Category Archives: author

Top 25 Authors of 2018





This was a VERY difficult list to create… first, I began gathering the names of all my favorite authors. After re-checking my bookcases and bookshelf blog, I found that I have well over 100 names! Now, this might not sound like a lot to some of you, but I was astounded that I had that many favorite authors – those whom I refuse to part with their books!

I began paring down… whew, that was rough! What I really wanted to do was to name them all — but that seemed to defeat the purpose of listing the TOP chosen few.

I tried — I really did — and I still didn’t get everyone on the list that I hoped to!

So… without further adieu.

Here’s my personal list of the TOP TWENTY-FIVE AUTHORS for 2019:

   Jennifer Beckstrand    Vannetta Chapman    Valerie Comer    Rachel L. Miller

   Dana Mentink    JC Morrows    Macy Morrows    Tricia Goyer    Ruth Logan Herne

   Jean C. Gordon    Barbara Cameron    Suzanne Woods Fisher    Charlotte Hubbard 

   Ruth Reid    Shelley Shepard Gray    Molly Jebber    Kathy Fuller    Kelly Irvin

   Lilian Jackson Braun    Emma Miller   Amos Wyse    Laura J. Marshall    

   Grace Livingston Hill    Philip Gulley    Jan Karon


God bless you!


Blogpost © Donna J. Mynatt 2018



2016 plans for author features…


It’s FEBRUARY 1st!

Dear Readers…

I hope you’ve been enjoying my monthly author features.

I began blogging August 2013… and featured my first author in September – with Rosemary Hines.

After a year of doing weekly features, in August 2014 I came up with the idea to feature an author for an entire month!

Well, now it’s been eighteen months – featuring many of my favorite – and I hope your favorite – authors.

I began my adventure with Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Laura V. Hilton, and Jennifer Beckstrand.

Then, I dedicated all of January 2015 to new authors – reviewing their debut (and sometimes second) novels, with an interview and a giveaway. Although I had planned on four authors, I found room for five talented authors!

Rachel D. Muller – Letters From Grace, Maggie’s Mission
Holly Michael – Crooked Lines, Tsunami 2004: Then And Now
Angela D. Meyer – Where Hope Starts
Nadine Brandes – A Time To Die
Aynne Cynar – Erased With Grace

Next, to my great delight, I was blessed to feature Ruth Reid and Mary Ellis – two wonderful friends that I met at the ACFW conference in September 2014.

The rest of the year was very busy… featuring many favorites – and several authors that were completely new to me . . . the lineup included Melanie Dickerson, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Hannah Alexander, Charlotte Hubbard and Naomi King, Dana Mentink, Beth Wiseman, KE Ganshert and JC Morrows, Valerie Comer,  and finally Ruth Logan Herne.

Last, but not least, in January 2016, I featured Ane Mulligan and her exciting herChapel Springs series, with a weekly feature afterwards with Jennifer Beckstrand, to promote her newest book, Huckleberry Hearts.

So… beginning this year, I have decided to feature an author every other month. This will give me more time to devote to my own writing — in addition to the other reviews I write each month, and… the editing I do for a several authors. (Let’s not forget I’m still working a full-time day job for awhile longer).

In February, I will still be reading and reviewing several books, as well as taking time to find new authors to feature in the future. Watch for giveaways… I will be doing two giveaways from my own personal library in February!

In March, I will be featuring Amy Lillard. I’m excited to be reading and reviewing Amy’s Amish Fiction books. Then I’ll be back with another featured author in May, July, September and November.




Blogpost © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Book review needed…


MY 1st published book is scheduled to be published on June 30, 2015…

Now I need reviewers!!!


* If you have participated in NaNoWriMo, or

* If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or

* If you are considering participating in NaNoWriMo, and/or

* If you read my blogs and think you might be interested
in reading more about of my quirky life, and…

* You would be willing to post a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon

Please contact me and I can send you an Advance Reader Copy — or ARC — of my book.

To sign up, just go to THIS PAGE… mention that you would like to read and review the ARC (advance reader copy) of my book — and I’ll send you one via email. If you want to review the book, you will automatically be added to my launch team.

Front Cover BASE - YCW50000 JPG

Thanks and God bless you!

Copyright © 2015 DJ Mynatt

Happy Birthday | Aynne Cynar Marathon





Have a blessed birthday!


Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.

Aynne Cynar – Author Spotlight

Thank you for joining me for this special Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Aynne from her website.

I’m happy you’re here! Women love relationships.

The focus of my ministry is to the mature woman who has experienced deep changes within precious relationships. Change around us forces us to change within. Sometimes it is helpful to share the journey with others who understand and have made the transition into a new, successful role. As mature gals, we are on a path to redefine ourselves now that the parameters we used in our youth no longer apply.

Writing gives me a platform to speak to you!

Through devotions or fiction, the message remains the same. It’s not about us, is it? It’s about our wonderful Savior and how He works His plan in the world through us. Our trials are a cavern to walk through into His loving arms where we will always find grace and mercy to help in our time of need.

