Diva Love: Focused Backstory




I am pleased to be hosting a blog tour stop for Focused Backstory by Carol Alwood today. This book is one for the writers. I found this book to be extremely helpful. It is filled with a questions to ask and worksheets to assist with fleshing out a character's past. The end result is that the writer stays focused an the reader is well-connected with the story. I recommend this book as a tool for writers at any level.

About the Book

Book:  Focused Backstory

Author: Carol Alwood

Genre: Non-fiction, writing resource

Release Date: June 26, 2019


Learn how to write characters readers will love.

Has an industry professional told you not to dump character history at the beginning of your story? If so, you aren’t alone. But what’s the solution to this common advice? Most writers take the time to design interesting characters with troubled pasts. They long for readers to care about the characters’ lives. However, the sad truth is on page one, readers don’t care—yet. That’s why industry gurus tell writers to stop overusing character history, also called backstory, at the beginning of stories. Have you ever wondered… How to use backstory correctly? What are the ways other writers successfully incorporate backstory into their work? Do tools exist to help writers better plan stories so the backstory isn’t such a problem? In Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys, you’ll find answers to these questions and more. You’ll learn how to avoid the dreaded info-dump and instead, harness curiosity so readers keep turning pages. This resource breaks down focused backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story no matter what genre or length. Worksheets, tables, questionnaires, and templates will help you plan an engaging story with deep characters. Examples from popular stories will help you understand this method.

You’ll learn how to
• design a character around a troubled past.
• create additional characters around the main character.
• weave interesting sub-plots within a characters’ journey toward healing.
• design proper obstacles which interfere with characters’ goals.
• guide readers’ emotions so they have a satisfying reading experience.

No matter what kind of writer you are, if you take the time to analyze the use of backstory, it will enhance your style. Focused Backstory: The Key to Writing Deep Character Journeys is the missing gadget in your writing tool kit.



Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Carol Alwood has an unending passion for fiction, and she can’t think of a better way to spend her life than writing books for young adults and teaching about techniques she has learned along the way. With a Master of Education, experience as a content editor, and over a decade of establishing and working with critique groups, she is an excellent resource. An award-winning author, Carol finds joy in helping writers find the right tools to plan, draft and revise their novels so they can achieve excellence in storytelling.

More from Carol

Focused Backstory resulted from a personal quest to please industry critics who suggested I keep character history out of the first pages of my novels. My initial questions to this advice were: What? Why? I searched for resources to figure out how to write a more powerful beginning without relying on the past but found little help. On a mission to find answers, I studied popular books, television and movies to abstract what made stories work and — boom! I found it! We can break down backstory into simple pieces to use flexibly in any story without compromising artistry. This book provides definitions, examples, worksheets, templates, and comics to help writers study the art of using powerful character histories to keep readers turning pages. I’m so excited to offer this resource and hope it will empower your writing as it has mine.


Blog Stops

Holly Jo Morris, December 28
janicesbookreviews, December 29
CarpeDiem, December 29
Jacquelyn Lynn, December 29
Mary Hake, December 30
Blogging With Carol, December 31
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 31
Genesis 5020, January 1
Pause for Tales, January 1
Emily Yager, January 3
Remembrancy, January 4
A Reader’s Brain, January 5
Sara Jane Jacobs, January 5
Godly Book Reviews, January 6
A Diva’s Heart, January 8
Artistic Nobody, January 9
Texas Book-aholic, January 10
Stories By Gina, January 10

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Carol is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Diva Love: Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage





Today, I am pleased to host the blog tour for Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage by Gil Stieglitz. I enjoyed the advice given in this practical book written from a marriage counselor's perspective. Based on the issues he has talked through with real couples,as well as his own family, the author has essentially given a blueprint for building solid communication and planning habits that sustain a healthy marriage. The examples given include the what, the how and the why. Subjects range from budgeting to dealing with toxic emotions. It is a great guide for couples at any stage of marriage, as well as those who are engaged.


About the Book



Book:  Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage

Author: Gil Stieglitz

Genre: Christian Non-fiction

Release Date: November 2019



Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage: Pre-Marital and Marital Habits


It’s no secret that couples in great marriages do different things than couples in bad ones.


But what are those things and how do ordinary folks start doing them? How can couples take a struggling marriage or even one that is “pretty good” to one that is, quite frankly, ridiculously great?


