Sunday, December 6, 2015


Enter for a chance to win a copy of my devotional, Faith Without Borders on Goodreads.

***Click the book to enter the giveaway***  

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I hope you had an opportunity to check out my new book, Faith Without BordersIt is a unique devotional because I include affirmations, prayers, and poems, along with readings, bible verses and points for reflection.  I am confidant that you will start your spiritual journey with this devotional, and continue it with the Scripture verses and books for further reading, that I include at the end of the book.

Be part of the FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS Fan Club. When you purchase the book, please send me a picture of you and the book to my author email:  I will post it on this blog's Fan Club page.  Your email will be kept confidential.  Let's grow God's kingdom together and rejoice in his grace.

 Look out for my upcoming Goodreads giveaway for a chance to get a free copy of Faith Without Borders. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Release Day - FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS Devotional

The day is finally here to release my devotional, Faith Without Borders.  It is very exciting for me as a first time author.  This devotional is very dear to my heart because I share my testimony and experience in having God in my life. I encourage you to let God in and step out in faith.  He wants to meet you in all the places that you need him.  Simple readings combined with uplifting bible verses, affirmations, poetry and points for reflection make this devotional timeless, and will make you want to embark on your own spiritual journey.

Buy The Book

Saturday, October 17, 2015

10 Writing Hooks To Catch The Reader

Writing Class Notes: Beginning Hooks - Strategies to use to catch your reader's attention. This is a post from my former blog "The Writer Today".  I have added some new examples of beginning hooks from my favorite authors. 

1. Begin with a simile or a metaphor.
My life has been a carnival. My family is like an open book.

NEW:  Her bones were as delicate as Belleek china, her skin like ancient parchment stretched thin over aged, sinewy muscles formed during a life working the ranch. -Widow's Might by Sandra Brannan

2. Begin with a question.
Who is the greatest athlete of all times?

NEW: How on earth could I have let them talk me into it? - The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

3. Begin with a definition.
Amiable is the best way to describe my personality: I am friendly and caring. Perfect is the best adjective to describe me: I am flawless in every aspect of my life.

4. Begin with a quotation.
“Learn to laugh” is something my kindergarten teacher told me after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.

NEW: "No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver." There is none more blind than he who doesn't want to see. - The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho by Anjanette Delgado

5. Begin with a comparison to a well-known person or celebrity:  I am as photogenic as Tyra Banks.

6. Begin with placing yourself in the future.
In the year 2016 I see myself as a supreme ballerina performing in Camelot at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

7. Begin with a dilemma.
Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.

8. Begin with a scene.
NEW: "It was five o'clock on my forty-seventh birthday, I ushered my last patient to the front desk." - Standing On A Whale by B J Tiernan

9. Begin with the best advice you have ever received.
“Butch, did you practice the piano?” Since I was six years old, this has been a daily reminder from my dear mother. “Be all you can be” has been my inspiration from my grandfather who is a retired Marine Corps colonel and my mentor.

10. Begin with an anecdote.
As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.

What type of beginning writing "hook" have you used?

Saturday, September 26, 2015


 My name is Ana Virginia Martin, and I use Virginia Martin as my author name.  I am a Christian woman who does her best to serve, trust, and obey God.  Jesus Christ is my Savior and I accepted him in May, 2009, at the darkest moment in my life.  I care about people, especially those that are hopeless, defeated, and struggling with brokenness. I hope to touch people that are needing inspiration, encouragement and spiritual reinforcement with my upcoming devotional, FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS (to be published in November, 2015). In it I share my testimony and am proof that you can triumph over adversity, as long as you let God in your life.

Each devotion touches on a different lesson or area of life that I had to deal with.  It is a very personal account in which God, and stepping out in faith, got me through trying and difficult times.
I use bible verses that have inspired and uplifted my spirit.  I have grown in my faith, developed a closer relationship with God and continue to lean on his strength every day.

FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS is a devotional dedicated to God, for the glory is all his. I wrote it with the intent and purpose of planting a seed, so that you can thirst for God's word, and begin your own spiritual journey.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Standing On A Whale by B.J. Tiernan

Lance Stavros is a doctor, who is an emotionally unavailable loner, with a death wish. He refuses to delve into the "skeletons in the closet" that keep him from living a fulfilled life. His solution is to end it all by committing suicide, yet he lacks the guts to do it. On his 47th birthday, he finally has it all planned out, but fate interferes, as a phone call summons him to make a house call to a mystic named Hadden. Hadden is an empathic, spiritually charged individual who lectures on the philosophies of life. He is perceived as a threat by city officials, who will stop at nothing to see him dead. Lance is pulled into a web of intrigue and murder, yet he is determined to protect Hadden's life, even while risking his own.

Hadden becomes a mentor and father figure to Lance. He enlightens Lance by leading him to face his inner fears and demons, as well as find his inner peace and sanctuary. We clearly see Lance's transformation as he discovers the true meaning of friendship, caring, and love. Hadden is instrumental in Lance's new outlook on life and his purpose in it.

Standing On A Whale is a true gem.  B.J. Tiernan combines the elements of mystery, suspense, romance and psychological thriller into an unforgettable story. Her writing style is descriptive, engaging and intense. She brings the characters to life and moves the story, effortlessly, from chapter to chapter. B.J. not only gives you an enjoyable read, but she weaves in some life points along the way. These may lead to your own journey of self-discovery and transformation.  I highly recommend this book.

Some of my favorite quotes from Standing On A Whale:
1. "You must choose your own path and craft your own course."
2. "Love is such a misunderstood idea-only a handful can grasp it."
3. "Transformation is unbecoming who you've been up to now."
4. "It is impossible to open up to new ideas while holding on tightly to old ones."
5. "Life is a mystery, a splendid, wondrous dance."
6. "Only my books are important."
7. "Ultimately you must surrender to life."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW and BOOK EVENT with B.J. Tiernan - Author of Standing On A Whale

  • Do you base your characters on people you know, or wish to know?
I always base my characters on people I know. In my novel, Standing On A Whale, some of my characters are based on aspects of my deeper self that have come to life, or should I say, that I have set free. The other characters are based on people who have had an impact on me. I believe that our characters already exist within us, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We just need to choose which ones we are ready to face and then allow them to surface. Once they are set free, they practically write the story for us and take us on adventures we may or may not be ready for, but if we trust in the process, the journey is worth it.

  • Who has been the biggest influence on your work?
I would have to say that Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek writer and philosopher, has influenced me the most and continues to influence me today. His books:  Zorba the Greek, Report to Greco, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Greek Passion have had a great impact on me. As with a good film, I like to walk away from a book knowing that I am a better person for having read it. There is a heart and soul to Kazantzakis’s writing that draws me into deep contemplation and self-reflection. With each read, I walk away feeling that I have learned something new about myself.

  • When did you know you were a writer?
I did not know I was a writer until my editor sent me a five page editorial letter of affirmation on my first round of editing. I knew that I had presented her with the best manuscript I could muster, but I never expected to get such a positive review on the first run. Then, when I received my confirmatory Kirkus Review ten weeks after publishing, I grew wings. Those two confirmations gave me all of the confidence I needed to believe that a writer had been born.

  • What books do you like to read?
I am a self-help activist, so I read a lot of self-help books. I also read a lot of non-fiction books, which by the way, can help a writer add layers of interest to their stories. For example, if you are writing a story that takes place in a setting you are not familiar with, you can read research or travel books to help you find out about the weather patterns of that place, the flora and fauna, the type of people who live there, the geography and the terrain. Knowing facts adds authenticity to your work that is otherwise missing. I also read time-tested fiction and mythology because it helps me with pacing and rhythm.

  • What is your genre and why?
I have been told that my genre is psychological fiction. That is probably because I use fiction as a vehicle to carry ideas about philosophy, self-help, and psychology throughout my stories. It is sneaky perhaps, but it works. People get caught up in the plot and characters of your novel and suddenly they find themselves pondering the deeper questions of life, wondering what hit them.

  • What is your writing philosophy?
My steadfast philosophy is to write about what you know, what you have experienced – even the painful stuff. No one can describe your experiences like you can. You were there and that is what gives it raw energy. The reader can feel that energy because it has a ring of authenticity to it. It is hard work for me to write about anything outside of myself.

