Courting the Countess by Donna Hatch


It is my pleasure to feature Author Donna Hatch’s latest romance, Courting the Countess, on my blog today. I have to admit that I dug into it the same day I received my review copy and stayed up all night reading it. Such a fantastic story!


But first, let’s get to know Ms. Hatch.


Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

One thing readers would find unique or interesting
Donna Hatch is reinventing the Clean and Wholesome romance novel with her unique style, weaving virtue and values into her stories, rich in authentic historical culture, and sweet yet sizzling romantic chemistry suitable for all readers of Regency romance.

Facts about Donna
@DonnaHatch has survived falls, 7 car accidents, and a near-drowning. Naturally her books are fraught with danger as well as happily ever after.
@DonnaHatch loves chocolate, baby animals, music, cats, history, books, writing, her 6 children, & hubby of 20+yrs.
@DonnaHatch and her husband of over 20 years are living proof of happily ever after.
@DonnaHatch drew from her own experience as a harpist and a music lover to write Courting the Countess.

My review: Having read two other Regency romances right before settling down to this one probably wasn’t my best decision (Regency isn’t my favorite genre but I’m a marriage-of-convenience junkie) but I can honestly say that I stayed up all night to finish this story. It was different enough from the there that the characters and plot kept me interested. I loved both Richard’s and Lady Elizabeth’s plights, although I kept hoping that Elizabeth’s feelings for Tristan would fade more quickly than they did. My heart hurt for Elizabeth when Richard emotionally distanced himself from her just after their wedding due to a misunderstanding, especially since that had worked so hard to form a bond beforehand. However, I was glad to see the story advance through their marriage, since some authors make the mistake of relying solely on the engagement period to carry the plot. I enjoyed watching their love for each other grow and change. This book is a sure winner for anyone who loves Regency/clean romance.

Grab your copy today:

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Courting the Countess on Goodreads

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Donna’s website

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ANWA Conference 2016

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the annual American Night Writers Association Time Out For Writers Conference this past weekend in Tempe, Arizona and learn from some of the best writers in the business, especially the LDS market. Improving my writing technique is always at the forefront of my mind but this year, several marketing/business-related classes were offered at the conference as well. I took advantage of those and felt overwhelmed by the astounding amount of instruction that was given–so much, in fact, that I don’t know where to begin. However, I’m excited to make a plan and put into action one step at a time.

There were terrific pieces of advice given in each class, but one of my favorites came from Mark Peterson, a freelance copy writer, who said, “Be great! Even if you know nobody’s ever going to read your blog posts, write your best anyway!” (Quote used with permission.) I’ll admit I have often wondered if anybody is reading mine, especially since I receive so few comments. 🙂

This was the first year I attended all three days. For me, Thursday was the most pivotal day in that author J. Scott Savage instructed attendees in turning a single plot idea into a publishable story. Then I participated in a critique group with three other women led by author Jennifer Moore. We became instant friends, and enjoyed an evening of constructive advice on our works in progress. On Friday, I took classes from Heidi Taylor of Shadow Mountain on pitch and query letters and even tried a pitch of my own. (Yikes!)

Here are a few more highlights from this year’s conference:

My critique group led by author Jennifer Moore. We all became instant friends. Loved it!

My critique group led by author Jennifer Moore. We all became instant friends. Loved it!

Harry Potter and his gang defeat the evil Bellatrix Lestrange at the Friday night gala.

Harry Potter and his gang defeat the evil Bellatrix Lestrange at the Friday night gala.

My roommate, Cori, and I caught up with author J. Scott Savage for an autograph and a picture.

My roommate, Cori, and I caught up with author J. Scott Savage for an autograph and a picture.

What a fun, instructional week! The ANWA sisters in charge put on an amazing event. I can hardly wait for next year. I hope to see you all there!