Based on thousands of counseling hours and personal practice, Gil Stieglitz spells out the 15 essential habits found in great marriages that aren’t found in difficult ones. Building a Ridiculously Great Marriage provides the short and dirty version of what it takes to have a marriage that is so great, other couples will stand up and notice—they might even call it “ridiculous.”


This book is a real game-changer for engaged couples just starting out, couples who are struggling, or couples who just want to take their marriage from good to ridiculously great. It is also a terrific resource for pastors, ministry leaders, and counselors who work with couples for pre-marriage and marriage counseling.



Click here for your copy.

About the Author


Dr. Gil Stieglitz is a prolific author, engaging speaker, and insightful pastor who has spent thousands of hours helping, coaching, and strengthening marriages. Gil has written over twenty-five books on marriage, parenting, soul development, and spiritual warfare, including top-seller Becoming a Godly HusbandGod’s Radical Plan for Wives, and Marital Intelligence. He speaks to thousands of people each year about the wonders of God’s principles. Gil now serves as Discipleship Pastor at Bayside Church, a dynamic multi-site church near Sacramento, CA. He is on faculty with Principles to Live By, a nonprofit organization that helps people connect to God’s principles in everyday life. He and his wife, Dana, enjoy a ridiculously delightful life in Northern California. For more information, visit ptlb.com.


More from Gil

After thousands of hours counseling couples for marriage and pre-marital issues, I had a few couples who just wanted to know the very basics of what they needed to do differently to have a much better marriage. These concepts, coupled with some pre-marital counseling I was doing at the time, allowed me to develop a quick and dirty list of the top ten habits couples should develop if they really wanted a terrific marriage. I asked them to trust me in what I was telling them, and they did what I requested. The results were amazing. 
For the purposes of this book, I have added five more habits great couples do to make the material even more robust and effective, and I included the exercises I used in my counseling sessions for couples to practice and work out. Think of this book as the low down of what makes a marriage “ridiculously great.” This is the kind of marriage that will constantly surprise you with delight, love, growth, energy, longing, and connection. It is beyond the norm—where you feel like you lucked into this great relationship with this amazing person. 
If you showed up in my office and asked me to give you the bottom line, these are the things I would tell you to do. Many people know what they are doing is not working, and they just want to know what to do. These fifteen things are what work…no joke.

Blog Stops


Holly Jo Morris, December 7
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 9
Mary Hake, December 10
Stories By Gina, December 11
Artistic Nobody, December 12 (Author Interview)
Discipling4Life , December 12
Texas Book-aholic, December 14
janicesbookreviews, December 15
A Reader’s Brain, December 16
Inklings and notions, December 17
A Diva’s Heart, December 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, December 19


Giveaway



To celebrate his tour, Gil is giving away the grand prize package of a $100 Amazon Gift Card plus a signed copy of Gil’s book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f23b/building-a-ridiculously-great-marriage-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thanks for stopping by!


Diva Love: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole





Today, I am happy to have another children's author stopping by. Auralee Arkinsly released a new fable this past fall. The hedgehog is a cutie in pink and I was delighted by the cover. Here's my take on Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole. I liked the premise of this whimsical tale and its lesson in stranger danger with a bit of a food chain science added in, however, there were a few holes in the story and the ending felt incomplete. I do believe it would entertain its intended audience of young readers, as it has some thrilling moments where I was rooting for Darling and not trusting Miss Fox. It was an okay story overall. 

About the Book

Book: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole

Author: Auralee Arkinsly

Genre: Early reader chapter book

Release Date: September 13, 2019

Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. This childhood story reads a bit like Aesop’s Fables or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, for children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Pictures similar to the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, be discrete, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author




Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. She is a strong believer in right and wrong,but knows that getting onto the right path can mean falling down a slippery slope. She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done her job.




More from Auralee

I’m so excited to launch my children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole with the Celebrate Lit crew!  You are a river of hope for a new author.
So, here’s the story behind the story
.
My friend and fellow author, Kathy Joy, left me a small hedgehog in a tutu as a going away gift on her guest bed after she had been visiting. I put it on the windowsill in my bedroom, and every morning, I would see it when I awoke. I don’t know if you can relate to this experience, but I often wake up from a good night’s sleep with the gift of a problem being solved.  Sometimes, I wake up with a creative idea.  Well, one day, I awoke to find that I had the beginnings of a child’s story about where the hedgehog found her tutu.

