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February is ALL THE LOVE (giveaway!)

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IMG_0197.jpgCan you believe it’s already February!? It’s a busy month at my house. Valentine’s Day and the Daddy/Daughter Ball and our anniversary–PLUS my little sister is having her first baby and the whole family is so excited. I truly love Valentine’s Day. We don’t go too crazy over here, but chocolate is a MUST and there are cards and usually some stuffed animals and the kids love all of it.

One thing I always think of around this time of the year is my novel Looks Like Love. Maybe because the cover is pink and white. Maybe because it’s a story of a girl seeking out adventure, and stumbling across a little romance along the way. It’s a novel that digs into the question What does love look like?  The main character, Kasey, has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend, so she heads off to visit her best friend, who just happens to be British. London is calling! So Kasey embarks on a trip of self-discovery, a touch of romance, and a lot of fun. When she gets back, things at work get crazy. The advertising firm where she works has finally landed LETA, a cosmetics company branching out with their first fragrance, called Love. Kasey’s tasked with finding out what love looks like, and then finding a way to sell it. From double-decker tour buses to glamorous galas–you’ll want to join Kasey on her journey to find out the truth about love.

The picture above includes a little “Book of Days.” I dug that out this morning when working on an Instagram photo post. This is one of my treasures. It’s the journal I filled out on my Europe trip, way back in college. I’m so thankful I wrote down even snippets of every day I was there. It was a trip of a lifetime and that little book helps me remember the details. The month I spent in Europe was the inspiration behind Looks Like Love. The places that Kasey visits–such as Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Bath, and more–are places I went to on my tour and that were stamped on my heart forever. The last week of the month was spent in Paris and Rome and Florence with my dad. The next year I would get married, so those days of just the two of us were extra special. (Though, I will say that admiring the Statue of David with your dad is an interesting experience! Ha! But we made it through and had an amazing time, from exploring Paris, to traveling via train in a sleeper car on our way to Rome (two little grannies shared our cabin!), to dinner in Florence. Those are moments I cherish.)

So, in some ways, Looks Like Love is imprinted with the heart memories of that trip. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you’ll check it out. Hop over to Amazon and read the first chapter!

The fun of Valentine’s isn’t just romance, and that’s part of what I love about the book. (Though romance is wonderful of course!) It’s exploring the many ways we see love in our lives–family and friends and so much more. Being loved by the people closest to us, and loving them well in return, makes all the difference.


I thought I would do a little giveaway as my Happy Hearts Day gift to you! I’m offering one free Kindle e-book download for Looks Like Love. All you have to do is leave a comment (click on the rafflecopter link) telling us a vacation spot that’s on your bucket list, and for an extra ticket (not required), hop over and like my Facebook page . Since I want you to have this before Valentine’s Day, the raffle will run until February 9th. So spread the news, grab some white chocolate (Kasey’s favorite), maybe a little pink champagne, click on the link below, and get ready!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Talking Holidays with author Toni Shiloh!

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DSC01664.jpgQ: What’s one of your favorite aspects of the holiday season?
A: I love the kindness that permeates the air during the holiday season! People who are normally standoffish will offer a smile and a greeting. People seemed to stop and smell the roses and remember people are what it’s about.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday movie?
A:I love Home Alone and Home Alone 2. What’s even better is I can watch them with my boys and have a good laugh. It’s a great family moment.
Q: Cider or cocoa?
A: Depends on my mood. I’m all for apple cider but hazelnut hot chocolate is fantastic.
Q: Partial to Thanksgiving or Christmas and why?
A: I’m partial to Thanksgiving for two reasons: food and football. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan and they always play on Thanksgiving so I get to eat and watch TV. 😊
makingspiritsbright.jpgTell us about your latest novel!
A Sidelined Christmas is one of the novellas in the Making Spirits Bright collection. I was honored to join the other ladies in the boxset. Once they asked me to join them, I started wondering what could happen during Christmas. Since I’m a football fan, I made my hero a wide receiver, only he gets injured during the Thanksgiving game. What could be worse? Sidelined with a career-ending injury, he goes home to Peachwood Bay to recover and runs into his high school sweetheart.
Thank you for stopping by, Toni!
Check out Making Spirits Bright on Amazon:

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and president of the Virginia Chapter.

You can find her on her website at



Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations by V. Joy Palmer

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weddingphoto.jpgI’m super excited to chat with Joy Palmer today about her novel, Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, her writing process, and how she drinks her coffee!  Just as a heads up, the girl is hilarious and I have loved getting to know her.

Here’s the rundown on Joy: V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

So let’s chat!!

1. Tell me about your publishing history! How did Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations come to be?

I’ve always been obsessed with weddings, and I was single and frustrated with the man who is now my husband (that is a long story) when I first started writing and brainstorming. I started venting writing, and suddenly I just heard Izze chattering in my head. The idea of a single woman in the wedding business who wanted to get married and was fed up with the leading man fascinated me. I’ve really struggled with trusting God (especially with the events that inspired this story), so my heart is really for readers to see that they can trust God with their hearts. Because He has the very best in store for them. He loves to give us beauty for ashes.