Spiritually Rescued

Earlier this week, I sat down in my sewing room (a.k.a. my bedroom) at my sewing desk (which used to be my writing desk in high school) to work on a Star Wars quilt for my son. Knowing this was pretty much going to be my work area for the entire day, I searched my bookshelf for DVDs to watch while I worked (picture me singing “Whistle While You Work” here). Well, as you might guess, I don’t own many DVDs, either because my kids have scratched them beyond recognition or I simply prefer books over other forms of entertainment. And the television in my bedroom isn’t hooked up to cable or Netflix.

After watching a movie about President Abraham Lincoln, I reached for a movie titled Rescue, written, directed, and produced by Brittany Wiscombe and Brian Brough. I’ve only watched it once or twice so I didn’t remember much about it. Throughout the story in which two guys and a girl became stranded on an island after their airplane goes down, the LDS man who joined the Church after being influenced by the girl’s testimony was disappointed to realize that her faith was no longer strong. He was also ridiculed by the “cool” guy for his silly ideas (ideas that actually worked) about obtaining food and eventually coming up with a plan to be rescued. Amid her struggle in her wavering faith, the girl turned to the cool guy more often than not until things came to a head between the “geeky” LDS guy and herself.

As I worked and listened to this movie, I thought back to the times in my life when I needed to be rescued from serious situations that arose and I realized that, like Megan, I was rescued spiritually before I was rescued physically. At one point when I felt such despair and hopelessness that I started to panic, the Lord sent a particular verse from an LDS hymn to my mind. The rest of the hymn had nothing to do with my situation, so I had to sing through the first verse and into the second to grasp the meaning. And when I did, tears formed. I felt overwhelmed by my Heavenly Father’s love, knowing that He knew what I was going through and receiving hope that He would help me. Things would get better.

Then it dawned on me: the Bible and Book of Mormon are full of rescues from Joseph of Egypt to Moses to Nephi to Ammon and his brethren as they preached the gospel among the Lamanites. But the Lord never rescues His people physically before He rescues them spiritually. We have to show our faith in Him. We have to come to a place where we’ve done all we can do and it still isn’t enough and call on Him in faith. He will always send reassurance that He’s there. And then He will rescue us either by giving us strength to endure or the resources to make the situation better.

He cares about us. He wants us to come to Him for help. He wants us to succeed.

Remember my blog post about the lost family picture-taking opportunity? We succeeded today. Remember when things don’t work out, tomorrow is another day. And if we let Him, He will be right by our side, waiting to help us along. So make tomorrow and every day your best day and I will, too!

Writers Report

For the past few months, I’ve worked feverishly to complete my third novel, which I’ve tentatively named Swift and Sure. It’s a story of two high school teachers, one of whom is a swim team coach and the other, a former competitive swimmer. This story, however, isn’t just a romance between these two teachers. The school they both teach at is experiencing some internal struggles, which the two teachers must work together to overcome. Throw in more lively characters and a light mystery and I think I’ve got a story worth telling.

A while back, I sent this story out to beta readers and was amazed by their helpful insights. Each beta reader saw different plot holes in my story (I know I’m not the world’s best plotter) and made excellent suggestions to tie the various threads that make up the story together. I was especially impressed with two beta readers who gave me helpful suggestions on how to address certain complicated plot points that had been giving me trouble. This experience taught me not only the importance of having good beta readers for a WIP, but being a good beta reader for others.

And now, on to another subject: a few months ago, I received a request for a blog interview from Christine at The Write Chris. I tried to be honest with my answers, which contain information I wish I’d been able to draw on before my first book was published. My hope is that this might help a fellow writer.

