Authors’ Open House Christmas Edition: Melissa Tagg


So far this week, we’ve welcomed Angela Ruth Strong and Carrie Turansky to the Authors’ Open House: Christmas Edition. Let’s keep going! It’s my pleasure to welcome today sweet Melissa Tagg. Melissa joined us for the first AOH back in August. I’ve been a fan of Melissa’s writing for a while now and sit on pins and needles waiting for the next release to come out. Lucky me, the next one isn’t only new but CHRISTMAS themed! Let’s see what she has to share with us this time.  Continue reading

Authors’ Open House Christmas Edition: Carrie Turansky


Happy Tuesday! I’m settled back at my home computer and, man, does it feel good! Being without my computer or laptop threw me for a loop. Apologies to Angela for her post going up late yesterday. Did you read it yet? Check it out here. It’s wonderful and I’m so glad she shared with us. I can’t wait to read her newest release Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana. Doesn’t it sound dreamy?

Today I’m thrilled to welcome Carrie Turansky to the Authors’ Open House. Carrie and I “met” through the author4TheAuthor Facebook group (a closed group but I’d be happy to add you; just ask), and had a fabulous time meeting in person at this year’s ACFW Conference. Her smile and warmth are infectious and I’m thankful to count her a friend. Continue reading

Authors’ Open House: Melissa Tagg

The month-long Author's Open House at features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

As you read this, I’m either on my way to Nashville or already hugging the necks of lots of authors at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference. All but one of our Authors’ Open House visitors (Meghan Gorecki, Jaime Jo Wright, Mikal Dawn, Laurie Tomlinson, and next Tuesday’s guest Pepper Basham) will be there, as will today’s guest Melissa Tagg! The only one I won’t get to see is Rachel McMillan — but there’s always next time!

Author Melissa Tagg visits the Authors' Open House at

Today, I’m busting at the seams to welcome Melissa Tagg to the blog. Melissa stole my heart with her novel Like Never Before, which I reviewed not too long ago. She writes with such an effortless style that you forget you’re even reading. Characters who jump off the page and become your own friends. Sweet love stories that make you swoon and tingle all at the same time. To add to that, she’s just abut the sweetest person too. Of course, I’ve read her following post already and she’s blessed me with her wisdom and encouragement. Even if you’re not a writer, I bet you’ll enjoy her words.

Guess I better stop gushing and let Melissa get to it! Help me welcome Melissa by leaving her some love in the comments…

When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

(Thanks soooo much for having me here today, Teresa!!)

I have to start this blog post with a shout-out to the one and only, super awesome, super sweet Beth Vogt. Beth is a fellow contemporary romance writer and I’m crazy blessed to call her friend.

One of the approximately one bazillion things I love about Beth Vogt is a line I’ve heard her say many a time: “God’s best often waits behind the doors marked ‘Never.’”

Ain’t that the truth. Some of my biggest “uh, life really isn’t going according to my plan” experiences have included those very doors.

I never want to give up campus life and study abroad, she says to a professor. (She would be me. I guess we’re going third-person for a couple seconds here.)

I never want to work at a small-town newspaper, she tells her friends.

I never want to leave small-town life for a bigger city, she decides post-college.

Well she had a blast in London, swears newspaper reporting is the best-ever job for a wannabe author, and moved to the big ol’ metropolis of Des Moines eight years ago.

I’m so convinced my “nevers” are triggers for God’s LOLs I’ve taken to saying things like:

I’ll never need endless free time to write and read and watch old movies.

I hope I never marry someone who will be okay with all my quirks—love of flannel and peanut butter and Needtobreathe included.

I never want to time-travel to interesting points in history.

Reverse psychology on God. I’m sure he gets a kick out of that. (I’m particularly hopeful He pays attention to that last one. Hello, Gilded Age!)

All joking aside, every time God has taken one of my “nevers” and turned it into a “been there-done that” situation, I end up awed. Every. Time.

And yet—let me get painfully honest for a minute—I’m a still a little scared of some of my lingering “nevers.” No, not the silly things I listed above. But actual nevers like:

I never want someone to hate my books.

I never want my dreams to let me down.

I never want to feel lost.

I never want to be lonely.

I never want…to fail.

These are nevers that scare me. But they’re also nevers I have a feeling I may face someday. They’re not doors I want to walk through and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe God’ best might actually be waiting for me there.

And yet…hasn’t life taught me over…and over…and over that my plans, most of which include this or that never, tend to be pretty short-sighted compared to God’s?

And hasn’t He proven over and over again, that I can trust Him?

That even if every never I’ve ever dreamed up turns into a reality, He’s on my side.

That even when my dreams turn inside out…or I feel lost or lonely…or I fail big time…He is still good. And faithful. And in fabulously good control.

And isn’t it true that when life doesn’t go according to my plan, it’s probably a good thing? Because my plan A may feel awesome…but God’s plan B is always, always better.


