Saturday, August 19, 2017

Planning Your Novel - Part 6 - Hero Charactization

by Elva Cobb Martin

How do you like this photo I chose to represent my current hero, privateer  Captain Ethan Beckett?

Doesn't that face, that intense look inspire you? It certainly did me. It is actually the face of the Turkish actor who played the hero in the NetFlix historical romance series "Kurt Seyit and Sura." I highly recommend this series for historical romance lovers.

Here is how I've planned out my character,

Captain Ethan Beckett, formerly Rev. Ethan Becket of Charles Town.

Basics: grieving widower, bitter since wife’s death, left the ministry and returned to the sea, his first love.

Physical Description: tall- 6 feet, 2 in.; muscular, deep-set pewter eyes,   chestnut brown hair pulled back in a queue (braid), full beard and mustache, sun-tanned square face; flaring nostrils; straight eyebrows; thick neck, arms, chest; thin lips; great with sword and sailing a ship.

Internal  Goal/motivation– overcome his grief and bitterness over wife’s death and second child at birth and raise his first child Joshua in a happy home

External – Find and rescue his sister from Spanish captivity

Core Need:  To find the peace and happiness he once had during his first marriage and ministry

Character and Spiritual Arc

Persona: (face he shows the world) Bitter, easily angered, arrogant, now drinks, doesn’t think God cares or was fair in letting his godly wife Olivia  and child die in child birth. Vows never to love again.

Essence: unmoored, feels cut-off from all that is good, guilt-ridden for backsliding, feels a failure, wishing he could find his way back to sanity and peace.

Will Become: a stronger minister than he ever was with renewed faith in God’s love, care and power to forgive and cleanse.  No longer angry or bitter, quits drinking, humble, able to risk loving again.

I have further notes planning my romantic arc for Captain Becket.

Now you've been introduced to my heroine and hero in my wip. How do you like them?  In my next blog I'll share about those important secondary characters that enrich our story.

I'm busy finishing the first three chapters and a proposal for some editors I met at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May who liked my pitch for this series and asked to see a proposal. Yes, tis a lot of work! But I'm taking you on the journey with me!

Are you working on a novel? Would love to hear your comments or questions. And please do share this blog on Twitter and Face book by clicking on the icons below.

Elva Cobb Martin

Friday, August 11, 2017

Planning Your Novel -Part 5 Deep Heroine Characterization

by  Elva Cobb Martin

Planning an Heroic, Determined, Compassionate Heroine --start with a picture or two.

Here are a couple of the photos I've chosen for my heroine in Spanish Captive, showing her two sides as a lovely Spanish lady and a trained sword-fighting foe when necessary. (And, yes, it's going to be necessary). I love having an idea of how my heroine might look as I plan and write the story.
(Do  you recognize Catherine Zeta Jones?)

My heroine: 

Doña  Marisol Valentin 

Physical Description: Medium height, long, curly, dark hair, hazel eyes with a tinge of gold,  dark arched brows and thick lashes, skin color and texture from her English mother – creamy ivory; face structure – oval/oblong with high cheek bones; straight nose, full lips and gleaming straight white teeth, small but strong hands with long, tapered fingers; general body structure – small bones, lithe, well endowed, much stronger than she looks. Had Spanish father and English mother.

Special skills:  Trained in sword fighting. Is excellent horsewoman and Flamenco dancer. Raised on an Andalusian Stud Farm in Cadiz, Spain

Don't forget my premise for this novel:

Love, forgiveness, and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices when God is invited into the equation.

Here are some characterization details I'm working out for Marisol that will help develop and bring my premise into realization. Of course, some of this may very well change as I write the story. I keep my plotting outline fluid!

Internal Goal/Motivation – to overcome her terrible past and find love, security, respect. She falls in love with widower privateer Captain Ethan Becket, but sees little hope for that relationship due to her terrible past with the murder of a Spanish noble who attacked her. 

Spirit of Rejection  - desperately wants to be part of a loving family circle but doubts she's worthy.

 External Goal/Motivation-  Escape from Spain to New World. Later, help Captain Ethan Becket find and rescue his sister from Spanish captors thought to be living in Cartagena.
Core need: to find true love, security, respect and a new beginning.

