Why I hated Christian Romance: but Wrote One Anyways

Growing up as a Christian teenager I reached that age where “romance” became a thing with me. I began to devour any fiction books I could find. Nom. Nom. Nom.

I remember one day in my room I’d read about the 100th guy with broad shoulders, muscles, and perfect looks, and girls with auburn hair and purple eyes. Yes purple! I got disgusted and said, “I’m not reading Christian romance anymore!”

That ended that.

I started seeing this cookie cutter mold over and over with Christian romance.

  • There was no REAL problems.
  • No REAL emotions that really struck me.
  • It was like I was watching the same movie OVER and over.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Christian romances, so hear me out, this was just where I was at as a reader.

When I’d find one of the romances that actually stuck out, I’d consume it, talk about, and encourage others to read it. One in particular was The Hawk and the Jewel, as well as A Gown of Spanish Lace. Both of those were really different and caught my attention.

Fast forward in time. 

As I grew up, I discovered I loved writing. At first I’d written a lot of Christian fiction (action-adventure) and a romance that was huge! As I got sick of Christian romance I began to see my writing straying from that stuff.

I swore I’d never write Christian romance. Ever. 

I was at work, and a bit down I guess. I said to my sister, with an extreme eye roll, “I should write a romance, because romances sell.” I seriously no sooner said that, then BOOM. God drops an idea in my head. I hear my character Zoe say, “Why is it always nine o’clock?”

  • I’ve probably shared this before, but the reason why Zoe said that was, I always said to my sister at work, “It’s always two o’clock!” Our break was at three, so it felt like that hour in-between took forever! So, Zoe began to express my frustration.

I can’t explain to you what happened, but it did. God dropped Grace Alive in me. Literally gave it to me so fast that my head was spinning with the story. I’ve NEVER written a book that fast in my life. 10 days.

What happened to me swearing to never write a Christian romance?

Something changed in me, and I realized that people needed to hear Zoe’s story. They needed to know how amazing God’s love for them was. This book literally changed my view, making me cry when edit. I’d wipe tears away as I felt Zoe’s pain with her.

Zoe is me. I’m Zoe. Not literally of course. But, so many things Zoe feels I’ve felt. I’m sure you have too. That’s what I was missing in Christian romances. Real feelings. I wanted to be able to relate with a character and watch God move on them. I wanted to watch things happen in me as well as in them. It sounds weird, right? It’s fiction!

Maybe. If you let it.

Ages ago I read a book called, A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers. This book shook me up. I remember crying at the end of it and praying, “God, I want to be close to you like that.”

This is my prayer for Zoe’s story, Grace Alive. I pray as you open it up and read it, that your heart begins to feel the Love of God. He loves you so much. From a writer who hated Christian romance, I want to tell you that my heart has changed. I was just missing the REAL. The UGLY. The reality of real grace and real forgiveness. I hope you can see it as you crack those pages open.

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1 Beauty of courting

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Natasha House is the author of Grace Alive, a modern day Christian romance novel where Zoe, a pastor’s daughter faces a giant challenge with the topic of courting. If you enjoy Christian romance, with humor, drama, and passion, then pick up your copy here.

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Meet Zoe Reed

She is 26, unmarried, and still living with her parents. Working at a lame craft store, she feels like her life has become one giant disappointment.
Waiting for Mr. Right, yet having never been on a date, let alone kissed a man, she wonders if he will ever come.

Then she meets Branson Tate

The handsome man and his three kids stumble into her life, and she finds him to be polar opposite of what her parents have always wanted for her.
But when Zoe’s dad, the pastor of the largest church in Michigan, says God spoke to him who her husband is, she’s faced with a choice.
Is her father hearing God or is she?

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Help me name my Zombie Book Characters

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I am going to be adding some fun new characters into my book coming up in a little bit, but I’d love your help!

I need 4 new names for 4 new characters

  1. Crazy preacher kid (and his little sidekick)
  2. Shady guy who goes into the “wild” and gets stuff to barter with.
  3. Orphanage girl (who runs it)
  4. Kid who runs the school

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Make a comment below with the number and a name, and even a picture if you’d like, and I’ll announce what names get into the book. You could do all four if you like!

Have fun!! 

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Fantasy Animals (Never before seen from The Jade Series)

I was flipping through some of my old notebooks and found some drawings I did for The Jade Series. So, I thought you guys may enjoy seeing some of them! My actual artist took some of my ideas and made them way better! But, it was fun all the same to draw them.

Otsana

The she-Wolfinic’s eyes pierced the looming darkness. A maniacal laugh bounced off the shadowed trees and hit her full force like a rogue wind. Otsana crouched, a low, threatening growl reverberating in the back of her throat. Her claws protracted, digging into the soft soil beneath.

