Summer Wrap Up - In my Writing Cave

As summer wraps up I’m on deadline and locked away in my writing cave. While I work on finishing up this book I thought it would be fun to share a peek at our summer. Even while I was busy writing and launching The Killing Tide, I was still able to sneak in some family fun.

If you would like to read more about my Writing Cave and how I why I’ve been taking a step back from my online life you can read my latest blog post at Inspired By Life and Fiction.

So while you’re waiting for for me to come out of the cave I hope you’ll enjoy a few pictures from our family adventures.

A Question for You

In the comments below, I’d love you to share what you’ve been up to this summer and how do you feel about summer coming to an end.

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Let’s Celebrate! My 10th Book is Here!

Hi friends, 

I’m ecstatic to announce that my latest novel—The Killing Tide—is available now!!!! It hit stands today. It’s so hard to believe that my 10th full-length novel is on shelves. To celebrate and, to thank you all for your amazing support, I’m giving away an autographed copy to one lucky winner who comments to my Reader Question below. 


For those of you unfamiliar with The Killing Tide, it features a Coast Guard Investigative Service Team. Each book in the three-book series will focus on a different member of the team. The Killing Tide is Finn Walker and Gabby Rowley’s story. 

Meet Finn and Gabby

Finn is a combination of laid-back surfer meets adrenaline junkie. He lives to ride waves and to see justice done. Gabby is a go-getter who pursues truth for a living. Only when the truth hits too close to home, she tends to run. Can Finn and his deep love for her, show her that home is the best place to be—right in his arms?  

In addition to spending time with characters I loved getting to know, I also spent a good deal of time researching the Coast Guard. I quickly learned that I had no idea of depth and breadth of ways its valiant members serve our country. Here are just a few amazing facts about a branch of service that often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. 

Did you know…?


I have a new-found appreciation for the men and women in the Coast Guard. 

Just in case you missed it, here’s a video that shows the Coast Guard in action: 


The U.S. Coast Guard says a cutter interdicted a submarine suspected of smuggling drugs in the Pacific Ocean. A video shows Coast Guard officers boarding the submarine and ordering those inside to open the hatch.


Reader Question:

What do you enjoy most in a novel: getting to know the characters, learning about a new profession and the suspense element that goes with it, or discovering a new setting? Leave your answer below and I’ll randomly pick one winner for the autographed book. I will announce the winner here next Wednesday!

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, you can grab one here: 

Have a blessed week and thanks so much for celebrating with me! 


Dani Pettrey Comments
A Thrilling Time in NYC

Hi friends, 

Last week I was in New York City for Thrillerfest. What is Thrillerfest you may ask? I’m happy to report it is not a conference for lovers of Michael Jackson’s song Thriller. Though I do admit thinking the song and the music video were pretty cool when I was in middle school. But, alas, not about Michael Jackson or his outfits that sparked red leather jackets and sparkly gloves onto the fashion scene. 


According to ITW’s) website Thrillerfest is the annual conference of ITW, International Thriller Writers. The unique, popular, and rapidly expanding gathering was created in 2004 by successful, bestselling authors to bring thousands of writers, readers, publishers, producers, editors, and agents together to promote and support thriller authors everywhere. 

The conference has six main components: Master Class, CraftFest, ConsultFest, PitchFest, ThrillerFest, and the Awards Banquet. I participated in Master Class which was amazing, Craftfest where I learned how to deepen my craft from leading NYT thriller authors, and last but not least, Thrillfest where I had the honor of sitting on a panel discussing how an opening line, paragraph and chapter has to the reader or most will not continue with your hero much farther if they aren’t already intrigued and invested. 


If you write any form of thriller genre (mystery, romantic suspense, action-adventure, etc.) you want to be at this conference. If you’re a fan of thrillers in any genre, you want to be at Thrillerfest. There is a fabulous community of writers there who love connecting with readers and with each other. I had the best time. 

While there, I’m happy to say I was blessed with tickets to Wicked for me and three friends. The cast was phenomenal along with the stage design, costume design and story.  Loved the creativity flowing through that one. New York is a very cool city to hang out in. 


Question for you:

What is one city you love to visit or would love to visit and why? 



Dani PettreyComment
Summer Splash Adventure

Hi friends, 

Exciting news! I’m joining fellow Bethany House author Amanda Dykes to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, and my upcoming novel, The Killing Tide. Since both of our new releases feature lighthouses and coastal settings, we decided to give readers a fun challenge.  

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You can find out all about it and the two great ways to participate here: 

About Amanda

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Amanda, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at Whose Waves These Are and a glimpse at the awesome lady herself. I’ve known Amanda since my debut novel, Submerged, sold. She helped me with website and virtual assistant tasks before needing to focus on her blossoming family and writing career. I miss working with her every day but am so glad she devoted her time to writing because her debut is fabulous, and BookList agrees! 