  •  How long did it take you to write this first book?
Actually, this is not my first book, but my third. It took eleven years to complete it, because I was also working on two non-fiction manuscripts intermittently. It was only because my heart kept drawing me back to Standing On A Whale, that it won the race and became my first published work. I am glad that it took eleven years to finish it though, because during that time each of my characters had time to be born, experience a raucous adolescence, and progress into maturity. My characters became three-dimensional during those eleven years and it was very hard to leave them in the end. I never once felt like I was writing a book; I was simply allowing a story to unfold.

  • How did you come up with the idea and title of the book?
The original idea for this novel was not fully realized. Initially, I had envisioned a story based on someone I knew who had made an immaculate transformation out of his wretched life because someone rescued him and changed his life forever. Suicide was not an underlying premise during the early years of this novel. It was when two of my students confided in me some dark plans of their own that I became consumed with suicide and the theme immediately entered into my protagonist. I suppose it was my way of dealing with the pain that I felt over the situation. Being a teacher is a revelation these days. There are a lot of young people hurting out there and that is troubling to me.

The title for Standing On A Whale changed three times while I was working on it. The first title was The Crystal Mystic and the second was Stage Whisper. As with everything else I have experienced in the writing process, things change repeatedly and usually when you are not looking. By accident, if you believe in such a thing, I stumbled upon a quote, “standing on a whale, fishing for minnows.” I researched it further and found it to be a Polynesian philosophy and metaphor that captured every element of my novel. I adore metaphors, so I changed the title immediately. P.S. My editor agreed. She said it was the perfect title for this book.

  • Do you have any current works in progress?
I do, but these books are not fiction. One is called Sleeping Through A Crisis and the other is called Lace On Fire. I do intend to edit them and possibly publish both books, but timing is everything and right now I am fully dedicated to promoting Standing On A Whale. I believe in its message.

  • What or who inspires you to write?
The writing process itself inspires me to write. I follow three simple rules: Show up at the page. Allow no excuses. Write with abandon. A writer must intentionally carve out a slice of time each day to write, even if only for ten minutes. That discipline is mandatory. Once you show up, inspiration shows up. For me, it works every time.

  • Do you have any stories about the writing process?
I do. I call it my “Sprout Story.” When my manuscript was completed, I didn’t know what to do with it. Along the way, I had taken a serious swim or two hundred with the sharks, also known as literary agents, to see if anyone was interested. I received numerous rejections, encouragements, and redirections, but no solid offers for over two years.  I couldn’t seem to master the unforgiving Query Letter and was tired of trying to figure it out. I was amazed that I could write a sprawling novel filled with characters, plots, and twists, but when it came to describing my own story in a few vivid paragraphs to hook an agent, I failed miserably. I love those agents; they really do know their stuff. Each rejection forced me to improve my story by editing it further. Had any one of those rejection letters been an acceptance letter, Standing On A Whale would not have matured into what it was meant to become. Everything in life commands patience. When the seed is ready, the sprout will appear.

  • What is the hardest thing about writing a book?
The hardest thing about writing a book for me is being patient with the process. A good book takes time to develop because we are developing every day, along with our work. We change constantly and those changes filter into our stories and give depth and dimension to our plots and characters. If we are constantly being pulled out of our writing by thoughts of rushing to finish our book, getting it accepted by a publisher, and becoming the next famous author, not much will happen.  

This post originally appeared on My Writing Self.

Don't miss seeing B.J. Tiernan in person. She will be talking about her book, Standing on a Whale, and answering questions.  Her book event is on Saturday, August 8th at Murder By The Beach Bookstore, in Delray Beach, Florida, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm. 

