Thursday, December 25, 2014


Love and blessings to you and your family as we remember the Lord's embodied grace and mercy, freely given to us!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Giveaway! DAWNLIGHT, the paperback, has arrived!

DAWNLIGHT has arrived!

Biblical-speculative fiction!
Inspired by the mysterious events of Matthew 27:52-53: Amid first-century Jerusalem's political and religious unrest, Elisheba loses her beloved husband, Joseph. Though she is mourning, Elisheba must fight to protect herself and her young son from the schemes and deceptions of others who wish to control her fortune and her future. While Elisheba defies her enemies, her husband's closest friends must decide what they believe—and risk death. When another tragedy strikes, an impossible miracle shakes their lives—and their world is forever Dawnlight.

To share my bundle of joy, I'm giving away three signed copies of Dawnlight.

Enter the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Follow the clues for a Chance to Win a Kindle Fire HDX or 30+ novels!

Welcome to the Autumn 2014 Scavenger Hunt. You have arrived at Stop #16, R. J. Larson's blog. The hunt begins at noon (Mountain Time Zone) on October 17, 2014. You may have arrived here before the start which could mean all of the sites aren't ready quite yet. Once the official start has begun, you should go to Stop #1 HERE and then work your way through the sites, gathering clues and entering bonus giveaways, until you reach the final stop which will also be on the site of Robin Lee Hatcher.

The hunt ends on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at one minute before midnight (Mountain). That means you have all of the weekend to finish it, so take your time. Enjoy reading the exclusive content the authors have prepared for you. You will collect a CLUE IN RED at each stop. Write them down as you go. At the end of the hunt, you will enter the clues into a Rafflecopter form. (The answer will make sense, even if you aren't familiar with the quote.)

The hunt is open to international entries. The grand prize is a Kindle Fire HDX. Two runners-up will receive a new release from each of the participating authors.


Robin Lee Hatcher has prepared a "cheat sheet" with direct links to each author's post in case a site goes down or a link gets broken. We hope there will be no such issues, but just in case, please make note of the URL for the Participating Authors & Stops page so you can check back and be able to complete the hunt.

Anne Mateer


Introducing Anne Mateer!

 R. J. Larson here: I'm delighted to introduce the amazing Anne Mateer! Anne is a three time Genesis contest finalist, and a contributor to A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts. 

Anne Mateer loves imagining what life in other times would have been like. She the author of 4 historical novels and a 2013 Carol Award finalist. Find Anne on the web at

Read on for Anne's exclusive story behind her latest book, Playing by Heart



Three Personal Experiences that Shaped Playing by Heart

Over the years, Ive learned that write what you knowdoesnt necessarily apply to situations, places or professions that appear in your stories. Instead, it refers to the fact that authors must call on their own experiences to mine the emotions their characters will experience in similar but different circumstances. Often this happens unconsciously as we write and it is only in looking back over the story that we see that we have, indeed, written what we know. At least such is the case with me! Today Id like to share three of my personal experiences that I feel shaped the story Playing by Heart.

Joining drill team in high school

I am not a dancer. Oh, I took a few lessons as a child, but it was not my talent. At. All. And yet I entered high school and found myself yearning to be part of the dazzling group of girls dancing on the football field at halftime. Simply making the squad took an enormous amount of determination on my part, but being chosen to participate in the halftime and competition performances took a year of relentless tenacity, a year of training both my body and my mind to learn and do something that didnt come naturally to me. I drew on this experience as Lula Bowman faced the unknown of learning to coach basketballa game shed never even seen played!
Anne's drill team!
Mothering my eldest son

Anne's eldest son, center
My husband and I love books and learning, but our middle child, our oldest boy struggled in the classroom, often feeling defeated. But put a ball in that boys hands, place him on a court or a field or even the track and he comes alive! He love sports of all kindsthe strategy, the competitionbut beyond understanding and performance, he is a natural teacher and leader. He doesnt always see these people skills as the amazing gifts they are, but I do. Mothering him taught me to appreciate his gifts and to encourage them, much as Chet does for Blaze in Playing by Heart.