About Whose Waves These Are

In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. 

When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family’s past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.

In this pocket of a harbor where splintered lives, like waves upon the shore, are gathered up and held close ... I never imagined that it would be my breaking place, too. Nor how beautiful the breaking could be.

To find out more or grab your copy, visit:

Hope you’ll take part in our Summer Splash Adventure! It’s going to be a fun month. 



Dani PettreyComment
Meet Finn & Gabby

Hi friends,

So happy to be back with you today! I’ve got something really fun to share. Actually not ‘thing’ but characters to share with you. As you may know, my tenth full-length novel—The Killing Tide—is releasing August 6th. I’m so excited to share this new set of characters, a new setting, and a whole heap of mystery and adventure with you.

Today, I’m going to give you a sneak peek by introducing Finn and Gabby! I hope you’ll come to love them. Gabby Rowley is feisty and pursues truth for a living. Finn Walker is low-key until it comes time for adventure and pursues justice for a living. Put these two together and things are about to get very complicated.



If you pre-order The Killing Tide you can get collector cards of Finn and Gabby, along with more fun perks. A percentage of your pre-order will also be donated to the Coast Guard Foundation. You can find out more here.


What’s one of your favorite character traits or qualities?

For me, I love a fighting spirit. Can’t wait to hear your answers! I always look forward to reading them.

Have a blessed day!


3 Tips for Writing During the Summer

When I think of summer, I think of sunshine, flip-flops, long days, ice cream cones and relaxing. Summer is the best! Unfortunately, it’s also full of temptations to keep us from meeting our writing goals.

I used to look forward to summer with a mixture of excitement and dread. On the one hand, no more getting up at the crack of dawn to get the kids off to school. On the other hand, kids at home for three months did not equal writing bliss!

Now that my kids are older, I still wrestle with excitement and dread—but for a different reason. It’s way too easy to let my writing slide because the delights of the season are calling to me. Thankfully, I have tricks that have kept me on track for the past several years. They allow me to enjoy summer and meet my writing goals.

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Here are my top 3 tips for writing during the summer.

1. Every week decide when you’ll write, and create a contingency plan.

June, July and August practically beg us to make spur-of-the-moment plans. That’s why my summer schedule is less rigid than the rest of the year’s. To avoid letting the fun stuff crowd out my writing, every Sunday night I find a comfy spot, grab my day planner and my phone (I keep track of appointments using my phone’s calendar), and I plan my week.

First, I look at all of my commitments. I analyze the best times for me to write. Then I determine alternative times to write if something comes up. This allows me to keep my schedule flexible and still get my writing in.

For example, maybe Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 7am to 9am are generally a good time for you to write. A less ideal time would be from 4pm to 6pm on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. If a friend invites you to coffee Wednesday morning or one of your kids needs to get dropped off to tennis on Thursday morning, you can shift your writing to the alternate times.

2. Define what you absolutely need to get done and how you’ll achieve it.

If you have a book due in August, you absolutely need to get it done. Other than contracted books, only you can decide if something is an absolute need-to-get-it-done project for the summer.

It’s easy to overestimate how much we can accomplish during the summer, but most people plan vacations, spend more time outside, and have fun activities they can only do during the warm months. Be realistic. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to write two books and a novella in three months.

Once you’ve decided what you need to get done, be proactive and specific to stay on track.

This might look like the following:

I have to write 45,000 more words to finish this draft, and it needs to be finished by July 14. This means I need to write 7500 words per week for the next six weeks.

My work-in-progress is drafted but needs a lot of work. It has 24 chapters. If I revise two chapters per week, I can have it in good shape by the end of August.

At the end of each week, review what you accomplished and adjust your goals accordingly.

3. If you have children at home, be realistic about your writing schedule.

I was a stay-at-home mom for years, and summer was tough. I struggled to fit any writing in. One summer I’d had enough and told myself I either had to take summers off or get serious about working year-round. So I got up early and wrote until the kids woke up. After a short break to make sure they were fed and occupied, I continued to work until lunchtime. The rest of the day I spent with them. This allowed me to make progress on my book and still have plenty of time to go on adventures or hang out together at home.

If your kids are younger, you might have to write when another adult is home or hire a babysitter. If you’re not on deadline, you can always take the summer off. It’s okay. Writing will be there in the fall. If you are on deadline and worried about kids interrupting you every ten minutes, have someone else watch them. Go to a coffee shop or the library—anywhere out of the house—to write.

If you follow the above tips, you’ll find it helps shift your attitude. Writing while your friends are living it up can feel like a sacrifice. On the other hand, all fun and no writing can make you feel guilty.

