Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Heroes in 4 Categories

I looked up the word archetype the other day. I thought the word just referred to broad types of characters in literature. Boy did I have a few surprises. Seriously, some of what I read bored the tar out of me. I didn’t care about the ways that some of the heroes were developed, and I didn’t need to delve too deeply into the life and times of the philosophers who created the categories. But I loved the psychology behind the project. Continue reading

Book Review – Grudges Not Included (Guest Blogger)

Have I mentioned how much I love novellas? Well, I’m not the only one. Today Precious Redhead is sharing her take on the seasonal story, Grudges Not Included by Shellie Neumeier. And you can find all of my reviews in the For Readers SectionContinue reading

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt – Chapter 5, Part 2

This is the second section of my chapter. If you have missed any of The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt, by all means use the links at the right column to catch up! You don’t want to skip a word of this!

Read Chapter Five Part One by Marji Laine here.

Continue reading


Interview with Kellie Coates Gilbert, Author of MOTHER OF PEARL

I’m so pleased to welcome Kellie Coates Gilbert to Faith~Driven Fiction. She’s an inspiring author, and a dear critique buddy. I’ve been so excited about this book! I hope you enjoy meeting Kellie!

When did you decide to become a writer? Continue reading


Interview with Historical Romance Author Keli Gwyn

I’m delighted to have Keli Gwyn visiting today. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California has become one of mine and Precious Redhead’s favorites. There’s nothing better than finding a book you can share with your daughters, but I’ll expound on that another time. You can find my review of Keli’s book HERE. Continue reading


The Olympia Contest for Unpublished Writers!

Get Ready to Spar!


Clash of the Titles Unveils a NEW annual literary contest, 


and it’s strictly for unpublished writers!

Also, you will no longer need to be a previous Clash Champion in order to compete for the crown.
Submissions open September 14, 2012,
As always at COTT, the outcome of the contest is in the hands of readers, 

not industry professionals.

You’ve written the book of your dreams, now what do readers think? Enter the arena and find out.
Olympia 2013 Submission Rules
The OLYMPIA provides an opportunity for unpublished novelists to have the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of their work judged and critiqued by readers that are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry.
ELIGIBILITY: Any author whose novel-length work (30,000+ words) has not been previously published in ANY format is eligible for entry. That includes the manuscript being submitted as well as any other manuscript the submitting author has written. One entry per author. Co-authored entries accepted. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material. Clash of the Titles staff reserves the right to reject submissions not meeting this requirement.
FEE: $10 payable via Paypal
Paypal account:
If Paypal is not an option for you, please contact senior editor, April Gardner at
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: All entries must include a single-spaced one page synopsis of the manuscript immediately followed by the first two chapters of the novel. Word count limit is 3,500. Prologues are accepted, so long as the word count limit is not exceeded.
FORMAT: Manuscripts must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced with pages numbered. One inch margins in Ms Doc (not Docx) or Rich Text Format (RTF). Insert a header which includes the novel’s genre and title, and nothing more. Judging is anonymous. Do NOT include your name anywhere in the document or in the title the document is saved under.
Entries not following the submission and formatting specifications will be returned. Entries may be resubmitted prior to the deadline. Entry fees for returned entries will not be refunded after the contest entry deadline has passed.
Round One begins November 02, 2012. Entries will first be judged by Clash of the Titles staff, which includes published authors and writers experienced in judging. During this round, COTT staff will be looking for those excerpts which do not meet content standards listed in “Eligibility” above. Because COTT wishes to send only the best quality of writing to its judges, in addition to content eligibility, they will be reading for a higher level of experience in the craft.
Round Two begins November 30, 2012. By this date all entrants will have received an email notifying them whether or not their manuscript has moved on to Round Two. Manuscripts making it to this round will be read by a group of judges who are comprised of your average reader of Christian fiction and that are in no way associated with the CBA industry. This includes agents, writers, avid reviewers, publicists, editors, etc. They are, in short, your audience.
Round Three begins January 21, 2013. By this date, all remaining entrants will be notified of whether or not their manuscript will be moving on. Only three manuscripts will be chosen for this round. Finalist will be announced January 18. Judges pending.
Authors will receive an anonymous digital copy of each of their judge’s scores and comments. Under no circumstance should comments given by a judge be used for publicity or promotional purposes without the express consent of the judge.
PRIZES: One first-place winner will be chosen. He/she will receive a special feature on Clash of the Titles’ blog. A tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance. A dedicated page on COTT’s site for a full year. A podcast interview with author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons. A beautiful plaque. Additional prizes pending.
DEADLINES: Submissions will open Friday, September 14, 2012. All contest entries and fees must be received no later than 8:00 PM EST Friday, November 02, 2012.
All entries will receive a confirmation e-mail. If this has not occurred by 8:00 PM EST November 03, 2012, the entrant should e-mail COTT senior editor, April Gardner at
The winner will be announced Friday, March 01, 2013