Pursuing my writing dream

Playing by Heart, Bethany House Publishers
My writing journey has been a trek of both determined focus and generous sacrifice. Like Lula, I have maintained a determined hold on my calling even while often sacrificing my writing time to build relationships and memories with my kids and my husband and take care of our home. It wasnt always easy. And yes, sometimes I resented having to set aside my goals to tend to someone elses needs. But those years, those experiences, built greater trust in the Lord and strengthened my character, much as Lulas time helping her sisters family does for her.

Every author puts something of their own inner life experiences into their stories, whether in a main character for in snippets of secondary characters. These are just a few of the ways my own life has found its way into the pages of Playing by Heart. 

Thank you, Anne! 
Buy Playing by Heart! CBD Barnes & Noble Amazon Catch Anne on Facebook and Twitter!

R. J. Here! 
Write down this Stop #16 clue!  - Salman Rushdie
That's - Salman Rushdie
Now, go forth and hunt up Anne Mateer's blog, Stop #17 

Before you go, check out my Rafflecopter giveaway below!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway Please note that the Rafflecopter widget doesn't work with some phones or tablets. If the entry form fails to appear on your device, please enter using your home computer. Thank you! 

The link to Stop #1 (the start of the hunt) is:

The link to the Participating Authors page is:

The link to the final stop where people will enter the answers is:

Thursday, October 02, 2014


At last! Exiles, the ebook has been released!

When will it be released in paperback? I'll get back to you when I find out!

Blessings, dear everyone, and hope you enjoy Araine's story.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

She Breaks Things

            After signing my first contract, I learned the dreadful truth: somewhere, in all publishers' contracts, three invisible yet critical words firmly state, “You will speak.”
            Lord,” I cried, when faced with my first speaking invitation, “help me!”
            Being perfect—and displaying His sense of humor—the Lord answered my wail with a gift: He granted me the uncanny ability to break things. Computerized things. Electrical things. All sound equipment things.  
            The day I faced my first audience—an auditorium full of precious, restless elementary-school students—one of the teachers approached me worriedly. “We don’t know what’s wrong. The mike went down and our technician can’t figure it out. And he’s a genius with these things.”
            Unwilling to disappoint the kids by sending them back to their classrooms for real schoolwork, I cleared my throat and yelled out answers to all their questions. The result? Minimal jitters, maximum happy kids, relieved teachers, and a hoarse voice for me.
            Weeks later, as I was trembling, awaiting my first phone-radio-station interview, I heard the talk-show host cough, then mutter beneath his breath, “Uh-oh.” Switches clicked, a door slammed, and the host—sounding shaken—apologized, “Um, I’m sorry . . . . We’ve never had this happen before: the studio’s sound system went down. Hang on! I’m running to another studio.” 
            Compassion for my agitated host overwhelmed my sense of nervousness. I was able to laugh, and speak, finishing the taping with ease.
            That same year, while sweating through my first two cable-TV shows, a prop fell, a light flickered, and—you guessed it—the studio’s sound system irretrievably failed. The show’s hosts apologized profusely. “Our sound system has never done this before. It’s a disaster!”
            The show aired a month later with carefully chosen clips of me smiling (proving that I had truly been in the studio) interspersed with generous compliments from my hosts as they enthusiastically discussed my books. That 'disaster' has become one of my favorite interview memories, and to this day, I count the show’s hosts as friends.
            As my disaster list grew, I felt obligated to warn my publisher’s publicist, “I need a big label plastered to my forehead, warning everyone, ‘Breaks things.’”
            “You don’t break things,” she insisted, “that’s just part of life.”
            A few months later, my publisher’s publicist arranged for me to attend the International Christian Retailer’s Show for a signing. I arrived at my hotel and dutifully proceeded to the convention center, joining a long line of other authors and attendees, to confirm my registration. The line moved briskly until I stepped up to the counter.
            “We have no record of you,” the important-person-in-charge said, eying me coolly over the rim of her reading glasses. Behind Important Person, her subordinates manned the computers and hurriedly tapped every conceivable variation of my name into their keyboards. 
            One of the subordinates gasped and stepped back from her computer. “System’s down.”
            I had to call my publicist to gain official admittance to the show.
            Sadly, I haven’t fully learned my lesson. I forgot to warn my new publisher of my propensity for creating publishing chaos, and Exiles was delayed when the final manuscript refused to cooperate with the publisher’s systems.
            The publisher emailed me. “You would not believe…”
            Yes. Yes, I believe.
My dubious gift for disaster remains.
            Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Coming soon! The Autumn Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!

