Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Last Day to Enter - Goodreads Giveaway

Ah! It totally snuck up on me!

I'm in North Carolina, soaking up all sorts of writerly awesomeness at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

But I wanted to pop in and let you know that I am offering a FREE copy of Covert Justice on Goodreads. The giveaway ends tonight, so head over there and sign up!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Covert Justice by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

Covert Justice

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

Giveaway ends May 19, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Stay in the Writing Game

Stay in the Writing Game
by Lynn H Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I’d like to tell you a little story . . . I promise it is relevant . . . 

Over the past few months, my family has had an unprecedented amount of illness and minor injuries. So much so that I’ve missed an insane amount of time in the gym. Where I had been consistent, I found myself struggling to make it even once a week, and often missed a couple of weeks in a row. 

Then last Thursday happened.

I was cleared to go back to the gym, but when I looked at the workout I cringed.

A 1-mile row followed by a 1-mile run followed by 4 minutes of weighted plank.

Shoot.Me.Now.

I went anyway. My plan was to row slow and to walk if I needed to.

I didn't need to.

Don’t get me wrong, my running would be more accurately described as a slow slog, but I ran that mile. Every step of it. 

When I got home, I realized how remarkable it was. Not because I’m fast or because that workout was a super challenging one. (In fact, it was what we call an “active recovery” day).

But …


I'm guest posting today over at The Write Conversation. Hop on over there to read the rest of the story...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Writing Update and Links I Love - April 25th Edition

Covert Justice
Covert Justice goes on sale in just six weeks!

Members of Harlequin's Readers Service have already received their copy, and Covert Justice is starting to get some love. 

My dear friend and mentor, Lynette Eason, has given Covert Justice a fabulous endorsement.



And Leslie R. McKee reviewed it for Romantic Times and gave Covert Justice 4 stars. Here's what she had to say...



Isn't that lovely! 

I'm working on my Fiction Newsletter that will go out to my newsletter subscribers next week. Newsletter subscribers get behind-the-scenes info on my writing, including an exclusive deleted scene from Covert Justice. If you haven't signed up yet, the signup form is in the sidebar. Or you can go here...

Yes, I want to signup for your newsletter!

I'm also hard at work on a new book. I'd so appreciate your prayers for this story. Writing a book while preparing for the release of another book is challenging. It's a little bit (a very little bit!) like having your second child. 

When you had your first baby, you could put all your energy into that little bundle of joy. But when the second one comes along, you need to nurture and feed and stay up late with this new creation, while still giving your firstborn lots of time and attention as well. 

It's a challenge to adjust to the new demands, but eventually, you find your rhythm.

With my books, I'm still in the "challenging" stage, but every now and then I get hints and glimmers of a manageable rhythm, so I'm pressing on.

For your weekend...here are a few finds from the internet that caught my eye!

Faith
My friend, Lori Roeleveld, has been writing some powerful posts about love. Start with this one, What Hope When Murderers Reign, and then be sure to read the next severals posts and allow these truths about LOVE to sink deep.

Fiction and Fun (well, fun might not be the right word...) 
I was so sad to hear about Jonathan Crombie's passing. (I may have watched all of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables, the Sequel...in one day...) From Buzzfeed, here are 25 Times Gilbert Blythe from "Anne of Green Gables" Melted Your Heart. 

Family
Loved this perspective from Modern Mrs. Darcy - Balance Isn't a See-Saw. It's a game of Twister.

Food
And another one from Modern Mrs. Darcy - My Favorite Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

Fitness
Fitness is more than just hitting the gym. Hitting your pillow and getting a full night of sleep is crucial. I enjoyed this post from Michael Hyatt on Sleep and Your Productivity

Grace & peace,
Lynn

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Unseen Forces

MagnaTiles
My kids love Magna-Tiles. Have you seen them? Each square and triangle is embedded with magnets, allowing the kids to build all sorts of creations. 

A few weeks ago, my four-year-old came to me, beaming with pride as he showed me the “rocket ship” he’d built. He carried it around the house for a while as I worked on the laundry. I heard his cry of dismay when an unfortunate bump flattened his rocket ship, but he’s a trooper and he immediately set to work rebuilding.

Then things got tricky.

The “wings” on his rocket ship wouldn’t stay in place. No matter how hard he tried, they kept clinging to the sides or flipping in the opposite direction than the one he desired. His frustration grew and he went from a few grunts to loud sighs and then moved into full-on wailing. “I can’t get it to work!” 

I encouraged him to keep at it. He did, but the longer he spent trying to fix it, the more frustrated he became, and the louder he voiced his disapproval with the entire situation. He eventually brought the rocket ship to me and asked for my help. 

As it turned out, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. 

But…
Unseen forces were at work.

My little guy has no understanding of electromagnetic fields or polarity. As far as he was concerned, his rocket ship had turned against him. He was baffled by the challenge of putting it together. It had been so easy before!

It only took a few minutes for me to find the exact combination of tiles that had the right polarity to allow the wings to behave the way he wanted them to. My little guy thought I was a miracle worker and went on his way happy. The next time the rocket ship crashed, he came running to me because he knew I understood what was going on, even though he didn’t. He knew that somehow, I knew how to make it all work.


