The Ties that Bind: Delilah

This post is what you would call “two birds, one stone.”

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I have a treat for you today. I just finished reading Delilah, by Fay Lamb. It was delightful. This is book four, the final book in her “Ties that Bind” series. I’ve loved all the books in this series, and hate to say goodbye.

Delilah has been a lasting presence throughout this series. In the beginning, she was the character I loved to hate.  If she had walked off the face of the earth, or been eaten by an alligator, I would not have minded, except the stories may not have been so interesting. She did at least provide plenty of conflict.

The change in Delilah actually begins in book three, aptly entitled “Hope.” You don’t have to read Hope, or any of the other books, but I urge you to begin with Charisse and read your way to the end.

Delilah (the book) begins with conflict as she (a former judge) stands before a judge. In fact, this story keeps the conflict wire live, piling on enough to break Delilah. At times, I wondered if she could hold onto her newfound faith.

Isn’t that just like life? Everything’s going well, then along comes the tests and trials that strengthen our faith. They’ll make or break us. Delilah (the woman) was always a tough cookie, so I was hoping for the best. She didn’t disappoint.

Of course, Lamb added romance, complete with a dollop of steam and a near train wreck when little hateful sister arrives. Yes, more conflict. Nothing is going to be easy for Dee. Would you expect anything less for such an edgy character?

The Ties that Bind series offers an ensemble cast. You meet them in Charisse. You get to know them better in Libby. The friendship deepens in Hope, and matures by the end of Delilah. These ties are strong, which is a good thing, since they’ll be stretched to the limits by all that life throws at them in Delilah.

This is a story with a message of forgiveness and grace. Saying “I forgive you,” may be easy, but true forgiveness which is coupled with forgetfulness is difficult. You have to forget the past in order to truly forgive. You can’t keep rehearsing the sin or circumstance.

I loved the character arc that completes in this final episode, as Delilah learns to live among people without chewing their heads off.

So, why “two birds, one stone?” Well, I needed to review Delilah, and I also needed a blog post this week. Simple, right? Now I have both, and y’all have a possible list of four books to read while on vacation.


Delilah – Ties that Bind Book 4

Calling a truce with the man you love? What’s the fun in that?

Newly elected judge, John M. Turner, tries his best to call an end to his war with former Circuit Judge Delilah James, the woman he bested in the election by only a narrow margin. Delilah refuses to accept his flag of surrender. Worse yet, a vengeful assistant state attorney, the other candidate whose entry in the race actually handed the win to John, is seeking to have them both removed from the Florida Bar, and the game Delilah has forced upon him has given their enemy ammunition for his disbarment.

Delilah likes the give and take she shares with John. What fun is there in surrender? She wants to make amends but makes a mess of every attempt. Added to her foibles, life has become complicated: John’s teenage sister hates her, and Libby Carter has been arrested for battery on a police officer and has embroiled Delilah in the plight of the homeless. Her past has returned to haunt her, and if that’s not enough, she’s deep into the one experience in life she never thought would happen to her. She’s fallen in love.


Fay Lamb has always taken joy in forming words that tell stories that will enrich the lives of others. She tackles issues that she has had to face. She isn’t afraid of the hard issues and takes delight in weaving humor into the lives of her characters, even in the direst of circumstances.

Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. The Amazing Grace series is complete and available as are the first three books, Charisse, Libby, and Hope, in her Ties that Bind contemporary romance series.

Fay loves teaching the art of fiction and has taught at several conferences over the last five years. She is currently the co-host of Publishing Laine, a monthly radio talk show on the Along Comes a Writer Network on BlogTalkRadio.com

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.

Frozen Notes – A Book Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello! It’s Thursday Morning!

Well, it’s actually Wednesday as I’m working on this. When I realized that tomorrow is Thursday, and I had not finished reviewing that book I told you about last week.

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of author, Fay Lamb. I love her books. So, I was excited to find a new one (even though I somehow skipped one in the series). So, here are my impressions, and a short review — no spoilers (I hope)!

The setting: Amazing Grace, a fictional town in North Carolina, is a place I’d love to visit, if it existed.

The book’s cover: You don’t often see a black-and-white cover. But when you get into the story, you understand why. The main character’s life has lost color, meaning, she’s even lost faith.

I actually started reading this book on Kindle until the paperback arrived in the mail. I couldn’t resist opening it. There’s something so special about a brand new book in your hands, especially a page-turner like this one.

Oh, the delicious characters that populate the little town of Amazing Grace in Frozen Notes. Some rather seedy, others ruthless and just plain mean. Some, who are scratching like mad to get out of the pit they’ve gotten themselves into.

What wonderful names they have–Lyric, and Balaam, Magda. As you’re still getting to know these characters, they show off like peacocks, but they’re not displaying beauty. Instead, we see their humanity in all of its broken glory. I was not repulsed, however. Instead, I was drawn into their imperfect stories, and led to hope their struggles would end well.

