Guest Post by Brian Holers, author of Doxology

Currently I am reading a book by Brian Holers called, Doxology. His writing style is conversational, drawing you in immediately. The characters have depth, emotion and are easy to relate to.

(Plus the author is easy on the eyes.)

I do plan on reviewing it next week, but in the mean time, I am very pleased to share this guest post by the author as part of a book tour this week. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Author Brian Holers

Not just for Christians

One of the beauties of self-publishing is that the gatekeeper has been fired. In this new world of books made possible by the Internet, no one is left to guard the door. To tell the reader what is what. This state of affairs may introduce an element of confusion for dogmatic readers, but the good news is, new breeds of literature are being created.

Self-publishing allows literature to cross over in new ways. Traditional Christian fiction publishers, for instance, disallow most references to sex, and even the most juvenile profanity. Self-publishing changes this. Not to suggest a writer should ever debase a genre—as writers we are obliged to choose our words carefully. But the old Christian books kept many readers away. “I’m not going to read that. That’s Christian. It’s boring.” Still, nearly every Christian I know periodically swears, fights, and even becomes amorous from time to time. Christians like good stories too, with depth of character, excitement, whimsy, action. The success of a book like The Shack shows the need for stories of real people dealing with real problems, in a faith-based context. It doesn’t even have to be good literature.

As humans, we all look for answers. Stories are stories. Conflict builds to crisis, which leads to a form of resolution. Sure, some people never doubt their faiths, even in the face of horrible tragedy. Others do. Some never ascribed to a faith in the first place, and instead spend their days casting about for a context to this condition we call humanness. The problem with much traditional Christian literature is this; when a character is pushed to a crisis, and the only change we read is “he fell on his knees, then and there, and accepted Jesus into his heart,” that incident may describe a beautiful sentiment, and may have value to a real person in real life, but as a reader, it doesn’t tell me anything. A reader wants details. He wants to see the sweat break out. She wants to hear the thoughts and words that accompany the character’s condition. Literature is literature. We want to see development. We want to get inside the characters. We want to get to know them. That’s why we care. Regardless of the genre label put on the book.

Doxology is a story in between. The book has a religious message; given its primary setting in rural north Louisiana, that message is Christian. But the characters are just people. They experience the same emotions all people do—love, joy, loss. Their conflicts grow and grow until they must be resolved. Like real people, they go astray, take paths of separation from God, or just from what is good for them. They experience desires that can never be fulfilled, want things that can never be had or even understood. They discover the traits in their lives that aren’t working, and set out to find new habits that will work. Many Christian values are universal—a belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that our lives are worthwhile. An understanding that letting go, and learning how little we are in charge, makes life more manageable. A certainty that the kindness and compassion we offer to others is returned to us a hundredfold.

Some say God. Some say the universe. But we all–when we’re honest, and when we pay attention, have a sense of something looking out for us, giving us what we need. Putting people we need into our lives. We give credit for these gifts as we see fit. Good literature promotes a point of view by showing the reader how a character’s modes of operation and beliefs work for her (or don’t). Good literature, whatever its genre, lets the reader inside. Lets the reader do part of the work. Doxology, in this vein, is a story at the crossroad of God and man. It presents God as the characters experience God, and as real people experience God, looking out for them, giving them what they need. Coming to understand how God has been there all along.

Doxology is a love story. Faith plays a role, as it helps the characters find answers and resolution, improves their lives. Like Jody and Vernon and the others, we all look for redemption from brokenness of the past. They and we find it, as people both real and imaginary alike do, in family, friends, productive work, a sense of place, a faith in something greater. Doxology is a story, first and foremost. Its characters face problems. Their conflicts grow. They look for resolutions and ultimately find them, imperfect as they are. We the readers get to know them, and we care. We sympathize. They matter.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

Help my blog win:

The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.

About the book: Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Guest Post from Author Lauren Clark

Hopefully yesterday’s excerpt from Lauren Clark’s book Stay Tuned peaked your interest. I’m delighted to feature a guest post from the author and I encourage you to participate in today’s blog tour event:

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out… Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Now please enjoy this guest post from the author….

Nine Myths and a Truth: The Real Story Behind the Scenes at a Local Television Station**

10. Reporters are paid tons of money! FALSE—Reporters at small television stations are paid a little more than minimum wage. They are required to have a college degree and many just-out-of-school jobs are classified as a “One Man Band, ” which means that the reporter carries the camera, shoots the footage, does the interviews, then writes and edits the story.