A few days later, as my own world refused to cooperate with me, I found myself complaining loudly and frequently to anyone who happened to get within earshot. 

Then I felt guilty about whining so I tried to convince myself that these issues were “first world” problems. I have a lot to be thankful for, and these annoyances and inconveniences would surely seem ludicrous to people with real problems.


Then…I took my broken, uncooperative “rocket ship” to God.

Yes, I realize I have this all out of order. 
Yes, I know I do this a lot.
Yes, you would think I would have learned by now that starting with prayer is a much better method. All.The.Time.

Thankfully, my Abba doesn’t get annoyed when I finally stop bellyaching and start talking to Him about it. When I did, He reminded me of the magna-tiles and the “unseen forces” that prevented my little guy from accomplishing what he’d set out to do.

“Unseen forces.” 
Really?

I hadn’t accounted for the possibility that the drama in my life could be a spiritual battle. It’s not like I’m dealing with addictions or blatant sin. 

I’m dealing with a hectic schedule and the need to be in four places at the EXACT.SAME.TIME. 

I’m aggravated by the need to make tough decisions and I’m anxious about upcoming changes to my world and annoyed that all of this “stuff” is making it very difficult for me to do things I feel called to do.

But sometimes I forget that these roles of mine…wife, mother, writer, friend, daughter, sister, room mom, Bible study leader, CrossFitter…they actually matter. I may not be able to see how it all fits together, but these areas of responsibility and calling have been entrusted to me by the God who created me and knows me best.

The same God who never intended for me to do it all on my own. The same Abba who can see all the forces around me and who is the only One who knows exactly how to make it all work. 

I don’t have everything figured out, but I do know that I get to choose how the magnets line up. 
I can insist on doing it my way and find myself pulled further away from my Father. Or I can get in line with Him and stick tight to His will. 

Next time you find yourself battling those unseen forces that threaten to derail you, remember the magna-tiles.

Choose to stick close.

It’s the difference between whether or not you’ll fly your rocket ship…or crash and burn.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Writing Update and Links I Love

Writing Update

I’m working away on a new novel. A secondary character from Covert Justice just showed up on the front porch and sent things in a very interesting direction. This guy is persistent! I looked at him and thought, “I’m so glad you’re here, but I wish you’d let me know you were coming!” (I realize for those of you who don’t write, this may be a bit disturbing…welcome to my world!)

My author copies of Covert Justice should be arriving soon. I’m insanely excited to see them and hold them and put one on my bookshelf! I’m up to my eyeballs in promotion work for Covert Justice and excited to offer some fun treats for my readers!

For those of you who might not know, my publisher is Love Inspired Suspense and they offer a book club. If you sign up, you receive new releases in your mailbox 2 months before they are released to the public. This means that book club members will start receiving Covert Justice in just a few weeks! AAAGGGHHH!

Be on the lookout for an opportunity to join my prayer team. I’m convinced that there is NO WAY I can do this without having a strong team of prayer warriors behind me. I’ll be giving you the opportunity to commit to praying for me, and for the readers of Covert Justice, in the months ahead.

On Wednesday (April 1), we'll be celebrating the first #KillerVoices book releases on Facebook with an all-day release party. Follow me on Facebook and join in the fun!

Some Links I Love for your Weekend:

Family
I loved this. We’ve all got strengths so let’s stop comparing! No, You're Not More of a Real Mom Because Your House is Messy 

Yes! Yes! Yes! I prefer books over Kindles - this explains it so well. Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading in Print - Yes, You Read that Right 

Faith
Wisdom from my dear friend @LoriRoeleveld The Day God Forgot His Call On My Life 

Fiction
A must read, whether you write or not. The Trajectory Principle 

Useful for all suspense writers. Writing Spies - Which Agency Does What To Who

Food and Fitness

I couldn’t decide if I should post this under food or fun! Yeah for coffee! 3 to 5 Cups of Coffee a Day May Lower Heart Attack Risk 

Wanting to give spaghetti squash a try? This recipe is a staple at our house. We add pepperoni! 5 Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie 

Fun
A little bit of salty language. Don’t read this one if you never make snide remarks - it’s high on the snarky scale! 17 Motivational Posters for Sarcastic Parents 


Friday, February 27, 2015

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey - Book Review

Sabotaged Cover

My copy of Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey arrived a couple of weeks ago and I intentionally put away in a cabinet.

Why?

Because I knew once I started reading it, I’d probably read it in one sitting. 

If the tiny tyrants who live here hadn’t wanted supper at a reasonable hour, I would have done just that. As it was, I knocked it out in one very enjoyable afternoon/evening of reading.

Sabotaged is the fifth and final (sob!) installment in the Alaskan Courage series which follows the adventures and romances of the McKenna siblings. I’ve been looking forward to this story since I read the first book in the series, Submerged

Why?

Because in Submerged, Reef McKenna is still the wandering, black sheep of the family, and I so wanted to see what would happen when he finally came home. 

