Save the Cat! Writes a Novel Book Review

This book review of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody is for all the novel writers out there who might need a little extra help with plotting their novels.

Save the Cat! breaks down the essential plot points, or beats, of writing a novel in an easy to understand and follow way. Jessica looks at popular novels from all genres, dissects them, and explains what make them work so writers can use the elements in their own novels.

Reading Save the Cat! is like having a conversation with a friend who understands the struggles of plotting a novel, and wants to pass on what she’s learned to help you. This is not a dry, boring how-to book. It is a hey, we’re in this together, let me help you book.

The fifteen chapters cover:

  • Creating the story-worthy hero
  • The end of all your plotting problems
  • Ten genres to fit any story
  • Detectives, deception, and the dark side
  • When life gets in the way
  • Join ’em, leave ’em, or take ’em down
  • Being extraordinary in an ordinary world
  • Surviving the ultimate test
  • Victory of the underdog
  • The transformative power of love (or friendship)
  • A little bit of magic goes a long way
  • Road trips and Quests and Heists, oh my
  • More than just a scary story
  • How to write killer loglines and Dazzling Synopeses
  • You got problems, I got solutions

Something for everyone.

The section I appreciate most is Save the Cat! Beat Sheets in the plotting section. Jessica showed how writing is divided into three acts and further divided into fifteen total beats or plot points. She detailed each beat with examples of how they worked in popular novels. Additionally, she showed how to break the beats into a workable storyboard.

Although Save the Cat! is an easy read, it is not a book to rush through. Not if you want to absorb all the book offers. It is a book to take your time reading, highlight, cogitate on, apply to your writing, and read all over again. At least is was for me.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.


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I received a complimentary copy of this book for the W.O.W. blog tour.

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Meet Carlton Hughes Author of Adventures in Fatherhood

Today I am deviating from my usual posts, and excited to introduce my friend and author, Carlton Hughes to you, along with information on his latest book, Adventures in Fatherhood. Carlton and I met several years ago at a writers conference. Imagine my surprise to find out he lives in the same area of eastern Kentucky where my dad grew up. Not only that, Carlton knows my cousin Marilyn. Carlton and I both have multiple devotions in The Wonders of Nature, Let the Earth Rejoice, and So God Made a Dog.

Welcome, Carlton. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why did you decided to become a writer?

I am an only child, so I had a lot of time by myself as a kid, which fostered my imagination. I had to makeup playmates and adventures! When I was in eighth grade, the high school journalism teacher was assigned to teach my English class, and he noticed my talent for writing. He invited me to join his staff as the middle school correspondent, and that was it—I became addicted to bylines! I served on the journalism staff all through high school and then majored in broadcast and print journalism in college. Even though I ended up being a teacher, I still wrote—had a column in the local newspaper for years. About 15 years ago, I felt God calling me to write for Him, and I haven’t looked back.

That’s a lot like our son, Pie. He is an only child, has quite the imagination, loves to write, was editor of his high school paper, and wrote for a local newspaper while in high school. He also majored in Journalism in college. Tell us about your latest release. What was the inspiration behind the book?

My latest book is Adventures in Fatherhood, a 60-day devotional co-written by Holland Webb. He and I are both on the “back end” of raising kids, as our children are beginning to forge out on their own. We felt like we could share stories from the “front lines” of fatherhood, telling stories of raising our kids and what God taught us in the process, to inspire fathers on the journey. Holland and I have different experiences in being fathers—Holland was a single dad, while my experience was more of a traditional family setting.

What a great idea to come at fatherhood from two different perspectives in order to reach multiple needs. Any moments when you felt like giving up on your book? How did you push through and get it finished?

Getting a book from proposal to contract to actual book is a long process, and I am not a patient person by nature! Writing the proposal and then waiting for a publisher to “bite” was agonizing at times, but I kept clinging to God’s promises. As for the writing process, once we got the contract, we had a VERY tight deadline—less than two months. That looming deadline kept me focused! I work better with a deadline.

Two months! That is an extremely fast turnaround. Good thing you work better with deadlines. You are so right…no matter what we find ourselves waiting on, it can be difficult, but clinging to God’s promises can help get us through it. Great is his faithfulness. What’s next on the horizon for you?

I have several proposals for additional devotionals that my agent is pitching, and I am working on another proposal. Nothing is set in stone yet.

I’ll be waiting to hear about your next book release. Any words of wisdom for the fathers who read this blog?

Hang in there and enjoy the small moments. The old adage “the days are long but the years are short” is so true. Also, remember the only perfect Father is God. You don’t have to be a perfect dad—just a present, involved dad. You will make mistakes, and that’s okay.

That’s good advice for mothers and anyone else who cares for children. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I once did the “Y-M-C-A” dance/motions in front of a big crowd at a cheerleading competition (My son’s girlfriend—now my daughter-in-law—was competing).

Yeah. I can see you doing that. Bet it was a hoot! Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I like fiction—not much on adventure, but I like “human” stories about real people coping with life (and humor helps).  I also read nonfiction and enjoy devotionals and stories of real people doing extraordinary things. I am attracted to good storytelling, whatever the form.