Here is the link: Writing to Inspire at The Write Chris

At this time, a lot of things are happening in my personal life as well. My dad who suffered a mini-stroke a few years ago, became bedridden after his body “unlearned” to walk. He recently had an operation done to help him become mobile again. This is the projected goal with him receiving rehabilitation services. (It reminds me a little of last year’s Christmas short story I shared on here. Remember “The Red Knight”?) Also, my son is starting his Eagle Scout project, which has been sort of stressful for me since I don’t know much about it. And among these bigger issues, I attended two IEP meetings this week at my children’s schools. A lot of parents dread these meetings. I actually look forward to them because the teachers in our school district are kind and care about my children. They make sure to tell me some of the improvements my kids have made instead of just the things they need to work on.

Oh, and one more thing – I’ll be attending the annual American Night Writers Association Time Out for Writers Conference later on this month. I’m excited to meet new people and learn new writing techniques. I will take lots of pictures, too. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!

“Really Good”

Isn’t it amazing how two little words can brighten your day? Last Saturday, after a discouraging week in which my youngest son came down with a sinus infection for the sixth time in six months and the doctor and I discussed having his tonsils removed, my family was scheduled to have a picnic on the mountains near us and take some pictures. We had a really awesome photographer lined up (the same one who took my author pic in The Matchup) and were excited to go. Why would we be so stoked about a simple day trip? Well, it isn’t so simple. Because of health reasons, I haven’t been able to drive up on Mt. Graham very often in the past few years.

But we decided to drive up about halfway where the scenery is still nice and the weather is slightly cooler than the little valley we live in, snap a few pictures of the fam, and perhaps even hand-pick some apples at the Angles Apple Orchard while we were there.

As I was putting the finishing touches on my girls’ hair and gathering shoes for the little ones, my photographer, Katie, texted and said her husband had been on the mountain just a short while ago and it was raining. I looked out my bedroom window and, sure enough, she was right. A monstrous monsoon storm cloud hung over the entire mountain. It hadn’t been there even an hour beforehand. We watched the cloud carefully, hoping for some divine intervention. Instead, the storm cloud moved into our little valley and thoroughly drenched it! The storm came and went all in an hour’s time and ta-da! Blue skies again! But our plans were ruined.

That evening, I was feeling down about our wasted efforts. I had wanted this so badly, not only because it had been such a very long time since we’d had any professional family pictures taken but because my birthday’s coming up and this was what I wanted as a gift. My husband isn’t terribly fond of pictures but he was willing to do that for me. And when our plans fell through, he was genuinely sorry.

Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize this as a gift in itself and wallowed in my despondency. Later that night, after talking the day over with Rob and feeling marginally better, I happened to log onto Amazon and find a brand new review of The Matchup by a woman who said, “Really good”. That’s it. That was her entire review. And I thank her for it!

But it gets better. I then looked up my first book, Pierced by Love, and saw a review from the same woman. Again, her review contained only two words: “Great book” with a side note about how she’s read it out of order but it didn’t matter. I was astounded. These two reviews were the first and only reviews I’ve received on my books over the course of this summer after heavily advertising them. And they came on a day when I really needed them, when I needed to know that my efforts are not wasted but used for purposes other than our own, and that sometimes blessings are delayed but never withheld.

I know this was not a coincidence but rather a tender mercy from the Lord. He knows our hearts. He knows when we are downtrodden and discouraged. He knows when we need His help. Most of the time, He waits until we ask Him. But every once in a while, He sends His comfort just for us in the one moment when we really need it.

I continue to be in awe by all that He does. That wonderful hymn we sing on Sundays, “I Stand All Amazed,” keeps floating through my head at all of the many tender mercies that come my way, especially when I look for them. Another favorite hymn, “I Know that My redeemer Lives,” comes to mind. I love the simple yet profound testimony of that song!

Because He truly does comfort me when I am faint. And He will comfort you, too. Know that your efforts aren’t wasted. He loves and cares about each one of us. And I am indebted to Him for His tender mercies.

