Writer’s I’m Loving

It’s time I add another great author to the list!

Have you read Gwen Hayes? I know, you’re thinking, “Wait! Bria! It’s not really fair to list the BFF as an author you love.”

Well, it’s my blog and I say I can.

Now, here’s why you should. I just was chatting up Ms. Hayes about what she’s working on and she always blows my mind. I love the risks she’s willing to take and the way she embraces the story and the characters and love and romance…while still willing to take a risk on some darker stuff. Do not let Gwennifer pass you by.


If you haven’t read Irene Hannon, you’re missing out. I’ll be upfront about a lot in this blurb: I’m a Christian. I’d given up on Christian fiction a while back. It was either out of touch or really preachy or had absolutely no reflection of any Christian I knew. Then, I downloaded the first of Ms. Hannon’s Men of Quantico series on my kindle and fell immediately in love.

The people are real. The story is exciting and suspenseful. The characters are flawed and don’t always trust God. There’s not a lot of preaching and no one stops in the middle of a shoot out to say, “Let’s take hands and pray” (don’t ask) – I think she’s one of the first Christian contemporary writers who I’d feel comfortable handing to any of my friends, regardless of their beliefs. Ms. Hannon tells a great story.

And, for the Christians in the house – the spirtual journey of her characters is real and touching. She writes it so well, how faith is something some struggle with, some walk away from, some return to and some lean on.


The other day a friend and I were having a great discussion about authors who can pull your heart strings versus authors who manipulate you emotionally. I believe there’s a huge difference. One of the great heart string pullers for me is Catherine Anderson. Last spring someone handed me Cherish and I haven’t gone back. What especially amazed me was the way that Ms. Anderson is able to create a situation that feels untenable for the hero/heroine and create a realistic recovery. In Cherish, the heroine witnesses something devastatingly horrible. Like, “I can’t stand having those pictures in my mind so I’m going to jump off a bluff” horrible. Is she magically healed by the hero? Nope. He does help her heal, but the process is long and realistically painful — Including the backsliding on the progress she’d made. Go check out Catherine Anderson to see how it’s done.


Every once in a while you pull out a book you enjoyed before and find you like it even more the next time around. This is just happened for me. I was so amazingly blessed to get to work with Jenny Crusie a couple years back for a week at the Low Country Masters Week, and so her books have an extra place in my heart. The work she puts into all of them is amazing ….and it shows. Honestly, I think BET ME, must be one of the most perfectly put together Rom Coms out there. If you don’t believe me, try to pick it apart and get back to me!


Sometimes you don’t realize things you don’t realize — For example, although I may have spoken about Dawn Cook in my blog several times (please, PLEASE Ms. Cook write a third Decoy Princess book) she’s some how not on this list. And so, if you haven’t read her amazingly well built worlds, dive in. I love her books and hope she’ll come back to them. Also, while you’ll find them in the “Fantasy/Sci Fi” section, they’re YA friendly.


JUST REALIZED THIS LINK WAS WRONG. If you follow my blog, you’ve seen me reference Joanna Bourne. She has one of the most helpful and personally inspiring blogs out there. Check it out HERE.
I wish I could say more, but I’d just be repeating everything famous people already said. As you know, I’m addicted to anything that has to do with cadence, and so I say Read This Book: The Spymaster’s Lady

I find it difficult to believe I haven’t posted about this author yet. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is an amazing writer who I avoided for the two big years I’ve been reading romance. Why you might ask? Because she writes contemporary. If you look at my list you’ll find that I seem to have historical or fantasy writers as my most memoriable.

And then I finally caved and read “Nobody’s Baby But Mine.”

Ms Phillips is witty, quick, intelligent, smooth, tight and every other writing word you want to learn. No matter what your genre you can learn by reading her. Plus, I’ll never look at a box of Lucky Charms the same again.


If you followed the group blog I used to be on, you realize that I send people to Kate Elliot’s blog constantly. I’m there constantly (shhhh. . .I’m a lurker so no one knows!) I was introduced to her writing when on vacation in Mexico years ago with my family. My mother unpacked 3 or my 5 books so I ran out quickly.

Sneaking off the beach (where my darker family didn’t understand my lack of joy over getting sun-poisoning) to the little store down the street. I found a book by Alis Rasmussen for 10,000 pesos. Years later I discovered AR = KE. Imagine my joy!


I’ve returned to one of my favorite YA writers for a trip down memory lane. If you haven’t read Tamora Pierce yet, I strongly recommend you pick one of her series and escape into it for awhile. Her Song of the Lioness series got me through finals week freshman year.


So, rumor on the street is that American Historical Romances are the next BIG historical thing. Ok, I’m starting that rumor, but someone go put it on the street!

Comments concerning queries and contest entries being about different American time periods have led me to believe we’re going to see a huge upswing in that sub-genre. And so, I give you my latest read —> Jodi Thomas. Ms. Thomas writes lovely western romances. One of the exciting things about her books (for me as a writer/reader) is the growth in her writing. She’s gone from being a really good writer to being a great one. Even my local Annie’s (the used bookstore chain up here) won’t give me her books at a discount since some are so hard to find. . . You know a book is on everyone’s keeper shelf when you can’t get it at any of the used shops!

a ~~~*~~~

If you haven’t read Suzanne Brockmann’s series about Navy SEALs, Troubleshooters, it’s time to get on board baby! Never before have I seen an author drag you through a series like this – and I mean in a good – no, GREAT – way. With a main hero and heroine in every book, she also has ongoing love stories as well as wonderful tales that center around relationships from WWII. Her men are sexy, her women are kickass, and her stories pull you in. Check her out and get sucked in today because her new book comes out next week.


Patricia Gaffney stole my breath away with her historical romance Wild at Heart. I can’t recommend this book enough. She somehow tells the story of a lost boy, raised by wolves, in a realistic and touching way. She weaves a story of a man untouched by the education and growth of humanity as well as its cynicism and doubt. The conflicts thrown in the love story’s path feel true to life. Personalities and reactions are more consistent than most writers could have managed. Fall in love with this author and her hero and heroine – it’s a must!


What would happen if 90% of the population was made up of women? You may be surprised by the answer Wen Spencer comes up with in her book A Brother’s Price – talk about nature versus nurture! Challenge everything you think you know about the sexes:


Diana Peterfreund’s second book in her Secret Society Girl Series is out – and definitely worth picking up. Senior year, distant best friend, sexy boy, and a Secret Society! What else could a girl want? Well, a lot, but I won’t ruin it for you. Hit the bookstore my friend, this is a great read.

My only complaint? The third book doesn’t come out till next summer!


My love of fantasy began when I was 6 years old when Mr. Lloyd Alexander entered my life. The man was a genius – and I’ve been finding that out all over again this past month. Since his death on May 17th, I’ve looped back around to re-read some of my childhood favorites.

If you haven’t read The Chronicles of Prydain and followed the adventures of our hero Taran, you don’t know what your missing. An assistant pig keeper, an oracle pig, and a beautiful princess retell the Welsh lore in a beautiful set of stories beginning with The Book of Three.

Learn more about Lloyd Alexander and his books HERE.


Susan Wiggs is ruining my life! A friend turned me on to her and I seem to spend every moment not working or writing reading her books (how many books could she have written!!!) Every time I pick up a new book I know a couple of things:

  • I’m going on an emotional ride
  • I’m going to love love love it
  • I’m going to learn something new as a reader
  • I’m going to learn something new as a writer

Her trilogy around the Chicago Fire is Fabulous and her new series isn’t coming out quickly enough for my tastes – of course, slower releases equal more sleep for me right now! I highly recommend checking her out:

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