At the end of the day, we’re writing because we love it. We have stories that need to be told. So set clear parameters around your writing and get more fun into your days. Make ooey-gooey sundaes, lay outside, read a good book, take a long walk. Summer doesn’t last long—make the most of it!

About Jill Kemerer

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Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of inspirational romance novels for Harlequin Love Inspired. She loves coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. Please visit her website,, and sign up for her newsletter.


Enter to win

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Friends Who Fall in Love

Hi friends,

Happy Wednesday. I’m super excited to have as my guest, my dear writing friend and prayer partner, Becky Wade. We met on a trip to Bethany House Publishers shortly after we both signed with them, and our debut novels released with them on the same day in May 2012. We’ve been encouraging and supportive friends since. Writers definitely need friends like that. People who get our crazy brains and creative spirit.

Today, Becky is sharing about her latest release, Sweet on You. If you haven’t grabbed a copy, we’ve got a fun giveaway for you! Enjoy Becky’s guest post and be sure to enter to win our Book-end Your Summer Giveaway. Becky’s novel kicks summer off and my upcoming novel, The Killing Tide, releases in August when Becky will be giving away a great set of book ends (see below) and copies of my books. Hope you enjoy her fabulous post and hope you all have a wonderful week!

The Book-end Your Summer Giveaway is now closed. The winner is Emilee Douglas. Congratulations, Emilee.


Friends Who Fall in Love

By Becky Wade

I've now published eight full-length Christian fiction romances.  But my new release, Sweet on You, is my first attempt at a story about two adult friends who fall in love.

My husband and I were friends for a year before we started dating!  I've known other women who ended up marrying men who were first their friends.  I've read a few books with this premise and thoroughly enjoyed them. Thus, when I sat down to write Britt and Zander's story, I imagined I had a good handle on my task.

However, as I started writing, I began to flail.

Those of you who read romantic books and watch romantic movies know that conflict is the lynchpin of every gripping love story. My two characters knew each other tremendously well.  Britt had liked Zander enormously for more than a decade. Zander had loved Britt secretly for more than a decade. After I put them on the page together, I thought Where do I go from here? and What's the conflict?

I figured out the answers to both of those questions gradually as I wrote and rewrote Sweet on You. In the end, the challenge inherent in the set-up only made the writing process that much richer and more satisfying.

Penning Sweet on You reminded me why it's wonderful to fall in love with your friend. Namely:

1. You can dispense with the get-to-know you chit chat.  Your guy friend already realizes that your favorite color is blue, that you get cranky when tired, that you love watching BBC.

2. You don't have to worry that he'll break up with you and run screaming when he meets your eccentric aunt Lucille.  He's met your people.

3. You can count on his acceptance of you.  He's not going to be surprised by your knack for math or by your fear of roller coasters. The two of you are friends because he appreciates and accepts you.

4.  You can trust that the bedrock of your friendship will remain intact over the course of your romance.  Years after you start dating or marry, the things that motivated your friendship -- your shared sense of humor, his kindness, your loyalty -- will still bond the two of you together.

In your opinion, what's the best part of falling in love with a friend?  Has anyone here dated or married their friend?

Book Overview:


Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who’s spent the past eighteen months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him–Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?


About Becky:


Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Christy and Carol award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.


Enter the Book-end your Summer Giveaway

Something Special

Hi friends, 

Happy Wednesday! I’m super excited to share about something really fun that’s happening. For a limited time, when you pre-order The Killing Tide, you get some awesome goodies. The first two-hundred people will get an adorable anchor keychain and collapsible, Coastal Guardians, water bottled along with even more goodies. For everyone after the first two hundred there are still lots of goodies for you. And, the great part? Ten percent of my profits will be donated to the Coast Guard Foundation. 

Why did I pick this particular foundation? Because of the amazing work they are doing. 

The Coast Guard Foundation’s Mission is to:

In times of triumph and through adversity, the Coast Guard Foundation:


Who are the men and women behind the Coast Guard Foundation?

Their founding directors were Coast Guard veterans who served together during World War II. 

The founders, who enjoyed successful careers after their military service, saw that the Coast Guard Academy's operate budget wasn't fully covering all of its needs, and they started the Foundation to provide funds that could make up the difference.

In 1986, the Foundation expanded its charter to support projects that enhance the education, welfare, and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families. 

Since the expansion of their mission, the Foundation has provided millions of dollars in college scholarships to dependents of Coast Guard personnel, and their morale initiatives have supplied exercise equipment, learning materials, computers, and more to thousands of cutters, bases, and units across the country.

To learn more, visit their website here: Coast Guard Foundation

I’m so honored to partner with the Foundation as The Killing Tide, and all the upcoming books in my Coastal Guardian series, feature the Coast Guard Investigative Service. It has been such a privilege learning about the men and women serving our country in the Guard and as part of CGIS. Hope you’ll enjoy Finn and Gabby’s adventure in the Killing Tide. 


