Category Archives: Books

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the truth about drew FREE


It seems crazy that it was three years ago that I was editing this book and getting it ready for publication. Out of all the books I’ve written so far, this is the one that I get the sweetest posts, emails, and reviews about. And all I can say is that God gave me the idea for this book and He has used it in ways I could not have imagined when I wrote it.

The Truth About Drew eBook is FREE today. Add it to your Kindle now.

If you read (or have already read it) and enjoyed it, please remember to stop by Amazon and leave a brief review. Thank you.

A Second Chance at Romance

a-second-chance-at-romance

Second Chances. If we’re honest, they’re not only something we want. They’re something we need . . . most every day. A fresh start. A do-over. A chance to learn from our mistakes and seize the opportunities we missed in the past.

There’s something intrinsically beautiful and redemptive about seeing that theme come to life on the pages of a compelling romance, isn’t there? With the start of a brand new year, we can’t think of a better time to celebrate that theme than a sale and giveaway of some of our favorite second chance romances.

Sales, Gift Cards, and Giveaways!

Each day, Jan 16-20th, one author will be highlighting a clean romance we’ve put on sale for you this week. Be sure to visit each author’s website and Facebook page to catch every deal, see what each author’s giving away, and enter the grand giveaway of five signed paperbacks!

Day 1: Melanie Snitker – Join her at https://facebook.com/melaniedsnitker
Day 2: Stacy Claflin – Join her at https://facebook.com/stacy.claflin.author
Day 3: Crystal Walton – Join her at https://facebook.com/crystalwaltonwrites
Day 4: Krista Noorman – Join her at https://facebook.com/bykristanoorman
Day 5: Sarah Monzon – Join her at https://facebook.com/sarahmonzonwrites

Don’t miss out on the giveaways each author will be offering. And enter the grand giveaway at the bottom of this post for your chance to take home five signed paperbacks!
 

Today’s Feature • Until Then

While thinking about which of my books would be best for the second chances theme, my mind immediately went to Until Then. On Michelle’s first day of college, she meets handsome, tall, blue-eyed, basketball star Sean. What happens between them changes Michelle’s heart in a profound way and alters the course of Sean’s future, sending him on a bit of a downward spiral and out of Michelle’s life.

Sometimes a lot of time must pass before that second chance comes along, and it can be downright painful with all the past hurts, uncertainty, unanswered questions. All the whys and what ifs. But God’s plans are better than ours, and in this book, they’re better than anything Michelle could possibly dream up for herself.

Here’s a little excerpt for you from the moment Michelle finally sees Sean again.
 

   Michelle arrived at the game and took a seat low on the bleachers to watch. Cornerstone scored several baskets in a row, and the crowd roared.
   Her eyes wandered the room. There were familiar faculty members there, a whole section of rowdy cheering students, and cheerleaders on the sidelines. People filtered in and out of the entrance. She looked closer at a small group of people just outside the doors. There were two dark-haired men standing with a teenaged boy and girl. One of the men looked very familiar to her. He stepped through the door into the room, holding the teenaged girl’s hand.
   Michelle squinted. No! It couldn’t be!
   They walked toward her. The man was speaking to the girl as they passed by. He looked a little older, and his hair was shorter, but she would recognize those eyes anywhere. Sean!
   She watched them walk toward the far end of the gym, closer to the rowdy students, where they found a seat near the top. She couldn’t believe he was actually there. Her heart raced, and her palms began to sweat. Her nerves kept her from jumping up and running to their end of the gym. It had been more than fourteen years, after all. Maybe he wouldn’t recognize her.
   She glanced in their direction again. He seemed to be looking her way, but she couldn’t tell at that distance. He could have been watching the action in the game. She turned back to watch a foul shot and played with a loose thread on her sweater.
   Oh, Lord, what should I do? He’s here. He’s actually here. Should I go talk to him? Or should I just let the past stay in the past?
   “Michelle?”
   Her prayer was interrupted, and she looked up into those blue eyes she remembered so well. “Sean.”
   “Oh my gosh, I thought that was you.” He shook his head back and forth and blinked a few times, like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
   She stood and awkwardly held her hand out to shake his.
   He let out a little nervous laugh and hugged her instead.
   Oh, man, he smells good.
   The noise of the crowd around them grew louder. He turned his head and spoke into her ear. “It’s so good to see you.”
   She smiled.
   He pulled back, keeping a grip on her forearms. “You look great.”
   “So do you,” she managed.
   He motioned toward the bleacher behind her, and she gave him a shy smile as they sat down together.
   He kept shaking his head, another nervous laugh escaping his lips. “I’m sorry, I just … I can’t believe it’s you. You’re here. I thought about you when we got here today. I wondered if you still lived around here or if you ever went back to Chicago.”
   “I’m still here.”
   “I think I was secretly hoping I might run into you, but I thought that was pretty much impossible. I’m … I don’t know. I have no words.” The smile never left his face.
   “I actually saw you come in, and I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me or something.”
   They sat in silence for a few moments, his attention turned to the game. He made a few comments on the game play, but she wasn’t listening. She was distracted by his presence, by how good he still looked, and by the glint of gold on his left ring finger. She knew he was married. Simon had told her so years ago.