About the author:

"B.J. Tiernan is a teacher. It’s her calling. She's been at it since graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in education in 1972. Whether it is in the classroom or through her writing, it is what she loves to do. Throughout the years, she has given numerous seminars, inspirational workshops, and classes to promote self-growth and writing skills. For the past fifteen years, she has been putting her certification in social sciences to work teaching world history and ancient cultures to sixth graders. She has also taught several creative writing classes at Community Schools in Broward County. She writes contemporary fiction that causes the reader to think, to ponder, to question. Through the back door of fiction, she addresses questions about living, dying, and the age-old task of overcoming our dark side. One of her biggest joys has been to design and teach a course for adults at Community School, where individuals can shine a light on their own memories and experiences and organize them into stories. One of her student’s short stories was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Family Matters. Tiernan dedicates Standing on a Whale to all of her students who have passed through her classes and workshops hungry to learn and write".
(Author biography from Goodreads)

Connect with B.J. Tiernan:

Read Kirkus review for "Standing On A Whale" here

Monday, July 20, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Of Demons and Stones by Anne L. Parks, Coming Soon

Title: Of Demons & Stones
Author: Anne L. Parks
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Tour Host: DRC Promotions

Kylie Tate is highly successful and focused on her future. No one sees the fear that consumes her, ravaged by demons from a past that left her distrustful of love.
Alex Stone is rarely denied. Not by business associates, and certainly not the women he dates and forgets. Romance is never an option. That is until beautiful, sexy, too damned independent Kylie comes into his life and frustrates the hell out of him. She sparks a desire in him to protect her from the one demon that haunts her - and threatens to destroy them both.
Pushed to her limit and unwilling to be a victim any longer, Kylie takes control of her life.
But a madman’s quest for revenge not only threatens to destroy the love she has finally found – but also her life.
Buy The Book

About The Author
Anne L. Parks has penned and self-published six novels, including a standalone and a completed five book series, since 2013. Her debut novel, Strangers, was published on her 45th birthday. Since that time, she has written four more full-length novels and a novella, completing her first full series, Return To Me. This year will be another busy one for her. In May, her first venture into paranormal romance will be published as part of an anthology. In late June/early July, she will have a Fourth of July themed short story included in a boxed set with eight other talented authors. A new series, Tri-Stone Demons Trilogy, will publish in mid-July, Mid-August and Mid-October. She also has plans for a suspense serial to be published throughout the year, as well as a fun, contemporary, blog-only serial.
Anne lives outside of Washington DC with her Navy husband, four children, and one very spoiled German Shepherd. When she is not writing, she loves reading (duh!), hanging out with her family and friends, and drinking wine. She has a full schedule of conferences and signing events this year, so find her and say “hello!”
Connect with Anne


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

8 Types of Fiction

Writing Class Notes: 8 Types Of Fiction

I was enlightened, when I took a writing class, as to the many types of fiction there are to read, as well as write.  They are based on word count mostly.  For me, it is a good resource to keep in mind since I have a romance story I want to write in the future. In reading the description of each type of fiction, I am leaning toward it being a novella or short story.  

Novel - An extended piece of fiction, normally at least 40,000 words long. Most novels have multiple characters, a central plot building up to an important climax near the end, and two or more subplots.

Novella - A mid-length work of fiction, shorter than a novel but longer than a short story - typically between 20,000 and 35,000 words. A novella normally has some complexity in plot and characterization, but has fewer characters than a novel and may lack subplots. Also known as the short novel.

Short Story - A short work of fiction, usually under 20,000 words. It is traditionally based on a single plot, event, character, or set of characters, and typically leads quickly to a climax and resolution.

Short-short Story - A very brief story, usually 1,500 words or less. Most short-shorts are based entirely on a simple plot and end in a surprise, irony, or joke.

Vignette - A brief piece of fiction that vividly depicts or describes a person, place, or event. Vignettes need not (and typically do not) have a climax or much plot. Also called slice of life.

Prose Poem - A very brief piece of fiction, usually under 500 words, that emphasizes imagery, rhythm, and other elements of poetry.

Anti-Story - A Work of fiction that takes the form of an essay or other non-fiction work. Examples: Jorge Luis Borge's "Funes, The Memorious" and Woody Allen's "The Irish Genius."

Novelette - Not a literary form at all, but simply a designation used by some magazines for short stories longer than 7,500 or 10,000 words.

This post previously appeared in my former blog, The Writer Today

What type of fiction do you prefer reading and/or writing?