9. Reporters get to meet famous people! SOMETIMES—I was fortunate enough to meet Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro and many local senators and congress members. However, I did interview Eliott Spitzer while he was New York State’s attorney general. Now that’s just creepy!

8. Reporters and anchors get lots of perks! SOMETIMES—Reporters do often get sideline tickets and backstage passes to events. However, it’s often a reporter attends only AFTER her or she covers the actual event, which means working for at least the first part of the concert, fundraiser, or dinner.

7. It’s always glamorous! NOT REALLY—Often, reporting took me to crime scenes, car crashes, bad neighborhoods, dairy farms, voting polls, and raging fires. My most unique assignments included reporting on a lost Emu and covering cattle judging at a local fair. In Alabama—try to stay cool and look pretty in 105-degree heat! In Upstate New York, this meant trudging through the deep snow to get a story.

6. If you’re an anchor, people do your makeup and choose your clothes! FALSE—In smaller markets, you do your own makeup (MAC is the best!) and bring your own clothes. Sometimes, the television station might give you a small clothing allowance, but a few hundred dollars doesn’t go far when you work 5 days a week.

5. Viewers call in and tell anchors how wonderful they are! SOMETIMES—I admit, I did get some fan mail and it was pretty fabulous. However, most often, people called in to complain about (1) an outfit someone was wearing (which a viewer didn’t like it), (2) a story reported on (which a viewer didn’t like it), or (3) a story that didn’t get coverage. There was one particular viewer who didn’t like the way I said “Iraq.” (It’s not Eye-rack. It’s Ir-aq)

4. The hardest part of the job is interviewing people! FALSE—I loved that part! I thought it was so amazing to talk to people from all walks of life and find out why they were a farmer, a policeman, or a teacher. I liked asking questions that made people think. Some of the most rewarding stories were health-related (recovery from an illness) or the features about children. The hardest part for me was the shift I worked: 2 am – 10 am. (This meant getting up at 1:15 am every morning!!)

3. You always have to dress up! FALSE—On the weekends, in smaller markets, it’s pretty common for anchors and reporters to wear a formal suit or top, but have jeans underneath and casual shoes (hidden under the desk). I’ve known some sports guys to wear tennis shoes or flip-flops on set!

2. The camera adds ten pounds! FALSE—It’s actually more like fifteen or twenty! People often commented on how short I was or how much thinner I was in person. (Sigh!)

1. I’ve heard that anchors use Preparation H under their eyes to reduce puffiness!? TRUE—I’ve done it, anyway. When you’re working 2 am – 10 am, there’s only so much coffee and sugar can do!

Overall, it was an amazing opportunity to work as an anchor, producer, and reporter at two CBS affiliates. I made some wonderful friends, worked with many talented people, and really enjoyed the experience.

These comments are solely the views of the author and do not represent the actual experiences of every anchor or reporter who currently works in or has previously worked in television news.


As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for the big contest on Friday)

2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes

3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

Ask and You Shall Receive

I’ve spent a lot of energy thinking about what I want to be when I grow up.

Believing I am a writer has been sort of a slow evolution. I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person who happens to be good at writing. However, it never came up in conversations, even after I was published in Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul. It felt like a fluke, a novelty that someone outside my family really enjoyed what I had written.I was afraid to even tell anyone I had started a blog.

Something has changed, though, since I started blogging. I see that I have writer potential. Now it comes up in conversation, is listed on my email signature and Facebook profile. The words, blogger, writer, and public speaker flow more easily after my name when I introduce myself. My future is speckled with dreams of learning and teaching this amazing craft. This is what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to be a writer.

What do writers do? They write. So I started to look around for writing venues I could be a part of, places my work would fit and I could say, “I write for…” And you know what happened? Someone acknowledged my ability and said yes. Starting the week of September 6th, I will be blogging for the DETNEWS MichMoms twice a week. These posts will be completely original, not links back to my personal blog or my blog linked to them. As soon as I got the email confirmation, I did a happy dance through the house and called DW.

“DW! Guess what?! MichMoms said yes! I’m going to blog for them twice a week. Can you believe it?” I said breathless.

“Sounds great, I guess, ” he said in confusion, “But how are you going to come up with stuff for them and for your blog?”


Not a clue, actually, but I will just take one idea, one word at a time.

This is what I wanted.

This is who I am.

I am a writer.

Some other exciting news this week. Tomorrow, August 29th, you can find me guest posting at The Wordslinger and Syndicated on BlogHer in the afternoon.