Questions wrestled my attention from the start. Would Lyric play her music again? Will this family find some semblance of balance, or will they always be at odds with one another? It seems almost as if Fay Lamb sets up most of them to fail. They all have rough backgrounds, and broken beginnings. The book starts with a double homicide. Rather overwhelming odds, I’d say.

But I never felt overwhelmed, because there was always that glimmer of hope shining through. And so many of these characters longed for real and lasting love, but hadn’t achieved it, and didn’t really know how to go about getting it. Most of all, I wanted a real, and lasting love for Lyric’s son, who wanted a father so badly. A real one, who would stay, be kind to him, and love him for who he was.

Can Lyric forgive those who have hurt her so deeply, including the pain she has inflicted on herself? As I read, I’m pulling for Balaam, whose stunning looks could almost make you forget how far from grace he’s fallen.

Like real life, this story travels through some tumultuous days, when hope takes a nose dive. But strengths are honed in the worst of times. Those characters who’ve set their hearts and minds on overcoming, will triumph in the end. And if you’re a fan of happy endings, this author has given you her best.

This is no sweet love story, though you may find sweetness and love threaded throughout. For those who like a meatier kind of romance, that doesn’t hide ugliness and pain, doesn’t filter reality through rosy glasses, Frozen Notes fills that bill well.

I’m giving this one five stars and keeping it around to re-read when I have time to savor every detail.

Now, if you were here last week, you may remember I told you there would be a giveaway attached to this review. If you’d like to win a free copy of Frozen Notes, either the Kindle version, or print version–winner’s choice–leave me a comment below and let me know you’d like a chance to win.

Just my way of saying thank you for stopping by my blog!

Click to Tweet: Hello! Thursday Morning, read a five-star review of Fay Lamb’s Frozen Notes. #Suspense #giveaway


More about Frozen Notes, Amazing Grace, Book 4

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

Lazy Writing vs. Deep POV

Lessons From a Recovering Writer

Judging by the suggestions in my manuscript, you would think I had just started out with this writing thing.  I know better. When had I gotten so lazy?

Yes, I’d rushed a little to finish the manuscript. But what good is it if you have to go back and make dozens of changes?

Too many tags. I know not to do that. What are tags, and why not use them?

  1. “You can’t go that way, the road is out,” Darlene said.
  2. Darlene grabbed Gabe’s hand. “You can’t go that way, the road is out.”

#1 – “Darlene said,” is a tag. It identifies the speaker in the sentence.  Nothing wrong with it, but read the second sentence.

#2 – In a deeper point of view (POV), you use an action beat to identify the speaker. “Darlene grabbed Gabe’s hand,” is an action beat. You’re in the story. Nothing distracts you.

It’s okay to use tags. But if you want a deeper POV, you’ll limit your use of tags. I had way too many, and they were distracting.

I also overused some words. I found 176 uses of the word, “whisper.” I also used whispers, whispered, and whispering. Again–distraction!

That’s lazy writing. When you have to go back in and change those, it’s not just distracting, but it’s irritating. And while I’m confessing, let’s talk about then. I have a habit of saying, “and then,” which translates to my writing. “Then he went…”

“Lou called Amy and then left for work.”–Not so bad, but 48 instances of “and then”–definite distraction. And just when I think I’ve learned a thing or two, I find out how little I know. Yes, I’m aware I started a sentence with and. I also occasionally start a sentence with but. Your editor may call you out on it, but it’s not the end of the world. But…if you overuse it–lazy. And distracting!

 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.–1 Peter 1:17 The Message Bible

Sloppy living. Yes, that’s another way of saying…laziness. *Sigh*

So, all you have to do is remove tags for a deeper POV?

Well, no–there’s a lot more to it than that. But it would take another, much longer post to talk about it. If you’re interested in learning more about  deep point of view, here are a couple of great resources:


The Art of Characterization by Fay Lamb

Put on your director’s cap and prepare to set your story world’s stage with memorable scenes and unforgettable characters.

Great storytelling isn’t done haphazardly. Storytelling is an art which requires practice to master. In The Art of Characterization authors are shown elements of storytelling which, when practiced correctly, utilizes forward–moving description and back story, deep point of view, dialogue, and conflict to create a cast of characters readers will never forget.

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

How do you create a main character readers won’t forget? How do you write a book in multiple-third-person point of view without confusing your readers (or yourself)? How do you plant essential information about a character’s past into a story?

Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by award-winning author Nancy Kress answers all of these questions and more! This accessible book is filled with interactive exercises and valuable advice that teaches you how to:

  • Choose and execute the best point of view for your story
  • Create three-dimensional and believable characters
  • Develop your characters’ emotions
  • Create realistic love, fight, and death scenes
  • Use frustration to motivate your characters and drive your story

With dozens of excerpts from some of today’s most popular writers, Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint provides you with the techniques you need to create characters and stories sure to linger in the hearts and minds of agents, editors, and readers long after they’ve finished your book.


What word(s) do you tend to overuse in your writing?