  1. Give me a little rundown of your main character and what you love about her.

I largely based Isabel “Izze” Vez on myself. Very original, I know. 😉 However, I made her quite a bit feistier than I am. I’m an introverted bookworm. I tend to keep my adamant opinions to myself. It takes a ridiculous amount of internal arguing and anti-nausea medication for me to even broach the outside rink of social. Izze doesn’t really have those problems. In a lot of ways, she’s the bold person I wish I could be.

However, Izze also tends to be more of a loose cannon. She struggles with acting first, then thinking. While this makes for fun dialogue, it also is very eye-opening since this is something most of us struggle with in one way or another, at one time or another. I guess what I really love about Izze are her flaws! She’s imperfect. But those imperfections are a wonderful stage showcasing God’s awesomeness! All His forgiving, merciful, gracious, and loving awesomeness.

And we both like our coffee to resemble a liquid candy bar. ❤ I love that.

  1. Liquid candy bar! Lol! I love that. So what authors are you reading right now? Anything you recommend?

Oh, so many books! Haha! Since I also review books, that can be and dangerous question, and I’ll read almost anything if there’s a romance.

Right now, I’m finishing up Unraveling by Sara Ella, which is AMAZING! Then I’ll be reading The Memory of You by Cathy West, A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, and Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.

I’m pretty proud of myself for not listing twenty books. *eats brownie as a reward*

  1. I should eat a brownie too. Just thinking out loud here… 🙂 What’s your writing process? Outline? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda girl? Scenes in order or out of order?

While I’m an everything-in-its-place perfectionist in most areas, I’d say I’m more of a pantser with my writing. When I started writing LLaMA, I wrote the scenes in order, and it was killing my creativity, not to mention I overexplained every mundane detail in the setting. Unsurprisingly, stuff came to a screeching halt. Then I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference, and I heard seasoned authors talk about different techniques, including jumping from scene to scene. I wholeheartedly embraced that technique! So much so that I even came up with a major plot twist at that conference while chatting with an editor! “What’s the big conflict?” “Oh, this is going to happen!” Voila! 😉

I had to write some basic plot outlines recently, and it was SO hard! However, even with a basic plot written, I still allowed myself plenty of room to be creative with the scenes while I type my way to “The End.”

  1. I’m the same, but sometimes scenes come to me out of order. (Usually when I’m sitting in church! Ha! Then I’m scribbling down everything.) What book or series made you fall in love with stories?

I’d say there are four different books/series that have shaped me as a reader and a writer. I’ll just tell you about them in the order that I discovered and read them…

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick. This story gave me a fresh love for reading. I can’t tell you how many times I have read this beautiful story. I stopped counting after thirty. LOL. Pirates. Adventure on the high seas. Romance. Mystery. This story has it all!

The Christy Miller Series (and all of the spin off stories!!!) by Robin Jones Gunn. I’ve always related to Christy. I started reading these stories when I was eleven, and since Robin Jones Gunn is amazing and keeps continuing the story, I get to go through life, marriage, and children with this dear friend. Christy and I even have baby girls!

The Dragon Keep Chronicles by Donita K. Paul. Speaking of characters I can relate to!! Kale!!! She is one of my favorite characters ever! I’ll think something, turn the page, and Kale is thinking the same thing. My husband relates to Kale’s husband, Bardon, and we would swap these books back and forth when we were teenagers. ❤ I see these books as another facet of our love story. ❤

Match Point by Erynn Mangum. ❤ I love, love, love Laurie. I get her, I relate to her, and I share her sense of humor. Yet I want to as bold as she is. Plus, we have the same married name! (That wasn’t planned. 😉 ) But I also owe my writing career to this story and author. I’ve heard so many writers talk about a book that changed things for them. Well, this is that book for me. Once I read Match Point, I knew what kind of stories I wanted to write. Funny. Real, flawed, lovable characters. Filled with God.

Oh girl! The Christy Miller series basically helped shape my worldview in middle school and made all the difference in my life going forward. Not to mention, made me want to be a writer! Robin’s writing made me realize that one good novel can actually make an impression for a lifetime. And I’m such a fan of Erynn as well! I especially love the Paige Alder series.

Thank you SO much for sharing with us today, Joy! I’m so glad to know you.

