Pastry, Royalty, and Mystery

I don’t know about your TBR list, but mine is growing weekly. As I meet and hear about new authors, I’m curious to read their books. That’s a lot of writers and even more books. To narrow that list down to a favorite would be almost impossible. Ack!


I’ve decided to tell you about one author I know a little better than the rest because I’ve known her for a longer period of time. This year marks eight years. I’m honored to call her mentor, friend, and one of my favorite authors.

headshot21I met Sandra when I enrolled in a two-year Apprentice Course with the Christian Writers Guild. Through bi-weekly emails, I became acquainted with her philosophies.

One of the first pieces of advice she gave to me was about vulnerability. It is a bit of guidance I carry with me daily.

Your vulnerability is what buys you the right to teach your reader, remember! – Sandra Byrd

Curling up with one of Sandra’s books is like sitting down with an old friend. I reach for my much-loved blanket, my favorite hot beverage, and climb in my comfy chair for an extended visit. It’s easy to lose myself in whatever period she writes. The sights, sounds, and smells, of her imaginary worlds, bring life to the characters in her story.

For example in the modern French Twist series, you can almost taste the delectable pastries in the Bijoux. The Ladies in Waiting series takes the reader to the uncertain times of Henry VIII’s court and ends with the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Daughters of Hampshire is set in the adored Victorian Era.

17197682_10210762378807328_1032950164_n Sandra Byrd

The last book in the DH set, A Lady in Disguise, is coming out this month, so I need to arrange my TBR list.

For anyone who loves to read, I highly recommend Sandra Byrd as an author whose books will be a delight to explore.

You can connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or her Blog.

Click to tweet: Your vulnerability is what buys you the right to teach your reader, remember!

Writing Prompt: You are seated at the ACFW Conference when your favorite author joins you for a chat.




3 Questions Wednesday with Robin E. Mason

RobinMasonHeadShotToday, we welcome one of our Crew members, Robin E. Mason, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Hi, Robin! So glad you’ve joined us. First question:

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Robin: There are many, but the first name that comes to mind is Tessa Afshar. She writes Biblical fiction which is my favorite genre, and she does it in such a way that it’s totally plausible. She does extensive research of the culture surrounding the time in which her stories are set. The first story of hers that I read was Pearl in the Sand—a story of Rahab. The Bible doesn’t give much information, but Ms. Afshar has woven a completely believable account of how it might have played out. Marian Merritt is also a wonderful storyteller; her stories are deep and raw—women’s fiction—family secrets that won’t be silent. Characters the reader can identify with.

I love a deep story.  Especially with a good villain.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Robin: Darth Vader. I tend to see spiritual truth in unexpected places—stories and movies. Star Wars was one of those. Holy Spirit has no dark side, of course, but we do have a choice between light and dark. Even as Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side and was consumed by it, a remnant of his true self was always there, hidden behind the façade that was Darth Vader. Although his “mask” was literal and tangible, I think we all hide behind a mask of some type at some time in our lives. Some of us fight against it, to walk in the Light as we are called to do. Some of us, are never able to pull the mask off, and live with a literal war in our spirits, between Life and death. Darth Vader represents this truth to me more than any other villainous character I can think of.

He’s one of my favorites also 🙂 Now about you…

What project are you currently working on?

Robin: I just wrapped up Clara Bess, the second in my Unsavory Heritage Series. When I wrote the first book, Tessa, I had no clue of doing a series. Only when I was asked did I realize there are two specific spots (in Tessa) that point clearly to a sequel. But wait, there’s more – I struggled getting Clara Bess moving, and realized there’s a third story in the series, Cissy. The series is entitled Unsavory Heritage because of an event that takes place in 1881, and words that Cissy speaks carry through several generations—the Unsavory Heritage. Each book focuses on different women, different generations, and their fight to know their identity. Clara Bess releases on the 30th of this month; I’ve also made some heavy edits and minor revisions to Tessa, including a new cover, and will be re-releasing her on the 30th as well.

Sounds exciting! Thanks for the visit, Robin.

Robin is offering a signed copy of Tessa and Clara Bess to one blessed commenter. (Within the U.S. only) So make sure and leave a comment below…


One mother. Two daughters. One favorite. One not.

When Cassie Barclay is presented with an opportunity – or is it a curse – she runs with it. She jumps into a new life, her sister’s life, and although at first, it holds appeal and promise, she soon realizes sometimes the fairy tale is tainted.
Tessa is a story of love and trust, hope and faith. Of lies and betrayal and deceit. An unsavory heritage, a tragic incident. Lies unravel, secrets are uncovered, masks removed, and the truth – and love – prevail.

A story of three generations of women, Tessa is a tale of family, the nuances, the hierarchy, the enmity.

Tessa is Cassie’s story.



“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

Robin E. Mason has been writing since 1995 and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  She lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years.  Her characters face many of these same demons.

Robin writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.