Carlton, you are one of the funniest people I know, so it doesn’t surprise me to see humor on your list. Maybe a humorous book for children could be next? What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

On a personal level, having a good marriage and raising wonderful kids to love God are things I am proud of (and we’re all still works in progress). A few years ago I received the Shepherd’s Cup award for service in children’s ministry in my denomination, and that was a great, unexpected honor. Finally getting a book published ranks up there as well! With God, anything is possible.

Congratulations on receiving the Shepherd’s Cup award. Wonderful honor. Well deserved I have no doubt. What is your favorite food?

Chocolate! All the chocolate!

Especially when we can buy it half price the day after Valentine’s Day and Easter, right? What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Getting motivated to sit down and to focus is probably my biggest issue, and I am still working on it. I am the type of person who needs a deadline, so I try to set those for myself. But it’s still hard at times!

Yep. Focusing on the work at hand instead of thinking about what we should be doing, or could be writing instead can be difficult. How can readers find your book?

It is available on the various online outlets as well as in stores. This link provides helpful information:

How can they contact you?

My email contact is, and I am on Facebook and Twitter.

Readers here’s what you can expect to find within the pages of Adventures in Fatherhood.

Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.
Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.
  • Devotions written specifically for dads

  • Rugged, durable package

  • Perfect size for coat pocket or briefcase

  • Presentation page for personalization

  • Ribbon marker

  • A great gift for Father’s Day, dad’s birthday, or Christmas

Sounds like a fantastic book, doesn’t it?

Carlton Hughes, represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary, wears many hats. By day, he is a professor of communication. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, he serves as a children’s pastor. In his “spare time,” he is a freelance writer. Carlton is an empty-nesting dad and devoted husband who likes long walks on the beach, old sitcoms, and chocolate–all the chocolate. His work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, The Wonders of Nature, Let the Earth Rejoice, Just Breathe, So God Made a Dog, and Everyday Grace for Men. His latest book is Adventures in Fatherhood, co-authored with Holland Webb and released by the Elle Claire imprint of Worthy/Hachette Publishing.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well,


You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

The Runaway Bride Book Review

If you enjoy Christian historical romance, the The Runaway Bride by author Jody Hedlund might be for you. In 1862 Arabella Lawrence painfully learns the consequences caused by deviating from society’s expectations and norms when the things she desires are at odds with the things she was taught were acceptable.

Fleeing an abusive situation in England, Arabella boards a bride ship destined for Vancouver Island. Upon arriving, she finds two suitors. Lieutenant Drummond, a respectable officer in the Queen’s Navy. And Peter Kelly a struggling baker. The two men could not be more different. While one encourages Arabella to be herself, the other believes she should act according to societal expectations. The mix causes unseen consequences of Arabella’s actions she never considered.

One of the things I enjoyed most in The Runaway Bride was Jody Hedlund’s use of dialog, especially the banter between Arabella and Peter. This book holds distinct characters, injustice, honor, and deceit. What more could you ask for in an historical romance?

Although this is the second in The Bride Ships series, you do not need to have read the first book. Each book stands alone.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.


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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women Book Review

According to authors Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher, Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women exists to glorify God by seeing and celebrating the value of women in God’s word. This book asks two central questions. Where is value of women seen in the Bible? Seeing the value of women there, how do we celebrate it? They continue by saying, when the value of women is rightly seen and celebrated, their Creator is honored and glorified.

Working its way from Genesis through Revelation, Worthy gives examples of how the Bible values women. The twelve chapters cover women in Creation, in the Fall, and in the Promise. Women in Israel’s history, in Israel’s Law, Worship, and Wisdom. Women in Jesus’ Birth, Life and Ministry, Death, and Resurrection. The final two chapters cover Women in the New Testament Church and Twenty-first Century.

Questions at the end of each chapter are designed to help process what is presented. A Digging Deeper section deepens insight. Appendix chapters reinforce what was taught throughout the book.

For me, this is not a book to rush through. It is a book to spend time with, contemplating and looking for application to our lives and the world in which we live. The two chapters I appreciated most in Worthy are The Worth of Women in Jesus’ Life and Ministry, and The Worth of Women in Jesus’ Death and Resurrection.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.


Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

The Art of Friendship-Book Review

In her book, The Art of Friendship: Creating and Keeping Relationships that Matter, Kim Wier uses 1 Corinthians 13 to show how the love chapter relates to our friendships as much as it does to our marriages. Among many things I appreciated in this book is Kim pointing out what we want in friendships is what we need to be willing to give. Simple, but not always practiced.

After Kim mentions traits we need to develop for genuine lasting friendships, she spends time going into depth, asking penetrating questions to make us really stop and consider how we’re doing with our relationships. Some of those questions showed me I haven’t spent enough time evaluating certain areas of my friendships to make them the best they can possibly be.

If you desire to deepen your friendships beyond the superficial, if you desire to be a friend in every aspect of that word, then my recommendation is pick up a copy of The Art of Friendship. Don’t rush through it. Spend time in the book, answer the questions, dig deep into any new thoughts Lisa presents, and see what happens with your relationships.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.


Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.