Summer-y Summary

Hi again! I hope you all had a terrific summer! I sure did, and I didn’t even go anywhere. But that’s okay because it seemed like our family was constantly busy with something. Two of my kids competed on their local swim team and gained valuable experience and endurance from that adventure. My oldest daughter went off to Girls Camp for Young Women, my oldest son spent a week on the mountain with the Scouts, one son had a swim party to celebrate his birthday and then he was baptized. And one of my daughters celebrated her birthday on the first day of school. She specifically asked for cupcakes like the ones shown. I’m no decorator but I tried my best. Whew!

If that isn’t enough excitement for a mother, I don’t know what is.

Now that school is back in session, the kids are settling into a routine again. My youngest will start his second year of preschool on Wednesday and, as such, my daughter felt the need to write up a Preschool Survival Guide for him, patterned after the Princess Diaries (according to her). I thought I would include pictures of all these fun events.

My life is full and I am richly blessed!












Summer Smilies

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since my last blog post. Summer’s really moving fast, in part because we are keeping busy with family activities, and also because I’ve been involved in some really fun and exciting online author events.

First, J’Nel Wright from Deseret News reviewed The Matchup. And wow, what a thorough and thoughtful review it was! If you’d like to read it, you can find it here: Great Expectations review

Second, I belong to an LDS writers group on Facebook called LDS Beta Readers, which is run by three fabulous women. The focus for this group is mostly to help each other improve our manuscripts, ideas, and writing in general. However, our wonderful administrators orchestrated a Publishing Party in which they invited the published authors in the groups to share their books, writing and publishing experiences, and memorable moments with others. Each author was featured for one hour over the course of two weeks. I posted a few games and giveaway and answered lots of questions about my writing style and experiences. I had a blast and I also enjoyed getting to know more about other authors. The admin is already talking about doing another party down the road.

And last but not least, The Matchup will be featured along with seven other titles on Loving the Book Launch Party’s summertime reading schedule. Here is the link which you can hook up with for chances to win some prizes. Summertime Reading

From Loving the Book Launch Party’s Facebook page:

We have our new Countdown blitz with 12 Authors, 12 Books and 12 prizes! Join now for an amazing chance to; find new books to love, find new Authors to cheer on, and win amazing prizes!

Here is a look at our amazing line-up!

Day 1 (July 11) – Winning or Losing by Robert Lamoreaux
Day 2 (July 12) – The Wizard’s Heir by Devri Walls
Day 3 (July 13) – Academy of Secrets by Michael Carney
Day 4 (July 14) – Tarragon: Key Keeper by Karlie Lucas
Day 5 (July 15) – See me for me by Teya Peck
Day 6 (July 16) – DEATH UNSCRIPTED: A Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery by Marni Graff
Day 7 (July 18) – Proposals and Poison byRachelle J. Christensen
Day 8 (July 19) – The Matchup by Laura L. Walker
Day 9 (July 20) – Rising Tide: Dark Innocence by Claudette Melanson
Day 10 (July 21) – A Doorway Back to Forever: Believe by Nanette O’Neal
Day 11 (July 22) – Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello
Day 12 (July 23) – The Suspect’s Daughter by Donna Hatch

So join in the reading fun this summer. I’ve been immersed in my own TBR list and loving it!

Let’s Beat the Heat!

imageI am soooooo happy to announce after a VERY long school year that summer vacation is here!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited? And not because our family has a Disneyland vacation or awesome family reunion planned. Actually, our plans are pretty low-key this year: swim, swim, swim. After several summers of trying to convince my older children to go out for the swim team only to hear them refute, I gave up asking. Then, out of the blue as the school year came to a close, my daughter told me that she wanted to be on the swim team this summer. I was elated and, as a proud parent can only do, I then turned to the next child in the pecking order and asked if he wanted to join the swim team, too. To my delight, I heard “Yes!” So with that, I wasted no time registering them, knowing that at some point, the Cinderella phase would end and the clock would strike midnight. They would realize that swimming–as opposed to playing in the water–day in and day out, is hard work. Sure enough, the first day after the kids were dismissed by the coach with a cheery “See ya tomorrow,” my son came up to me, shivering in his towel, and said, “I don’t want to come back tomorrow.”