BOOK Overview

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter--and Finn's boss's sister--Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she's back, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?



To learn more about the awesome goodies you can get when you pre-order The Killing Tide, drop by our giveaway and goody page here:

 Which goody are you most excited about? 

Have a blessed day!  


How Christian Fiction Mirrors the Hope God Gives Us

Hi friends, 

Happy Wednesday! Thanks for taking time out of your day to stop by and spend a little time with me. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and pull up a seat. Today I’m continuing my series on The Power of Christian Fiction. I started last week on the Inspired by Life and Fiction blog, which you can find here

Today I’ll be sharing on how Christian fiction mirrors the hope God gives us.   


I love happily-ever-afters. How about you? Think about your favorite swoon-worth HEA? Got it? I’d love if you’d share the name of the book in the comment section below. I’m always on the lookout for recommendations. 

I heard actor Dwayne Johnson (primarily still known as The Rock) say that his producers want to end a certain movie of his on a sad note (Don’t worry. I won’t say which one. I don’t want to spoil anything). Dwayne politely and quite adamantly refused. He explained there was enough sadness in this world and that he wanted his movies to end on a satisfying, hopeful note. I’m so glad he did because it was a wonderful movie. 

When it comes to Christian fiction, story structure and endings are genre dependent, but even those that don’t end on a full HEA almost always end on a hopeful note. The character or characters end up in a better place than when the story opened. 

Fiction Character’s Growth

I love the beauty of watching characters grow, of seeing God work in their lives and of seeing stories infused with love, which is a gift from God. No matter the genre, within Christian Fiction hope exists. In contrast, not all secular fiction breathes hope into its stories, but the vast majority, if not all of, Christian Fiction does--even if it’s just the beauty of nature and the awe that fills us when we spend time in it. That’s what makes the Christian life and Christian Fiction, in particular, so inspiring. 

Here’s an example of hope from my upcoming novel The Killing Tide. Enjoy the first sneak peek I’m sharing.  

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Here is a snippet of scene with my heroine Gabby Rowley. 

The ocean settled her soul like nothing else. Being near God’s creation reminded her of His sovereignty and majesty. Setting the moon in the sky to control the tides . . . it awed her. Jesus walking on water, calming the storm . . . Knowing He tamed something so wild and free settled her soul in a way nothing else did.

It doesn’t have to be a full conversion in every story to infuse hope in us. Simply seeing the beauty of God, of His work in creation and in character’s lives fill us with hope and reminds us of the hope we have in Christ:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Thoughts from Becky Wade:

I asked my dear author friend Becky Wade if she’d share about her experience writing Christian Fiction and how it relates to hope, and she said: 

Writing books has grown my faith! It’s shown me what it feels like to put action behind Hebrews 11:1 which reads, ‘ is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’  Each time I sign a contract for books not yet written, each day when I show up at my computer uncertain of what to write next, I have to step forward in faith, trusting that the Lord will show up and write another story through me.  I have to find assurance in something that’s hoped for… but not yet seen — the finished book.  I have to believe that He’ll equip me to do what He’s called me to do, which is scary sometimes.  Because I know I cannot do it without Him."

Hope of the Gospel

As writers of Christian Fiction and readers as well, we get to see the hope of the Gospel, the hope of our redemption and the love of Christ mirrored in the pages of each book. 

Question for you:

What is one of your favorite Happily-Ever-After story endings. No spoilers, but I’d love to know the book title and the author. I’m always on the lookout for new reads. 

As always, I look forward to hearing your answers. 

Have a blessed day!  


Dani Pettrey Comment
Where Are They Now? Catch up with Griffin McCray

Hi friends, 

Cold Shot—the first book in my Chesapeake Valor—is on sale for $1.99 on e-book for a limited time. In honor of the sale, I thought we’d check in and find out where Griffin McCray is now. 


Looking back at Griffin:

In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper.

When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

Where is Griffin Now?

It’s been a few years since we last spent time with Griffin and Finley. Right now, he’s finished up the renovations on the older farm house he was working on. He’s done a magnificent job. Here are a few pictures of what I envision it looking like: 

He’s rejoined the police force and is loving his continued pursuit of justice. He’s still full of loyalty, devotion, and strength—all the qualities I and other characters in the book greatly admire. 


As far as Griffin and Finley go, I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the end of the book gives you a great idea of where they are at today! 

If you haven’t had a chance to read Griffin and Finley’s adventure, I hope you’ll check it out. Now is a great time to snag it for a good price. 


Question for you:

Did you enjoy catching up with Griffin and, if so, would you like to see Where Are They Now character updates? Leave your answer in the comment section below. 

Thanks for spending a little of your Wednesday with me. Hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week! 



Writer and Reader Retreats

Hi friends, 

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Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and spend a few minutes of your day with me. I really appreciate it! 