The books in the Alaskan Courage series can be read as stand-alone novels, but I don’t recommend it. Especially for Sabotaged. We’ve learned a lot about Reef McKenna throughout the previous books, and when Sabotaged opens, he is not the man he was in Submerged. His character arc takes place over the course of the entire series, so if you just read Sabotaged, it might seem a little flat. 

Another reason for reading the previous books in the series first is that Reef’s relationship with Kirra Jacobs really begins in book four, Silenced, and if you haven’t read that, the romance in Sabotaged could seem to be a bit rushed. Not that it bothered me. :-) I liked it just fine. 

Dani Pettrey
As Sabotaged opens, Reef and Kirra have been teamed up on the search-and-rescue team supporting the Iditarod. But when Kirra’s uncle disappears, they quickly find themselves racing to save Kirra’s cousin, Meg, in time to prevent a massive disaster to the Alaskan environment and economy. 

Here’s why I liked Sabotaged:
  • The story is fast paced with several story lines that are interesting, but wind up being dead ends for the characters. I could feel the frustration as the characters realized they’d been wasting time chasing down the wrong leads. 
  • Kirra’s story is one that will resonate with far too many women, and I applaud Dani Pettrey for tackling a subject that is often swept under the rug. 
  • I loved the behind the scenes glimpses into the Iditarod—a race that has always fascinated me. 
  • I also loved the way all the McKenna’s are involved in the search for Meg. It was so fun to see some of my favorite characters in action again.
  • The Epilogue wrapped up the series with a nice glimpse into all five of the McKenna’s families. 


There wasn’t really anything that I didn’t like. 

As I mentioned before, the speed of the romance and the character arc might have bothered me if I’d read this as a stand alone, but in the context of the series, they made perfect sense. 

Sabotaged is a great read for anyone who enjoys Inspirational Romantic Suspense. The Alaskan setting and the McKenna family dynamics help the Alaskan Courage series stand out from other books in the genre. 
Highly recommended!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Twelve Years Ago, I Was Afraid

Twelve Years Ago, I Was Afraid

I’d given birth to our daughter at 5:22 p.m. The NICU team had gone to work immediately and rushed her away from me.

I didn’t even get to hold her.

A night that should have been filled with joy was tinged with fear.

Knowing what I know now, I could make an argument that I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I should have been.

If I’d known how long it would be before I got to hold my baby girl…
If I’d known how long it would be before we got to take her home…
If I’d known how my hands would tremble on the keys when I searched for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome…
If I’d known how my motherhood experience wouldn’t come anywhere close to what I’d thought it would be…
If I’d known how my faith would shatter into a million pieces as everything I thought I knew about God got lost in the long days of specialists and therapies and one missed developmental milestone after another…
If I’d known how hard it would be to be Emma’s mom…
If I’d known what this journey would cost me…

I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I should have been.

BUT

From this place, 12 years in and knowing what I know now, I have to say that I shouldn’t have been as afraid as I was.

Because

God held her when I couldn’t.
God held me while I waited.
God sat with me as I read the description of a diagnosis I never wanted.
God caught the tears that hit the living room floor when the invitations for the playdates didn’t come and all the other kids were walking and talking and saying Mommy while we spent hours in therapy for her to learn how to touch her nose.

God watched as my faith crumbled and He didn’t get mad. Instead, He put my faith back together. 

No longer the faith of a good girl who believed her good behavior would get her in good with a good God. 
No longer a faith in a God I had figured out. 
No longer a faith that made sense.

Because God doesn’t do things the way I think He should. He transcends my understanding of logic and common sense. His scales don’t tip in my favor when I’m good, but always tip in the direction of my eternal good and the eternal good purposes of His Kingdom.

I don’t know what the future holds. Goodness knows there is plenty to fear.

Middle school.
Puberty (shoot.me.now).
Teenage years.
High school.
Adulthood.
The days when the little brothers are off to college and it’s just me and her again, like it was for the first five years before they came along. 

Yeah, looking at that list, I’m afraid.
But I’m not nearly as afraid as I could be.

Because God is already there and there is nothing lurking over the horizon that will not first pass through His loving hands. 

I know this not because a preacher told me. Not even because the Bible tells me so.
I know because I live it. Because every day, He is there. No matter what comes, He is already there. Even, especially, when what comes is something I would have preferred to avoid. 

I know because God cares more about making me more like Him than He cares about whether or not I like Him. 
Because He cares more about my sanctification than my satisfaction. 
Because He’s big enough to handle my fear, my doubt, my anger, my frustration, and understands me even when I throw a temper tantrum about His plans. 
Because God uses scared people all the time.
Because twelve years ago, I was afraid.

Tonight, I’ll close my laptop, and sing a happy birthday goodnight to my Emma. The little girl who rocked my world. The little girl who made me into a much better mommy than I would have been if she hadn’t permanently altered my definition of motherhood. The little girl who drives me insane and brings me indescribable joy. The little girl God designed before the creation of the world to be exactly as she is. The little girl God has big plans for.

The little girl God entrusted to me twelve years ago, even though I was afraid.