Oh, how I love that kid! He’s so much fun to be around! But he only began swimming independently at the end of last summer so I knew it would be difficult. As for my daughter, she is inexperienced in competitive swimming compared with the other swimmers in her age bracket. She wasn’t too happy when she was required to practice with a younger group. Last night, we had a pep talk about how hard work and a good attitude can improve a person’s circumstances. I’ll admit that I also bribed these two youngsters with a treat of their choice (with a dollar limit) if they stuck out the first grueling week. My goal isn’t to see them receive a medal. My goal is to see their swimming abilities improve AND for them to learn that hard work pays off.

Ironically, I am currently writing a novel with a swimming element in it. My plot involves a high school swim team whose coach runs into some trouble with the star athlete and one very stubborn teacher. It’s a love story but it’s also so much more. I don’t know a lot about competitive swimming so I’ve had to ask my author friends to help me with certain details. They’ve been extremely kind and helpful.

I hope to complete the rough draft of this story by the end of summer and submit it to my publisher soon after. With all of the editing and rewrites I’ve done on it so far, I honestly think it’s doable. We will see what happens. I hope to have some news to share about it in the coming months. And there’s another reason I want to finish this story. Another WIP of mine has waiting not-so-patiently for me to get back to it. A newlywed couple is in trouble and I’ve got to rescue them!

The plot thickens! Hopefully, hard work WILL pay off!

The Sacred Gift of Childbirth


As you might glean from today’s title, this blog post is about an amazing new book written by Marie-Ange Bigelow, MT, ADVCD, who is a certified birthing doula and has assisted many new mothers in bringing their babies into this world. Her book is written with the LDS audience in mind but really, just about anyone can benefit from her knowledge and experience.

The most refreshing part of this book, for me, is the perspective that Marie-Ange gives on the very act of childbirth being a very spiritual experience because it enables a woman to feel more closely to what the Savior feels for us. She also explains how a woman’s body is designed to release certain endorphins throughout the process to help her bond more fully with her baby, especially if the baby’s birth is “natural.” I love how the author further explains the benefits of a natural birth while at the same time helping expectant mothers to accept that it’s okay if their bodies are unable to deliver their infants in this way or if they need medical intervention (she goes on to explain the difference between an expectant mother needing medical intervention as opposed to wanting it or doctors wanting their patients to use them.)

For my review purposes here, I will say a few things about my own birthing experiences while trying to keep them modest. I am a heart patient. Although I was never a candidate for a completely natural birth because of the medication I have to be on, I’ve personally experienced a birth that was as natural as possible otherwise (not my firstborn), induction with Pitocin, two epidurals, no Cesarians but an almost-Cesarian which thankfully was prevented by a neat trick that my OB doctor decided to try at the very last minute after the nurses had begun prepping my husband for the C-section (and that’s about the most description I’m giving on this very public forum concerning that birth! Lol) so even though my family is complete, I still found this book to be extremely insightful and informational for women in general. I also appreciated the fact that the author didn’t bombard the reader with a bunch of statistics but rather interspersed them to provide more clarification to her premise. Childbirth is a very special gift. We are allowed a glimpse of eternity in that sacred moment when our eyes behold the face of the tiny person we’ve been carrying inside of us for the past nine months.

I wish that every expectant mother could read this book! Two chapters in particular caught my eye: one on post partum depression which provides strategies to deal with it in a spiritual way in addition to the medical ways that most other books list and another chapter dedicated to the husband/father-to-be that lists real, integral ways that he can be a support to his wife before and after the birth. I have to add as a side note that one of my hubby’s tendencies when we were in the hospital was to watch the monitor and mentally prepare me for the next oncoming contraction. He was funny in his commentary, almost like we were watching a football game on TV and he was doing the play-by-play (because monitors show the contraction before the pain actually hits, I guess he thought it was helpful.) But you know, having my husband there for me was exactly what I needed. I hold many special memories of those times of being together in the hospital in my heart and I hope that every expectant mother can have a special person with her who provides that kind of love and support through the delivery of her child.