Otsana’s pic was almost scary! Eeesh! Here’s how she turned out from my illustrator.

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A little milder, plus you get to see Shema! I love Shema so much!

The world of Jade has lots of animals. Here’s another one for you!

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She opened her eyes and laughed as elkens danced around her, their white fur glistened, bodies blending into the swirling snow. Antlers that looked like skinny branches of a tree adorned their elegant heads, and their graceful legs were white roots that twisted and moved while they ran. Snowflakes fell around them, and the elkens’ mouths rose into the air to eat the glittering particles.

Here’s how it turned out.

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I had so much fun creating new creatures!

My doghin kept changing around in my head. Here’s some ideas I was throwing around as I drew them.

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Doghin

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As you can see I liked drawing the doghin.

He approached the open square, Zare children with white and streaks of colored hair bolted across the streets. They chased each other, their jubilant calls ringing back and forth.

Doghins, an animal with spotted, short fur, an elongated nose, multiple long fuzzy ears, and yellow eyes that shimmered, raced behind them nipping at their heels.

Here’s the actual drawing for the book.

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This drawing never got put in the book. It’s called a kelpso. 

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She crept toward a tall shella tree, her tail swishing in anticipation. The creature was covered entirely in spikes, except the tail, which was covered in thick scales, and the underbelly was soft. Otsana saw precisely how to flip her dinner. The kelpso wandered from around the corner of a cluster of trees. Its bulging eyes were distracted by the wind sprites that flitted around it.

I hope you enjoyed my pictures!

Book 1 of the Jade Series is FREE currently.  Just click the name and grab your copy. The Vullens’ Curse

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WIP Zombie Central: Essie

Hi guys! I’m here to give you some more sneak peeks into my book: Zombie Central.

Meet Essie

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Essie is the only girl who practices at Lee’s shooting range. She’s a bit “scary” and none of the boys make her angry. According to Lee, she’s a better shooter than he is! Essie’s real name is not Essie, and Lee always has a hard time remembering her “real” name.

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The boy’s call her “Essie” which is short for estrogen, but she’d probably murder them if she heard them call her that.

I’ve really liked adding Essie to the story.

Here’s a snip bit of my book: Zombie Central

I hesitantly walked out of my office and back to where Cleo was sitting. When I got out there, I nearly choked on my own spit. Essie was leaning over, talking to her, a kind expression on her face. Now I’ve entered the zombie apocalypse, because I’ve seen it all. Essie was the kind of girl who had more balls than a guy. She also could shoot a gun ten times better than me. That was hard to swallow. I hovered over them like a freaking weirdo until Essie looked up.

“What?” she snapped at me, her choppy, short, black hair looked like she’d just rolled out of bed.

“Ugh. Sorry. Just seeing if you guys are okay.” I think I should just tiptoe away from this.

“We’re fine, Lee. Having a girl talk. Go away,” Essie said, her expression scaring the crap out of me. Making Essie mad was a bad idea.

“I’m okay,” Cleo said, and wiped her nose on her sleeve. I felt completely out of my league here, so I just turned and walked the other direction. A few minutes later, some girl showed up from Lunk’s Feeling Center and took Cleo with her. I found myself distracted after they left. I kept wondering if Cleo was okay. After my tenth crappy shot, I holstered my gun, rubbing my temples with the tips of my fingers. Stop it! I told myself, walking out of the room with a frustrated sigh. I spotted Essie but she completely ignored me. Where did that burst of motherly love come from?

WIP Zombie Central: Lunk

Meet Lunk

He is one of the oldest character in my book Zombie Central. This guy rubs my main character Lee the wrong way all the time.

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After Lee has a mental breakdown two years past, Charles (aka Lunk) moves in with him. His job in Zombie Central is to help kids with their feelings. Pretty much a shrink. I’ve really enjoyed writing Lunk and Lee’s dialogue, because half the time Lee wants to strangle him. Lee never calls Charles by his real name. Ever since he’s met him, he’s been: Lunk Head, or Lunk for short.

iStock-Zombie-womanLee keeps his zombie mom on a chain in their living room, and Lunk is constantly trying to get Lee to let her go. He’s pretty unsuccessful at this, and just seems to annoy Lee even more.

Here’s a snip of my book Zombie Central:

Lunk grinned at me. He of course was a morning person.

“Good morning, sunshine.” Lunk’s lanky frame took up my door, but I still somehow managed to shove him out of the way as I left my room.

“If you call me, sunshine one more time, you won’t have any fingers left.” I walked into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes.

“Noted,” Lunk said and poured himself a cup of tea.

“Did you at least make coffee?” I said. He rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand.