 Greatest fear: That ALL her past will be revealed and she’ll suffer great consequences, even to being garroted (in Spain) for murder. And Ethan Becket will never understand if he learns of the murder.

The incident that wounded her earlier in life that got her to believing a lie.
Her stepfather tried to marry her off to a rich, wicked don she refused to marry. One day the nobleman attacked her but she managed to stab him, accidentally killing him. She had to flee her home and live by her wits and charms. She escaped from Spain by becoming an indentured slave on a ship bound for the colonies.

Character Arc:  
Persona (face she shows to the world):  A very capable, sometimes harsh, sometimes vixen, fearless young woman.

Essence: An insecure, frightened, low self-esteem, young woman, who longs to escape her past and find love, family, and security.

Will become: a strong, godly young woman willing and able to fight and sacrifice for  others.

Spiritual Arc
Marisol starts out as a nominal believer, not sure what blessings faith affords. Even though she repented her past sins, she still feels like soiled goods and knows she’ll go to prison or to  execution if the murdered nobleman's family finds her. She is sure no one will believe her version of the attack vs. the version of the man’s family, who are wealthy and of the Spanish nobility.
 She Will Become: Marisol will discover through scripture and experiences that God wants to wipe away all that stains her mind, will and emotions and help her become a true woman of God worthy of respect and love. The battle she will face when the murder catches up with her will serve to strengthen her, not to destroy her, and will build a strong faith in God’s justice and belief in his love for her.

Romantic Arc
Marisol falls in love with widower Captain Ethan Becket, but many hurdles stand between these two ever finding love and a HEA. 

Do you like this heroine so far?  Please do leave a comment and share the blog on your social media by clicking the square links below.

Elva Martin

Friday, August 4, 2017

Planning Your Novel Part 4 - Characterization Special: Dancing Horse Heroine

By Elva Cobb Martin  ---Check out the above YouTube Clip!

If you're planning a novel, I assume you've studied a lot about characterization and how best to plan and detail your characters. But today with the above YouTube clip I am sharing with you something I've run across with planning my Spanish heroine in my current wip (work in progress).

In my research I ran across the Spanish horse or the Andalusian breed which has had a large influence on the bloodlines of the beautiful Lipizzaner breed of horses of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. That's why it's called the Spanish Riding School, but it's in Vienna, Austria.

I've had horses myself and love them. I am thinking about making my heroine more special than ever by setting her on a Spanish horse stud farm where she has learned the beautiful dancing with the horses like you see in the clip. Don't you think this will make her a much more special character that readers will love?

Remember, one of my first points in planning your novel in Part 1 was Research and More Research! I've spent some time studying out the Spanish or Andalusian horse and had a great time doing it. My novel will be much richer as a result. These horses are still being bred in several nations and very popular all over the world, not just in Spain or Austria.

In the clip you can see where the Lipizzaner got it's beautiful dressage genes! And don't you love the Spanish guitar accompaniment?

Of course, I've got MUCH research on this subject I may never get to use in my novel, but that's fine. I'd rather be on the rich end rather than the skimpy one.

Here's a few quick notes from my research for you horse lovers like me!

Spanish horses, including the Andalusian, originated from Arabian and Berber horses from North Africa. They were brought to Spain in the 8th Century. (Think Muslim invasion and takeover of Spain which continued several centuries and hence the mosques still standing there).

During the 15th and 16th Centuries (think of the Catholic deliverance of Spain, Queen Isabella's Empire, and Columbus) these majestic high-stepping Spanish horses became the status symbol of the royal courts throughout Europe. 
Note: my photo may be of Isabella...and it might not be. But you get the picture. ( :

1580: When the importation of horses from the Spanish Peninsula became more difficult, the Vienna court under Archduke Karl II decided to develop their own breeding farm in . . . Lipica. He sent buyers to Spain and they brought back stallions and mares. They became the foundation of the Lipizzan breed. And, yes, I have the rest of the exciting story about even these Lipizzan horses and all they went through during the various European wars, even their rescue during WWII by our own General Patton. But that's another story. . . for another day.