I just returned from a Writers retreat for aspiring authors who are fairly new along on their writing journey—many just completing their first manuscript. Finishing a book is a MAJOR accomplishment and I was so very proud of them all. 

I love partnering with writes on their journey towards publication. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Seeing their excitement fueled mine for the written word. 


As I shared the importance of persistence, diligence and determination, it was a great reminder to me that God has called us to this path. He is the one paving the stones. He is the One walking beside us. And, our role is to be obedient. 

Showing up each morning and putting my rear in the chair. Typing or handwriting (most often in my case) or dictating (many of my friend take this approach) the words God supplies, even when we don’t feel like it, is an act of obedience to our Father. 

Here are some pictures of the amazingly beautiful home we stayed at in Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania. If you’re ever in the area, here’s the HomeAway listing: 


There’s something so soothing about being surrounded by rolling hills, Amish buggies, and fresh clothes drying on the line. The retreat was a time of learning, fellowship (I haven’t belly-laughed like that in years) and beautiful rest. Being away from TVs and the busy world that often surrounds us, it gave me moments of stillness in the Lord. 


Starting our day with worship and devotions really set our hearts in the right place to be open to the Lord’s leading and a time of learning. 

It was a privilege and an honor to lead these women who have now formed wonderful friendships and even our own private Facebook group dubbed by the ladies as Dan’s Darlings. I love it.

Question for you: 

What about you? Have you been to a writers, readers, or Bible retreat? What was your experience like? If not, which would you love to attend? 

As always, love hearing your answers. 

Let’s chat! 


Some of My Favorite Things

Hi friends, 

Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and spend a few minutes of your day with me. I really appreciate it! 

Readers are always curious what my office looks like and what I enjoy around me as I write. Writers are usually equally curious about other writers. We’re just a plan curious bunch. 

Today, I’m giving you an inside look at my wreck of an office. 


Here’s a picture of my desk, which is shockingly decently clean. Normally I have a little hole I can type on my keyboard in and see my monitor. The rest has stacks of paper, mail, research books, and the list goes on. I find it hard to work surrounded by clutter, so I sneak out to one of my sofas, curl up with a nice, hot cup of black coffee (the way nature intended it ☺) and some homemade trail mix (almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips). Yum! It’s often my breakfast as I tend to be my most productive in the morning hours. 


A handful of years ago, everyone who knows me well would have laughed out loud at that statement. I was about as far from an early bird as you could get. I would stay up laid reading into the wee hours of the night and then sleep in as often as possible. For some reason, something shifted. Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting older. I am a grandma after all. Whatever the reason, I’m up often as the sun is rising. I have my first cup of coffee, read my Bible, grab my second cup and my snack and head for the couch to curl up and write. 

However, I do love my office space. It’s where I keep my research books, my story binders, copies of my books for giveaways, etc. It’s also where I keep the items that inspire and encourage me. 

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My mug collection. As much of a coffee lover as I am, you probably figured I collected the cups that hold my favorite drink. 


A sign from my daughter that means so much to me. 


A letter from one of my all-time favorite authors—Sue Grafton. 


Killing Tide Influencers

I have some exciting news!

I’m looking for influencers for The Killing Tide. If you’d like to be considered for my Suspense Squad team fill out this application. 

Question for you:

What’s your favorite room? What do you love about it? Do you collect anything to make the space more special to you?  As always, love hearing your answers. 

Let’s chat! 


Scenic Settings

Scenic Settings

Hi friends,

So happy to be back with you this week. Today, I’m going to be sharing about my favorite settings to write about. I adore Costal areas. The beach is my absolute happy place. I grew up a few hours away from Ocean City, Maryland and my family spent our summer vacations split between there and Hilton Head, SC.

As a kid through my teenage years, my family sailed often, and I spent lots of time in and on the water—wind surfing, white-water rafting, swimming, snorkeling, taking Scuba diving lessons, and the list goes on. If there’s water nearby, I’m in it.  We have our annual Fourth of July trip to the beach every year.

There’s something energizing yet soothing about being near the ocean, in particular, for me. I have a friend who is kind enough to let us use her ocean-front beach condo. Whenever I need some writing time away (a.k.a writing deadline) I head to the condo and love curling up on the sofa, no matter the weather, and writing away with the ocean in view.

Spending so much of my time in coastal areas is probably why they are my favorite setting to write about.


Yancy, Alaska

My debut series, The Alaskan Courage series, is set on the fictional island of Yancey, Alaska, which sits next to Kodiak Island.


Chesapeake Bay

My Chesapeake Valor series is set by the Chesapeake Bay where I grew up in Northern Virginia and where my family and I live in Maryland. It was so much fun writing about places I visit regularly.