Retired from healthcare, I have the opportunity to reflect on all the women I cared for in their times of need. I’m currently a ladies Bible study leader. For over thirty years I’ve sat in front of a class and know there is much more to learn! One thing I know for sure—His Word is true and the foundation for what I hope to share with you as a reader.


Change around us forces us to change within – Aynne CynarCLICK TO TWEET!


And here is my interview with Aynne:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

Like most authors, yes! I remember writing on my mom’s black Underwood typewriter she kept in our basement. The stories were so scary to I used to run up the stairs when I’d get overwhelmed by the plot.

I like to use sticky notes in a lined notebook. I write out my ideas for a scene and move them around as the story unfolds. There’s a general outline in my head, but as the characters come alive and start misbehaving the plot has to change accordingly.

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

As a self-published author, the surprises center on meeting all the goals along the way. Encountering the contracted professionals, some in person and some only online, has been delightful and rewarding. I wish I had all the skills to design and format but I am so thankful to have found others who are adept. And, and editor is one of those things like teeth cleaning. You gotta do it.

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor, agent, or friends?

Notebooks are my passion. I keep one (almost) everywhere. I am ashamed to say I have pulled out the small one I keep in my purse in the middle of church to jot down ideas.

How do you find time for everything…writing, family, church, friends, etc.

I ask the Lord every day to help me. That’s my most common condensed version of my prayer life: help me, Lord! My mom was ill for twelve years and I have no idea how I have done anything. I am a retired nurse and worked when she first got ill. Looking back, it’s only God’s grace and love that got me through. And the wonderful thing is He is so limitless and the future holds His same provisions. I’ve taught Sunday school for over thirty years. Planning is essential.

I live by the motto: if you fail to plan you plan to fail. But don’t think I always hit it spot on. Thankfully, we have a Lord who helps us start over. And over. And over…

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences, and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

Writer’s conferences are wonderful places to network and learn the craft. I attended the Writing for the Soul conference (Jerry Jenkins) this past summer in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. To have met Jerry and Cecil Murphy in person was a thrill! I found my print-on-demand company at that conference. My editor was a terrific find at the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference. Funny thing…neither of us ended up being able to go (my mom was hospitalized) but she offered her services to attendees. How fortunate for me.

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

Since I am still a caregiver for my ninety year old father, my trips are infrequent. He is able to travel more now that neither of us has to care for Mom, and we might hit the road! I have family in Michigan, New Orleans, and Myrtle Beach. If I go anywhere, it’s usually to see them. I love the ocean but don’t want to live there after seeing what my family in the Gulf has been through.

Actually, my home is my favorite vacation spot. Living at the base of the Cumberland Mountains allows me a glorious view of the handiwork of our creative Savior.

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

Self-editing is my job right now. Book two and three are completed manuscripts but not editor ready. I hope to finish the series out with a fourth: End with Faith. My protagonist comes full circle. The intended audience is the “older” Christian woman, a gal probably over fifty and up. I’ve worked with widows, divorcees, and never-married in my teaching ministry and most of their stories are showing up somewhere in Cotton Springs, Kentucky, the fictional town I made up for the Penchak family.

I’ve also written some devotionals and professional articles under my real name. I am hoping to keep the fiction under my pen name, Aynne Cynar. Aynne hopes to start a new series about another middle-aged woman and her journey, but not until she’s done with Kathy. My non-fiction writer would like to write a book about what happens after living a full, barren, childless-not-by-choice life after her caretaker days have ended.

Hey! Thanks so much for allowing me to chat with you, Donna.


Thank You, Aynne… and God bless you!



Here’s a look at what we have to look forward to from Aynne Cynar:

Endure with Hope  (Cotton Springs Series – book #2)

Kathy Penchak left the administrative nursing job at Franklin to participate in the care of her husband after an automobile accident.  His injuries required out-of-state specialty care and the two years traveling between home and the neurological rehabilitation facility come to an end when he’s transferred to a nursing home in their town for hospice care.

His pending death, Libby’s revelation of her pregnancy, and Papa and Sam’s disagreement on forgiveness for the theft of stolen money from the family business collides.

Then, after a patient dies in the emergency room where Kathy’s been working part-time, a disgruntled family member of the deceased emerges as a stalker. God continues to weave Kathy’s life with new surprises as several suitors seek to protect her.

When Papa’s plan for the money unfolds, Kathy and her family are safe and the young son of the stalker becomes a lifelong friend. The cats in Cotton Springs are happier and with the dismal days of loss and betrayal behind her, Kathy knows their trials have been endured with hope by the Lord’s provision and grace.

Don’t miss a look at Aynne Cynar’s NEXT book – Endure With Hope.Tweet this!


And THANK YOU for joining me for this AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

Don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews —  February will be dedicated to another of my favorite authors… RUTH REID!