Have you planned a special talent or work for your main character that people will love to learn about? This is the kind of thing that makes an historical or a contemporary novel much richer. In my contemporary Summer of Deception novel, I shared the growing and making of tea by my hero. You can find the novel here:
I also have a beautiful Arabian horse in this novel named Haidez.

Do join the fun and tell us about your character's special talent or work. Please click on the social buttons below to share if you found this blog helpful.

Elva Cobb Martin

Friday, July 28, 2017

Planning Your Novel Part 3 "Pitches and Book Tags"

by Elva Cobb Martin

In Part 2 we talked about "Premise" and how it will actually help you write your pitch. Never mind pulling your hair out. You can access Parts 1-2 in my archives.

So what is a pitch (or log line) and how does it differ from a book tag?

A pitch is a one or two sentence nutshell that explains what your book is about. 

Imagine someone asking you, "What is your book about?" (Some one like an editor or agent that you may run into at a conference and you only have a few moments to tell them about your book). 

Here are some examples of pitches:

1) Jacob Marshall must avenge his father's honor by implicating Serena Jones' father, only to realize revenge often hurts the innocent.

2) Rachel York determines to unearth the truth about her brother's reported death by taking a position at an historic tea plantation, only to realize the truth may destroy her new found love and could even cost her life.  (This was my pitch for Summer of Deception which helped snag a contract and can be found at )

Want to try your hand at a pitch?  Here's a simple template that has helped me:

(Your protagonist) _________MUST __________(critical plot goal) BY ______________(action or conflict)  
ONLY TO REALIZE __________________(what the character learns about life that helps him change his goal during journey of book

Tags are a briefer hook, like back cover copy first line or byline in a movie. You'll need this for your book cover and tweets.

To boldly go where no man has gone. (Star Wars)
Don't go in the water (Jaws)
Collide with destiny (Titanic)
Power comes with a price (The List by Robert Whitlow)
Can love survive a summer of deception? (for my novel Summer of Deception)
Falling in love with a pirate was never part of her plan. (for my novel, In a Pirate's Debt).

My Premise for my current wip helped me write my Pitch. Of course, it's an inspirational romance.

To recap, my tweaked premise for my wip is: Love, forgiveness, and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices when God is invited into the equation.

Here's a rough draft of my pitch:

"Marisol Valentine flees after murdering the Spanish nobleman who sexually assaulted her only to find herself caught in a net of kidnappers for the King's colonization of the New World which threatens to derail her forever from love, security and decency until she discovers a God who can work good even from evil."

How's that for a long sentence? But it gets the job done--for now. ( :

Thanks for stopping by. Please do leave a comment and a sample pitch, if you have one. And share this blog if it has been helpful.

Elva Cobb Martin

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Planning Your Novel - Part 2 "Premise"

by Elva Cobb Martin

Planning your novel can get that dream you have (like an illusive bubble in your head and heart), down on plain white paper or on your computer screen.

In Part 1 of planning a novel, we talked about:

a) Reading/immersing yourself in your genre and time period

b) Jotting down your initial storyline
c) Researching and more researching

You can find Part 1 in my archives.

Today, I want to talk about the first of three important "p's" in planning your novel: Premise, Pitch, and Pictures.

Stavros Halvatzis has several good blogs about Premise that helped me. Click

To recap, he says: 

The story or moral premise is a short description of the entire story in its essential form. It's the essential core or meaning of the story and the chief theme of your story.

A unique premise contains a strong set-up and pay-off, it generates dramatic questions, and gives the writer a blueprint for writing a successful story.

It can be thought of as the two-part genetic code of a story: one part identifies the virtue which leads to victory, while the other identifies the opposite, which leads to defeat.

Here are some movie examples he sites:

1) The Ten Commandments, Braveheart, The Firm, Gladiator
    "The hero must do the right thing to eventually achieve the goal (carry the day, save the world), even if it sometimes means he has to sacrifice himself."

2) In There Will be Blood  
      "The pursuit of wealth and power, at the expense of love and family, leads to loneliness and defeat."

