Showing Some Love at the New Blog

Treasure Verse Meme

A quick note and reminder that I will no longer be posting to this blog site and have moved to this one. And you won’t want to miss what’s happening over there!

This week I’m giving away 3 Love-ly prizes to help celebrate Week O’ Love. That’s right three prizes!! But you have to go to my new blog page to enter.

Also as an enticing incentive to thank you for transferring your LOVE to my new blog. I’m going to give you an extra entry when you follow my new blog. All you have to do is click on one of the highlighted links and it’ll take you over to my new blog. When you’re there, simply add your email to follow blog and leave a comment that says, “Hey, this blog is way better looking than your last blog!” (My friend Emilie will be so happy to hear you say this since she helped me design it-this compliment is really for her, hehe). And BOOM! You get an extra entry into the GIVEAWAY.

I’m so grateful for each of you and hope you’ll  joining me at my (wait for it ….) new blog!

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PS. Seriously, how many times can I add the link to my new blog? <<< Oh, wait, one more time!

I’m Moving!!

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That’s right! I’m moving on up …. or at least to another page. And to celebrate I’m hosting a fantastic GIVEAWAY!

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All you have to do is check out my new blog and enter for your chance to win a copy of both books in Thomas Locke’s new series, Legends of the Realm.


I’m so excited for this new adventure and it promises to be packed full of fun, new posts about my writing (yep, some big things happening!), traveling (tips, pictures, and warnings about why visiting a cemetary with another suspense writer is a bad idea), and recipes (because my teenagers always want dinner??). Oh, and I might mention a thing or two about what life is like as a military wife … after all, I write suspense stories that may or may not have my soldier asking me to change my name. You, know, OPSEC and stuff.

Anyway, it’s been great meeting y’all here and I hope you’ll join me at my new page. It’s easy to remember:

Just that easy!


Romantic Gestures: Heartwarming Thursday

My husband is the prince of romantic gestures. I, on the other hand, had to read a book on writing romance … that should tell you something! LOL. Is there something special you do for your spouse? What is something sweet they do for you that reminds you of just how loved you are?

Thoughts On Plot

by Jill Kemerer

My husband and I like to tease each other, and on more than one occasion he’s accused me of not being romantic. He’s even gone as far as to say, “Aren’t you the romance writer?”

What? Mwah, not romantic? How dare he!

CORSAGE Photo courtesy of Morguefile

Well, actually he has a point. We’ve been married for over twenty years. I’ll be the first to admit I get lazy in the romance department. I don’t want to take him for granted, but the non-stop rush of each day tends to sap the motivation out of me. Nothing sounds better than flipping through a magazine or playing a few rounds of Candy Crush after a long day.

Let’s face it, romantic gestures take effort. And sometimes they’re kind of scary. We wonder if they’re silly or will be appreciated. The expense, even a small amount, can feel not worth…

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10 Stress Knock-outs For The New Year

Elizabeth Van Tassel


This week, while sitting in the tire store for my car, I felt the stress mounting. Sick friends in need, many commitments to juggle, my back speaking a bad note, so many things needing attention all at once. I realized I couldn’t help anyone else until I created a game-plan to handle it better myself. There may be a few surprises here that could help you, too. We’re going to take four weeks to put them into play, but here’s the highlights, with sections for yourself, for others, for fun, and for perspective.

For you:

1.Find a corner of light – Dwell someplace where you come first. Try to visit it a couple times per month or more and listen to the little voices inside that are encouraging change or affirming you, rather than those on constant critique.

2. Tackle the lurking monsters – Well, I’m the creative type but…

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How to Encourage (or Discourage) a Writer on Deadline By Deborah Raney

This is great advice!

Katherine's Chronicle

I triumphantly wrote THE END on a manuscript last summer, and here I am again on deadline. I came across a post I wrote (but never published) while I was on that squeaky tight deadline last summer. I’d been noting the things that enabled me to finally finish that first draft—along with the things that had not been quite so helpful, and thought I’d share a few of them with you.

