Fun Visit With Virginia Smith

FullSizeRenderOur Book Club at Unity Christian Church had a very fun luncheon meeting last week at Joseph Beth Cafe with Virginia Smith. Left to right: Ellen Whitaker, Jean Fowler, Ellen Kipela, myself, and Ginny Smith.

Ginny and I have known each other for several years from ACFW. I love her books, and while we ate she regaled us with several funny stories–some true and some from her upcoming fiction. We all laughed so much, I am sure we worked off the calories in our desserts!

Dr. Horatio9780736964838_cft_300 (2)Ginny’s new series, Tales of the Goose Creek B&B, is set in a small Kentucky town and features a host of delightful (and sometimes wacky) residents. The series kicks off on August 1 with an introductory e-only novella called Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat.

The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade (2)Book 1, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, will release on September 1. Here’s a description:

In this first book of the Tales from the Goose Creek B&B, you’ll fall in love with a small town that feels like coming home. Its quirky characters and their many shenanigans will make you laugh out loud as they touch a place in your heart.

Even though retirement is still three years away, Al Richardson is counting the days. He anticipates many enjoyable years in which every day feels like Saturday. But Al’s wife, Millie, has different plans for their retirement. When she learns that a Victorian-era home is up for sale, Millie launches a full-blown campaign to convince Al that God’s plan for them is to turn that house into a B&B.

But a B&B won’t be the only change for the small Kentucky town. A new veterinarian has hung up her shingle, but she’s only got one patient—the smelly dog belonging to her part-time receptionist. And sides are being taken in the issue of the water tower, which needs a new coat of paint…but no one can agree who should paint it.

The situation is coming to a head. Who could have imagined a town protest over a water tower? And who would believe it could culminate in an illegal parade?

Pre-order these books, and you can get lost in a novel that reminds you why you love reading.

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Hope in My Heart by Alexis Goring

Book blurb:
Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Purchase links:,,,,,

Social media links:
Official website,
Official Author page on Facebook,
Twitter handle, @pennedbyalex

Alexis in Autumn 2012, edited photoAuthor bio: Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and is especially delighted to have released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

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Interview–Alexis Goring, Christian Author

Alexis in Autumn 2012, edited photoToday I am happy to interview Alexis A. Goring, a new cyber-friend who is also a Christian author.  Please join me in learning more about this writer.

Welcome Alexis. Please tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?    My favorite book as a child was any of the stories about The Berenstain Bears!

My favorite book as an adult is The Holy Bible because it’s God’s Word that helps me in every aspect of my life. Now if you want to know my favorite fiction book as an adult, I cannot say just one because I have too many to count. Some of my favorite Christian authors are Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant and Stacy Hawkins Adams. I love the way they tell stories, it’s beautiful.

The only connection I can see between The Berenstain Bears and The Holy Bible is the theme of hope and love. The Berenstain Bears are a fictional family of five bears who found hope in every situation and loved each other. When it comes to the Bible which teaches God is love and He loves all humankind, it’s better than The Berenstain Bears because it’s real-life! God promises that if we believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ, we will be “not perish” but “have eternal life” (John 3:16). Now I believe that promise is the ultimate HOPE!

Alexis, I agree with you about too many fiction books and authors to chose one favorite. I have that same problem. Also I enjoyed your take on the Berenstain Bears. For many years, when our oldest daughter had a bad day, our youngest daughter would read BB stories to her, and they would both feel better! So I see what you mean about hope in them! What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing? Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite Scripture! It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My Mom made me aware of that verse after a traumatic experience as a teenager that led to a turning point in my life and I’ve held on to that verse for hope ever since.

Philippians 1:6 encourages me in my writing with this promise, “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This Scripture gives me hope because I can infer that just like God created my faith in Him as a mustard seed and is growing it to move mountains (Matthew 17:20), He (God) promises to be the author and finisher of my faith as it says in Hebrews 12:2. I believe that God will do the same with my writing and publication journey. I trust that He knows what He’s doing and He’ll help me use my gift as a writer to reach the world for Him. Proverbs 18:16 says, the gifts God gives us will “make room” for us and bring us before “great” people. I am excited to see how God uses my gift of writing! He’s already given me wonderful experiences related to my skills as a writer and He’s allowed me to meet some pretty great people but that’s another story for another blog post.

Jeremiah 29:11 was also a verse I shared with our daughters. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose? Johannesburg (South Africa), Barbados, California, Denmark, Dubai, Fiji, Switzerland, and London. There’s more but those are my top favorites! I’d love to spend time in each of those places with good company, exploring the culture and history through food and sightseeing! I’m sure it would inspire me to write a book with a setting from each of those places.

Sounds like you have the traveling bug like I do. If we ever meet in person, I can share my albums and pictures of Barbados where I went on a mission trip in 1997 and London and Switzerland and six other countries when my girls and I traveled to Europe in 1995 when my oldest graduated from college. I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing? The only thing about technology that I do not like is when it does not work! Otherwise it is wonderful! I believe that there are so many avenues through technology to enhance my writing such as access to reading and exploring great blogs, like yours! I love connecting with other creative people through social media. Love it!