After studying premise this is what I came up with for my work-in-progress, an inspirational historical romance.

"Love, forgiveness and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices."

Can you see the two main parts of my story? (Terrible experience & Happy Resolution) Can you see that it will be an encouraging story for those who have suffered from bad experiences or poor choices? Does it bring to mind dramatic questions like: What horrible experience did the heroine endure? How will she find love and forgiveness to overcome the effects? Does she have enough determination to move forward to a HEA? My heroine, Marisol Valentin, will find what she needs to overcome! She will illustrate my idea of a strong, determined woman who will not let circumstances destroy her or keep her down. And, of course, she will have to discover the great power of Christian faith to do this.

Do you see that from my premise, I actually have my beginning, middle and end of my story? 
     The Horrifying Experience (and all it entailed)
     Working to Overcome (risk, hindrances, conflict, people)
     Accessing love, forgiveness and determination to a HEA

Sound like the 3 acts? Maybe so.

Can you come up with a premise for your novel? It will help you write your story, and keep you on track to your planned ending.
Please share it in the comments. I'd love to read it.

Premise is different from the Pitch which I will discuss in my next blog. Premise will help you write your pitch!

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and share this blog on your social media if it was helpful.

Elva Cobb Martin

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Planning Your Novel - Part 1

by Elva Cobb Martin

Are you planning your first novel or trying to get started with your next one? I give God the glory for two novels recently released by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas, Summer of Deception and In a Pirate's Debt. You can check them out on Amazon at this link:

This summer I am researching and planning my next novel which will become a series, I hope. Here are the steps that have helped me in the past and, I believe, will assist me again.

1) Read, Read in Your Genre --and Time Period if Historical.
I find it very important to immerse myself in the genre I'm hoping to write. In your genre, find the best, most successful authors you can and read and study what makes their novel interesting to read. I often take notes and write in the margins!

If writing an historical, find books in your time period. Since I'm planning an historical series set in the 1700's like my pirate novel above, I am reading novels of established authors set in this century. It's amazing how many great ideas come to me as I soak up stories set in my chosen time period and place. Reading a contemporary novel,or one set in the Regency Period, or during World War II won't help keep me on target, so I save those novels for another time. I also look for movies set in my time period and save them in my TV groups. I take notes on setting, dialog, dress, conflict, historical tidbits, etc. 

4) Jot Down Your Initial Storyline
My basic story idea is of a heroine, an indentured servant, who has a bad past she's carrying like baggage, even after she becomes a Christian. (See the "lie" she believes and the spiritual plot possibility of her overcoming?) After a terrible incident in Spain she fled for her life to the New World as an indentured servant. She falls in love with her master after he becomes widowed, but she feels like soiled goods he will never be interested in. She desires to find respect, security and love and will go to some lengths to find them. (See the motivation and goals unfolding?) And, of course, I will give the widowed hero problems, conflicts, and goals to complicate the romance possibility we will pursue from Charles Town to the Spanish Main. Of course, some of these details will likely change as I write the story! (More on characterization, lies, motivation, and goals in Part 2.)

3) Research and Research Some More
Having the Internet has made research so much easier. Seldom do I have to make a trip to the library for research. This novel will have a heroine who is an indentured servant. Yesterday I googled "Indentured Servants in America" and came up with great information. I printed some articles and saved some to my computer. I already know this story will be set mainly on the Spanish Main in Cartagena so I googled that and came up with some great articles and maps.

How do you plan a new novel? I would love to hear your comments. Next time I will share Part 2 that works for me.

Elva Martin

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Flat Speaker Beats Vs. Beats That Tell a Story

Guest Blog by Andrea Merrell, Author and Assoc. Editor, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

I am happy to welcome Andrea Merrell as a guest blogger today on Carolina Romance. Here are her tips about good speaker beats that will help your novel or creative nonfiction succeed. 
We’re taught the concept at writers’ conferences, read about it in helpful blog posts, and hear it from our critique group: show—don’t tell. This key to writing well can make or break an otherwise good story.  One way to be sure you’re showing your story is by using descriptive speaker beats. But first, let’s look at the difference between tags and beats.