 
You can read Michelle’s story, Until Then, for just 99¢ from January 16-20.
Kindle eBook
Nook
Apple iBooks
Kobo

This book is part of my Cornerstone series and, while you can read this book without having read the first two, I highly recommend reading them in order because this book gives away the ending of the first book. You can start reading the series for FREE right now with Book 1 – Goodbye, Magnolia. (Find it on your favorite eBook site HERE.)
 
 
 
GIVEAWAYS

Amazon Gift Card
I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift card during this event. Enter below by answering the question. Extra entries can be earned by liking my Facebook page, following me on Bookbub, and tweeting about the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five-Paperback Giveaway
a-second-chance-at-romance-1

Love clean romances? I do. I’ve read and loved all of these books. For a chance to win these five paperbacks from authors: Stacy Claflin, Sarah Monzon, Melanie Snitker, Crystal Walton, and myself, ENTER BELOW by joining our mailing lists and be the first to hear about the latest inside scoops, giveaways, and behind the scenes looks at the sweet romances you love.

 
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today! And be sure to visit SARAH MONZON’s BLOG tomorrow for the final day of the event.

Blessings and happy reading!

Drew is FREE!

The Truth About Drew, my first published novel, came out in 2014. It’s a sweet story of 14 yr. old Claire, who has a quirky best friend, Drew. He’s different than her other friends. He talks differently, speaking only in quotes and clichés and Bible verses. He disappears all the time. Sometimes she turns around and he’s gone. It isn’t until she’s a freshman in high school that it really starts to bother her. Her friends and family have never met him, yet he’s always been there. So she becomes determined to find out who he really is or if she’s going a little crazy, wondering if he’s real. It’s a wonderful story of friendship, family, first love, and Claire’s journey to faith, as well as her finding out who Drew really is.

Today (July 9th) is the first time The Truth About Drew has ever been FREE on Amazon. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll pick up a copy today.

THEN check out the two books in my Cornerstone series, which are only $2.99 each. :)

the nitty gritty

I’ve been working on story edits of Until Then for the past month. It’s serious business cutting lines, paragraphs, even whole chapters sometimes. Many chapters have been rewritten. A new chapter was even added that ended up bringing one particular part of Michelle’s story full circle, which was very unexpected, but happily so. I sat in tears staring at my computer screen after that one. :)

I’m finally to the point where I’m working on line edits now, which is where I go over each paragraph line by line to make sure that it flows well, that I’ve described mood and setting properly, that dialogue sounds realistic and not forced, that I haven’t used the same words and phrases over and over again, etc. I’m into the nitty gritty now. This is where it all starts to come together. I’ve set a deadline to finish all edits by the end of March.

I’ll also be sharing promotional images in the coming weeks and months. This is the first.

Getting Michelle out of Chicago is top priority for her family because of the rough neighborhood she lives in and the sketchy guys she hangs out with. Her grandparents offer to pay her college tuition is HUGE and the answer to all of their problems. But they have one condition – choose one of three Christian colleges they have handpicked for her. This does not go over well with Michelle. Not at all.

If you’d like to be among the first to learn when the book will be released, sign up for my newsletter below.