Coastal North Carolina

My upcoming Coastal Guardian series is set along coastal North Carolina where we spend a good portion of our summer and fall vacations. It’s gorgeous down there and I’m having the best time describing all the beauty the area encompasses.

You can learn more about The Killing Tide by clicking the button below:

Question for you:

Do you have a favorite setting you like to read about? Coastal or mountain? Small town verses city? International or domestic?

I look forward to hearing your answers!

Have a blessed day!  


Heroine Inspiration plus a GIVEAWAY

This post may contain affiliate links

Hi friends,

Welcome to The Blog. I took a blogging hiatus in 2018 but it feels so good to be back chatting with you all. I’ll be blogging here the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. Hope you’ll join me.

Today is a special day! It’s release day for Deadly Isle, my first stand-alone story available in e-book from all your favorite retailers. I’ve included links below if you’re interested in grabbing a copy or sending one to a friend.

Deadly Isle’s heroine is Tennyson “Teni” Kent.


Teni is an underwater investigator with Maryland’s National Rescource Police. She adores swimming and what remains of her close-knit family, particularly her cousin Julia. Teni’s first love was Callen Frost and after a terrible split, she’s reunited once again with Callen—this time on case that just may end her life.


I’ve picked my top three favorite fictional heroines. I’d love to hear who your favorite fictional heroines are!


Elizabeth Bennet from

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

How can you not love fiery and spirited Lizzie Bennet? She’s intelligent, plucky, loyal and lovely. I love her wit and the sparks that zing between her and the frustrating, but lovable Mr. Darcy. This is my all-time favorite book. If you haven’t read it, you are definitely missing out.

Click Here to Purchase Pride and Prejudice

Krista Carmichael from

Terri Blackstock’s Predator

If you haven’t read this novel, the opening will grab you by the throat and not let up until the very last page. Terri is a master at suspense. I highly recommend her.

I love Krista because from the very first scene, she anchors in your heart. She’s kind yet fierce. She’s a fighter caught in a battle that tests the very fiber of her being and her reliance on God. She is an endearing and powerfully dynamic character who I think you’ll adore and cheer for.

You can find out more at

Click Here to Purchase Terri Blackstock’s Predator

Meredith Hayes from

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Last, but certainly not least is Meredith Hayes from Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer.

Meredith is thrust into a marriage of convenience, but she works hard after a time to make the best of it. She’s another strong heroine, has a tremendous sense of humor and the banter between her and Travis Archer is delightful. It is a heart-warming story of two souls who are meant to be together, but it takes them a period of growth, sacrifice and faith in God, before they realize they are right where they are meant to be.

You can find out more at

Click Here to Purchase Karen Witemeyer’s Short Straw Bride



How about you? Who are your favorite fictional heroines and what kind of heroines do you love to read about?


To celebrate Deadly Isle’s release, I'm giving away a fun, reader's goody basket. Leave a comment below to enter!


Have a blessed week!


Dani Pettrey Comments
Note to Readers

Hi friends, 

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's post. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, you can here.

Today, I want to share some news with you.

After a lot of prayer and time of reflection, I've decided in an effort to better communicate with all my readers in a more tangible way, and to share more behind-the-scenes glimpses into my writing life and story worlds, I'll be communicating via monthly newsletters instead.

I've got some really fun peeks behind the creative curtain planned and I hope if you aren't already signed up for my newsletter that you'll take a moment to do so right here: Hot Mess Writing Newsletter

I look forward to sharing the first edition of Hot Mess Writing--A Peek Behind the Creative Curtain with you in January.

Along with sharing some wonderful sources of inspiration to me with interviews and visits with Wendy Pope and Suzie Eller of Proverbs 31, as well as an incredible interview you won't want to miss by my friend and mentor Dee Henderson. 

See you in early January! 

Happy New Year! 


Dani Pettrey Comments
Alphabet for the Soul--Z is for Zealous

Happy Tuesday, friends! I know I'm coming to you on a different day of the week, but I didn't want to share a post on Christmas. Which, brings me was your Christmas? I pray it was a wonderful time of celebrating family and most importantly, our Savior's birth.

Today, we're on the last letter of the Alphabet. I can't believe we are at the end of a year and the end of Alphabet for the Soul. It seems not so long ago we were jumping in with A and now we are on Z. 

Years can be like that too. How fast did 2017 go by for you? For me it was a year of glorious blessings along with some very rough valleys. I received a health diagnosis that has really altered my daily routine and the time I'm able to invest in certain areas, but more on that in a separate post, which you can read about tomorrow.

Today, however, we're on the letter Z and for our word I've chosen zealous. I often think zealous gets a negative connotation, but if you are zealous for the right things, you can be nearly unstoppable. 

A zealous soul accomplishes more in brief moments than most do in a lifetime.