Here are all the ways to connect with Joy and to check out her novel:




Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

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01_mist-of-midnightSo I stopped by the library before our trip in the hope that I’d quickly find a book to grab. I was so excited to find Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd right up front with all the new fiction! I’ve heard a lot about it and have been wanting to read it. It’s a little hard to start new books at the moment. With baby feedings and the endlessness of getting Lincoln chocolate milk and snack–or the never-ending sweeping and dish washing–time gets away from me. (P.S. I recently told Jeff that even though I’ve just quit my job, we really might need a maid service. He just looked at me like maybe I am missing something.) Anyway, I find myself re-reading books that I’ve read (and enjoyed) so I can skim if I need to or skip around. But I knew we had a really long drive ahead of us once we got to Virginia, and a new book sounded doable. Luckily, Mist of Midnight drew me in right from the start and I finished it by the time we reached Florida.

It’s a gothic love story (feels a little Bronte-ish), which I like but only if the story isn’t too dark. (I’d always choose Pride and Prejudice over Wuthering Heights.) The heroine is smart and determined but not annoying. I feel like a lot of the female characters in books I’ve read lately are supposedly “strong” but mostly that translates to bossy and stubborn and must have her way. Uncool. The heroine in this novel is likeable and a woman of substance. Her convictions are tempered by her compassion. The story keeps you guessing and the romance isn’t too rushed. The cover is gorgeous and matches the tone of the book. It’s an enjoyable read. I’m definitely going to check out more Sandra Byrd novels.

Books, Babies, Houses. . .oh my!

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So 2011 has already been a very busy year for the Bruce family! I have been so thrilled with the great response to my new novel Looks Like Love. I’ll be doing a blog book tour next month, which I’m very excited about. 🙂 The book trailer has been getting a lot of hits. If you haven’t checked it out yet, just click here. Thanks to everyone who’s already bought the book! Keep spreading the word.

Also, we’ve already bought a new house this year! We’re still early in the process, but we hope to  move sometime next month! Yay! I can’t wait. I’m one of those people who enjoys a certain amount of change. I like the opportunity to start fresh somewhere. But moving itself is never fun. You know, the packing, the cleaning, the packing, the cleaning . . . But once it’s all said and done, we’ll be settled in a new place with new memories to make!

And then there’s the most exciting news of all! We’ll be welcoming a new addition to the family this year! I’ve been trying to tell people slowly, and I finally just decided to make the announcement on my blog. We’re super excited! I’m 2 months along at this point and our due date is at the end of August. I’m already looking forward to decorating a new nursery and choosing a baby name. These past few weeks have been a little uncomfortable. Morning sickness and lots of weepiness, if you know what I mean. But we’re dealing with it. It’s amazing to me how things I normally can’t get enough of (Diet Dr Pepper, for example), suddenly aren’t my first choice. Instead, I want things like strawberry soda and cherry 7Up. We had our first ultrasound and were so happy to see that little heart fluttering.

So, I told you! 2011 is proving to be an exciting year already. So many changes and wonderful things happening. I’m thankful for all of it. And it’s only January! What about you? How’s 2011 going for you? As for the Bruce family, books, babies, houses . . . oh my! 🙂

Breaking News! New Novel!

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Okay, so here’s the most exciting news ever, I just published my first novel! Yay! The title is Looks Like Love. Here’s the whole scoop:  We moved to Castle Rock, Colorado, a little more than six years ago. During that first six months of living here, a story started forming in my head. I kept thinking about this girl who’s  feeling lost in her own life. I wanted to write about her adventure of rediscovering life and love after everything had fallen apart for her. So I started writing here and there, not very consistently actually. But eventually (and when I say eventually, we’re talking years later) I had finished the story. The book released this month on and I am so thrilled! 

While I love my work as an editor, I’ve always dreamed of having a book of my own. Now that dream has come true. In fact, I received my copy right before Christmas. Definitely a wonderful Christmas present for me. I am really pleased with the finished product. I so hope you’ll check it out! You can go here to read the first chapter. I’ll be doing some blog interviews and a blog book tour in the next several weeks. And I’m open to more! So if you’re a blogger, let me know if you’d like to chat about Looks Like Love.

I also really hope you’ll check out my book trailer! It’s so cute! This has been an amazing journey. So, pick up your copy today and enjoy!

Blog Tour! Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

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In Amy Inspired, Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up–both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy’s relationships, she must come to terms with who she’s become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

I loved this author’s witty voice! I kept laughing throughout the novel. To be honest, it took me a while to get through this novel, but I have to say that I loved it. I totally connected to the main character, Amy. For aspiring female novelists, this is a must-read. The main character is plagued with editorial rejections and stuck in this place where her heart’s desires are just not being filled liked she’d hoped. How many of us have been there? Yeah, me too. I thought the author did a fantastic job of really capturing the voice and feel of so many twenty-something/thirty-something women. Amy’s inner monologue is hilarious! The real heart of this novel is just that it’s a real-life kind of story that you can relate to. I was rooting for Amy, not necessarily that all her wishes would come true, but that she’d find that sort of happiness that really matters. Her faith is not heavy-handed in the book, but I love that the author explores Amy’s struggles with faith. Overall, I highly recommend this book. It wasn’t a quick read for me, but in the long run, I truly felt like it was an excellent story worth reading.