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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

New Release: Deceived by Madisyn Carlin

I dunno about y'all, but I am STOKED for Madisyn Carlin's debut novel, Deceived, which is a new adult Christian allegorical fantasy! Before I share my review of this book, I'd like to introduce it to y'all AND direct y'all to the many opportunities to receive some epic bookish goodies! (Oh, and keep an eye out for my upcoming interview with the lovely author!)

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!! Madi is also here to share all about doubting your writing with us! Her thoughts are so inspiring - not just for writers but for everyone - and I think y'all will enjoy reading her amazing guest post!

First things first...Deceived!


about the book

In a land built upon lies and deception, uncovering the truth can be deadly.

Therese Westa is sick of death, but taking lives is what provides for her younger sisters. When a client approaches her with an unusual request, Therese takes the job offer, which includes the condition of “no questions asked”. As Therese uncovers the reason for the request, she is faced with a choice: kill an innocent man or save her sisters.

Therese’s hesitation to carry out the assassination thrusts her into the aftermath of a dangerous chain of events. Caught between security and truth, Therese must choose where her loyalties lie, for the answer will determine who survives.


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Doubting Your Writing: What it Looks Like and How to Conquer it

- guest post by Madisyn Carlin -

If you met me in person, you would think I am confident and self-assured. You would surmise I’ve never experienced doubt and that I enter every situation with my confidence level at one hundred percent.

You would be incorrect.

Doubt is, as defined by Merriam-Webster, “to call into question the truth of; to lack confidence in; to consider unlikely”. An older meaning is “fear”. All of these terms are quite applicable to what I have experienced in my writing journey. And I know every writer, whether new or veteran, has faced doubt regarding their writing.

Doubt is more than an emotion. It is a weapon, a destructive force that can flatten your story and your will to write in a single blow. It is a poison that can creep into your mind, slowly corroding your confidence in your writing. And it is a murderer of the story you have nourished and are attempting to bring to life. One minute your tale and characters are vibrant. The next, they are withered and near death. If doubt rampages unchecked, it will ultimately destroy you and your writing.

How does doubt manifest itself in writing? How can it be conquered? Is it even possible to uproot doubt once it has settled in?

Doubt comes in three primary forms: comparison, cessation, and control.

Comparison is when you compare your story to others’. This is not where you and a fellow writer discuss what is similar and what is different about your stories. This is where you look at your story, place it side-by-side with another book in the same genre, and find yours lacking. Severely. Comparison tells you your story is not good enough. It will go nowhere. Your writing is pathetic and ridiculous compared to that other author. Your plot is flat and your characters even flatter. And it’s not really that interesting. Not compared to that other book.

The repercussions of giving into the comparison trap are disastrous. I know this first hand, as this is the form of doubt I struggle with the most. When you listen to this comparison trap, you question yourself, your writing, and your story. You shelve stories that have good bones and a lot of potential. You let those nasty little lies of, “Your story has no hope of going anywhere and will never be as good as that book” silence your project.

Cessation is ceasing to write. Quitting. Bidding your love of writing farewell as you pack your pens and pencils and plot ideas and move on, doing your best to close the door on a dream God has given you. In short, cessation is completely abandoning your writing.

I know this may sound extreme. After all, it takes a lot to fully stop doing something you love. But this does happen. It is a real, painful way doubt digs in and uproots your desire to write. This form of doubt whispers poisonous lies that corrode our love of writing. It also provides dangerous doses of fear. “You don’t know what you’re doing. How can you, just a puny little wannabe, be successful? What if no one likes your story? What if…?” The possibilities are endless.

Control is where you allow your doubt to control what you write. I am ashamed to admit I have fallen into this trap a few times. Control often stems from what we’re told is popular in our genre or what publishing companies are looking for. We doubt our story is original enough to be accepted without fitting into certain categories, whether those be a sub-genre, a certain amount of faith or action, etc..

My story of falling into this particular form of doubt is recent. Last year for about three to five months, I tried writing ideas I thought would gain the approval—and thus the acceptance—of a certain publisher. I even contemplated reforming DECEIVED to remove the allegorical aspect since allegories aren’t something this publisher was looking for. Instead of writing the stories God was giving me, I pushed them away, deeming them not good enough and not what this publisher wanted. I let my doubt control me.