I promise I won’t bombard your inbox with emails. I send out my newsletter every month or two and your email address will only be used for that purpose.

a new year


I think I’m still in denial that 2015 is over. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Christmas and all the family gatherings flew by in a blur. We attended 6 family Christmases, not including our own on Christmas morning, and did more traveling this time around, but it was worth it to see lots of family this year. We spent our last weekend of break at Jake’s parents’ on the east side of the state. We were there for New Year’s Eve (lots of games, movies, and yummy soup), then had our final family Christmas on New Year’s Day.

These are just a few photos from New Year’s Eve. I tend to share a lot more photos on my Instagram account. If you’re an instagram addict, like I am, feel free to follow me. My username there is kristajean.

My Merry Christmas book giveaway wrapped up this past weekend, too. The winner was LETTY MAR! Congratulations, Letty! :)

Are you setting resolutions for yourself this year? I’m not. Not really. But there are a couple things I want to accomplish this year.

• I have challenged myself over on Goodreads to read 50 books. I read just about that many in 2015, so I’m sure I’ll have no problem reaching that goal. And I want to finish reading through the Bible this year, too. I’m about 25% of the way through (started last year, but didn’t finish).

• And it’s time to kick my book editing into high gear so I can finish Until Then and get it ready for all of you. Then it’s on to the next book. ;)

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. Looking forward to all that 2016 holds.

A book release

Good morning, all! Today is a special day for my friend, Anita. That’s her over there. –>

It’s the official release date of her second book, In The Shadow Of Thy Wings, Book 2 in her Civil War series. I know from personal experience how fun release day is for an author. It’s a whirlwind of people sharing on social media and lots of activity going on.

I met Anita online last year on Goodreads. We were both releasing our first books and she needed a little help with cover design, which I happily helped her with. We’ve been friends ever since. :)

Here’s what I love about Anita. From the first moment, I knew she had a strong faith in God. It comes across in everything she writes – her posts, her books, our emails and Facebook chats. She loves the Lord and it shines through. I feel blessed to have met her and to walk along in this writing life with her as a friend and kindred spirit.

Both books in the Ancient Words series are available now:
Where Can I Flee
In The Shadow of Thy Wings

I wrote a little review of In The Shadow Of Thy Wings over on Goodreads, and I thought I’d share it here:

“The second installment in the Ancient Words Series was a wonderful read. I enjoyed continuing on this journey with Claire and Frank and their friends and family, following along through the perils of war time, the relationship struggles, the dangerous situations the characters sometimes found themselves in, and their reliance on God to get them through it all. I loved the sweet romantic moments, too. This book had me biting my nails, smiling, getting angry, laughing, crying. I’m so invested in these characters now, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series to see how things turn out.”

A GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plus, there’s a fun Facebook release party going on for the next few days with lots of great giveaways. After you enter the above giveaway, click on over to the party to help her celebrate!

Thanks, friends!

4th of July EBOOK sale


The Fourth of July fun is starting early around here with BOTH of my books on sale in EBOOK format for only $2.99 each now thru July 5th.
Go to my BOOKS page to learn what each book is about and choose your eBook format of choice.

One of my favorite scenes in Goodbye, Magnolia takes place on the 4th, where Maggie has joined her family and friends to watch the fireworks at the lake house owned by Simon’s uncle. It’s the perfect summer evening – lawn chairs and blankets, fireworks, bonfires, hanging your feet over the edge of a dock down into the cool water, watching boats out on the lake, a bazillion stars in the sky. And, of course, an accidental tumble into the lake with the guy you claim you can’t stand. ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy precious time with family and friends. Stay safe.

and HAPPY READING!

Goodbye, Magnolia | Launch Team


As the release date for Goodbye, Magnolia nears (the date will be announced soon!), I am looking for some of you to team up with me to share all the excitement surrounding the book launch. Self publishing a book is so much work and being a one woman show is hard. Besides writing the book, which is a huge task in and of itself, I’m responsible for every other step of this process – editing, proofreading, layout, ebook formatting, etc. And on top of all that, I get to be my own marketing team, which is so overwhelming for someone who is very much an introvert. So I’d love to have some of my blog friends (like YOU!) on my team. You’ll get to read the book months before anyone else and give me some valuable feedback and input. So …

Would you like to join my LAUNCH TEAM?