Initially, it was a simple story about Darling Hedgehog finding a foxy friend who helps Darling find her calling. I wrote out the story and then asked a talented neighborhood girl if she would like to draw the pictures for the tall tale. Having seen a lot of Julia’s sketches as she grew up, I thought that she might like to know what it felt like to earn money from her talents and at the same time, learn about the process of creating a book with an author to propose to a publishing company.
She agreed. Julia was in ninth grade. She was at the age where she was beginning to think about high school jobs and even to make plans for college and a career. The same day we wrote out our contract, Julia sent me her first image of what she imagined Darling to look like. It clearly was not a mistake to hire this young artist! When I awoke another morning, I believed God had given me another bit of advice. I needed to do better research on the nature of hedgehogs and foxes, their habitats and characteristics. The outcome caused the story to take a turn towards intrigue. It became a fable. It became an action-adventure animal story. It became better. A librarian encouraged us to continue with it no longer as a picture book for very small children but as an early reader chapter book for second graders learning about similes. I hope that we can teach children to notice facts and objective truth as they are being trained for life. So, I’ve accepted that my child’s fantasy had to grow some legs of gravity and wisdom.  I’ve trusted my editors and beta readers that this is true, but I’m not above being told off.

Blog Stops

A Diva’s Heart, December 11
For Him and My Family, December 12
Older & Smarter?, December 13
Emily Yager, December 13
Just the Write Escape, December 14
Blogging With Carol, December 14
Bigreadersite, December 15
janicesbookreviews, December 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 16
A Reader’s Brain, December 17
Remembrancy, December 19
Inklings and notions, December 19
Lighthouse Academy, December 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Live.Love.Read., December 20
Sara Jane Jacobs, December 21
Maureen’s Musings, December 23
With a Joyful Noise, December 23
Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Auralee is giving away the grand prize of a set of Darling Hedgehog greeting cards!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.














Thanks for stopping by!

Diva Love: Essential Oils-God's Extravagant Provision for Your Health



Please help me welcome Teri Secrest to my blog today. As someone who despises medication, I was excited to dive into her bible-based guide to natural healing. I love Bible stories and was very intrigued by the book's exploration of Solomon's wisdom and botanical knowledge. The author includes simple recipes for soothing aches and conditions from head to toe.  She also explores various diseases and offers a wide range of solutions from food recipes with the oils included to simple suggestions of breathing the aroma of certain oils to enhance mental health. This book is one to keep handy for years to come.

About the Book



Book:Essential Oils

Author: Terri Secrest

Genre: Christian Non-fiction, Alternative Therapies

Release Date: October 8, 2019



Have you ever wondered why the wise men brought frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus? As a curious and highly enthusiastic child, health and wellness coach Teri Secrest asked everyone she knew and met, but no one could tell her. She grew up thinking it was just a nice little story…but never stopped wondering.

This thirst for knowledge sparked Teri’s twenty-three-year quest to learn about essential oils. It has taken her to the far corners of the world—from Croatia and France to Oman, Israel, and beyond.

Teri has written this book to share the mystery, the romance, and the ageless intrigue of essential oils. She hopes you experience the Father’s love as He continually lavishes His children with these exquisite oils and you feel this rich, biblical history come alive in your spirit. Teri wants you to see how miraculous your body is and how it’s designed to heal itself when given proper nourishment and support.

Essential Oils: God’s Extravagant Provision for Your Health offers practical how-to’s that you can use immediately, including the use of oils for romance, balancing hormones, cooking, cleaning, pets, children, and fragrance, as well as health concerns such as stress, negative emotions, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and anxiety. You will find practical guidance to regain and maintain health naturally.

As you gain this understanding, Teri believes you will change the next generation as you discover the hidden secrets of these biblical plants and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Teri Secrest is a health and wellness expert whose passion is to teach simple and proven methods for vibrant health to people around the world. That passion is rooted in her early experiences of learning about whole foods and herbs in her family’s organic garden and her mother’s passion for good food as the owner of a French cooking school. These early lessons guided Teri to a healthy path for herself and her own family, yet it was her first astonishing experience with essential oils as a young mother that ignited her lifelong passion for learning, practicing, and teaching people to take hold of God’s extravagant provision for their health.
Teri has traveled around the world to learn from leading experts about the beneficial uses of essential oils, research the promises and properties of each essential oil, and develop a deep working knowledge of their applications for daily health and wellness.

