Seriously Write: Protecting Your Brand by Patty Smith Hall


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Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

Once you figure out your brand, it’s up to you to protect it.

Patty Smith Hall

We have a new regular Wednesday contributor on the Seriously Write blog. Today, we welcome author Patty Smith Hall. Join in the discussion about writer brands and how to protect them.

Have you recognized your brand yet? What steps have you taken to protect it?


Finishing Strong With Robin Patchen


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Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

I’m pleased to welcome Robin Patchen to this month’s Finishing Strong. Robin is not only a romantic suspense author but the owner of Robin’s Red Pen. So if you need a freelance editor, I can tell you from experience that she’s a joy to work with. Welcome, Robin!

Planning Well Leads to Finishing Strong

I’m not one of those people with a million ideas floating around in my head at the same time. I usually just have one decent idea at a time—and I’m glad to have it.

When I start a series, I don’t even know who all the books are going to be about. I usually only know how many books I intend to write and what genre they will be.

For instance, with the Hidden Truth series, I had the idea for the first book, Convenient Lies. I plotted that book and started writing it, and when I introduced Samantha, Rae’s best friend, I knew she would eventually have her own book. But the deeper I got into Rae’s story, the more I knew book two had to be about Nate. I’d put him through such horror in book one, I figured he deserved it. As I finished writing Convenient Lies, in the back of my mind, I was already plotting Nate and Marisa’s story. Halfway through writing Twisted Lies, I was planning Sam’s story. By the end of Generous Lies, I knew poor Eric had been left out long enough. He and Kelsey became the protagonists for Innocent Lies. So, I’m generally thinking and planning only one book ahead.

All that planning fell apart as I started writing Beauty in Flight. It was intended to be book one in a four-book series that takes place in the fictional town of Nutfield, New Hampshire (where the Hidden Truth books take place.) Unfortunately, Harper’s story got completely out of control. It became far too long, and there were three distinct parts that didn’t flow well together. I reached a point when I realized there was no way I could tell her story in one normal-length novel. I stalled out, and the book sat and sat while I agonized over what I should do away with.

Finally, I decided that I would write the story as three books, and with that plan in mind, I was able to finish them up. For me, when a plan stalls, I do, too. It’s not a pretty picture. But when a plan (even if it’s a new plan) comes together, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m thrilled with the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series.

I think some writers would have moved on to a different project all together. Maybe that would have been wise. I’m a bit stubborn, honestly, so when I decide I’m going to write something, I stick with it until it’s written. And in this case, I couldn’t leave Harper and Jack’s story unfinished. I rarely know exactly how a story is going to end when I start it, and I wanted to know what was going to happen!

The moral to the story for me is that I have to plan my projects well, or I’ll cause myself lots of grief.


About Robin’s latest release, Beauty in Hiding, book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:

Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects her to those two dead men. 

Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are. 

Jack Rossi is mystified by his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.

Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he locates Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.  

Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If the truth comes out, she may lose her freedom—or her life.

Don’t miss Beauty in Hiding, Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series.

Beauty in Hiding links:
Amazon Series Page:


Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Download a free copy of Convenient Lies, book 1 in the Hidden Truth series, when you visit Robin’s website,

Seriously Write: Even If There’s Only One by Heather Norman Smith


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Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

Every once in a while, I wonder if it’s all worth it. Does it really matter? 

Heather Norman Smith

Author Heather Norman Smith visits the Seriously Write blog today to talk about what thought gets her through those times of writing discouragement.

Do you ever wonder if your writing time and effort makes any difference?

Book Review: Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington


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Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

This is the third novel in author Annette Irby’s series Washington Island Romance. For me, this was the favorite. So, if you’ve enjoyed the other two, be sure you do not miss this one!

Liberty Winfield’s orphaned teen years and a past mistake color her perception of her present. They prevent her from feeling loved and accepted. As a result, she’s developed an independent streak and her life is unsettled.

Clay Garrison deals with his father’s disapproval and the interference of his well-meaning mother into his love life. An accident changed him from a self-centered teen into a believing man with plans for his future but lacking the courage to confront his father over the man’s disdain.

When Liberty returns to her hometown and the couple meet after years apart, their connection brings pain, mistrust, and hope.

‘Clay.’ The name barely emerged. Words had a way of coming out strangled when you couldn’t breathe. When you couldn’t decide between fleeing or freezing.

The crowd cleared the doorway. Clutching her purse in a tight fist, she bolted from the room.

‘Hey,’ Clay called from behind.

He’d better not follow her. If he did, he’d find she had one more option—fighting.

Self-centered Clay Garrison probably had no idea what he’d cost her. Had she been innocent in their relationship? No. But when she’d needed him the most, he’d let her down the hardest.

While I enjoyed the previous two books in this series, this one had an emotional pull that ran deeper than the others, a pull that started in the beginning and tugged all the way to the end. I admired Liberty for wanting to live up to a past agreement but felt for her in her struggle to put the happiness of others before her own. And the story of the special fairy houses…so sweet!

As with the other books, this one is peopled with humorous secondary characters you want to hug. I really liked Clay’s mom and her matchmaking ways. However, I kept hoping she would get involved in the strained relationship between Clay and his father. She seemed clueless. Gloria and Roy were just the loving people Liberty needed in her life to counterbalance her feelings of being unacceptable.

I’d recommend reading the whole series, but especially Finding Love on Whidbey Island, Washington. I’m giving it 4.7 stars.

Seriously Write: What to Do While Waiting to Hear Back from an Agent/Editor by Grace Hitchcock


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Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin

Before you dive into the next step, be sure to celebrate that HUGE milestone of finishing a novel and submitting it.

Grace Hitchcock

Join us on the Seriously Write blog and let’s discuss author Grace Hitchcock’s suggestions for keeping yourself busy while you’re waiting to hear back on a submission. Share your own.

How do you fill the time while you wait for word on a submitted proposal?