Speaker Tags

A speaker tag shows the speaker’s name and a speech-related verb (said, asked, shouted). This is generally the best way to indicate which of your characters is speaking, but sometimes we tend to overuse tags. They’re not necessary each time someone speaks, especially in a long section of dialogue.

Example: “That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing,” Wendy said.

                     “Thank you so much,” Beverly replied.

                     “Where did you get it?” Wendy asked.

                   “It came from Dillard’s,” Beverly answered.

                     “Oh, that’s my favorite department store,” Wendy said.

Speaker Beats

A speaker beat is the action or internal thoughts that accompany what the speaker is saying. It also indicates who is doing the speaking.

Example: “I can’t believe you said that.” Jessie grabbed her keys and headed for the door.

Example: Tears rolled down Susie’s face. “It was a mistake. Please forgive me.”

Just like tags, don’t overuse beats. Too many will interrupt the flow of dialogue. They’re not necessary every time, but they work well to set the scene when used correctly.

Here are a few common speaker beats that are not only telling but redundant and, well … flat—especially when used over and over in a manuscript:

  • She smiled.
  • He laughed.
  • She cried.
  • He shrugged.
  • She nodded.
  • He cleared his throat.
  • She blushed.
  • He flexed his jaw.
  • She sighed.
  • He winked.
  • She straightened her shoulders.
  • He raked his hand through his hair.

Am I saying it’s never okay to use these beats? Yes and no. An occasional she smiled or he shrugged might be acceptable, but not just as a filler. And not if you want the reader to relate to your characters and feel like they’re watching them on the big screen. We need to show the emotions and inner conflict of our characters. Let’s look at another example.

Flat Speaker Beats

“I’ll be home soon,” Steve said. “Sorry, I forgot about the party.” He laughed.

Julie sighed. “You don’t listen to anything I say, do you?”

“Sure I do.” Steve shrugged. “I just don’t have the best memory.”

“You don’t care about my feelings. That’s the problem.” Julie cried.

What do you get from this section of dialogue? Not much. In fact, it’s pretty boring. We don’t even know whose point of view we’re in. Let’s set the scene a little better.

Speaker Beats that Tell a Story

“I’ll be home soon,” Steve said with a nervous laugh, wishing for the hundredth time he had put tonight’s party on his mobile calendar. He would have a hard time talking himself out of this one.

Julie’s weary sigh cut through the phone like a knife and reminded him of all the other important events he had conveniently forgotten. “You don’t listen to anything I say, do you?”

Steve shrugged his shoulders in a nervous gesture—the way he always did when he knew he was wrong—even though no one could see him. “Sure I do. I just don’t have the best memory.” Well, that was at least partially true. No need to make the situation worse.

“You don’t care about my feelings.” As usual, the sound of crying replaced the sigh. “That’s the problem,” Julie said between sobs. “You’ve never cared.”

Do you see the difference? Can you feel the conflict and tension between the two? Paint a picture with your words and pull your reader into the story.

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It. For more information visit or

Andrea's latest release is, Marriage: Make It or Break It.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you have samples of good speaker beats to share? Please leave your comments and share this blog on your social media.  Click to tweet.

Elva Cobb Martin

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tips for Writing a Prequel --to Summer of Deception

by Elva Cobb Martin

If you've read or plan to read Summer of Deception, my contemporary romantic suspense novel, you may be happy to know I've written a prequel.

The prequel to Summer is In a Pirate's Debt which Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas released May 30. Both novels, currently on sale, can be found on this Amazon link:

 According to Wikipedia, "a prequel is a literary, dramatic, or filmic work whose story precedes that of the previous work." A sequel, on the other hand, continues the current story with some type of connection to the original story, whether it be with a character, a setting, or subject matter.

Goodreads lists 76 novels that are prequels. Star wars also has a popular prequel series.

After I wrote Summer of Deception, I sketched two sequels to follow, but at the time I was reading some great pirate era novels and they caught my fancy. So I decided to go back into the 1700's and write a story about Luke Barrett's ancestor who first built Barrett Hall. I decided to make him a pirate who had taken the King's pardon and used his wealth to settle down and start plantation life. This is actually what some pirates did.

