Monday, November 7, 2016

Faith Without Borders Book Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Faith Without Borders

by Virginia Martin


 Giveaway ends  December 07, 2016.

 See the giveaway  details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Virginia Martin's heartfelt, personal testimony in Faith Without Borders describes God's powerful influence in her life. It is an inspirational book of devotions, uplifting words of wisdom, scriptural references, and points for reflection that are sources of strength and encouragement. 

Faith Without Borders is a devotional for those starting out, wondering about Christianity, lost or struggling along their path. It encourages you to step out in faith, so that God can meet you in all the places that you need him. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: Falling For You At Christmas by Kristin Wallace


Falling For You At Christmas (a holiday novella): Shellwater Key Tales by Kristin Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Falling For You At Christmas is a sweet romance that is a fun, easy, and quick read. Cassie and Jared are two people not looking or thinking of love, yet fate has them meet a few days before Christmas. Cassie is an expectant mother who is worried about raising a baby on her own, and goes to Shellwater Key for some peace and quiet. Jared is a divorced innkeeper who has a young daughter, and no time for romance. However, despite their efforts, Cassie and Jared cannot deny the attraction between them, and the magic of the season brings them hope, love and a new bundle of joy.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book For Review and Journal





Hope Without Borders - A Reflective Journal for the Spiritual Soul (Book 2), is due to be released December 2016, just in time for the New Year. 

I am giving a print book of FAITH WITHOUT BORDERS Devotional, Book 1 in the Without Borders Series, to anyone who is willing to read and review it on Amazon. Those who are willing to read and review it will receive the Hope Without Borders, 365 page journal free when it is published. Email me if interested at virginiamartinauthor@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"JUST BE" - Inspirational Poem


Poetry in Motion Series

JUST BE
Be inspired
You are going to need a bigger bucket list
Be Unstoppable
I will light up every room I walk into
Be ready for unforgettable moments
On to the "CAN DO"
Be grateful
Write on: Let's make today fun
Be new with a bright idea
Clearly show the world to love life
Be a breeze to someone
Your freedom starts with 17 different things to do
Be bold to start over
I am dreaming of seeing the world
Be on fire: You can do anything
Tell me a story with word power
Be a faithful scribe
Stick with it: Make hope happen
Be the difference
Think again: Pray more
Be in the moment

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Writing Basics: Sensory Lists and Descriptive Words




My first experience in learning the writing craft was attending a writing class several years ago.  The class was taught by B.J. Tiernan, author of Standing On A Whale.  She had the class do a writing exercise of five sensory lists.  The purpose of this exercise was to go back to the list when doing descriptions in your writing. B.J. said to assume every reader is blind, so you need to use description when you write. The reader wants details and can connect to you better if you do: "Show, don't tell". 

Sensory Lists
These are five sensory lists and my responses to them as they relate to me. 

1.
Things that are magical - rainbow, unicorn, gazebo, shooting star, full moon
2.
Favorite Smells - scented candles, freshly brewed coffee, baked brownies, roses, hand/body lotion
3.
Sounds I love - rain, wind chimes, piano, ocean, music box
4.
Favorite Sights - watching people dance, ice skating, snow globe, sunset, sunrise
5.
Favorite Feels - soft hands, cashmere, raised lettering, kiss, warm hug


Using Descriptive Words


The importance of using descriptive words is to "show" the reader what you are writing about. I would say one of the hardest things for a writer to do is learn how to describe things and know how much detail to use. I find that reading books about the craft helps, but I think reading the authors in the genre you want to write about is very helpful. You can learn the author's style and how they incorporate scene changes, character development, plot, etc.

Don't tell reader, show reader- how angry are you, write about anger: "red as a tomato" would depict the person was fuming.

Show with words-paint a picture. This will awake feelings within the reader and see what you are trying to tell them. Show as much information as possible but don't do it for too long. 

Do not use "about" - go into the writing directly. Listen to how people tell stories, a writer just needs to embellish and/or exaggerate; people want to hear this. 

In writing, you can do what you want to do. Figure out ways to build details from a simple paragraph-this gives the reader more detail of what is happening. Back any statement you make with a concrete picture.

Be as specific as you can-if you mention a flower, give the name of the flower (red rose, pink carnation) Get used to naming things, name people,this brings the reader into your story.

Choose something specific to write about, then hone in on the details, but not so much that it gets claustrophobic and you lose the thread of the scene or story. Writing detail is valuable and the writer should not take this for granted. 

See the ex ordinariness in your own life. If you see your life as ordinary, this will come out in your writing. Give your full attention to whatever it is you are writing. 



What writing tips have helped you in writing description?


Photo Credit: 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7 Tips To Make Your Writing Memorable


1. Write from your heart
2. Choose your words carefully
3. Have a meaning and a message
4. Connect to the reader
5. Draw from experiences
6. Let it be inspirational/motivational
7. Make it easy to share with others 


What are some tips you can share? 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spirit of Gratitude

(Inspirational Series)

Joel Osteen is a well-known pastor and speaker. His church is the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. I find his messages to be inspirational, comforting and uplifting. I watched a broadcast of one of his sermons today on DVD. His message was about “gratitude and being thankful for the gift of today”.  He said to find things in your life to be grateful for instead of complaining about what you do not have or situations you have no control over.
                                           
In our every day lives there are many things that we can get mad, sad or upset about. The trick is to change our attitude to a more positive one and see the good in things instead of the bad. Human beings tend to gravitate to the negative and worry or stress about the worse of things. However, with just a little discipline every day, when we start to get agitated about someone or something, we need to adjust our way of thinking and pray to God for the strength to overcome that feeling and move on. Let go of that side of you that dwells on how miserable your life is. Start being grateful for each day you get to live. We cannot always control our environment and things such as being stuck in traffic, having someone cut you off on the highway, listening to a co-worker complain, a nagging spouse, misbehaving children, argument with family or friends, can wear you down and out. It may not be easy to be thankful when you are overwhelmed with situations, but it is worth a try.

Joel Osteen says each day is a special day. We need to be grateful that we wake up in the morning. Live each day as if it was your last, because it might very well be. Do not take for granted the people in your life or the things around you. It is a joy to be able to see, touch, breath, talk, hear and overall feel alive in the world. Some people that are less fortunate that may be homeless, unemployed, no family or friends, missing a limb or have a disease, have better attitudes and outlook on their lives. They have set their minds to be thankful for life. You do not want to live a life in regret, self-pity, anger, resentment, and depression. Of course, that is not to say you need to be happy at all times or not show your emotions or be discouraged, but the key thing is not to linger in that moment, because then you will not let yourself rise above the situation.

I pray to God everyday for strength to face whatever the day may bring. If I am facing a tough situation or decision, I ask him to enlighten and guide me. When I was younger, I only prayed to him when I wanted something and with not much conviction at that.  I then got upset when I did not get what I prayed for.  In being grateful, we can live better, happier, more productive lives. You will notice a change, because this brings about an attitude change as well. I spent too much time and energy in being negative, depressed and wallowing in self-pity. I was not living each moment of each day, I was focused too much on past regrets and future worries. I lacked the faith to know that God would see me through.

As aspiring writers or established ones, living by this motto will make us stronger. We will be better able to deal with the rejections we might get or overcome the frustration when we can’t come up with anything to write about.  Let’s be thankful that we can read, write (even if we get writer’s block sometimes), make connections with other writers, have supportive family and friends, and have strength to persevere in our goal to just write and one day get published (if this is our dream). Like the saying goes, it is not the destination, but the journey that matters.





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Reviews of Favorite Books on Goodreads




Returning for Valentine'sReturning for Valentine's by Victoria Pinder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this short, entertaining, sweet romance. It was a fun to read story, with a message to never give up on love.


View all my reviews


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Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers (Healthy Spirituality Journals Book 2)Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers by Jean Wise
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book enlightened my understanding of what a breath prayer is and the purpose it plays in one's life. Breath prayers are an excellent way to get spiritual peace, and have a closer relationship with God. The author takes the reader step by step on how to practice breath prayers, as well as explains the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of doing so. The examples given of breath prayers are excellent, and ones you can incorporate in your life right away, and make some of your own in the process. I especially loved the author's use of quotes to emphasize the thought of prayer and its significance in the life of a Christian's walk with God. I recommend making "Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers" part of your library; it is a short read that is encouraging in its message to make breath prayers a natural part of your life.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Whispers: Being with God in Breath Prayers

View all my reviews


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Second-Chance SeductionSecond-Chance Seduction by Kate Carlisle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this romance story. It was an easy, fun read. Connor and Maggie are endearing and very real. Their love story pulled at my heart strings. The author does a superb job of crafting a tale that has you turning the page.

View all my reviews


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Break the Chains, Be Freed WithinBreak the Chains, Be Freed Within by Cristina Isabel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cristina Isabel debuts as an author with her first poetry book, "Break the Chains, Be Freed Within". She shares her experiences and personal battles with depression, sadness and helplessness. Her poems are poignant and thought provoking, with a message of hope that you can overcome your darkest moments. The chains that hold you back can be broken to allow you to be free, and be who you are meant to be. Break the Chains, Be Freed Within by Cristina Isabel

View all my reviews

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Control (Shamed, #1)Control by Laura Marie Altom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ella Patton works at a local Walmart in a small town, far away from a loveless marriage and abusive husband. She lives one day at a time, though she feels half of her is dead, the half that knew how to love. Now there are only deep scars and a resolve not to let any man hurt her again. That is until she meets the handsome, and charming, Liam Stone.

Liam Stone is used to having control over everything, especially women. His money buys him anything he wants, and he uses it to offer Ella a proposition that she cannot resist. This starts them on a steamy, rollercoaster relationship, where falling in love is not an option. Can Ella finally find love again in Liam? Will Liam let his defenses down long enough to realize he cannot live without Ella? In an unexpected turn of events, they find that you can only run so fast from your past, before it catches up with you.

This was an enjoyable, entertaining, fast read romance. You cannot help but root for Liam and Ella to get their act together and live happily ever after. But do fairy tales really exist? Laura Marie Altom does an excellent job in keeping the reader engaged from beginning to end.


Laura Marie Altom

ARC received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

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Disguised with the Millionaire (Dangerous Millionaires)Disguised with the Millionaire by Debra Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! It had everything: romance, suspense, mystery, likeable characters and villains you love to hate. I could not put it down, and have already purchased the other two books in the series. Debra Andrews crafts an entertaining, and intriguing tale that leaves you wanting more. I highly recommend this book as a must read.

View all my reviews

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Agent with a History (The Agents for Good #1)Agent with a History by Guy S. Stanton III
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Agent with a History (The Agents for Good) by Stanton III, Guy


“Agent With A History” by Guy Stanton III, was my first crime drama/thriller/suspense novel and I loved it! I was immediately pulled into the middle of the action from the very first page. A gruesome murder is committed, and exotic and stunning NYPD detective, Lisa Tauranto, is put on the case to find out who and why. Lisa is a no nonsense, hard nosed detective, who has a few skeletons in her closet that later come up for air. Through her quest to solve the case, Lisa is led to a mysterious and attractive man that goes by the name of “Flint”. He becomes her protector when her life is in danger and she has no choice but to trust him. But who is Flint and why does he seem to know so much about her, the murder, the people trying to kill her, her history and her knowledge of a hidden treasure? Is he really trying to keep her out of harm’s way, or is he the killer and is just out to get the fortune? We are left guessing as to who is behind all this but know that they will stop at nothing to get what they want. “Agent With A History” is full of intrigue, a touch of romance and Guy keeps the story moving forward with spy tingling action. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the others in the “Agent” series.

View all my reviews

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21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word by Shelley Hitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The power of being thankful through prayer leads to a more positive life. We must be thankful for the things we have, and not dwell on what we don't. I totally enjoyed each prayer of gratitude because it led me to reflect on what I was thankful for in my own life.

Shelley Hitz has beautifully written 21 prayers of gratitude, with images and scripture passages, that will encourage, inspire and be part of your spiritual healing. You will want to read these prayers more than once.21 Prayers of Gratitude: Overcoming Negativity Through the Power of Prayer and God's Word

View all my reviews

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The Wedding Game (Reality Show #1)The Wedding Game by Amy Matayo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ellie McAllister and Cannon James are contestants in a reality show called The Wedding Game. Ellie has a compelling reason to join the game, but lies to get in, while Cannon is in it for the money. As the winning contestants in the show, they both learn that it is not that easy to win the two million dollar prize, especially since they cannot stand each other. How can they pretend to be in love and happily married for 6 months when they get on each other's nerves every chance they get? The final joke is on them, however, since they do not suspect that the outcome of the show is beyond their control, or that their lives will be changed forever. Will Ellie and Cannon find love, in the process of playing cat and mouse, or will their secrets threaten any possibility of a true relationship?

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Wedding Game" by Amy Matayo. It was entertaining, fast moving and fun. Amy writes a beautiful romance that teaches a lesson in love, compassion and determination. The Wedding Game

View all my reviews

Monday, June 20, 2016

Works In Progress


I am currently working on an inspirational poetry book, romance novella, a spiritual journal and a study guide for my devotional.

These are the tentative book covers for each:

Seasons: Poetry Book

Art by David Sandum



Revenge of the Anointed: Romance Novella



Art by Maria Tusa


Faith Without Borders Study Guide:



A Spiritual Journal for the Reflective Soul:





There is more information to come soon...stay tuned. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goodreads Book Giveaway: Faith Without Borders Devotional


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Faith Without Borders by Virginia Martin

Faith Without Borders

by Virginia Martin

Giveaway ends July 06, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 5 signed copies of my devotional, Faith Without Borders. 

Faith Without Borders is a devotional that reaches out to those in need of comfort, healing, renewal, transformation, faith and hope. I share my testimony to God’s grace using simple readings, uplifting bible verses, poetry, affirmations and points for reflection. 

This devotional encourages you to let God in your life so that he can meet you in all the places that you need him. Faith Without Borders is a timeless devotional that can be read over and over again, inspiring you to step out in faith, and start or continue your own spiritual journey. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

T.R.E.A.S.U.R.E. In Marriage: Guest Post by Warren Baldwin


Warren and his wife Cheryl live in West Kansas. They have a grown son and daughter and another daughter still at home. Warren and Cheryl have ministered with churches in Florida, Wyoming and Kansas. They have been married for 27 years. Warren's book, "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs"   is an inspirational journey from Proverbs and is on Amazon


Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:34). Jesus applies this principle of treasure to spiritual things: if our
hearts are devoted to God and Christ, we can give up our earthly possessions for the good of others and the glory of the kingdom. In giving our hearts to heaven we place our treasure there: our time, energy and money. Everything we are and everything we have is devoted to the pursuit of heaven.

Dr. Debbie Cherry, a marriage counselor, applies this principle of "treasuring" very creatively to marriage. An experience common to all married couples is the waning of the warm glow of the wedding, honey moon, and first months in the new relationship. Anticipation, excitement and ecstasy give way to schedules, work and stress.

Quickly on the heals of stress come irritants to the relationship: irritability and criticism. Before we couldn't see any faults in our beloved; that may be all we see now. The treasure of marriage is diminishing and we become leery of investing more emotional energy into a relationship that is causing pain. Irritants may soon become major emotional injuries
that drive people to a divorce or a marriage counselor.

Dr. Cherry says that many couples find marital therapy a very negative experience. In fact, therapy can make troubled marriages worse. Why? It too often focuses on problems, hurts and other negatives. In her book, Discovering the Treasure of Marriage Dr. Cherry writes, "Unless I first help them (the troubled husband and wife) learn how to like each other again, they will not feel connected enough to each other and the marriage to work
on the negative aspects" If a couple can find what they cherished in their partner and genuinely like each other again, then they can reconnect and "being to look at, resolve, and forgive past hurts"(p.16).

Dr. Cherry teaches spouses to like each other again by teaching them to treasure their husband or wife. Each letter in the word T-R-E-A-S-U-R-E stands for positive thought or action we can take toward our spouse to give them our heart and value them in our own.

T = Think Positively about your husband or wife. Intentionally overlook irritating behaviors in him or her and focus attention on what is good.

R = Respect your spouse. To respect means to hold in high regard and treat with consideration and care.

E = Enjoy the company of your partner. "Rejoice in the wife (or husband) of your youth" (Prov. 5:18). Remember when pleasure and laughter was natural to the relationship? It can be again.

A = Attend to the needs of your spouse, serving them and offering genuine praise.

S = Shield your husband or wife from hurtful words and behaviors (maybe even from you). "Love always protects" (1 Cor. 13:7).

U = Understand your spouse's needs. Give the attention it takes to learn what those needs are. The golden rule for marriage is: "Do unto others as
they need you to do."

R = Romance your mate. Think about your spouse when you are apart and show love when you are together. When is the last date you had together?

E = Edify your partner. "Encourage one another and build each other up ..." (1 Thess. 5:11) ought to apply as much to marriage as any other
relationship! One way to edify is to show appreciation. (Pp.66-76)

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" means we have
control over where we place our affection. We have the power to decide to
give our husband or wife our positive energy. We can treasure them and our
hearts will follow. The joy and pleasure that characterized the early days
of our marriage can thrive today when we honor our spouse as treasure from
Heaven.


In what ways do you treasure your marriage?


This post first appeared in my former blog, The Writer Today.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Give Yourself Permission




Written Works Collection: Poetry

Give Yourself Permission To:

Laugh out loud
Enjoy the crowd
Do a little dance
Give life a chance
Sleep in late
Vegetate
Fall in love
Not work so hard
Love yourself
Not hurt so much
Live carefree
Be who you are
Reach for the stars

In your writing life, what do you have to give yourself permission to do?

This post first appeared in my former blog, The Writer Today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: A Work In Progress by Staci Stallings




Rebecca Avery is a college student who does not have much self confidence, sees herself as ordinary, and keeps to herself most of the time. She has a roommate in college, Holly, who to Rebecca, is one of the "beautiful" people and out of her league. Rebecca meets Eric Barnett, a nice, handsome guy in her Psychology class. Eric is battling a few "demons" of his own and aims to please everyone, at the cost of his own dreams.  They both get thrown together unexpectedly, leading to an unusual friendship, a love triangle and more complications than either of them can handle. Falling in love was not part of the plan. 

I enjoyed this book because it speaks to those of us who have felt inadequate, unworthy and unloved.  It brings forth that we all need to  look at our innermost selves to find answers and opening our life to God will bring its own spiritual reward.  


This review first appeared on my former website "My Writing Self"

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GUEST POST: WRITING MEANINGFUL PERSONAL ESSAYS






Sara Hodon’s work has appeared in History, Harrisburg Magazine, Young Money, and WritersWeekly.com. She is also a weekly columnist for Online Dating Magazine. Visit her blog at http://adventuresinthewritinglife.blogspot.com.


 All writers infuse their work with a little of their own personality and voice, no matter the genre. But few genres allow a writer more freedom to express themselves and connect with readers than the personal essay.

A well-crafted essay about an experience from your life can strike a chord with readers, whether it’s a humorous or sad incident. We all have those memories of disastrous family vacations, awkward high school experiences, or people who have made a lasting impact on our lives.

Journals can be a helpful tool to write a meaningful essay. I know that when I go back and read my old journals, I’m almost instantly sent back in time to a particular event or period of my life. Even if the words on the page don’t tell the whole story, I can remember what was going through my mind at the time that I wrote them. That helps me to fill in the details or portray a certain tone for the essay.

Even though the goal for most writers is to get our work published so we can share it with our readers, it’s not easy to put ourselves out there and divulge so much personal information. Let’s be honest—writers have fragile egos, no matter how thick a skin we develop after endless rejections from editors or publishers. We accept rejection as part of the process, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier to swallow! Besides just putting ourselves on the page, writing essays often means writing about those closest to us—family, current or estranged friends, and current or former loves—and hoping our words don’t cause hard feelings.

One of the most important things to remember about writing personal essays is that you’re telling the story as you remember it. You may be writing about your family’s fiasco of a family vacation to the Grand Canyon when you were 10, and no doubt every member of your family will remember that vacation differently. So be it—the essay is your memory. If so many things on that vacation went wrong, it could be perfect material for a humorous piece that would make even your well-meaning but hapless dad chuckle. Just like most writing, it’s all in your approach.

A personal essay is an important way to develop your own voice and confidence as a writer. Not sure how to get started? Go back and read those old diaries and journals and see if anything triggers a strong memory.  Then, get writing. You may not become the next David Sedaris or Sloane Crosley, but you just may be able to craft a piece that makes your readers shake their heads or chuckle in knowing sympathy. Their dad was well-meaning but hapless, too.

This post first appeared in my former blog: The Writer Today

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Faith Without Borders Book Promotion

My devotional, Faith Without Borders, is being promoted by 

America Star Books (www.americastarbooks.pub) at the 

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books,

next month on April 9th and April 10th. My book will also be 

featured in the Hot Indy Author Guide that will be displayed 

and distributed during the event. God is good and His timing 

is perfect.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: In The Belly Of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

Read the book that started it all...


The gruesome, bizarre murder of college student, Jill Brannigan, sets off a series of events to find the serial killer known as "Venus de Milo".   Liv "Boots" Bergen, manager of a limestone mine, becomes an unknowing amateur sleuth as she is swept into the investigation to track and find this killer. His murders have hit too close to home for Liv, and she is willing to do anything to bring him down. Streeter Pierce is an FBI agent who leads the investigation. He is impressed with the clues Liv has unearthed that have gotten him closer to finding the identity of the killer.  Time is running out, however, and both their lives are in danger. Which one of them will be the killer's next target?

I loved this suspenseful, mystery/thriller, In The Belly of Jonah, very much because author Sandra Brannan gets the reader right into the action in each chapter.  You feel you are solving the crime, along with Liv and the detectives. But, just when you think you know who the killer is, there is a plot twist that keeps you guessing. This is an exciting, fast-paced, edge of your seat, page turner.

Don't miss the latest Liv Bergen Mystery coming out on March 22, 2016: Jacob's Descent. Sandra Brannan's Liv Bergen Mysteries just keep getting better and better, and leave you wanting more.