Author Archives: getvinspired

Book Release: Teal Paisley Tights by Barbara Brutt

Today is the book birthday for a new contemporary romance!

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Life post-graduation was supposed to see the launch of paisley-loving Jadyn’s art career, or at least an art gallery showing one of her watercolor paintings. Instead, this Pittsburgh native is locked into a low-paying, buttoned-up consultant position with an impossible boss. When another colleague is dismissed, Jadyn inherits extra workload, including the company’s biggest client. If she loses him, she’s fired.

Jadyn people-pleases her way through life, resulting in extra work opportunities and a community classroom of art students. But when two guys appear on her doorstep, she just might not be able to people-please her way out of this love triangle. At the end of the day, she can’t please everyone.

Then, because of a small spending problem, Jadyn is evicted from her apartment, and she must move in with her know-it-all sister. Jadyn needs to decide between a job transfer that would place her near her love interest, or a full-time art career with all its risks.

Stretched like canvas between responsibility and dreams, she must choose. Will practicality always win?

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How My Day Job is Like My Other Job by Diane Wylie


Science-VS-Art-1 for Diane's post

Let’s face it; there are not many authors who can afford to live off their royalties and write novels full time. The rest of us need a regular day job to eat, wear clothes, and have a roof over our heads. Did you notice that I threw in an extra word in the first sentence? Yes, I deliberately wrote “write novels” instead of just “write”. Why? Because I count myself lucky to be a full time writer, but I am actually a technical writer during the day.

There are many similarities between writing romance novels and writing technical documents, even though I did have one literary agent advise me to avoid mentioning my profession. It was obvious to me that she viewed my career as a negative strike against fiction publication, but it really isn’t. I’ll tell you why.

So, I write mostly historical romance, but even when I wrote my contemporary fantasies, the same techniques were applied. First, you must do the needed research. In my day job, I research facts about chemicals, genetics, microbiology, and all kinds of scientific information. I can apply those same research skills to my novels to research facts about ancient Mayan idols, medical techniques during the U.S. Civil War, magician tricks, the San Francisco earthquake, falconry hunting, and so on. You get the idea. Research is essential for both jobs.

What else? Putting the words down with the correct punctuation and syntax is a crossover skill. If you can’t string together a paragraph that follows all of the rules of grammar, you won’t make it as a technical writer or a novelist.

Organization is also a skill you need for both types of writing. A scientific paper follows a certain flow of ideas, just as a novel does. You need to wrap things up for your technical conclusion, just like you would for the end of your fictional story. Loose ends are not appreciated in either type of writing.

Finally, practice, practice, practice. I get to practice all of these skills (and get paid) during the day and apply them again at night. But I must admit, my romance writing is much more entertaining.

When the Answer is Wait by Susan Lantz Simpson


KindleHow many times in your life have you been told, “wait a minute,” or “wait until later,” or “not now”? I think that has often been the answer to my prayers, as well.

 I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I’ve written poems and stories since I was able to string words together. Surely, this must have been my calling! I’d write. I’d submit my work. I’d be published. Easy. Right?


 I wrote. I worked. I wrote. I cared for children. I finally submitted a few stories at a time when magazines published short fiction. I promptly received notes like, “the story is good but isn’t what we’re looking for right now.” I took some small comfort in the fact that the editors didn’t tell me my writing was awful. I’d put my stories and ideas on hold and pursue other interests.

 Inevitably, my heart and mind returned to writing. I’d haul out all the stories and begin again. I communicated with authors I admired and received so much helpful advice and encouragement. I rewrote, resubmitted, and waited. And waited.

 At the urging of one well-known author, I contacted an agent and held my breath waiting for her reply. Agents are busy people. They can’t accept every writer who reaches out to them. I was an unknown. I knew my chances were slim. To my amazement, the agent loved my story and my writing! She offered me a contract. Yea! Now I would have my book(s) published.

 But the wheels of publishing turn slowly. I waited while my agent sought an interested publisher. Several months and several rejections later, she found publishers for my two proposed series. Yet, books are not published overnight. I had to wait some more. Maybe I should never have prayed for patience years earlier because God certainly gave me plenty of opportunities to learn that virtue. At last, my books are seeing the light of day. Hallelujah!

Moral of the story: Persevere. Follow your dreams. Believe in yourself. Believe God will lead you where He wants you to go—if you let Him. Prepare for bumps in the road so they don’t surprise you. Plan to wait . . . and wait some more. You can accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams if you hang in there.

The Rainbow With Dull Colors by J.J. Johnston Earns 2 5-star Reviews!

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The Rainbow with Dull Colors’ speaks to the ‘Archie’ in all of us. Despite his sad self-image (compared to what he sees in his peers) he stumbles on the path to finding real joy in the way God made him. JJ Johnston shares that map through this ‘colorful’ story of self discovery. And just like with Archie, the rainbow with dull colors, God, in His Mercy, wants to show us exactly how special we are, too. ~Foundation of Jesus The Divine Mercy

The Rainbow with Dull Colors by J.J. Johnston is a beautiful little book that teaches children the importance of having confidence in how valuable they are to God, no matter what they look like or whether they are different from other children. Archie, a self-conscious rainbow up in heaven, is sad because he has very dull colors. The others glow brightly and are sure they are better suited to God’s work. They pick on him and laugh at him. God takes Archie on a tour of the world and explains that He doesn’t always use flashy things to speak to people. After comforting Archie, he explains that Archie was made this way deliberately for a reason and then He gives him a special mission.

What a charming book! With lovely illustrations that capture every emotion the rainbows are feeling and that children can sympathize with, The Rainbow with Dull Colors stood out to me as an excellent children’s book. Without being heavy-handed, J.J. Johnston builds a solid explanation for how God cares for those who feel underrated, in friendly language kids can understand. The parallel between Archie being discounted by other rainbows up in heaven and his mission, a shy little girl who is being picked on at school on earth, teaches kids in a nutshell that God understands—He isn’t remote. He sees everything and He cares. The message that God wants us to be proud of our individuality, even if it seems we don’t have what someone else does, is a great focus for the story. Archie tries to be someone he isn’t, but only by doing what God has required of him does he find true happiness.~Sarah Scheele for Readers’ Favorite


Book Birthday for Forgetting My Way Back to You by Karina Bartow

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Contemporary Romance

Now Available! 

At one point or another, everybody finds themselves wanting a second chance, whether it be missing the mark on an investment, failing to live up to a certain goal, or letting a true love slip away. It’s very seldom, however, that one receives the proverbial do-over.

Charlee Stoll and Hunter Jett become the modern-day exception. After a decade-long estrangement, the high school sweethearts reconnect when Hunter, fresh off a career in arena football, returns to his hometown. Their reunion catches both of them by surprise, and they quickly recapture the love they once shared. When Hunter begins to rethink his choices, though, tragedy strikes. During a heated confrontation, Charlee’s thrown off a horse and sent into a week-long coma.

When she awakens with no clue who he is, he seizes the chance to right his wrongs, but it proves more challenging than he expects. On top of romancing her, he must overcome her father’s displeasure, another ex-boyfriend vying for her love, and her own mission to regain her memory.  Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?

Get your copy today!

Two Authors Speaking At Upcoming One-Day Conference

Two of our authors, Susan Miura, who wrote Healer, and Carmela Martino, who wrote Playing by Heart, will be speaking at the ACFW Chicago Write-to-Success one-day conference on November 3, and both authors will offer their books for sale afterward.

Susan’s talk will cover how to talk to editors and agents which will include preparing for, conducting, and following-up an in-person pitch while Carmela will share techniques for creating composite characters, researching setting details, and mining memories for story ideas.

For full details, including times and other guest speakers, go to the ACFW Chicago site.


Setting the Scene of Forgetting My Way Back to You by Karina Bartow


Every story has a setting, whether it be an exotic locale in Europe or the protagonist’s living room.  Early in my writing journey, I experimented with creating my own fictitious towns, as many authors masterfully craft, but I couldn’t “feel” the story when I did so.  Thus, I began setting my characters in real places, preferably ones I’ve visited.

Forgetting My Way

In the case of Forgetting My Way Back to You, my newest novel, it took me years to decide on the location.  My earliest draft had the characters set in Rhode Island.  Because I’d never been near the area, I soon changed it to Florida, but another state lingered in my mind.  I played around with the idea, until Pennsylvania won out at last.

Since I’d gone to Philadelphia, I wanted to base it around there.  Being a country girl, though, I felt more connected to a small town for this particular story.  After much more deliberation than one might deem necessary, I settled on Coatesville as my protagonists’, Charlee and Hunter’s , home.

Despite it being a day’s drive from my home in Ohio, I wasn’t able to visit the town until after I finished the book.  It disappointed me that I couldn’t use my “field research” to implement in the novel, but seeing the sights confirmed that I made the right choice.  Without giving too much away, Coatesville is the cozy hometown environment I hoped it’d be.  While it isn’t the middle-of-nowhere neighborhood where I grew up, it’s far from life in the big city, which would make a dreamer like Hunter restless and longing for more.  At the same time, the undoubtedly tight-knit community and warm landscapes would draw him back in time.

The stop I enjoyed most was The Cameron Estate Inn, in nearby Mount Joy.  The nineteenth-century mansion serves as a bed & breakfast, a restaurant, and a popular wedding venue.  In Forgetting My Way Back to You, Hunter takes Charlee there for dinner on a first date, but his romantic plans are thwarted when they discover two weddings are being hosted there.  He uses charm to navigate several unexpected twists, and in the end, the evening plays an integral part in reuniting the high school sweethearts.  It’s always been my favorite scene, but after going to the gorgeous place, I love it even more!