I am so, so mortified at allowing myself to contemplate writing something other than the ideas given by God. I am ashamed at how I almost let my desire to be published control how much faith I put into my book. This publisher targets the general market, of which my books would never fit. But I tried. I fought the quiet warning that this wasn’t what I should be doing. That I might be compromising my desire to fill my books with faith.

When you hear those whispers, don’t give in. Don’t listen. Ignore them. Please, please ignore them. I am so grateful God guided me back onto the path I needed to be on. But it is so easy to lose your way when faced with control. It is terrifyingly easy.

We have established how doubt can manifest in your writing. Now we need to address how we can conquer it.

The remedy applies to all three types of doubt. First, pray. Pray for God’s guidance. Pray He will give you peace about your project. Second, remember. Remember you write for the Lord. You write to bring Him honor. We do not write for worldly accolades, but that we can use the ability God has granted to us to point others toward Him.

Third, ignore. Ignore the voice of doubt as best as you can. Ignore the seeds doubt is attempting to plant. You can do this by praying, reading God’s Word, returning to the sources of inspiration for your story, whether that is music, writing prompts, or something else, and rereading what you have already written. Fourth, write. Write your story. Don’t let yourself falter. Write a sentence. Then a paragraph. Then a page. Delve back into your fictional world.

Doubt is nebulous and deadly. Depending on how long you have allowed it to lurk about, it can be difficult to uproot. But it can be done. Doubt is an invasive weed. Pluck it by its roots and throw it away.

Unfortunately, you will encounter doubt multiple times as you write. There’s no way to escape it. But there are ways to conquer it. When you face doubt, please remember you are not alone in this struggle. Reach out to other writers. Ask for advice on how they face their writing-related doubt. And, most importantly, pray to and seek God.


giveaway + preorder swag

Y'all, Madi has some FANTASTIC goodies for those have preordered Deceived (or ordered it during the duration of this blog tour, which is from April 25th to May 7th)! You can receive some epic swag, like an autographed bookplate and a character card (pictured to the right!) that is absolutely gorgeous, if you ask me!

All you have to do is fill out the form below to receive your bookish goodies!

Not interested in preordering? Not to worry! Madi's also got this AMAZING chance to win a SIGNED paperback copy of Deceived AND that beautiful character art!

The giveaway ends May 10th, and all you have to do is click the button below!

If you don't have social media, that's perfectly all right! All you have to do then is comment on each post in the tour and you're entered!


the tour

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Sherrice | Author Interview

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Stephanie | Character Spotlight: Rogan

Sherrice | Book Review

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Stephanie | Book Spotlight + Character Spotlight: Ivelle

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview


about the author

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? Find her social media links here.


Y'ALL THAT POST. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, MADI, FOR SHARING THAT WITH US!!! I hope her words have encouraged y'all as they have encouraged me! I can't wait to share our interview...she's got even more inspiration and wisdom to impart! *winks*

yours in spirit and script,


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corrie s.p.
May 03, 2022

Why is everyone showing up as unknown member?

Weird. Anyway..

That was an awesome inspiring story Madi! I love Christian books. I'm so glad God brought you back.

I'm assuming bookdragon means you horde/collect books? I am just guessing since I have never heard that term before. (also, bookdragon was showing red and saying incorrect spelling so I clicked on it to add it to my dictionary and the spelling correction cam up as...wait for it..."boo dragon"😂

corrie s.p.
May 03, 2022
Replying to



Madisyn Carlin
May 02, 2022

Thank you for the spotlight and for the opportunity to write a guest post, Grace! Hope you like "DECEIVED".

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 02, 2022
Replying to

You're so welcome, Madisyn! Thank YOU for writing Deceived and putting together the tour! I'm loving it! :D


Saraina Whitney
May 02, 2022

Ohhh that was SUCH a good post!!! Thank you for sharing it here!! (And Grace, I'm sooo excited to read your review!! XD)

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 02, 2022
Replying to

Of course! :D (I can't wait to share it!!)


Lily Keith
May 02, 2022

Thank you Grace and Madisyn for such an encouraging post! I struggle with comparing my writing with other writers too, but this has been a real blessing to me.

(also, congrats on the release of your book, Madisyn!)

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 02, 2022
Replying to

You're so welcome! Thank YOU for reading it! :D


Kristina Hall
May 02, 2022

Excellent post!!


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