Think of those who have gone before us. Those who have been zealous for the Lord and who have made great strides in a rather brief period of years. Servants like Jim Elliot, Eric Liddell, and Derrick Bonhoeffer. They died serving God boldly and zealously. 

As we enter 2018, let's have souls on fire for the Lord and be men and women of zeal for God. 

Spiritual Fervor.jpg

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." ~Romans 12:11

Happy New Year! 



Download PDF  Download JPG

If you have not already, you can also download the front and back cover below:

Front cover  Back cover



To see all letters and download all coloring pages, go to the Alphabet for the Soul page.



Dani Pettrey Comments
Alphabet for the Soul--Y is for Yearn

Happy Monday, friends! I'm so glad you're here. For today's letter, I've chosen the word YEARN. Have you ever yearned for something? I imagine we all have. At this time of year, especially, a lot of kids (and maybe some adults) are yearning for some special Christmas presents. I'm yearning for more of Jesus. God has really been using my health issues to draw me closer into dependance on Him, and while I'd rather not be sick, I'm so very thankful for Him drawing me in even deeper. 

Yearn for Jesus.png

Yearn for Jesus today and always.

The thought of yearning for Jesus brings a song to mind for me. Can you tell I'm a fan of music. It speaks to my soul, and when I think of yearning to be closer to Jesus, I think of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong. If you haven't heart this amazing song, you're missing out. 

Can't you just hear the longing in the artist's heart for God? It reminds me of this wonderful verse from Psalms: 

"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." ~Psalm 84:2

My Soul Yearns.png

As we draw closer to Christmas, make time to draw closer to Jesus. Yearn for Him and He will answer. 


Download PDF  Download JPG

If you have not already, you can also download the front and back cover below:

Front cover  Back cover


To see all letters and download all coloring pages, go to the Alphabet for the Soul page.



Dani Pettrey Comments
Alphabet for the Soul - X is for Xerach

Happy Monday, friends! I’m super excited to share today’s word with you. It was a little interesting come up with an applicable word for X, but I found one, and I don’t know about you, but it really speaks to where I am right now with my recent health issues and some other trials I’m facing. It’s a word that holds so much encouragement, I feel God whispering it to my soul as I type this out.

So, without further ado, x is for xerach! Yes, it’s a word. A wonderful word full of deep meaning.

Xerach is: Plant succession staring on bare ground or rock (an empty place or a hard surface) and culminating in a mature climax forest.

It is mature forest growing from the humblest of beginnings.  

A lone xerach flower blooming in the desert is a far mightier display of God’s might than a meadow full of them. If He’s planted you in a dry place, trust that He’ll bring you to bloom.

Bring You To Bloom.jpg

God says in His Word:
“For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” ~Isaiah 43:19

In the Wilderness.png

If you are struggling to grow in a dry, hard place, trust that God is at work and when you mature into full bloom, you will be a glorious reflection of Him to behold.

For Further Study: 

·      2 Corinthians 5:17 

·      Isaiah 66:22

·      Isaiah 11:1-9

·      Isaiah 41:18-20 (in addition to verse 19 above)  

·      Psalm 31:24

Here is a song that has spoken to me so much over the years when I’ve been in dry places. I hope it speaks to your heart today as well.

What song is speaking to you right now? Any that fill you with hope whenever you listen to it? I’d love if you’d share.


Download PDF  Download JPG

If you have not already, you can also download the front and back cover below:

Front cover  Back cover



To see all letters and download all coloring pages, go to the Alphabet for the Soul page.

Have a blessed Monday!

In Christ,


Alphabet for the Soul-W is for Waiting

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I finished writing a novella project I’m really excited about that will be part of a compilation novella entitled The Cost of Betrayal with Dee Henderson and Lynette Eason. It will be available next fall. I hope you’ll all enjoy it.

Today we’re going to talk about waiting. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of waiting. Patience is not my strong suit, though God has been trying to get the concept through my thick skull for a while now.

I don’t know what you might be waiting for—the right guy or girl to come along, the right job, a publishing contract, the latest novel from your favorite writer, or something even more serious like news from a biopsy or the fertility doctor.

Waiting can be so hard. Trust me, I know. I’ve waited beside deathbeds. I’ve waited in delivery rooms and inside the NICU. I’ve waited for a publishing contract for seven years before receiving one. So much waiting, but you know what I learned? We might be waiting, but God isn’t. He’s always at work. Working for our good and His will.

I love this verse from Isaiah:

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

~Isaiah 40:31

Soar On Wings.png


Those who trust in the Lord (even in waiting) will find new strength. I don’t know about you, but it’s been in some of my deepest periods of waiting that God has done the most work in me and looking back, I can see the journey He’s with me on. So, take heart, dear ones.