I’m looking for …
– readers who are familiar with my writing.
– readers who will enthusiastically share, share, share about the new book.
– those who are active on social media.
– bloggers with a dedicated following whose readers would enjoy the book.
– book club participants whose group would like to read the book.
– those willing to give promotional materials to friends, family, everyone!

You don’t have to fit into all of those categories. I’m looking for a variety of people, who will share in different ways. Most importantly, I want people on my team who are passionate about books and reading and want to help me spread the word about this book that is so special to me.

What you get as a member of the team
– a digital ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book in PDF format
– an eBook copy of the final book before release
– a signed paperback copy of the book before release
– Access to a private Facebook group just for the team, where we can chat, get to know each other, talk about the book, and you can be a part of the whole process of self-publishing.
– Fun giveaways within our team!

What I’m asking of you
– Read and review the book online on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. the week of the book launch.
– Spread the word any way you can during the week of the book launch (Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., blog a review of the book if you have a blog, pass out bookmarks (will be provided), tell friends, etc.)
– Interact with the launch team, introduce yourself, ask questions, enjoy!
– Ask your local library to carry the book.
– Let me know if you have any other ideas for spreading the word.

Are you IN?
If you want to join the team, please CONTACT ME for more information.

A big THANK YOU in advance!

Let’s DO THIS! Yeah!

put it out there



While browsing through my old posts, I came across one written on June 3, 2005, the night I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. I loved that book series and I remember loving the movie. One other thing I remember about that night was going directly to Best Buy afterwards to purchase the soundtrack because of the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield and driving home with windows down and moon roof open with that song turned up so loud. (OK, I’m playing it right now while I write this post and it’s still awesome!) I love how a blog post can remind me of those feelings.

Here’s what I had to say that night:

“I like to read, but I LOVE when books are adapted into movies. I’m a visual person, a huge movie lover. So to see a story adapted for the screen and done well really thrills me. This was adapted really well. I think there were a few things here and there that they changed for movie purposes, but for the most part it was true to the book.

I think the character that I relate the most to is Lena, the quiet one. Afraid to really let go, trying to figure out who she really is, not the most outspoken of the group. That’s totally me. A little reserved, doing what I think others want me to do, wishing that I had the strength to stand up for myself more, a little shallow with my feelings, mostly to protect myself from being hurt, but wishing I felt more deeply sometimes.

These kinds of stories really make me think and they get my creative juices flowing. I began writing a book in 1997 based loosely on my time at the church camp I used to attend for a week every summer in high school. I finally finished the first draft last year, but I’ve done nothing more with it. I feel like pulling it out and working on it now. It’s so fun to read through it and see these characters that I’ve created with little bits of myself and my friends in them and the adventures that they go through and the lessons learned during the week at camp. I’m proud of my book. It needs a lot of work and who knows if it’s something that is good enough to be published. It’s the “Lena” in me that is afraid to put it out there and see what might happen with it. I need to let it go and see what God can do with it.”

Reading this made me smile so big. I had not forgotten about my camp book, but I had forgotten how even ten years ago, I was thinking about publishing, wondering if I should try, afraid to put myself out there. That book, the sweet little camp story, will find its way into book form. Not as it is now, though, because I was being honest when I said it needed a lot of work, but it’s already being re-imagined and rewritten in my brain. It even has a title already, which I’m pretty excited about. But, I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself. ;)

OK … on to today’s giveaway.

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY

I’m getting so excited for the release of this book! It’s totally my heart and so much of myself is on these pages. This giveaway is for an Advanced Reader Copy of Goodbye, Magnolia. The winner will receive a copy of the manuscript in paperback book form in its still-being-edited, not quite polished to perfection, almost final state. It will be about a month or so before the ARC copy is ready.

If this is the first you’re hearing about my new book, here’s a little bit of the synopsis for you:
Wedding photography is Maggie’s passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she’s worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn’t been so lucky in love. Behind the camera, it’s easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.”

Eeeeeek! I’m giddy. ;)

Enter below. Tell a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE to see all the GIVEAWAYS on one page!

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

AJAXed with AWP