Here are tips that helped me write a prequel:

1) Place a Teaser for the Prequel (or sequel) in the Current Novel
I decided to hint at the book to come by placing a full-sized portrait of Luke Barrett's pirate ancestor, Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett, in the attic in Summer of Deception. And, of course, Rachel finds the portrait and Luke also dresses up like the pirate for the costume ball at the Pennington's Plantation.

2) Keep Inspired by Obtaining Pictures of Main Characters
I practice Yvonne Lehman's story boarding technique of finding pictures of main characters to inspire my writing.  Here are pictures I've used for my heroes/heroines in these two books. Believe me, they kept me inspired.
Luke Barrett, (George Clooney) my hardworking plantation owner, hero, in Summer of Deception)

Rachel York, my feisty heroine in Summer of Deception. (I don't know her real name). ( :

Travay Allston, heroine indebted to hero  In a Pirate's Debt. (I don't know her real name either)

Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett, my mighty rescuer/hero of In a Pirate's Debt. (Gerard Butler in  the movie, Attila) This is actually the picture that confirmed to me I'd write my first pirate novel. I viewed the movie, and it is not a pirate movie, but hero Gerard as Attila captured my imagination.
3) Do careful research --and be ready for surprises
I made several trips down to Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston while writing both these novels. That's the plantation I used for my setting and renamed it Barrett Hall. After I decided to do the prequel, I told the historical staff person at Boone Hall what I was doing and that I had made the original owner of Boone/Barrett Hall, a pirate who took the King's pardon.

You can imagine my shock when her eyes widened and she said, "The original owner was a pirate!"

So la de da! We found the right historical track.

Have you written a prequel or are you thinking about doing one? Please leave a comment and share this on your social media if you found it interesting.

Click to tweet:

Elva Cobb Martin

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why I Write Christian Fiction - Update

by Elva Cobb Martin

I wrote the below blog some time ago but feel it's message still needs to be shared. Christian publishers, bookstores, and authors are under more pressure than ever to do whatever it takes to stay in business or to reach more people and sales. Some think watering down or eliminating the Christian emphasis of their books will do the job. What if we just eliminate all Christian "buzz words" that might make someone of another faith uncomfortable? We can still give them an exciting read and a good moral lesson that will fit the beliefs of a lot more than just Christians. So goes the line of thought. Some of you may be struggling with this issue.

So here again, is why I write Christian fiction:

Why I Write Christian Fiction  - posted January, 2016
by Elva Cobb Martin

The beginning of a new year is a good time to remind myself that I am above all a Christian writer, endeavoring to write Christian fiction.
Two opposite worldviews drive fiction today.

Jesus in John 10:10 gives a succinct description of the two "drivers" behind fiction (and life itself).

            "The thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy. 
          I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly."

Our son Tim and grandson Samuel, both readers.
I am not writing fiction just to get books published, sold, and give readers an exciting read, although those are goals. A deep desire burns in my heart to see readers, and generations yet to come, find some truth that enlightens, some kernel of God's abundant life that helps them on their way.

This is not the main goal of secular fiction. Christian fiction and secular fiction are divided by two vastly different worldviews. Many believe America has lost her moral compass, so it is more vital than ever that I do everything I can to turn this tide around in my writing (as well as in my lifestyle).

Someone has said worldview can be determined by the answers to three questions:

  • How did we get here and who are we?
  • What went wrong?
  • What can fix it?                                                                                                
The Christian world view short answers would be:
  1. God created the world and made mankind in His image to have dominion.
  2. Adam and Eve sinned and brought condemnation and Satanic rule upon      mankind.   
  3. Sin must be punished but God loved mankind so much He sent Jesus Christ as our substitute to defeat Satan and take our punishment so we could be forgiven and restored to God's original plan.                         
A naturalist worldview would have quite different answers to these questions and secular novels, movies and TV reflect this. This kind of story can steal one's peace and faith in God, tempt into sin, and leave one with a cynical outlook on life and the future. And it's all part of the enemy's deception to keep people in bondage. Truly, two different spirits are inspiring writers today!