Waiting is tough, but those God calls, He equips. You’re going to make it in splendid fashion. ~Dani Pettrey

Waiting is Tough.png

Coloring page “W” for Waiting

Download PDF  Download JPG

If you have not already, you can also download the front and back cover below:

Front cover  Back cover



To see all letters and download all coloring pages, go to the Alphabet for the Soul page.

May God bless you in this time of waiting and may your trust in Him increase daily.


Writerly Wednesday--Interview with the Awesome Susie Larson!


Hi friends,

Welcome to Writerly Wednesday. Today I have a very special guest--Susie Larson is joining us from Minnesota. If you aren't familiar with Susie, boy are you missing out. Susie is a radio host, writer, encourager and she runs a fabulous conference for Christian Writers.

The amazing thing about Susie is how you open one of her books and you feel like you've stepped in the room with her and are chatting over a cup of coffee. Her words speak deep to the soul and I'm honored to have her sharing with us today.

1) What Bible story are you most thankful was included in Scripture and why?

What a great question! Can I give you three answers?

Yes ma'am! 

My first choice would be the story of Joseph of the OT. His story of vision, hardship, training, trust, and breakthrough speak volumes to me. I’ve returned to this story time and time again as I’ve walked out my own faith journey. Second choice would be the story of Ruth. Her grit and courage and conviction to face the unknown and to follow a God she trusted but could not see…well, it inspires me to no end. And finally, the woman at the well constantly reminds me that Jesus changes us when we’re willing to be honest with Him. I love how most of the town was transformed because she was willing to be known as someone who needed to be saved. When saving grace upstages saving face, everything changes.


Amen to that! 

2) Who do you most want to reach through your writing?

I want to encourage and strengthen the Christ follower who is weary in battle and who wonders if God sees her. I have such a passion to see women healed, restored, and mobilized to live out their call in Christ Jesus.

Your heart for women definitely comes shining through in all your writing and in your awesome radio show! You are definitely an encourager. I've been so blessed by you! 

3) Is there a theme that carries through most of your books even though they are on different topics?

Wow, another great question! For me, yes! I didn’t set out to carry this theme throughout my books but it’s appeared enough for me to realize that it’s a part of who I am. If you read enough of my stuff, you’ll start to notice that I write a lot about how to stand in battle, how to contend for the promises of God, how to persevere when you feel like quitting, and the importance of physical disciplines to protect your health. I worked in the fitness industry for about 15 years and I’ve struggled with a chronic health issue. Though I’m a ‘doer’ and a get-er-done girl, I’ve had to come to grips with my limits. And in that place, I’ve learned afresh that I serve a God who has no limits. So I respect my limits and then I pray to the God of the impossible. I suppose that’s more than one theme. Is that okay? :)

Lol! Absolutely okay :) I also suffer from a chronic health condition and am very much like you--a 'doer' so it's been quite a challenge learning to accept my limits, but you are so right--God IS the God of the impossible.

4) What would you say helps you stay focused on what matters most in a world that’s so distracting?

I spend a significant time with the Lord every morning because He’s my safest place, He knows me best, and He’s the Source of everything I do. And as silly as it sounds, I get to bed on time every night. We lose perspective quickly when we’re under-rested and overworked.

That is so true. Rest is so important as is that start-of-the-day time with our Lord. 

5) What do you do to prepare your heart or still your soul for celebrating Jesus’ birth at Christmas?

I do what I do all year long (guard that morning time with God), and I block off nights on my schedule to just sit by the tree with music on. I recall the ways God has been faithful. This reminds me that I have a history with God. And I thank Him ahead of time for the ways He will continue to be faithful. I know I have a future with Him. And I remember that Jesus was born during a time of great injustice. It may have been a silent night but it was a turbulent time. It helps me remember that though we will have trouble in this world, we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.

Amen! How about you all--how do you prepare your heart or still your soul for celebrating Jesus' birth at Christmas?

Everyone who answers or leaves a question or comment for Susie will automatically be entered to when a copy of Your Sacred Yes! Trust me, you want to win this fabulous book. 


Thank you so much for joining us today, Susie. It was an honor and a pleasure.


Susie and I would love if you'd join us THIS Thursday at 8pm EST for a Christmas Celebration. There will be caroling, Christmas memories, FB LIVE videos from us both, not to mention fabulous Christmas giveaway bundles. Hope to see you there! Be sure to RSVP today.


Susie Larson is a talk radio host, national speaker, and bestselling author of fifteen books and many articles. In both 2016 and 2017 Susie was nominated and voted into the top ten group for the John Maxwell Leadership Award. Susie has been married to her dear husband Kevin since 1985 and together they have three wonderful sons, three beautiful daughters-in-law, and one adorable pit bull named Memphis. Susie’s passion is to see women everywhere awakened to the value of their soul, the depth of God’s love, and the height of their calling in Christ Jesus.

To learn more about Susie visit her at