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Unlikely Merger’s SAM List

Caribbean Beach2It all started on a Love Boat Cruise to the Caribbean. You might wonder how Mercy Lacewell ended up on a cruise like that with her semi-invalid father…

Well, that’s the kind of thing that happens occasionally, even in real life. It seems like the wrong place, at the wrong time, when it could just be wrong place at the right time. Or right place, wrong time. Anyway, Mercy went on a cruise with her dad. She met a young minister named Brent Teague and something happened to her heart. The almost-romance softened her heart a little and prepared her for what was coming next.

What was coming next–

Back home, Daddy and his assistant, Madeline, decide Mercy needs more life experience. They send her out as acquisitions analyst for Lacewell Limited. Her job: to assess the companies and businesses they find, and decide if the businesses are a good investment for the company. Sounds like fun, right? Except that it’s something Mercy has never done, never thought about doing, never wanted to do. She’s perfectly happy in Denver, taking care of Dad.

First trip out: wouldn’t you know they’d end up in Texas during a freak ice storm? Mercy and Lacewell Limited’s other acquisitions analyst (Dustin Rogers) never actually make it to the destination, but they find something better, and are able to add it to the list. And Dustin gets added to Madeline’s SAM list. What’s a SAM? Single, available male (remember that).

Next stop, Watkins Glen, New York, to check out an inn. This adventure includes snow, sledding, and Landon Gates. Now we’re ready for a warmer climate. How about San Diego, CA? Nice, very nice. And once again, Mercy bumbles through her first meeting with the owner of Montoya Olive Oil–yes, that’s MOO for short. Enrique Miguel Montoya, “Ric” for short–doesn’t seem to mind. He makes her feel very much at home among his clan in their beautiful home. Mercy learns not to bite an olive fresh from the tree, no matter how ripe it looks. Ric is a welcome addition to the SAM list.

alligator-439887_1280Staying with the warmer weather, Mercy is headed to Titusville, Florida, and a gator farm. Yes, you read that right. Adventure. For this one, she takes Uncle Thomas along. I don’t blame her. Mr. Mann welcomes her–Gabe Mann. Great name, huh? After a full assessment and a medical procedure, she says goodbye to Titusville, but Gabe finds a place on the list.

Headed north, Mercy stops in Madison, Alabama for a quick look at Diana’s Burger Bistro. Will this be a good investment? She has a rather unfortunate first meeting with the chef, a surfer-type named Talon Hawthorne. But he makes a nice save by cooking a meal that pleases her palate.

Fourteen Quarters Repertory Company is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. And Douglas “Digger” Grant is the contact. Chemistry! Mercy learns all about small productions and develops a nice friendship with a man named Icky. You’ll need to read the chapter to understand that one.

Chapter Eight takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, where Mercy looks at McBride Mortgage. She feels uncertain about this one and tries her best to talk Uncle Thomas into accompanying her. But…ends up on her own with the formidable Mason McBride, until she meets IT director, Levi Shepherd. Mercy was more than happy to spend quality time getting technical with this guy. Another addition to the SAM list!

Great Barrington, Massachusetts is Mercy’s next stop, to look at a trucking company. Ahhh, New England in the spring. Rob and Steve LeClerc of LeClerc Trucking, at your service. Mercy falls pretty hard for Steve. Or 9cb57-shutterstock_40179583maybe his dog.

All the way back across this wide country of ours, Mercy lands at LAX and hits the road for Santa Monica, CA. She quickly learns there is no avoiding L.A. traffic, but that’s nothing compared to the crankiness of St. Andrew. She ends up trapped in a very small room with Reuben Miller. For three hours. Kind of a crash course, ending with Rube Miller on the SAM list.

So that brings us to the final stop on Mercy’s itinerary–in Lexington, KY–land of blue grass, beautiful horses, and Knight-Link & Associates. After a near head-on collision with someone she believes to be a handyman or plumber, she meets with Philip Knight, the owner of the architectural engineering firm. He introduces her to his nephew Daniel Knight, aka handyman/plumber, who turns out to be a designer of equine habitats. And his cowboy charm wins him a place on the list.

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oFinal chapter, readers’ choice. One of the ten handsome, young fellows you met in the above summary has won the chance to woo Mercy. Our readers voted for their favorite. Who is it? Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out. Today, and for the rest of the 4th of July holiday weekend, you can download it absolutely free. Don’t have a Kindle? Did you know you can get a free Kindle app on your phone or computer? Just go to Amazon Kindle and check it out.

If you miss out on the free download, Unlikely Merger be available through the remainder of July for just 99 cents.

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Write Integrity Press: Book Release Day – Free on Kindle!

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            Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Suzy Moore

Write Integrity Press: One Moose of a Summer

Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Jennifer Hallmark

        Write Integrity Press: That’s When the Crazy Started

Jennifer Hallmark: Collaborative Projects by Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb: Who Wrote Whom: Meet the Authors of Unlikely Merger: Fay Lamb