Little Reminders of Who I Am

Today we welcome Jeff S. Bray and his Hallmark-type novel. Having a male romance author here is unique, so I asked Jeff to share a little about his journey. Enjoy, and please see below for qualifying for his GIVEAWAY of a free signed copy of Little Reminders.

Little Reminders, as with most of my writing, began with a dream. However, the final product came out quite differently than the dream. Yet, two components remained the same, the characters and the premise of the novel that developed. I don’t want to give too much away, but the ‘reminders’ weigh heavily within the dream and the novel’s entirety.  

I really wanted to have fun with this one, since my first novel The Five Barred Gate was much more serious. It was about our freedoms as Christians being taken away from us and takes place in a dystopian world where being offensive to another person is illegal. I know that doesn’t seem so far-fetched. I wrote TFBG in 2016 and watched the world decline after it was released. Talk about seeing my writing unfold before my eyes.

So, with Little Reminders of Who I Am, I wanted to do a 180 through writing a love story, a true Hallmark-Saturday-in-your-pajamas book. And I do believe this novel delivers in spades.

My love for food comes from eight years of working in restaurants, which becomes evident in Little Reminders. By default, this makes me the cook in our family, where I am also a stay-at-home-parent of four boys and one girl. My wife goes to work, while I stay at home and run our household. Well, that is a half-truth. As a freelance writer, my job allows me the freedom of being at home. 

When I am not fulfilling a client’s demand, I am promoting Little Reminders, penning my next novel, or writing a blog for my website, Moments for the Heart. I enjoy what I do and have had a passion for writing since I was in high school. I would love for you to visit my website, follow me on my FB page, JeffSBrayAuthor, and check out Little Reminders of Who I Am. In fact, I am going to make this interesting.  If you complete the following two steps, I will enter your name into a drawing for a free signed copy of Little Reminders of Who I Am.

First, like and follow my Facebook page, JeffSBrayAuthor.

Second, leave a reply to this post saying that you have liked my page.  

That’s it. Do those two things and you could win a signed copy of my new release Little Reminders of Who I Am. Thank you again for your time and support. 

In His Exciting Service,

Jeff S. Bray

Facebook – – https://www.jeffsbrayauthor.comTwitter – – – –

October Days

The cold has come, the sun has gone…it’s time for pumpkins! The other day I cooked one and made pumpkin bread, a perfect break from editing a manuscript.

Topped with melting butter, savored with a mug of hot tea. Oh my–the simple joys of the season. I’ll get back to my work soon, but the enticing aroma of pumpkin bread baking is calling me…

The Firefly Warriors Club

Susan Count brings one of her middle-grade novels to us today. What a fascinating story of her writing method and how the idea for the FIREFLY WARRIORS came to her–and she’s offering a GIVEAWAY, too. Commenter’s choice of a $10 Amazon gift card or a signed paperback of this book.

This story is overflowing with information for young scientists, and the author integrates ways modern laws can be used to protect endangered species. What a great Christmas gift for a grandchild!

Now Susan shares her writing story with us:

Oh what fun it is to be a middle-grade author!

Selah’s Sweet Dream was my first book. I was 62. I had NO idea about craft, so I didn’t write it with middle grade in mind—it just turned out to be the voice of the story. Then a friend read and loved it, so I wrote to Dandi Mackall—you know her as a well-respected Christian children’s author. Bless her heart—she answered me. At her prompting, I joined SCBWI and worked with a critique group for two years on the novel. At the end, I was in love with the process and couldn’t stop writing. I still have that problem today.

I prefer to fabricate stories in a quiet zone. Out my window, my mind wanders across the forest and keeps me in a grateful state of being. I write at a fabulous antique desk that has secret compartments filled with horse story ideas.

My schedule changes with the seasons of life. The sunniest of times is when I can equally balance the best things in my life—riding my horse and writing my stories. When the weather is bad, I write more. If it’s glorious, then I ride more.

I’m not a fast writer because I re-read and then listen for the next line. Editing is my super-power but plotting is the greatest fun. I write the story beats on sticky notes and plaster them on a glass sliding door. I especially love to plot with my grandchildren. They are full of fun ideas. I have to keep asking them “and then what could go wrong” because they will stick a happy ending into every scene. How delightful to be a child. I feel strongly this age should have their hearts and minds sheltered from the world’s evils. If it were up to me, I’d keep them innocent for as long as possible.

My new release, The Firefly Warriors Club,is a major departure from the horse books I normally write. The story came about after the bushes in the forest surrounding our home came to life with thousands of twinkling lights. We’d never seen such a spectacular show and have not seen one like it since. Then I learned that many children have not only never seen the miraculous firefly, but have never heard of them. God filled our world with delights and clues to His existence. It’s our job to draw young readers near to the light.

On Walking and Autumn

It’s the loveliest time of year here. Last night’s rain brightened the colors, making today perfect for a walk into the countryside. But if you trek down our front steps, beware!

While I long for a several-mile hike, my regimen of icing my leg after very short ventures may remain for some time. Someone who remembers her own post-surgery frustration reminds me, “The doctor said inflammation and swelling is actually a good sign…it means there’s healing.”