So even if you, like me, are already finished having your babies, I would like to encourage you to keep a copy of this book handy for the women in your life: daughters, nieces, visiting teachers, etc. It’s a terrific guide to one of the most special gifts and responsibilities that Heavenly Father has given us: that of being a mother in Israel.


About the author:

Marie-Ange Bigelow’s fascination with childbirth began when she was a teenager taking voice lessons. Her voice teacher had just given birth and compared delivering her child to singing a high note and holding it for a long time. Over the next decade Marie found a way to combine her love of music and her interest in childbirth as she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy, and then went on to specialize in Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth. Marie also became a certified doula and childbirth educator, and was recently awarded the prestigious Advanced Doula Designation. Marie has not only helped couples prepare for birth through her popular childbirth classes, but has supported hundreds of parents during the births of their children in hospitals, birth centers, and homes.

Marie is passionate about childbirth and positive outcomes for mothers and infants. It was this passion, along with her belief that women should be empowered by knowledge and gospel truths, that led her to write The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby.

Along with her own childbirth-centered blog, Marie’s work has been featured in International Doula and on popular websites such as,, and Marie and her husband, Todd, are enjoying raising their four beautiful children in Boise, Idaho. As a family they enjoy biking, traveling, music, and movie nights.

To read more about Marie, visit

You can purchase Marie’s book on Amazon: Sacred Gift of Childbirth

On the Edge

Hello again! Today I’m featuring YouTube sensation Stuart Edge’s new book, On the Edge, which was an eye-opening read for me, as you might be able to tell from the cover.


About the book:

Everyone has had that one awful job, but Stuart Edge really had an awful job–cleaning porta-potties. As he cleaned, he dreamed of creating videos that not only made people laugh but also changed their lives. Now a YouTube sensation, Stuart shares his secrets to his YouTube success and reveals his conversion from self-conscious to confident and how being true to his beliefs made all the difference.

About the author:

Stuart Edge was earning money for college tuition by cleaning portable toilets when inspiration hit: “Make YouTube Videos That Make People Happy.” Only months later, he called his mother in a panic. “Please pray for me. I think one of my videos just went viral.” The Mistletoe Kissing Prank did indeed go viral, netting more than 27 million views to date. Several viral videos later, Stuart Edge has found fame, and possibly fortune, making people laugh. Not bad for a boy with social anxiety.

My review:

This is a must read for teenagers, parents of teenagers, and just about anyone else who feels stuck in their current situation, whether it be personal or professional. I loved how Stuart described his growing up years because that is an especially difficult time for most people. He really offers some great advice on how to cope with anxiety and feelings of not quite fitting in. He also shows a strong work ethic that paid off for him later in life. I wanted my own children to read his story so I even bought a second copy of On the Edge for them to read as well.

For me personally, I had actually never heard of Stuart Edge before I signed up for this blog tour. (But please understand that I don’t watch TV or videos much – I had never heard of Lindsay Stirling until a year and a half ago, either.) The initial reason I participated in this blog tour was that I was intrigued at how a guy cleaning porta-potties for a living could go from doing that to producing viral videos almost overnight. It’s a great read, to be sure, but what really impressed me about Stuart’s story was when he hit a professional low even after his incredible success and had to rethink the way that he was doing things. As an author trying to create entertaining stories with meaning, I’ve received my fair share of criticism from critics (whether well-meaning or otherwise) and recognized the truth in what he was saying about the role they play in ensuring that our intentions in sharing our talents with others are sincere.

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon: On the Edge

Barnes & Noble: On the Edge

Deseret Book: On the Edge