Taking Time to Breathe: A Writer Needs a Break

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I am writing this to announce a hiatus for the first half of August for the blog. This is a decision I do not take lightly, but I am doing this because I need to step back for a few weeks…and reassess things. I hope you all enjoyed my Top 10 series during July.

No, this blog isn’t going away. Not by a long shot! But after getting sick earlier this week, I realized that I needed to step back. I need to be away from the computer, decompress, and take time for me. I also want to reassure everyone that there will be a Book of the Month review for August. The post will just come later in the month.

I will be back later this month with more posts about writing, more insights about what I learn, and more reviews. We writers need to remember that walking away for a while IS OKAY. Also, taking time to enjoy good books is how we grow in our writing. If I want to get a book done one day, I need to seriously consider things and look at what I can offer like authors before me.

Thank you all for your support, understanding, and respecting my space during this hiatus. Again, I will return. I don’t quit easily.

Keep writing and finding your way as an author!

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My Top Ten General/Contemporary Christian Fiction Books

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Image: BenjaminMiller2651 (freerangestock.com)

It’s the final post of my top ten series! I hope you all have enjoyed the lists and have come across some new reads, or rediscovered old ones from the past. We will see what August brings for the blog!

Here are my top ten general/contemporary Christian Fiction Books. Please note that this may be more mixed because of the multiple genres some books fall under.

10) Divine by Karen Kingsbury

9) Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

8) Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

7) Red Rose Bouquet by Jennifer Rodewald

6) Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford

5) Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury

4) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

3) The Sinner’s Garden by William Sirls

2) The Cat That God Sent by Jim Kraus

1) The Reason by William Sirls

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Happy writing and here’s to the end of July!

My Top Ten Contemporary Romance Books in Christian Fiction

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Image: BenjaminMiller2651 (freerangestock.com)

I began this series talking about my top ten Christian Fiction Writers. For the final two weeks, I’m going to focus on Contemporary Romance and General Christian Fiction. One reason is because I have many of these books on my book shelf. I try very hard with my faith not to be preachy or force something on others, so I understand why some may not be interested in these final two posts.

But it’s more than that for me. Character development, real life lessons, relatability, and plot have made these novels memorable. It’s why I pick them up over and over again or cherish them every day on my bookshelf.

So here’s my top ten Contemporary Romance Books in Christian Fiction:

10) Ordinary Snowflakes by Jennifer Rodewald

9) Meant To Be Mine (Porter Family Series #2) by Becky Wade

8) Maggie’s Miracle (The Red Gloves Collection #2) by Karen Kingsbury

7) The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

6) Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance (Follow Your Heart #1) by Melody Carlson

5) The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

4) A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

3) Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

2) My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

1) Undeniably Yours (Porter Family Series #1) by Becky Wade

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Tune in next week for the conclusion of my top ten series!

Happy writing!!

My Top Ten Nicholas Sparks Books

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My Nicholas Sparks Books

Before discovering Christian Romance, Nicholas Sparks’s books were my first encounter with romance novels as a teenager. My mom has always been a huge fan of his books and after reading a few, I found the other ones she had. I also watched a few film adaptations of some of the books. For this week, I wanted to do a top ten list of my favorite books from this author. See if you recognize your favorites! His next book, Every Breath, releases later this year.

10) The Last Song

9) Dear John

8) Message in a Bottle

7) The Notebook

6) See Me

5) Nights in Rodanthe

4) The Longest Ride

3) A Walk to Remember

2) Safe Haven

1) The Lucky One

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Tune in next week for my next list!

Happy writing!

My Top Ten Shakespeare Plays

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Image: Books18 (Flickr.com)

I can imagine a few groans with my list this week. Many of you read a few Shakespeare plays back in high school and probably dreaded them. I admit, I was the same. But after taking a Shakespeare class my junior year of high school and later on in college, I began to appreciate the Bard’s works. Timeless themes, memorable characters, and famous scenes showed me that Shakespeare was ahead of his time. I also had the chance to read some of his sonnets in college, but I prefer his plays more. Plus, watching film adaptations of the plays helped me better understand the language and the timelessness of Shakespeare.