HUGE Summer Reading Sale!

Clash of the Titles has a BIG week coming up!

Wednesday marks the beginning of our June Releases Clash, hosted by the lovely Gail Pallotta. She’ll introduce you to five amazing new books, so get your voting finger ready.
Saturday, we’ll announce the three finalists in the 2012 Laurel Awards. Our judges have been raving about the books, saying they wished they had more than just the first two chapters. Remember, this year’s judges are readers like you, who have no connection with the writing or publishing world. You could be one of them! If you’re interested in being a judge for the upcoming Olympia Award, please email us at contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com.
Our current judges are still sending in their score sheets, but by Saturday, we’ll have the final tally!

In the meantime, we’d like to pass along that Astraea Press is having a HUGE Summer Sale. Almost all of their stock is available for $.99 on Kindle and Nook. To whet your appetite, here are five titles from their Inspirational line. The sale lasts until the end of July, but get your e-books today, before you forget!


Contemporary Romance

Paxson Taylor’s recent relocation to St. Louis leads her to a life different from what she’s experienced in the past. Through her work with a small charity, she meets and attracts the attention of professional baseball player, Sebastian Quinn. Flattered, Pax tempers her desire for the handsome playboy with her need to serve her God—a God Seb doesn’t believe exists. Through unspeakable tragedy, they grow closer and with disappointment, drift apart. How can two people from opposite ends of the faith spectrum reconnect when they need each other most?

$.99 on KINDLE

$.99 on NOOK


2012 Selah Award winner in youth fiction

Middle grade historical/adventure

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German troops invade, she knows it will never be the same again. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and Cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. With the right tools and a little help from a boat named, Trina, they’ll be off the island in no time. When things start going wrong, Lizzie wonders about God’s plan. From the looks of it, He might expect them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

$.99 on KINDLE

$.99 on NOOK

THEN SENTENCE by Elaine Cantrell

Contemporary Romance

How could he do it! How could her father bring into their home the guy who burned the church? Yeah, it was an accident and her dad’s a minister, but if he wanted to save this man’s soul, why didn’t he go to the prison to do it?  And no matter how cute the criminal is, no matter what anyone says, she doesn’t watch him all the time. Nice girls don’t fall for guys like Clint.  Do they?

$.99 on Kindle

$.99 on NOOK

THE MULLIGAN MAN by Monique O’Connor James

Short Story

When six kids are at a party, partaking in a little too much fun, one of them is killed. The Mulligan Man, a character straight out of folklore appears offering them the chance to fix all the wrongs. In order to complete the deal, the teenagers must find out the truth of what happened, perform a random act of kindness, and become friends.

If they meet these stipulations, he will allow them to bring their friend back from the dead. In the process they learn not to judge, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and that love can bridge even the boundary of death.

$.99 on Kindle

$.99 on NOOK

THE PECULIAR PRINCESS  by Christina Graham Parker


Sent back four hundred years to reclaim her birthright as Princess of Dresdonia, Lexy Newberry discovers the only thing harder than living without electricity is guarding her heart from the perplexing Lord Lukas Reynard.

$.99 on Kindle

$.99 on NOOK


Clash of the May 2012 Releases

This clash’s host: Jennifer Slattery

My summer reading list is quickly growing. When you read the following two-sentence hooks, I’m sure you’ll agree, these five May releases are must-reads indeed! Which one is drawing you the most? Please vote below, and check out on July 5th to see who won. Happy Independence Day!

Spring Hope by Martha Rogers:

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to
worse since her mother’s death. With an abusive father, and life in a brothel,
she sees no hope for her future until she gains the courage to make her escape
one cold winter night. 

When she arrives exhausted, hungry, and ill in
Portersfield, Texas, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her in an alley and takes her
to a doctor. 