After more than twenty years with deadlines, and almost that long with fellow writer friends who sometimes seem to be the only ones who “get it,” I fully understand that to the general non-writing public (including family and friends) writers are strange ducks. Unless you are also a writer, it’s almost impossible to make you understand the intensity of what is required to finish a novel. 

Writers must “live” in the story for weeks and even months on end. We must “become”…

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Interview with Nadine Brandes


I’m very excited to have the opportunity to interview award-winning author, Nadine Brandes. The last couple of weeks I’ve been helping to promote her newest release in the Out of Time series, A Time to Speak, a novel of superior-standing that rivals best-selling and blockbuster hits of the dystopian genre.

Nadine-Brandes-Head-Shot-295x300There have been plenty of Nadine Brandes interview blog posts floating around leaving me with the daunting task of finding some new and refreshing topic to discuss on my blog.

First let me give you a little background on this fabulous author that you might not know:

  1. Nadine takes research seriously. Like ninja serious.
  2. Nadine has been dog-sledding. Traveled in Russian sleeper-car train. Dredged through a muddy marsh. Hiked in a fur skirt through knee-high snow. Tasted swampy cattails. Balanced on a slackline = ALL for the glory of research. *You’ll have to pick up your copy of A Time to Die or A Time to Speak if you want to know why her research was so important.
  3. Nadine LOVES her readers. She spends time responding to them through her social media and website and loves to hear how her stories are touching lives beyond the pages of her book.

I had the opportunity to meet Nadine in person at the ACFW conference in Dallas and

Nadine and I along with a few of our crazy author friends.

Nadine and I along with a few of our crazy author friends.

she’s just as kind, sweet, and funny as you would guess. Now without further ado, here’s my interview with Nadine.

You’ve done a lot of interviews lately and have probably been asked the same questions over and over. Today I wanted to ask you about your hobbies. As I mentioned above you are quite the researcher. Have you incorporated any of your personal hobbies into your stories?

Well, I really enjoy answering questions so this is fun! 😀 One of my main hobbies is adventuring, as you know, but I’ll branch away from that.

Hubby and I enjoy rock climbing, so that definitely made it into A Time to Die (book 1). Another main hobby is music. I was raised by musicians and was a professional drummer for several years. But my favorite instrument to play is the piano. Music didn’t make it into the Out of Time Series because the culture in which Parvin lives doesn’t really allow for such luxuries, sadly. But music will be a big part in the next book I’m writing. The main character is a drummer.

Basically, if I have a hobby, I’ll try to incorporate it into a story. That’s lifelong research you can’t experience in a single day! J

You’re quite adventurous but is there a hobby, or activity, that you’re too scared to try?

I live in a small valley surrounded by mountains that is packed with wild animals. Bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, you name it. They’re here. And that keeps me from hiking. Even if I have bear spray or a gun on my hip or I’m with a group of people I’m tense to the point of a moving statue the whole time. My sister is an avid avid hiker. She’ll go on multi-day trips and camp alone with no fear.

That is not me.

Spending an extended time out in the woods is too much for me (and, as far as excuses go, I have bad knees for hiking anyway.) I’d rather go skydiving (which I truly hope to do someday.)

If money or courage weren’t an obstacle what hobby or activity would you like to pursue?

I would want to go skydiving, at least once.

But using the money: I’d want to sign up for some high-quality art classes somewhere. I love to draw, but I have zero knowledge on what I’m doing. I visualize parts of my story so realistically I’d love to be able to get them down on paper.

I’m a big fan of Pinterest and love seeing hobbyist create artistic, culinary, and building masterpieces but I know my limitations and often relate to the Pinterest Fails. Have you experienced any “fails”?