Finding Balance – Or Not

I am honored to share with you today’s guest post by author Terri Giuliano Long. Her debut novel In Leah’s Wake has been one of my favorite summer reads. She is an amazingly talented author, and an even more humble artist, quick to give encouragement and support to fellow writers. I’m sure you will enjoy her as much as I do. Be sure to visit her blog and enter to win a fantastic giveaway.

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, 1999

Finding Balance – Or Not

As a young mom with four active daughters, involved in school, music and sports, my life was a hodge-podge of bustling activity. I wrote part-time, at night or in the wee hours of the morning, while my family slept. Back then, I fantasized about a time when my life would be my own – no more afternoons spent driving from one activity to the next, no volunteer work, no laundry fairy multiplying the loads. I imagined long, uninterrupted days at my desk, immersed in my work.

Now our daughters are grown, two with families of their own. While, yes, I occasionally spend 10, 12, 14 hours at my desk, those days are rare. Like most women writers, I constantly struggle to find balance.

My husband is a terrific guy. When the girls were little, he, not I, got up in the middle of the night. Even now, he does more than his fair share of the chores. When our daughters need something fixed – their car breaks down, for example – they don’t hesitate to call him. With emotional issues, I’m the one they rely on. Believe me, talking is far more time-consuming than finding a mechanic to fix the transmission.

Whenever the need arises, because I’m a mom first, before anything else, my work takes a backseat. Deadlines get pushed back, the article or story goes unedited, the book sits in a file, waiting, neglected. And I feel guilty for letting it go. If I do focus on work, I feel guilty for not devoting more time to my family. Either way, I feel bad about myself.

Every female writer I know says the same thing. We love our families – we want to give of ourselves – but why does it have to be either-or?

Years ago, I attended a seminar with Alice Hoffman as the keynote speaker. It was not merely that I loved and admired her work. No, I wanted to be Alice Hoffman. This successful female writer put out a bestselling book every year. And they were good. Very good. And she had kids.

This was a woman who did it all, and did it all well. I couldn’t wait to learn how. Imagine my surprise when she talked about the difficulty of striking a balance. “My kids,” she said, “think I don’t have a job.”

Say what? Would the kids think the same if their dad were a writer?

Probably not. Because he’d have an office and it would be off-limits.

Most men I know store their roles in separate compartments, to be taken out, dusted off, and worn at appropriate times. Our role is fluid. We can’t turn off, tune out or otherwise escape family responsibility. We’re always on. In all fairness, fathers are fathers every day of their life. The difference is, we mothers are moms every minute of ours.

I don’t resent this, not for an instant, and I’m sure you don’t either.

I want to be with my family. In fact, as I’ve come to realize, I’ve actively chosen this life.

Men find balance – by marrying us. Yet, even if we had wives, their needs, I suspect, would be at least equal to ours. Most women are people-centric. Sure, we value success, but we’re relationship-oriented. The people we love truly are our reason for living.

I’ve spent a lifetime seeking balance only to find that it doesn’t exist. Balance is elusive, a figment of our imagination, reinforced by culture in movies and TV. If we’re to be contented, we have to let go. We’ve got to accept that we can’t always do it all – and quit feeling guilty!

She who dies with the most toys – or the cleanest house or the best brownies – does not necessarily win. Or maybe she does. But, believe me, unless she’s got ice running through her veins, she feels guilty too. That’s who we are. Better to accept it than always fight and feel guilty.

Our lives are big and wonderful and, yes, messy. And that’s OK. So go ahead – kiss those boo-boos. Call a friend. Spend an extra hour or two at your desk. The beds will get made, the cleaning picked up, the laundry folded. Maybe not in that order. But, really, why does it matter?


When she isn’t writing or spending time with her family, Terri Giuliano Long teaches writing at Boston College. For a free e-copy of her debut novel, In Leah’s Wake, please leave a comment below– and don’t forget to leave your email address, so she knows where to send it.

To find out which In Leah’s Wake character you most resemble – and for a chance to win the grand prize – a teen survival kit with a canvas tote, 2 autographed copies of In Leah’s Wake (one for you and one for a friend), 2 bookmarks, a $ 15 Starbucks card, and a pound of gourmet chocolate truffles plus either a $100 Amazon gift card or autographed books for your entire book club (up to 15 books), please visit her blog:

Guest Post: Jim Chaney

I love it when bloggers I admire start feeling more like a friend  than like a “reader”. It is with great pleasure that I share with you Jim Chaney. His writing style is both witty and charming as well as honest and heartfelt. I am also inspired by his list of 30 Before 30, making me consider devising my own list of 40 before 40 (apparently I am ten years his senior, ouch!) I hope you enjoy Jim as much as I do, and wander over to his neck of the woods too.
A little bit about Jim
With a love of writing and an even greater love of family, Jim brings his readers along for the ride as he shares stories of his life as a husband and father.  His humorous and engaging writing style is on display as he recounts tales of his kids (Iz and the Jakester), his love of sports, and many short stories and creative writing exercises as well.  The cornerstone of his blog, the “30 Before 30”, is a list of 30 things he hopes to do before turning 30 later this year.  He updates his readers regularly on his progress with pictures and funny stories of his exploits that are always good for a laugh. But at the heart of Jim’s page is his passion for his family and about telling a great story.  The array of subject matters that you’ll find there will be sure to entertain you, no matter what you’re looking for.  So after reading his piece below about what his life will look like 10 years from now, hop on over to 30 Before 30 and enjoy the ride!

A Glimpse into the Future

So it took some rather embarrassing groveling on my part, but I finally got Emily to accept my guest blogging request.  I promised her that she would not be disappointed and then I quickly uncrossed my fingers and got to brainstorming.  After many painstaking seconds, the storm in my brain knocked out the power and I was forced to procrastinate by playing Angry Birds for several hours.  That’s when I realized two things: 1) Angry Birds is more addictive than crack, and 2) I was blowing my opportunity to be featured on this great blog.

Having arrived at this realization, I first congratulated myself for doing so (since I was so doped up on the Birds, it’s amazing I was able to develop a thought at all), and then reached out to Emily for any ideas on what to write about.  She responded with several prompts that she found interesting and even offered to let me pitch an idea of my own.  This felt like a trap; like there was a good chance I would offer up something idiotic and have the key to her place taken away.  That’s when I noticed one final suggestion from her that struck a chord in me.

“Where will you be in 10 years?”

It appealed to me right away because I had recently contemplated a blog post about what I would tell my 19 year old self if I could go back 10 years and talk to him.  The answer is, I would tell him not to be such a tool and stop acting like his whole world hinges on whether a girl will go out with him…but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Where will I be in 10 years?  The short answer is I’ll be happy, I hope.  You see what I’ve learned about myself over these last ten years is that not much else matters.  A high-paying job?  Sure, that would be great.  A big house with a lot of land?  Even better.  But the most important thing to me is being happy with my life.

Five years ago, I married my best friend.  I’ve been happy every day since.  Now I’m not going to naively sit here and tell you that there haven’t been bad days or sour moods along the way.  But being married to a wonderful woman has made every day that much better than if I didn’t have her.

Two years ago we had our first child, Isabella.  You can call her Izzy or Iz…we do.  The priorities of my life changed that day.  No longer was I concerned with doing everything I could to make my life better.  No, now I just wanted to do everything I could to make my child’s life better.  Since then, my wife and I have welcomed our second child into the world, Jacob (Jake, the Jakester, etc.).  With an incredible partner to help me navigate parenthood, and two incredible children that will no doubt test every fiber in my being as time goes on, I am happier today than any day before.

So where will I be in ten years?  I will be 10 years happier than I am right now.

It’s hard to picture life that far in the future.  Back when I was a teenager it was easier because I had dreams and visions and a blank canvas on which to paint a path towards them.  I could dream of being married and having a family because I didn’t have either.  Today I have both and so I dream of providing everything I can for them and watching as they grow with me.  In 10 years, Izzy will be 12 and Jake will be going on 11.  What’s that, middle school?  Yikes.  There’s also a very good chance that our family “two pair” will have grown into a “full house” as my wife and I would like to add one more munchkin to the mix.

As far as the rest of my life goes, I’d prefer to let it unfold as I go.  Maybe I’ll still be working for the same company or maybe I will have moved on.  Maybe I’ll still be writing my blog or maybe I’ll be writing my 5th novel.  There’s no doubt that unexpected events or experiences will come about that will steer me in one direction or another, but it’s the not knowing that makes things so interesting.

What I do know, is that I want writing to be a part of my life going forward.  Since starting my blog at the end of 2010, I’ve re-ignited a passion for the craft that I had forgotten I had and it’s been rejuvenating.  I’ve been introduced to this world of wordsmiths that we call the blogosphere and I’ve been able to notch a little corner of it for myself.  Now I’m able to combine two things that I love, my family and writing, which has only added to the feeling that I am blessed with the life I have.

So as I look to the future, it’s hard to imagine being any more blessed than I am right now.  But that is my new dream; my new vision for myself as I sit here, about to turn 30, thinking about what my life will be like when I am about to turn 40.