“It’s brewing as we speak.” He took a dainty drink of his tea. He’s such a pansy. “Did you dream about your mom again,” Lunk asked.

Instantly every part of my body bristled. “Don’t analyze me,” I said in a growl. I hated when he did that.

“Talking about your feelings is a good thing. Your mom wouldn’t want your emotional state stunted.”

“Shut it,” I said and grabbed the coffee pot before it had finished brewing. I somehow managed to get some coffee into a mug, spilling half of it on the counter. Like I said. Mornings suck for me. I heard something between a groan and a growl and stuck my head around the corner of the kitchen. My mom stared at me, her cloudy eyes, drooping skin, and rotting body a constant reminder of my life. My mom’s a zombie.

I hope you enjoyed my update on Zombie Central!

If you wanna chat, please comment or find me on Facebook if you enjoy my blog!

WIP Zombie Book: Ted

I’ve been smack dab in the middle of writing my zombie book Zombie Central, and I figured I’d give you guys a peek of my character Ted.

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I had a hard time finding a good picture that looked like him.

Ted is a side character who practices at my main character’s shooting range, Crap Shoot. He’s nearing on 18, which means pretty soon he’ll be a full raging zombie. Lee doesn’t know where Ted originated from, so he’s a bit of a mystery to him. In book two, I reveal a few little pieces of Ted’s past.

Here’s a snip of m book Zombie Central: 

I heard the door open and shut and my body froze. I pulled my gun back out and crept out into the main foyer of Crap Shoot. A figure stood there, illuminated by the light from the door. Ted. I gave him a quick glance then holstered my gun.

“What are you doing here? We’re closed,” I said curtly. I wasn’t in the mood to see anyone right now.

“Sorry, Lee, I forgot my bag. I thought you might be here still.” He gave me an apologetic shrug. Ted’s deep set hazel eyes were framed by dark brown hair. He looked like he belonged in a zombie world. Barrel-chested, huge arms, tattoos covering every spare inch of his exposed skin. I’d never asked where Ted had come from before he’d moved to Zombie Central. I think I’d remember him if he’d lived in my city before the zombie apocalypse had happened.

“It’s fine.” I nudged my head toward the lane he always occupied and he walked away without another word. He came back a few moments later, his black bag slung over his shoulder. He gave me a nod and exited the building. I watched him go until he was out of site. I liked Ted. There was something comforting about him. Plus he didn’t talk much, which I appreciated the most. I cleaned up and started heading out the door.

WIP Zombie Book: Cleo

Zombie Central

I love anything weird, so when Lee (the main guy from my zombie book) decided to talk, I had to write it down. The world is now in the hands of kids. When kids hit 18 they turn into a zombie. Needless to say, the world has changed a lot! Lee, my main character is a kid who owns a shooting range, keeps his zombie mom tied up in his living room, and drinks coffee out of mason jars.

Then he meets Cleo

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I introduce Cleo in a hospital, and she’s in bed, in a coma. Cleo has no idea what’s gone on in the last five years. So, when Lee sees her outside the Feelings Center, after waking up from her coma, he has to talk to her.

Even though Lee hates talking to people.

Cleo has an extremely innocent personality, and I have enjoyed adding her to the story, because she’s still mostly disoriented about what’s going on all around her. Here’s another picture of how I imagine Cleo.

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Here’s a snip of my book Zombie Central:

A girl was huddled against the building, her dark blonde hair hiding her face, her arms wrapped around her knees. Welcome to the Feelings Center, sweetheart, get over it. Part of me wanted to book it back home, but the part my mom had raised, told me that she’d want me to help this girl. Dang it, Mom, why did you have to raise me to be a knight in shining armor. Despite the bleakness of the world, I still clung to hope. However stupid that seemed—I still had hope.

I cautiously made my way toward the crying girl, wondering if disturbing her good ‘cry’ would make it worse, or turn some sort of womanly curse on me. Just…do it, you wimp. I reached down and lightly touched the girl’s shoulder.

“You okay?”

She jumped, making me jump backward, nearly stumbling over my own two feet. Her face was splotchy and red, eyes puffy, black makeup smeared. What a sight—eesh.

“Just—go away.”

    Glad to, sweetheart, only my conscience won’t let me. “Do you want to talk about it?” I bent down in front of her, my eyes full of concern. Something about her face seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite place what. She caught my gaze, fresh tears filling her eyes, her lip trembling. Oh no. Water works. Coming at me.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” she said, the words halfway garbled, since she was still crying, sniffing, and snotting all over the place.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“I woke up this morning in a hospital—and everyone—everyone is gone. A girl dropped me off at this place—said she couldn’t deal with me.” She waved her hand at the building, her face pale.      “Then they tell me my parents are zombies? That my older brothers are all zombies too? I don’t understand.” She rubbed her eyes, sobs still choking her words.

