain their values while humanity teeters on the verge of a civil war that would plummet humanity into a third dark age.


Name your favorite John Denver song. I dare you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a hard time. Wander down Country Roads? Leave on a Jet Plane? Thank God for Country Boys? Feel Sunshine on my Shoulder? I had to settle for the song that led me to Colorado: Rocky Mountain High.

October 12th is the twentieth anniversary of his death. I present to you Take Me Home: Three Romantic Novellas Based on John Denver Songs. It includes my story, Her Rocky Mountain Highness, as well as Thank God for my Country Boy and Calypso Reimagined. The collection is being offered as one of my give aways this month.

As for other news:

I’ve completed the first thirty prayers for Pray Through the Bible. What a blessing!  Here’s one to give you a taste:

Lord Father, I thank You that the Bible shows me the great saints of faith with all their faults. Abraham was able to go for years without hearing from You, but not Moses. You even gave him a helper. Oh, how I thank You that I don’t have to measure up to someone else. You will prepare me uniquely for my calling. If I need repeated instructions—You are happy to guide me. So let me get busy, preparing for the work You have given to me. With the assistants You have given to me, beginning with the Holy Spirit. Because of You, I will complete the task. Amen.

I’ve picked up again on my Harvey Girls/Charles Lindbergh story. Imagine going on a plane with Lindbergh? I’m flying with him over Oklahoma in my imagination.

Check out the fascinating story of Tapiwa “Gwen” Marange in this month’s issue of

Book Fun Magazine view online at http://www.bookfun.org/