Today is the final day to enter Aynne’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Aynne Cynar Marathon | Giveaway!


God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.

Nadine Brandes – Author Spotlight

Thank you for joining me for this Author Spotlight!

First, a bit about Nadine.

My Bio

I learned to write my alphabet with a fountain pen. In Kindergarten. Maybe that’s what started my love for writing. It’s not every day a five-year-old learns the correct rules on dealing with ink splotches, how to hold her pen, or how to replace cartridges before she even understands 1+1=2.

I started journaling at age nine and thus began my habit of communicating via pen and paper more than spoken words. I never decided to become a writer. My brain simply classified it as a necessity to life, like bathing, eating, and sleeping.

Not many people took my writing seriously, so I kept it to myself a very long time. I didn’t share my books with anyone who didn’t seem supportive or bound to love them. Through my Junior year of college, God urged me to pursue a vision behind my writing. The moment I started the pursuit, He provided the vision. My writing has never been the same since and the stories behind how I got where I am are nothing short of miraculous. Yet, even with vision, it took me a long time to grow bold enough to share it with others.

In 2010, I moved to Missouri for graduate school. One autumn evening, a young man approached me at a small game night get-together and said, “I saw you have a blog. I’ve been reading it and… you’re an awesome writer!”

I married him.

Since then, he’s encouraged me practically every day to, “Go write, Honey.” He promoted my writing with unveiled enthusiasm, so I prayed on a little more backbone and forced out author confidence. Surprisingly enough (or is it?), people ended up being a lot more supportive and encouraging than I’d previously imagined them to be. My writing became public and God blessed it.

We now live in a mountainous valley on the border of two states where winter overtakes nine months of the year. Through God’s provision, I am a stay-at-home author, currently working on book two of my dystopian series. The first book, A Time to Die, is contracted with Enclave Publishing, the leading publisher of speculative fiction. (If speculative fiction sounds like a different language to you, read my blog post for a definition.)
Readers can learn more about Nadine at or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, Google+ and Goodreads.
How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?Tweet this!


And here is my interview with Nadine:

Have you always wanted to write? Do you use an outline for your stories?

Yes! I’ve always wanted to write, but I didn’t think about it as a profession until I got into college. For some reason, prior to that, I’d always seen it as a hobby.

I use a mental outline. For me, once something’s on paper, it feels too permanent and it’s tough to change. So I rarely write out a detailed outline. But, generally, I know where the story needs to go.

How does it feel being a published author? Have you encountered any surprises along the way to being published?

I love it! Writing is my dream and it’s such a blessing to watch my book impact the lives of others. I was really surprised, when I first stepped into the publishing world, at the author community there is. Once I stepped “inside” I met all sorts of authors and they really helped me tackle the process of becoming a published author. I didn’t expect that, but it was a surprise and blessing!

Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with ideas after a suggestion from your editor, agent, or friends?

I have a whiteboard. That’s not the most fire-proof or accident-proof place to keep my story ideas, but I jot down the title or the “What if” question and whenever I look at it, I know exactly what story would come from that idea.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten idea from someone else.

How do you find time for everything…writing, family, church, friends, etc.

Confession: I’m still working on time management! [grin] Aside from the things listed above, I also do freelance editing for work. I treat writing and editing like a full-time job and work 9-5 every day, alternating editing and writing days. I’m still able to interact with family, friends, and my church on a fairly normal basis. Then again, my husband and I don’t have kids yet. So I’m sure things will change drastically when that day comes!

Have you attended any writer retreats, conferences, and the like? Do you think they are necessary for your writing?

YES! Big giant neon YES. My top piece of advice I give to aspiring authors is to attend a writing conference. The relationships and classes you take there will completely transform your writing!

How often do you travel? Where do you go? Who do you travel with? What is your favorite vacation spot?

I travel a lot! Hubby and I are fans of road trips, which is a good thing because we road trip to Missouri about three times a year to see his family (a 20-hour trip.) This year (2015), we have a lot of international trips coming up that are ministry related, so we’ll be going to Russia in only a couple weeks! My favorite vacation spot is probably anywhere international. I love discovering new cultures and countries.

What are you working on now? Is there another genre you are interested in writing?

I’m currently working on books 2 and 3 in my dystopian Out of Time series. Book two was just sent in to my publisher for editing while book three is still being written.

Thank you, Donna!

Thank You, Nadine… and God bless you!


And THANK YOU for joining me for this AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

Don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews —  February will be dedicated to another of my favorite authors!



One Year. One Chance. One dangerous idea. Can Parvin survive her last year?Tweet this!

Watch for book 2 in Nadine’s Out Of Time series!Tweet this!


Today is the final day to enter Nadine’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Nadine Brandes Marathon | Giveaway!


God bless you!


Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.

Be careful…




Always use your own thoughts… and your own words… whenever you can.
If you want to cite work from another source, please be careful to give proper credit to the source if you use somebody else’s work (see below).


Copyright © 2013-2015 donnasbookshelf.