I wish this knowledge automatically made me more patient with the process, but something I read recently gives me food for thought. Soren Kierkegaard, a nineteenth century Danish philosopher, wrote:

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

This has been my m.o. for decades, and I doubt I’ll ever lose the desire to walk. But right now, I’m stymied. The one thing my doctor advised, “Walk, walk, walk!” and which I really want to do, brings considerable pain.

With the weather so gorgeous, venturing out for brief periods helps, knowing my ice awaits me. Viewing the golden/persimmon/chartreuse/scarlet-orange spectacle all around our home helps, too. Normally I’d be out there raking away, but this is my year to sit back.

We’ve all endured some “sitting back” during 2020, haven’t we?

Meanwhile, one Danish philosopher’s life instructs me . . . he lived to be only forty-three, yet contributed to the world of thought long after his passing. Things may not be exactly as I wish, but lovely day of life can take first place on my gratitude list.

Middle-Grade Sci-Fi on Deck!

I’m happy to welcome Carole Marie Shelton, an award-winning writer. She’s the author of middle grade novel, Cosmic Chaos (Ashberry Lane, 2015), and the author of a soon-to-be-released picture book, Sasquatch Loves Bacon Day!(Clear Fork, 2021). She and her four children live in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy hiking and seeking new adventures.   Carole is giving away TWO COPIES of Cosmic Chaos to commenters–great Christmas gift for a middle-grade child!

Our world was suddenly turned upside down. I was in the process of writing two separate middle grade novels, while also researching an idea for a sci-fi novel when I received a call that urgent help was needed. My extended family had an emergency, which resulted in my young cousin coming to live with us.

We knew it would be temporary, we just didn’t know how long. We welcomed him with open arms and enjoyed having him in our home. And through each day, every moment of his time with us, there was this quiet fierceness emanating from him with determination to get back to his mom, no matter what. 

It occurred to me that this was the same goal of the main character, Logan, in my science fiction story idea — to get back to his mom. And Logan is close to the same age as my cousin. I decided this was the time to write Cosmic Chaos, not later.  I needed to write while I could see and experience the intensity and longing coming from this young man so I could accurately apply it to my story.  

I finally completed the first draft about two years after Logan returned to his mom and the book was published just a few years later in 2015 by Ashberry Lane. I’m so thankful for my cousin’s stay with us; otherwise, that science fiction story idea may have never been written. 

Cosmic Chaos is a sci-fi middle grade adventure novel intended for older elementary kids:   

Twelve-year-old Logan lives inside the Luna Biodome on the moon. Not only is the moon dust making him sick, it also sets him apart from the other kids. While Logan is inside his new robot’s interactive program, his illness disappears and mysteries occur that he can’t explain. 

When Logan meets an annoying, yet undeletable program character named Amy, their misadventures awaken him to a glitch — a secret that could return him to Earth to track down his missing mother. But only if Amy will cooperate before the moon’s lockdown and before the new robot destroys him. 

Connect with Carole 

Website and blog: 




To order Cosmic Chaos on Amazon:
See More from Gail

To Everything A Season

The word Rambunctious first appeared in print at a time when the fast-growing United States was forging its identity with optimism and exuberance. That era, the early half of the Nineteenth Century, also birthed words like  rip-roaringscalawagscrumptioushornswoggle, and skedaddle. Did Americans alter the largely British rumbustious because it sounded too stilted? Rumbustious, which first appeared in Britain in the late 1700s just after early Americans signed the Declaration of Independence, was probably based on robustious, a much older adjective that meant both “robust” and “boisterous.”

This week Lance sent me some shots of a normally rambunctious animal, but right now, cold has settled over our area. This plump specimen seems ready to rest. Our courtyard, our best attempt at an English garden, provides ample place for that, especially this year when I cannot get out there to trim and haul away summer’s faded bounty.

In more rambunctious seasons of my life, I might’ve run out and clapped my hands, yelling “Shoo! Shoo!” to avoid having to deal with a passel of baby bunnies next spring. But now, I look out the window in search of beauty, and find incredible creatures like this hidden away.

Tales of Texas

Linda Street-Ely is sharing with us her story of writing something she wasn’t used to…and receiving a big surprise. I have read this story and it really touched me–I would never have thought it was fiction! Here’s some encouragement for us to “give it a try” when it comes to new challenges. Linda is offering a commenter a free signed hardback copy.

Writing “The Memories Room” – My Tale in the Tales of Texas

By Linda Street-Ely

When Houston Writers House (now merged with Writespace) announced open submissions for their second volume of Tales of Texas: Short Stories, I thought, why not give it a try? The only rule was that the stories must have some relationship with Texas. I am mostly a nonfiction writer and have never written a novel or novella. As is common among nonfiction writers, I had written poetry. But this was also a contest, and I am a highly competitive person. It was the temptation of competition that kept taunting me. Could I write a short story? Yes, I would give it my best.

I dug out a writing lesson from a weekend class I had taken at Writespacethe previous year. The assignment was to create a character from the point of view of other people. I thought a person who cannot describe themselves, someone with special needs, would be a good character candidate. And with that, I completed the assignment. Here was the unfinished story, the character around whom I would build it, that I was driven to write for the contest.