Teri loves to share the simple, practical principles that will help you live in vibrant health through her international keynote speeches, training programs, and best-selling books. She is a sought-after speaker who delivers her message of vibrant health with such enthusiasm, humor, and joy that she has gained the nickname “Ambassador of Joy” around the world. Connect with Teri at http://terisecrest.com




More from Teri

My purpose in writing this book is to inspire you with the mystery, the romance, and the ageless intrigue of essential oils. My hope is that you experience the Father’s love as He continually lavishes His children with these exquisite essential oils and that this rich biblical history comes alive in your spirit. I also hope you will see how miraculous your body is and how it’s designed to heal itself when given proper nourishment and support.

As you gain this understanding, I believe you will change the next generation, as you will know the hidden secrets of these biblical plants and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, November 6
A Diva’s Heart, November 6
Moments, November 8
Quiet Workings, November 8
Emily Yager, November 9
Artistic Nobody, November 10
For Him and My Family, November 10
empowermoms, November 11
Stories By Gina , November 11
Vicky Sluiter, November 12
Jacquelyn Lynn, November 12
Splashes of Joy, November 14
Texas Book-aholic, November 15
janicesbookreviews, November 16
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16
Betti Mace,  November 17
A Reader’s Brain, November 18
Inklings and notions, November 19
Livin’ Lit, November 19

Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Teri is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of her book and $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Thanks for stopping by!

Diva Love: Once Upon A Christmas


I love God, anthologies, fairy tales retold, and great Christmas Romance stories, so I was delighted to read Once Upon a Christmas which combines all four. The fact that one of my favorite authors, Toni Shiloh, is a part of it makes it all the more delightful! She never disappoints in providing a sweet romance with a little humor and plenty of emotional drama that needs to be resolved. The love of God is evident in each author's tale in this great collection.

About the Book

Book: Once Upon A Christmas

Author: Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 1, 2019


Embrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.


Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.


Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.


A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.


Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.


A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.



Click here to get your copy!


About the Authors

Andrea Boyd 


Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God. Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible. Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC. Visit her at www.andreaboyd11.com.




Mikal Dawn 

Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and military (retired) wife. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Mikal lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two of their three children. Visit her at www.mikaldawn.com.



Toni Shiloh 

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Visit her at www.tonishiloh.com.







Angela Ruth Strong 


 Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon bestsellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Visit her at www.angelaruthstrong.com.


Jaycee Weaver Author

Jaycee Weaver is a wife, mother, and substitute teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jaycee writes contemporary Christian romance with lifelike characters in everyday situations who always get their happy ending. Visit her at www.jayceeweaver.com.





More from the Authors

Dear Readers,

Thank you for stopping by the Celebrate Lit blog tour of Once Upon a Christmas. We are so excited to bring you this Christmas collection. All of us had a lot of fun writing it as we delved into the fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.

What we discovered when writing is that in the heart of every girl is the desire to be a princess. Now, I’m not talking about dressing up in a beautiful gown and wearing a crown while twirling around (although I, Toni, admit I would do that in a heartbeat). No, we discovered that in the heart of every girl (sister, mom, daughter, etc) is the desire to be loved and accepted.

Can Talia find someone who can accept all of her, including her health issues? Can Amala find someone who will love her for her and not her money? Can Li find acceptance for who she truly is and not the façade she presents? Will Ella find a familial kind of love? And Gabrielle, can she find a love so powerful that all her dreams will come true?

As the heroines of our stories journey down their path to love and acceptance, they all come to realize a deep-seated truth. They are loved. They are princesses. They have a love of a King who laid down His life for theirs. A King who is preparing a home for them. A King who sees who they truly are and loves them without hesitation.

As you read these stories, we pray they touch your heart. We pray they entertain you and maybe even make you laugh a time or two. And lastly, we pray the Christmas truths bless you this holiday season.

Blessings,

Andrea, Mikal, Toni, Angela, and Jaycee


Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads , October 2
Activating Faith, October 2
Genesis 5020, October 3
Among the Reads, October 4
Quiet Quilter, October 6
Stories By Gina , October 7
Batya’s Bits, October 7
Cordially Barbara, October 7
Melissa Henderson, October 8
Connect In Fiction, October 8
A Diva’s Heart , October 9
A Reader’s Brain, October 10
Maureen’s Musings, October 10
Remembrancy, October 11
She Lives to Read, October 12
Texas Book-aholic, October 15
janicesbookreviews, October 15

Giveaway



To celebrate their tour, the Once Upon a Christmas authors are giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.