Join the hunt!

October 17-19th, 30+ awesome offers, plus the chance to win a Kindle Fire HDX, or you could win one copy each of all these novels!

I will also conduct a drawing on this page for three readers to win EXILES, or any ebook from the Books of the Infinite series!

Stop by, and enter--I'd love to see you win!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

What I Did on Summer Vacation

It's been two months since my last post. However, I delayed for a purpose--to share news. Dawnlight, written under my Kacy Barnett-Gramckow name, is being released in paperback! Meanwhile, Dawnlight's new book trailer is featured in Book Fun 
Magazine's August issue, along with one of my lengthier summer projects--an article offering a few secrets, a SALE, and an explanation of my writing journey, as well as my dual writing personality. (page 111)

Drop in for a look-see! 

I've been delighted by Dawnlight's reception among readers. Matthew 27:52-53 is one of the most intriguing yet obscure verses in the New Testament, and bringing that era to life was a prayerful challenge and a joy. Want a sneak peek at chapter 1? You'll find it here.

What's next on my schedule? Elk Lake publishers will soon release Exiles, a spinoff from the Books of the Infinite series, followed by Queen.

More details to follow  in my end-of-August post!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fun Summer Reads!

Summer's approach makes me long for the beach, or at least the nearest hammock or a cushioned seat in the shade, with a tall glass of iced tea and a book. What have I been reading these past few weeks while the warmer temps tempt me to relax?

In no particular order, here are my four most recent reads!

For fantasy YA readers of all ages!

No one writes fun and (forgive me) cozy Inspirational fantasy adventures like Donita K. Paul. Repeat: No One!

Cantor D'Ahma has waited his whole life for this day. Born with a gift, the young Realm Walker is finally ready to leave his elderly mentor and accept his role as protector and defender of the realms.
But mere hours after he first steps through a portal, Cantor discovers that his job will be more dangerous and difficult than he ever imagined. The realms are not as safe as they once were, and members of the Realm Walkers Guild have become corrupt and can no longer be trusted. To make matters worse, his first assignment---finding a dragon to assist him on his quest---has led him to one who is clearly inept.
With the help of his new friends Bixby and Dukmee, Cantor must uncover the secrets of the corrupt Guild before they become too powerful to be stopped. But can his skills progress in time? And will Cantor remember where his true allegiance lies?

Medieval Fantasy fans, take note!
 C. E. Laureano enters the Fantasy publishing realm with the captivating Oath of the Brotherhood. If you love inspy medieval fantasy, grab this one before you head off on vacation!

In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.

When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king’s sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine’s ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Biblical fiction worth waiting for!
 I love Biblical fiction, and Tessa Afshar's upcoming novelization of Ruth is as tender and delightful as this cover! (Yes, I received an advance copy from River North, so it's not available yet. Sorry. However, this one's worth waiting for.)

Recently widowed, Ruth is left with a broken heart, a barren womb, and an empty future. Yet she's determined not to let her "chosen mother," Naomi, starve---so accompanies her to Israel. When Ruth meets Boaz---a wealthy landowner---she expects no special treatment. But will Boaz lose his heart to this foreign woman with haunted eyes?

Wonderfully written suspense!

 Peggy Levesque's debut romantic suspense is my current read. An unpredictable and fantastically detailed thriller. Peggy, I hope you're writing another one!

DEA Agent Greg Jennings is dead—and now they’re saying he was dirty, on the take. His widow, Sara, hiding out in the Witness Protection program after an attempt on her life, refuses to believe it, though everyone else seems to have accepted it as truth. Everyone, that is, except Drug Enforcement Administration Agent James (Mac) MacIntyre, Greg’s best friend. When yet another attempt on Sara’s life drives her out of the Wit Sec program and back home to Phoenix, Mac makes it his personal mission to protect Sara and, in the process, to clear her late husband’s and his best friend’s name. With a ruthless drug cartel hot on their heels and a mole in the agency undermining their every move, Mac and Sara find themselves literally running for their lives—even as romance tugs at their hearts. Will they unearth the truth and outrun the danger in time to carve out a future for themselves? *E-book. Arrives in Paperback July 1, 2014!

What are you reading this summer???