Author Melissa Tagg visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.comAuthor Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. Her latest novel, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Upcoming books include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Christmas (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as retreats and workshops. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.



The #AuthorsOpenHouse welcomes @Melissa_Tagg, sharing
about when #life doesn’t go according to plan. — TWEET THIS!

Authors’ Open House: Laurie Tomlinson

The month-long Author's Open House at features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

Well, here we are again, friends. Are you enjoying the Authors’ Open House so far? Me, too! In case you missed them you can go back and check out posts from Rachel McMillan, Meghan Gorecki, Jaime Jo Wright, and Mikal Dawn (see remaining line-up here). I’m up to my ears in preparing for the ACFW Conference, so I am indebted to these sweet ladies for keeping you all company.

Laurie Tomlinson visits the Authors' Open House at

Today is Laurie Tomlinson‘s turn to make herself at home here. Laurie and I first connected on Facebook then she blessed my socks off when she recognized me at last year’s conference! (Made me feel less invisible!.) Laurie is gifted at telling love stories and supporting other authors. She has selflessly helped me wordsmith and edit and not fall off the author ledge. I’m so excited to read her upcoming novel that’s recently been contracted…big things coming! Be sure and pay attention to what this sweet lady is up to.

Say hello to Laurie…

God Didn’t Design Everyone to Hustle Like Usain Bolt

It’s about this time of year that we celebrate the relief of mid-90-degree days in Oklahoma. We stay inside or hurry from home to car, for within 30 seconds, our skin protests the heat by sticking to leather seats, our hair reaches to the sky in surrender, and some magnet from the sun drains our internal batteries.

It’s now that I can picture my perfect fall day so clearly and succinctly: A trip to the last farmer’s market of the season for butternut squash. Leggings tucked into fuzzy boots. Home filled with the scent of a hearty stew bubbling in the crockpot. A run on my favorite trail with cooler air that’s refreshing to breathe. Hot chocolate in my hand with S’mores by the outdoor fireplace. College football on the TV all day. The hug of fleece pants and a hoodie as we take an evening walk around our neighborhood and say hello to our lovely neighbors who are also coming out of their summer hibernation. Lastly, falling asleep with a book and a warm mug of tea.

With trusted friends, I often let the (mostly kidding) dramatics fly:


Yet come fall, I will miss our lazy summer mornings with nowhere to be and slicing through the marine-blue plane of the swimming pool, along with ripe farm veggies and cold nectarines straight from the fridge plus all that the grill has to offer.

(Note: I actually took a break right here to arrange an end-of-summer BBQ. Amen.)

I started this post intending to talk about seasons and how, if you can’t find a way to be happy where you are, then accomplishing your goal, arriving at your destination, and experiencing your dream come true won’t give you true satisfaction. The last thing the internet needs is another pat on the head saying, “Be patient and work hard in this waiting season. Your time will come.”

While I’m a firm believer that waiting produces the most important growth, that’s not what this post is about. I want to speak on not losing ourselves along the way. On not losing ourselves when we get there.

I just signed my first book contract (another point for summer!) and know for sure that this elusive event — while a wonderful, satisfying, pinch-me-is-this-real? thing — won’t solve every problem or answer all of life’s mysteries. Dishes still pile up in the sink, you will still have to change tires on the dusty side of the highway, and you will have to navigate a new season in which your art is no longer solely your own.

That’s the nature of work, though. No matter what section of the path you’re walking (sometimes crawling?), there’s always email or comments to answer, content to read, a conveyor belt of to-do list items to conquer. Publication can feel like a sprint where the only way to stop the road from crumbling beneath you is to gather as much information as your brain can hold and make alllllll the connections until your network sags under all the weight.

Except we’re not Usain Bolt charging for an Olympic finish line and God never intended us to do that to ourselves or the dreams and talent He gave us. 

If we let ourselves rest and really lean into the place God has for us right now, the opportunities will still be there. We won’t miss anything — except for maybe the frayed singe of burnout. We will gain valuable experience in placing satisfaction with our work, not in any outside force, approval, or circumstance, but in the life it brings us and in the communion with God it affords.

Whether you’re beginning your very first story or have spent time on the bestsellers list with your multiple novels, this practice is important for the quality of your work and every aspect of life.

So I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks of slow, golden mornings and catching my kids with ripe blackberry stains on their cheeks. And I’m going to stop trying to mimic the Usain Bolts of this world and go off-route to play in the sprinklers every once in a while.

About Laurie Tomlinson

Laurie Tomlinson visits the Authors' Open House at Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author, freelance editor and PR consultant, and cheerleader for creatives. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.

Her debut contemporary romance novel releases in May 2017 from Harlequin Heartwarming.

You can connect with Laurie on her websiteFacebook page, and Twitter.  She is also a regular contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog.


#AuthorsOpenHouse welcomes Laurie Tomlinson who shares
about taking time to rest from the hustle. — TWEET THIS!