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

A young architect at a prestigious Chicagofirm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.

Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave—a secret that changes everything she thought about their marriage.

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope.

Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children’s nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor.
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Interview with Author, Joana James

Joana James is a young author that I’ve recently met through the Facebook group Grace and Faith Author Connection. You can find their blog HERE! It’s a wonderful group that brings together authors and bloggers who support, encourage, and promote one another. Joana is fairly new to the group, and I’m delighted to welcome her to Faith-Driven Fiction today!

Her new Young Adult novel is available at Amazon for only $3.99.

Marji – Where did your desire to write stem from?

Joana – For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. I wrote many stories as a teenager and always dreamed about becoming a published author. When I finally got the opportunity, I grabbed it with both hands.

Marji – Indie publishing offers that open door! So what is your ultimate goal?

Joana – I would love to see my books in the hands of as many people as possible, simply because they have messages for everyone. Of course, I dream of becoming a bestselling author but my number one goal is to touch somebody’s life.

Marji – How does Nightmare at Emerald High satisfy that goal?

Joana – Nightmare at Emerald high is a story of a young boy who’s facing rejection and struggling to find success in a cruel world. He’s the voice of many teenagers. Malcolm was fooled by a bogus scholarship opportunity, and many of our youngsters face the similar situations. I hope to encourage parents to pay more attention to what their children are involved in and to teach teens to be careful of the opportunities offered to them.

Marji – Sounds frighteningly true-to-life. What inspired this particular story?

Joana – I live in a society that is riddled with secret societies and organisations and several rumours fly about the place concerning their activities. I used this atmosphere to create a book that warns teens about the dangers of things done in the dark.

Marji – What actors might play your main characters if they made a movie of this?

Joana – I’m not much of a movie buff, so I can hardly rattle off any names of notable actors, but I do know that I’d like Malcolm to be played by someone who really understands what it is to be bullied, picked on and considered a geek. So I daresay that I’d like my main character to be a real life teen and not necessarily an actor who has found fame.

Marji – What’s a lasting line from your novel – like the “Frankly, dear …” or “You had me at hello.”

Joana – “Not everything you see can be trusted.”

Marji – That seems to go well with the theme of the book! How does writing fit into your regular day-in-the-life?

Joana – I’m a morning person so; I wake up at about 4:00am and head straight for the laptop. Most times, the story would have been stewing in my head for practically the whole night preventing me from sleeping. I’m a binge writer, so I spend a few hours going hard at it in the morning before I head off to my day job.

Marji – Oh I’m so jealous! I wish I was a morning person, but I’m just not! Thanks so much for joining us today!

Joana Melisia James is a young Christian author from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribeean. Always been a book worm she developed a great passion for the written word.

With a love of reading a good story as much as telling them, in July 2011, she decided to stop procrastinating and get her work published. As most Indie authors know, it is difficult to get a foot in the door of the publishing world. Without fame, she found it hard to get anyone to take her seriously, so she decided to publish independently.

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F is for …

Faith-Driven Fiction.

What’s that all about?

Fiction with my type of Texas Sassy tends to have a romantic flavor. It also delves into mystery and suspense. But that’s not all.
My characters go beyond quirky. They’re laugh-out-loud, folks that anyone can relate to. Far from perfect, their flaws add both humor and poignancy to my stories.

Part of the poignancy that they draw comes from their journey of faith. My goals for my writing are sort of hard to communicate. I know there are women all over the country who, like me, love a good romance with elements of suspense or mystery intertwined, but they don’t like the extra “junk” that often gets passed as romance.

My writing goes beyond clean and I don’t mean the squeakiness of it. I’m so encouraged when I read through a crisis of faith. A time when a broken person reaches out to God. I’ve certainly been there, more than once. I love writing those sections into my stories, allowing my characters to enjoy a personal relationship and reliance on their Savior in various stages. It is my hope that my stories will encourage women like me who don’t often read non-fiction, but need the Spirit to show His truth.

So that’s Faith-Driven Fiction, and the play on my name – Laine, Lane – makes it more connected to me. I won’t always highlight fiction on my blog, but my faith is part of my everyday life, so it’s there, and should you ever have a question about it or about me, I hope you’ll feel comfortable to ask. I’m not the pushy type.

What does faith mean to you?