“What’s your name?” I asked. Has this girl been living under a rock? Zombie Central happened five years ago.

    “Cleo,” she said.

WIP Paxton Clark Series

I started a tiny Facebook story ages ago about a man who could hear thoughts. Of course, me being me, decided that Paxton Clark’s story needed to be told.

Paxton is a wealthy man, who looks like he has it together, except for under the surface he’s tormented. Thoughts. Noise. Endless Chaos. When he’s faced with an offer, to end the torment, he has to make a dark choice.

This is a picture of how I imagine Paxton. This is owned by Shutterstock, but is the closest I can find to him.

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Paxton is a billionaire.

Paxton has hidden himself from the world, and decides he’s going to try to start living again.

Enter Jane

Jane is 29, working at a local coffee shop, and has a mother who won’t leave her alone. When Paxton orders a coffee, she slips her number on the back of his receipt. Jane is my favorite part of this story! Her lovable, funny personality gets you laughing.

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Here’s a picture of how I’d think Jane would look.

An average girl and a billionaire who can you read minds. I’m excited to release the Paxton Clark series, but I’m writing all three books at the same time! I hope you guys enjoy a snip of my new book.

Snip of the book: 

    He slammed into the coffee shop, the jingle of the bell above, a relief compared to the constant chatter. The girl at the counter looked up immediately at his approach. She smiled at him, her cheeks flushing. His eyes flickered to the menu that was high above her head. He needed caffeine to get him through today. He ignored the girl who couldn’t seem to keep her eyes off of him. He tried to think what would be strong enough for him to survive until his get-together was over. He was meeting a woman here at three o’clock. He knew she would arrive precisely three minutes passed three. He didn’t understand how his mind picked up on snip bits of the future, like tiny flashes in time unzipped for him to peer at.

“I’ll take a shot in the dark with two extra shots,” he said with a deep tone. The girl’s brown eyes widened slightly. He noticed that she’d buttoned her shirt wrong and her makeup looked like she’d rushed out the door.

“You must need one big wake up call,” she said, and a nervous smile tilted her lips.

“Something like that,” he said and his voice sounded more like a growl.

“You from around here?” she asked as she began to make his drink. The machine whirled, covering up the annoyance of people’s thoughts for a brief second. He drew in a ragged breath of relief.

“Yes,” he said.

“You a regular?” she asked.

    I just need my coffee, he thought but didn’t want to appear rude.

“Yes,” he said again. The girl finished up his drink and handed it to him. With it she handed him his receipt with something scrawled on the back of it. This wasn’t the first time a girl had given him her number. He ignored the gesture, grabbed his coffee, and sat down. The girl was watching him, so he shoved the receipt in his pocket. The café wasn’t overly busy, but still the noise seemed worse today.

Zombie Book

I’m a Walking Dead fan, and thought writing a zombie book would be fun. I’m trying to keep it kid friendly, so there hasn’t really been a lot of zombies in it just yet. I am seriously in love with my main character Lee. He is based off my husband, so that makes perfect sense right?

  • Everyone over the age of 18 is now a zombie. Kids are running the world rather smoothly. At least where Lee lives.

I love starting a random story, just to distract myself from my current WIP. I heard Lee start talking and I knew I instantly liked this guy!

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 Here’s a picture of how I think Lee would look like.

Snip of my book:

    Crack! I bit into a sunflower seed, sucking away the salt on the outer shell, cracking it open, and spitting it onto the floor in front of Lunk. He glowered at me as I did one after another. It was my house; I could spit on the floor if I wanted to. I heard my mom groan in the room beyond, but I figured she wouldn’t care if I made a mess today. I felt pms-ey.

“It’s just one hour, come on, it’s good for you,” Lunk pleaded with me the moment I walked back into the kitchen for a snack. I shoveled another couple seeds into my mouth. Crack! Crack! I spat the shells on the floor, doing my best to ignore Lunk.

“What about Talyor, Lee? Would you come if she was there?” he asked. He looked like a desperate freak.

“I don’t give a spit if some stupid girl is at your Feelings Meeting. I’m not going.” Crack! I spat again, nearly hitting Lunk’s feet.

“I swear, you act like a little girl,” Lunk said, his face turning slightly red. “I’m just trying to help you!”

“I’m fine.” I looked beyond Lee. He’s probably right. I always sucked at that ‘feelings’ thing.

“You need to unwind, or this thing is going to make you break down again.”

    Thanks for the reminder that I snapped like a psychopath.

Lee is 15 and took over his father’s shooting range. This kid is awesome.