Ha! All. The. Time. Last Christmas I tried to make the lovely “ice marbles” that were shown on Pinterest by filling balloons with water and food coloring. When we undid the balloons, some hadn’t frozen through all the way and the coloring leaked out, staining the porch. Others collapsed completely. It was a fail, but it was fun to do with the family. [grin]

You’ve introduced some very curious characters in your Out of Time series. Each with their own unique set of skills that carry them through a heart-wrenching, gut-punching, nail-biting adventure. Can we expect to meet more of these remarkable characters and have you done any crazy research for book three?

You’ll definitely see more of these characters in books two and three. As for research, that’s what the dogsledding was for! 😉 I also traveled to Russia and France (though not just for book research. These were multi-purposed trips) in the past year, and rode a sleeper train. You’ll see much of this in book three, but that’s all I’m saying for now! 😉

Ooh, I can’t wait for book three!! Thank you so much, Nadine, for taking the time to answer a few fun questions about you and your series.

Thank you so much for having me, Natalie! This was a fun interview. 

I enjoyed being a part of Nadine’s launch team and hope you’ll check out her Out of Time series. A Time to Die and A Time to Speak are available now in paperback and eBook. And now Nadine has a question for you:

What’s one of your favorite hobbies? And do you see them (or put them) in books often?

Speaking Out: Faith through the Storm

I am SO excited to be a part of the Blog Hop team promoting A Time to Speak -Nadine Brandes’s newest dystopian novel in her Out of Time series. This incredible novel released on October 16th and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the continuation of Parvin Blackwater’s courageous adventure. What excites me most about being a part of this blog hop is the opportunity to SPEAK OUT.Hashtag-Called2Speak-2

This past weekend my family and I flew to Texas to visit our daughter for her first collegiate homecoming. We were so excited…until we saw the weather report. We were heading into the dark purple pixilation of 10+ inches of rain with flood warnings. I prayed. I worried. We got on the plane hoping we’d make it to Texas and drive the hour and a half to see our daughter.

We flew into the storm. The flight took an extra hour and a half as it tried to navigate around the storm but in the end we had to fly into it. We made it but our plane had to park on the runway of DFW until the lightning, sheets of rain, and thunder died down enough for us to safely get off the plane.

Sitting on the plane made me think of how often I head somewhere without knowing what will happen in the journey. Life as a military family makes this a common occurrence. We’re given our orders and we report for duty.

Two and a half years ago our family was assigned to Washington D.C. We had no idea the storm we were going to face would introduce our family to the devastation of suicide, depression, and mental health issues. If we’d known, you can bet we’d turned around and said, “No way, Jose!”

In the book of Luke, Jesus tells his disciples to go to the other side of the lake. They obeyed unaware of the storm ahead. But Jesus knew. The disciples were afraid. They forgot who was with them. And Jesus called them out on it…after He calmed the storm, of course. Jesus asked, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:22-25 NIV)

Where is my faith? In those dark days of the storm I admit I was like the disciples. I was terrified of losing my daughter. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to save her. I forgot who was with me. The One who knew about the storm before we stepped foot on the boat. The One who promised to never leave me or forsake me. The One who will calm the storm if only I have faith.

Jesus has a way of growing our faith. Even the disciples were left asking, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” During the storm it was hard to see the rainbow on the other side but here we are. God is faithful. I only have to have the faith to believe He is with me.

Storms will come but my faith comes in knowing Jesus is with me. He knows what lies ahead and He will be by my side until I make it to the other side.

What makes you want to speak out? #Called2Speak #ATime2Speak(Click to tweet)

ATimetoSpeak5What happens when you live longer than you wanted to? 

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out? 

Book Two in the “Out of Time” series.


Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here.


Don’t forget to check out the amazing giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway//“>  You could win a signed copy of A Time To Die AND A Time to Speak!!

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel
9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes
10.01.15 – Jason Joyner
10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)
10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink
10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)
10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx
10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito
10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah
10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine
10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen
10.17.15 – Megan Besing
10.19.15 – Angel Roman
10.20.15 – Charles Franklin
10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees
10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu
10.27.15 – Natalie Walters
10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian
11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine
11.17.15 – Amanda Fender

A Love Message from My Father

baby-84639_1280I’m going to share something with you that feels so personal it makes me second-guess myself. This morning I received a personal message. One so personal that I don’t want to share it but then a huge part of me wants to scream it from the rooftops. This morning I received a loving message from my Father. I know, I know, some of you are probably going to stop reading now but I beg you to hang in there. This won’t be long and I feel like it’s so important.

As I was reading my Bible this morning, in the book of Isaiah, God is sending a clear message about the destruction he is going to bring on Israel because of her sinful disobedience. This book is filled with destruction and despair but there’s also a message of love and redemption if only they would turn back to the One who loves them. Okay, if I haven’t lost you yet here’s the love message I received:

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,

all the remnant of the people of Israel,

you whom I have upheld since your birth,

and have carried since you were born.

Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

-Isaiah 46:3-4

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Uh, Natalie, I think it’s talking about the descendants of Jacob…the people of Israel. Last time I checked you were in Georgia.” Yeah, I know. BUT and this is a big but (not just the capitalized letters either) what I want you to do is replace the section “descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel” with your name. Then read it again. Come on, it’ll take five seconds. Did you do it?

“Listen to me, Natalie,father-445096_1280

you whom I have upheld since your birth,

and have carried since you were born.

Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

In a world that tells we’re not enough this message says just the opposite. It says we’ve been loved since the day we were conceived. Held since the moment we took our first breath. And no matter what we face we will be sustained; carried; and rescued. I don’t know why but this message from my heavenly daddy just spoke to me so deeply it’s hard for me to find the words to express how I feel. I don’t even know if there are enough words or if they’d even be the right words. What I do know is that I needed to hear this and I wanted to share it because I know there are people in this world, friends, family, who need to hear this too. I pray this message of love brings joy to your life today.

Blue Star Wife Chronicles: PCSing

“Where am I?” 


If you’ve ever seen the movie, Overboard, with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, you might understand why I assumed these were the kids hanging off the cab of the truck. Great movie!!

These are the words I mumbled to myself…okay, not so much mumbled as spit out through clenched teeth as I navigated my vehicle through a narrow, dirt road where a pickup truck raced passed me with kids hugging the cab as they bounced up and down unrestrained in the bed whooping and hollering.

“Where am I?” Our new duty assignment. This was where I would be spending the next two years while my husband served and the kids I start over. This was not our first move. This is our tenth move in just over twenty years in the Army. We are not new to this. And yet we are. Every move is new. New town, new people, new church, new schools…the list could go on.

You’d think after so many moves I’d be used to it but I’m not. Not too long ago our family experienced our biggest move and I was really struggling with adjusting. Everything was so new and different. A friend told me it took her nine months to adjust. NINE MONTHS!! That’s almost half our tour. But she was right. It took me nine months to realize the beauty of my new home and accept the newness as part of my life.

We’ve been blessed to live this crazy military life but it does come with its pros and cons. Normally I make a list of the things I learn about each new assignment location in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way and so today I thought I’d do the same. So here goes:

Things I’ve learned since moving to Georgia:

1. There are some Southern accents that make English sound like a foreign language.


Rapunzel’s mom from Disney’s Tangled.

2. My new fragrance of choice is bug spray. 

3. I will have to embrace my curls frizz. I’m thinking of dressing up like Rapunzel’s mom for Halloween. 

4. Butter might be its own food group. Sweet tea, too. 

5. Alligators are legit.

6. There is NOTHING like Southern hospitality.

I know I’ll learn to adjust to small-town living (pop. 10,000) and everyone tells me how much they love living here so I know my time will come-maybe just nine months from now. In the mean time I’m going to keep adding to the list while I enjoy the nightly lightning and thunderstorms and sip on a glass of sweet tea from the comfort of my air-conditioned dining room (see #2 above).

I hope y’all will come back!

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