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?    I joined a critique group and they are helping me by pointing out what I need to work on to improve my craft and skills as a writer. The biggest stretch for me is trying to write a novel instead of a novella. As a trained print journalist, it’s challenging for me to write a story that’s not precise and concise. My stories are paced like a television show, I’ve been told before and it’s written in a way that it could be turned into a movie. One of my critique group friends said that she thinks one day I’ll write for the Hallmark Channel. I said, “God-willing, YES!” I’d love to work as a screenwriter; it’s the most natural form of creative writing for me. I love writing books too and would like to continue doing that but again, my specialty are novellas. Maybe one day I’ll be able to write a really good novel.

What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you? Keep writing. Don’t listen to discouraging words. If you need better paying work then search for it but don’t give up on your writing, especially if you know and believe that this is what God called you to do. Always make time to improve your craft and grow your skills as a writer and trust God to as the Bible says, “make room” for your talent (Proverbs 18:16). God gave you the gift of writing for a reason, be determined to find that reason then live it out with God’s help.

Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?My book, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, is being rebranded because my publisher Crossbooks closed in April 2015. The good news is, WestBow Press (a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan), is the company that’s rebranding my book and they’re just as good as Crossbooks if not better. It’s a major move for me and I’m excited to see what God has in store.

After the rebranding process is complete, my book will belong to WestBow Press and will be available to purchase again. I’m told the rebranding process will take about 60 days. Meanwhile, you can learn more about my book and me as a creative writer through my official website, .

Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed today, Rose! It was fun!

It was great to learn more about you and your books, Alexis, and I hope you will visit again and write about all the “great” people you have met on this journey! And I hope everyone will join us tomorrow for a look at Alexis’ new book!

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Review–Amanda Cabot’s In Firefly Valley

As you can tell by the cover picture for my blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, I love stories set in small towns with huge hearts, which is one of the reasons I love Amanda Cabot’s books. Dupree, Texas is the small town featured in this series, and while it has some of the problems sometimes found in small towns like a lack of job opportunities, it also shows the great qualities of small towns where everyone pitches in to solve problems and they look out for one another.  In Firefly Valley is the second book in her Texas Crossroad series. While the stories can stand alone, I suggest reading At Bluebonnet Lake first if you haven’t because the heroine of In Firefly Valley is the daughter of one of the main characters in the first book.

The second reason I love to read Amanda Cabot’s book is her characterization and descriptive skills. Although I have never visited the Hill Country of Texas, I feel like I have been there after reading her books! And her characters feel like neighbors down the street.

The most important reason I love reading Ms. Cabot’s books is that while we watch the characters go through several crises and trials, we can be assured that like God’s Word says things will work out better than we could have asked or imagined, because God is in the details. (Eph. 3: 20–my favorite verse!)

So if you are looking for a great small-town read with all the drama and twists and turns of life, plus a happy ending, then pick up this or any of Amanda Cabot’s books. You’ll be happy you did!

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Review–The Scent of Rain

I just finished listening to Kristin Billerbeck’s audio version of The Scent of Rain, and can’t begin to count the times I laughed out loud! This book is written in her signature witty style, yet also shows her spiritual depth in dealing with hard things that can happen to good people. It encourages us to still trust God and to let Him use others He places in our path to help, too.

I highly recommend this read–or you can listen to the audio book. You can laugh in your car while driving! And check out Kristin and her other books, too at

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Christian Fiction Friday

I’ve been wanting to post on this blog for weeks and even tried it last week, but wasn’t sure how it worked, so I’m trying again today. I am posting a snippet of my book set in Puerto Rico Surrender to Peace below. I’d love to receive some comments on it as it is still a WIP (work in progress) And perhaps you would like to post some writing, too–see link below. Thanks for the opportunity Hallee and Alana!

Benigno waited on the veranda. He stood as Joy approached with the setting sun at her back bronzing her copper curls. His heart pounded in his ears. He wanted so much to tell her how he loved her, but had to hold it in until she was ready.
“Last night you were beautiful. Tonight you are gorgeous! I won’t be able to take my eyes off you to eat.”
She shook her head. “Silly man. Of course you can, even if I have to feed you myself.”
His eyebrows arched. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.”
“Have you been planning this ever since I fed you breakfast on the way to Icacos?”
“No, but I love the idea.” He lifted the large picnic basket. “Ready to go?”
She joined her arm with his.
Pink, purple, mauve, and golden streaks fanned out across the horizon as they approached the beach. It didn’t compare to her beauty.
Opening the basket, he pulled out a crisp white table cloth, and set real china. Next he placed several covered bowls and serving spoons. He lifted two seat cushions from some beach chairs and placed them next to each other on the sand. “Dinner is served, señorita.”
She dropped to a cushion and tucked her skirt around her legs.
Benigno sat beside her and opened two bowls. “For our soup we have Asopao.”
“My favorite.”
Next he uncovered seared loin of lamb with vegetables.
“Another favorite.”
“We aim to please.”
She glanced at another bowl, still covered. “What’s for dessert?”
“You’ll have to eat your supper to find out. Let’s thank God for our food.” He reached for her hand and prayed.
Joy lifted her head, and he spied tears in her eyes. Happy tears, he hoped.
They ate while watching the sky fade to purple and indigo. The first star appeared as he reached for the dessert. “Close your eyes. You have to guess what it is from the aroma.”
She complied, and he held it under her nose. “Ummm. Creme Bruleé.”
He laughed. “You’re a hard woman to surprise.”
“This whole vacation has been God’s surprise for me. And you’re a big part of His blessings.”
His gaze locked with hers. “I’m glad.”
Leaning over, his lips touched hers as his arm encircled her waist and pulled her closer.
She returned his kiss. Could this night get any better?

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. – See more at:


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