“The Memories Room” is about a family and community dealing with the decline of the matriarch suffering from Alzheimer’s. I know “Small Town, Texas” well. I live in one where everyone knows everyone. My goal was to write a piece that was compassionate toward the subject matter and shed light on the closeness of small towns.

The competition was open to anyone, not just members of Houston Writers House, and I knew some gifted authors would be submitting stories.

After finishing the story, I needed to decide where it would take place. I wanted to pick a real place in Texas, and not where I live. As I perused a list of small Texas cities, my eyes fell upon Junction. The very name spoke of coming together. 

My husband and I are both pilots, and we have an airplane. So, I flew out to Junction to meet people. I met the mayor, the director of the Chamber of Commerce, the sheriff, and several others. Junction was the perfect place for my story. In fact, as we sat at the Chamber office listening to their personal stories, I realized I had already written about Junction. Everything fit so perfectly. From that visit, I added a few bits, and sent it off. 

“The Memories Room” won first place. 

You may connect with Linda online here:

Paper Airplane Publishing, LLC







Tales of Texas: Short Stories, Volume 2, published by Houston Writers House, December 13, 2018.

Perfect Shot

Sometimes, a little maneuvering provides a gorgeous perspective. My husband does this all the time with his photography. Behold:

Here, he squatted down, I think, to snap a photo through the leaves of the pin oak sapling in our courtyard. His long-range objective? To capture an outrageously adorned tall maple on the north side of our house.

Ah….perspective! I find myself writing about this often. Perspective can make all the difference as we go through life. In times when we’re limited by physical or emotional boundaries, seeing things differently comes in so handy.

What may seem a limitation can open up whole new worlds of thought and ingenuity. Suddenly we understand the way someone reacted in similar circumstances, or grasp a fresh nuance in a person’s choices.


Christmas In September

Welcome to Diane Tatum, who writes in several genres. She’s here with her Christmas novella, Dreaming of a Wedded Christmas, and offering a free copy to a commenter.

Dreaming of a Wedded Christmas is my tenth book but my first free-standing Christmas story. This tale begins in the boardroom of Wycroft Booksellers. Grandpa Jay is cleaning his glasses while the young people around the table argue over the future of the company. I wrote this much at a writer’s conference. Then it sat in my journal until I was interested in writing the full story when I received the opportunity from my editor to write a Christmas novella.

This story is part of a set available this Christmas, called MISStletoe Romances. Each story is centered on nearly missing something. My story is a triangle love story. Jaymie is engaged to Dave Garrett. During their search for a house, Jaymie meets Kyle Mason, their real estate agent. Literal sparks fly. The closer they all get to Christmas, the more stress they experience and the more Jaymie feels confused about the wedding.

I write romantic fiction in several genres. My first book is Gold Earrings, an historical novel. I’m writing a Main Street Mysteries series. The next installment of Dorie and Ross’s story is called DNA Secrets, and my Colonial Dream series is historical fiction. The fourth book in that series will be A Time to Create. I have two other free-standing novels: Mission Mesquite, and Oxford Fairy Tale, part of a set Romancing the Billionaire.

I began writing in elementary school. My first degree was in Accounting so I could support myself while pursuing my dream of writing. God intervened by bringing my husband into the picture. I finished my degree and we started our family. I started writing youth Bible curriculum for Lifeway and articles for magazines in the early ‘90s and finished Gold Earrings, my first novel begun in high school. After finishing a master’s degree in teaching Language Arts, I taught full time for eleven years. My husband asked me to “come home and write my stories” in 1989, so I did.

I’m living my dream and enjoy my novels. God inspires my stories and gives me the opportunity to publish them. I’m giving away Dreaming of a Wedded Christmas to one reader of this blog. Please leave a review on Amazon for me.

Website: www.dianeetatumwriter.comAmazon page:

blogs:   email: tatumlight@gmail.comFacebook:!/tatumlighttwitter: @DianeTatumPinterest:
Gold EarringsMission MesquiteColonial Dream: Book 1 A Time to Fight,                            Book 2 A Time to Love                           Book 3 ATime to ChooseMain Street Mysteries: #1 Kudzu Sculptures                                    #2 Gemini Conspiracy                                    #3 Attic VisitationsOxford Fairy Tale
Watch for:Colonial Dream: Book 4 A Time to CreateMISSletoe Romance: Dreaming of a Wedded Christmas

Dad’s birthday

I’m a little late, but a week ago was my dad’s birthday.

During WWII, he served with the Army Air Force in North Africa, and after four years returned to his father’s Iowa farm. He was still hitching up horses when he left, but after training in Washington, D.C., spent three years sleeping in tents and driving Army trucks.

Like most veterans, he rarely spoke of his experience, but once he described an airplane loaded with soldiers headed back to the States. Something went wrong and the plane exploded on the runway. Who knows what else he witnessed?

After the long trip back across the Atlantic by ship, coming back to the farm must have seemed like heaven to him. No more freezing in the desert at night, no more standing in line for rations or meals if he was lucky, no more waiting days for a shower.

Thanks for your service, Dad.