So without further ado, I present my Top Ten Shakespeare Plays. I also listed two or three of my favorite characters:

10) Henry IV Part One (Favorite Characters: Falstaff, Hotspur, Prince Hal)

9) The Tempest (Favorite Characters: Miranda, Ariel)

8) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Favorite Characters: Helena, Oberon)

7) Macbeth (Favorite Characters: Lady Macbeth, Three Witches, Banquo)

6) Romeo and Juliet (Favorite Characters: Friar Lawrence, Nurse, Juliet)

5) As You Like It (Favorite Characters: Celia, Duke Senior, Touchstone)

4) Julius Caesar (Favorite Characters: Calpurnia, Soothsayer, Portia)

3) Othello (Favorite Characters: Desdemona, Emilia, Iago)

2) Measure for Measure (Favorite Characters: Isabella, Vicentio the Duke)

1) King Lear (Favorite Characters: King Lear, Cordelia)

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What top ten list will I unveil next week? Tune in to find out!

Happy writing!

A Sudden Absence and Top Classic Novels

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Image: Pixabay

I have been absent since the beginning of this month. From a busy professional life to prioritizing family for personal reasons, I’ve had to take some time off. I will resume my weekly posting duties for July and my Book of the Month pick for June has been posted as of last night. Go check it out!

Please know that I would never leave my blog unattended unless there was a reason out of my control. I’ve had times when things go on that I have to put writing aside, or struggle to write altogether. It happens to all of us from time to time and we should not beat ourselves up for it. If you need to prioritize things in your own life for a time, you should and not worry about what others may think. Sometimes you can plan ahead despite setbacks, but other times you cannot. I will NEVER put writing before my family. I realize writing requires some sacrifice, but there are some things that cannot wait or be put off. I hope to one day better understand this balance because I may love writing, but I will never place it above more important things. Some things may leave a mark for a time, but many more things do forever. So I guess this list of classic novels is fitting to end this month.

A classic, to me, is a novel that has left an impact on readers or a genre many years, or centuries, later. Besides considering classics I’ve read, I want to think about books readers remember fondly and continue to read again and again. There are also two books on this list I’ve never read but know belong on a list of this caliber (try to guess which ones!). You might see a few familiar titles from my Top 20 Books list.

Here is my Top 10 Classic Novels list:

10) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

9) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

8) Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

7) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) Villette by Charlotte Brontë

5) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

4) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

3) Middlemarch by George Eliot

2) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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I hope to resume my top ten series in July without interruption. Stay tuned to find out what I’ll rank next!

Happy writing!

My Top Ten Christian Fiction Writers

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Image: StuartMiles (freerangestock.com)

Back in April, I compiled a list of my top 20 favorite books. That was a little difficult to do because of having to rank some books over others, but it made me consider which books had a great impact on me and which ones I just enjoyed but also memorable. For the rest of June, I’m going to do a four-part series of top 10 lists. This will allow readers to make new discoveries, get to know my reading tastes better beyond my Book of the Months reviews, and so on.

This week, I’m going to focus on Christian Fiction because this genre of literature has become a part of my life since the summer before I started college. Over time, I’ve discovered an array of sub-genres including Biblical Fiction, Contemporary Romance, General Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense, and more. Last week, I read an article from Publishers Weekly detailing the “noticeable presence” of religious publishers at this year’s BookExpo in New York City. I found the read interesting and I was given insight into the growth and strategies being utilized to promote books and make new connections.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Christian Fiction Writers! Like my previous list, the writers are not limited by genre. Also, if a particular author is not listed, it does not mean I love their work any less than others. For this list, I wanted to narrow it down and focus on writers I feel deserve some attention, and highly recommend my favorite books.

10) Karen Kingsbury (Between Sundays, The Chance, Unlocked)

9) Tessa Afshar (In the Field of Grace)

8) Jill Eileen Smith (Bathsheba (Wives of King David #3), Abigail (Wives of King David #2))

7) Diana Wallis Taylor (Journey to the Well, Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate)

6) Katie Ganshert (A Broken Kind of Beautiful, The Art of Losing Yourself)

5) Francine Rivers (A Lineage of Grace, Redeeming Love)

4) Mesu Andrews (The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Treasures of the Nile #1))

3) Jennifer Rodewald (Reclaimed, Red Rose Bouquet (Grace Revealed #2))

2) Becky Wade (Undeniably Yours (Porter Family Series #1), A Love Like Ours (Porter Family Series #3), My Stubborn Heart)

1) Rachel Hauck (Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding Series #1), Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding Series #2), The Wedding Chapel)

Honorable Mentions to Also Check Out:

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Next week, I will list my top ten classic novels. Happy writing!