In my writing I want to expose the lies and tricks of the devil and show that good does conquer evil, that God's great drama will prevail and believers can confidently look forward to a happy ever after. I want to increase hope, faith and peace in my readers. Otherwise, I'm just not interested in all the hard work it takes to write novels. 

Prayer over my writing is a vital component. I am convinced Father God is interested in getting Christian writing, including fiction, out where it can do some good. So I study, write and rewrite and rewrite some more. ( :

I believe there will always be a great market for Christian fiction because the world is looking for hope.

I think that's a big part of Downton Abbey's success. It is now touted as the best selling series in British TV history. (Sorry, Agatha, Jane Austen and Sherlock.)

Writer Julian Fellowes was asked what he thought has made the series so popular. Here's his answer: "Most of the characters are just decent people trying to do their best with the cards they've been dealt. They are just trying to live a decent life."

Christian writers have much more hope to give for those cards life may deal our characters.

Why do you write fiction? Do you believe God loves good stories that illuminate life more abundantly? Do you think America needs us to keep at it?

Thanks for stopping by and do join the conversation. 

So, the above is still my stand. How do you feel about Christian fiction? If you are a writer, are you tempted to compromise a Christian emphasis "to reach more people" or sales? Do you agree with me there will always be a market for good Christian fiction?

Would love to hear your comments. Click to Tweet Why I write Christian Fiction Update

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried her articles. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a romantic suspense, available on Amazon. An historical romance,  In a Pirate’s Debt, is slated for release May 30, 2017. Elva is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund Lucy, in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, her blog on Twitter, on Facebook and Pinterest.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In a Pirate's Debt Pre-Order Great Prices

by Elva Cobb Martin

Howdy friends,
Check out the great pre-order price for my latest romance novel being released May 30 by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.

If you prefer print, you'll love the pre-order price of $7.95! You can also get the pre-order price of $0.00 for the Kindle!

Click here:

In a Pirate's Debt - Falling in love with a pirate was never part of her plan ... (Love on the High Seas) 

Friday, April 28, 2017

New Cover Reveal -In a Pirate's Debt (Historical Romance)

by Elva Cobb Martin


In a Pirate's Debt, is slated for release May 25. How do you like this draft of the cover Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas sent to me?

Below is the full cover, including the back cover copy (BCC) the publishing team and I revised and revised to get every word just right! I've reproduced it below since I cannot enlarge the photo.

Back Cover Copy for In a Pirate's Debt

 When confronted with a forced marriage, Travay Allston flees her stepfather’s Jamaica plantation and dives into the sea. Death would be preferable to life with Sir Roger Poole, a drinking, gambling, scoundrel whose advances make her skin crawl.

Lucas Barrett sails the high seas as the dreaded Captain Bloodstone. He is on a quest to find his mother, a woman last seen clapped in irons by the Spanish. As his ship slips past Jamaica, he spies a young woman plunge into the sea. A prize of such beauty must be saved and Lucas dives in to rescue her. The last thing Lucas needs is to get involved with Travay, a childhood friend who caused him nothing but trouble. Especially now that she’s become a stubborn, alluring young woman. 

Lucas delivers Travay to her aunt in Charles Town and washes his hands of the affair. Or so he thinks. But when Sir Roger shows up demanding that Travay marry him or face the wrath of Charles Town’s newest council member,  Lucas feels that familiar boyhood tug on his heart. Will this wanted pirate of the crown, risk his life to save Travay a second time? Betrothed to a man she hates, will Travay repay her debt to a pirate by marrying Sir Roger in exchange for his promise to pardon Lucas? And if she does, will such a rascal keep his word? Falling in love with the pirate was never part of her plan

Does this BCC stir your interest to read the book? Please do share your comments. I'd love to hear from you. If you would be interested in receiving a free ebook file of this book to read and post a review on Amazon on May 25, please let me know in the comments.  Click to share on Twitter

Elva Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Several magazines have published her articles. She has completed two romance novels, Summer of Deception and In a Pirate’s Debt.  Elva is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper, Lucy, in Anderson, South Carolina.  She would love for  you to connect with her on her web site, her blog on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest