Jodie Wolfe: On Prayers Answered

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Everyone’s Story welcomes guest author Jodie Wolfe this week. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting (so far cyber wise, but hopefully that will change!) the past few years since Jodie and I share the same wonderful agent (waving to Linda S. Glaz), as well as through the joys of blogging, tweeting and the ever-visual Facebook. 2016 has been a kind year to us both, seeing our debut novels make an appearance. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see what Jodie shares with you and to encourage her to keep writing the stories you love. Also, do check out Jodie’s lovely BookGiveaway! We’re looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Jodie is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 print copy of Love In The Seams, US only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, December 9th between  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.

 

 

Answered Prayer By Jodie Wolfe

Do you have a deep yearning that God has given you? It could be to do almost anything. I love the way God builds within us desires that line up with His will. It can be as simple (or complicated) as longing for a family of your own. Some might have a passion to be a song writer. Or perhaps your aspiration is to be a missionary or a doctor. It can be any number of a myriad of things since God created each of us different and unique. We all have a place and job in His kingdom here on earth. Don’t you love that?

We are to use our gift to point the way to Jesus. I love these verses from Matthew 5:14-16. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

In my new book, Love in the Seams, Mae Stafford longs for what her twin sister has—a husband and family of her own. Instead of dwelling on what she doesn’t have, she throws herself into her work as the local seamstress in Calder Springs, TX. Using the gifts God has given her, Mae designs and produces garments that are sewn in love.

I too have had a deep longing ever since I was a little girl…to be an author. It’s taken many years of writing with many rejections along the way. The path has been strewn with many ups and downs. Only this year, after many, many years of waiting have I finally started to see my dream come true.

God has opened doors with contests, two Indie novellas published in 2016, and also a signed contract for a novelette coming out in spring 2017. All I can say is, only God.

In the process of waiting, He has taught me many things. Most importantly is to keep my eyes on Him and trust Him to bring answered prayers about in His timing. He knows what is best for me. Even when things look the most dismal, I still can still find hope and peace in God.

My character, Mae Stafford, has things to learn as she waits on her dream too. Here’s the opening to my new book, Love in the Seams:

October 1875, Calder Springs, Texas

“Will you be my new mama?”

Mae Stafford startled at the small child standing beside her elbow and nearly dropped the garment she’d been sewing. She hadn’t heard the bell chime on the door to her dress shop. Golden strands slipped free of the single plait running down the girl’s back. “Why, I … ”

Nein, mein tochter.” A towering blond man placed a hand on the pixie’s shoulder. The gruff sounds of his language were somehow soothing.  “You’ll have to excuse my daughter.” His gaze didn’t quite meet Mae’s. “Sometimes she forgets—”

“But, Papa. She’s the lady we saw a few months ago with the beautiful white dress.”

Warmth flooded Mae’s cheeks, and she cleared her throat. “You must be thinking of my twin sister, Ellie. She, uh, got married in the beginning of summer.”

“What’s a twin?” Her nose wrinkled.

“It means that both my sister and I were born at the same time. We look alike, although not all twins do.” Mae refrained from touching the child’s shoulder.

The girl leaned against Mae’s leg and stared at her face. “Do you have a husband and children?”

I thought I’d part with a question: How has God answered your prayers?

Jodie’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet #inspirational author @JodieAWolfe and learn of her road to publication. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author @JodieAWolfe: How has God answered your prayers? (Tweet This)

Author @JodieAWolfe: Is there an advantage of the long trip to publication? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie.

Places to connect with Jodie:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Pinterest

Amazon

 

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On Sale on Amazon only through the holidays!

                           Kindle $.99

                    Print Edition $9.99

 

 

 

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Jodie and I look forward to your comments.

 

Karen Ingalls: Shining For Others

 

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Karen Ingalls to our little corner of the blog world. Karen and I have connected over 2 passions: our love of writing, and ovarian cancer. Karen has battled with the illness; my mother had passed away from it 28 years ago (and I had an ovarian tumor but praise God, it was benign). Another passion of mine is helping others over a good cause and this week Karen reaches out to those who are fighting ovarian/other cancer(s). I hope you’ll share this post with anyone who may need encouragement over an illness, whether family or friends or neighbors. Karen is offering her award-winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir  to 2 commenters. A big by-the-way mention: all proceeds of this book are donated to gynecologic cancer research!! We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.

 

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BookGiveaway:

Karen is offering 2 randomly chosen commenters 1 print copy of Outshine, a perfect source of inspiration for either yourself or a loved one facing cancer. The winner will be announced here on Friday, December 2nd between  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.

 

 

Excerpt:

An Excerpt from Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by Karen Ingalls

Chapter 3

Prayer and Love

It’s said that as tears flow out, love flows in. I believe that to be

true. For the next two weeks, a lot of love flowed in. Jim and I

sobbed until our throats and stomachs ached. The week was painfully

difficult while we waited for answers; informed our kids,

family, and friends; and made preparations for surgery and recovery.

It was the start of a journey that would have us enter hell and

then travel various peaks and valleys of hope, fear, ministry, doubt,

prayer, and an ever-closer relationship with God and each other.

I have always believed in God, even though I was raised in

a home where there was no talk of God, Jesus, or the Bible. We

never went to church, grace was only said when my stepfather’s

family was at our house for a meal, Easter was about the bunny

rabbit, and Christmas was about Santa Claus. My grandmother,

Edith, was the one who taught me about God, all religions, and

how Jesus was her Savior.

 

In my junior year of high school, the abuse had escalated to

a point where I knew my life was in danger. I left my mother’s

house in Long Beach, California, to live with my dad and his

wife in Hollywood, California. Starting in my preteen years, my

dad and I had become very close. He did not know about the

abuse, because I was scared to tell him the “secret.” The move

meant changing schools, making new friends, and seeing very

little of my mother and two sisters. Both sets of my grandparents

had always been very important to me, and now they were even

more so. Both Dad and my grandparents provided the stability,

strength, and spiritual and religious beliefs I needed. It was an

ending and a beginning, frightening and safe, confusing and

sane, nightmare and dream, sadness and happiness. A classmate

invited me to the youth group at her church every Wednesday

night. So began my journey in truly knowing and accepting

God into my life through Jesus the Christ. My faith has never

stopped growing, and it was the foundation for which I found

the strength and courage to face what lay ahead.

 

The time before my surgery gave Jim and me an opportunity to

come to a new level of grief. We talked about the power of prayer

and how our love could see us through anything. Prayer and love

had already seen us through some difficult times with family,

careers, and our own relationship.

 

We were overwhelmed, too, with the love and support

we received from family and friends. Every message in a card,

whether written by Hallmark or the sender, touched my heart

and soul in a completely unexpected way. I learned a lesson in

life that any birthday, sympathy, or get-well card might be very

meaningful and powerful for the receiver. Therefore, cards need

to be selected and sent with the ministry they are intended to

have. Too many times in the past, I have sent cards without

paying close attention to the words inscribed. I gotta get this in

the mail, was my thought as I quickly selected a card after barely

scanning the verse. That was not ministering to others. Rather, it

was being too self-absorbed in my own busy-ness. Being on the

receiving end of so many special cards opened my eyes and heart.

As the days brought us closer to the surgery, I learned that

friends are one of the most cherished gifts I appreciate. One

morning, I joined my dear friend, Charlotte, for a cup of coffee.

 

We had met twenty years ago when we worked together in the

hospital’s epilepsy unit. Sharing the same philosophy of life and

nursing, we quickly formed a deep friendship. We talked about

my upcoming surgery and the unknown challenges that lay

ahead of me. She helped me deeply explore and discuss my true

fears.

 

“I think my greatest fear is for Jim,” I said. “How will he be

if I die?” For over twenty years, we had lived each day as if we

would live forever, though we had buried his parents and said

goodbye to other relatives and friends. “Jim and I have such a

close bond, it’s like we’re one. We’re best friends, besides loving

each other so deeply and profoundly.”

 

Charlotte took my hand and said, “Jim is a survivor. He’ll

go through his stages of grief and will miss you terribly, but he’ll

survive just because of his love for you. He knows that’s what you

would want.” After a few minutes she added, “Besides, none of

us knows when we’re going to die. Just because you might have

cancer does not mean you are automatically going to die from it.”

 

OUTSHINING CANCER by Karen Ingalls

When anyone hears the word cancer it creates fear, anxiety, and sometimes panic.

This is true no matter the language, culture, religion, or nationality. When I heard, I am sorry but the tumor was cancerous I also felt fear and thought my life was over. This lasted about two days but as I asked questions, did research into ovarian cancer, and turned my fear over to God then I began to see the cancer as one of several challenges I have had to face.

I prefer to use the word challenge because it does signify negativity, but also an opportunity. Just as the athlete trains for the competition, I see my training as putting my body, mind, emotions, and spirit in optimum condition to live with cancer. I have always been the health nut of the family choosing to eat few red meats, little processed foods, and lots of fruit and vegetables. I have always exercised or been involved in yoga. Meditation or deep prayer has been a daily (or more) event.

I am a retired registered nurse who specialized in holistic counseling in my private practice as a nurse counselor. I offered the client therapeutic massage, healing touch, biofeedback in addition to the one on one counseling. I pursued these same modalities for myself and after the diagnosis I added Qigong, Reiki, and nutritional advice.

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Since I was a preteen I wrote short stories, poems, and nightly wrote in my diary. I found this to be very helpful in dealing with my alcoholic parents and abuse from my stepfather. In the 1950’s there was no programs, information, or sources for those of who were being abused. It was a family secret!

I wrote and journaled for my healing and continued doing it right up to today. I did not think I had any gift for writing so I did not share it with anyone. One of the positive things that came out of my cancer diagnosis was the publication of my award winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. This is the story of my cancer journey, which anyone who hears the words you have cancer will relate to it. Cancer is cancer is cancer. Even though our specific cancer might be different and there may some variations to our journeys, we do walk similar paths. It is my hope that my ways of training for this challenge, or coping, will help others.

I also wrote the book Outshine to bring awareness about this lesser known and too often deadly disease. Every female, no matter her age, needs to know the symptoms and act on them. Briefly, the most common symptoms are bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, indigestion or feeling full sooner than normal, painful intercourse, changes in urination or bowel habits, etc. If these symptoms persist for only two weeks, it is imperative to see a physician and demand a transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test called a CA125. These tests are not expensive and they are all we have to help diagnose ovarian cancer at an early stage.

Too often physicians do not consider ovarian cancer initially when the patient presents with any or a couple of these symptoms. It is imperative that the woman know and share her family history and be proactive. Gilda Radner was sent from physician to physician until her cancer was so advanced she died young. This still happens today. Physicians, nurses, and every woman needs to know about ovarian cancer.

This cancer is not just for women over 60 years old. There have been diagnoses of preteens, those in their teens, twenties, thirties, and on up. Did you know that Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller was diagnosed at age 34, Gilda Radner was 42, and Maureen Connolly the tennis champion was 34? A teenager in Florida was diagnosed at the age of 18, a 7 year old, and even an infant was diagnosed with rare forms of ovarian cancer.

I hope you will share this information with everyone. It is only through knowledge and action that we can save the 14,000 lives that are lost every year just in the United States alone. Please feel free to contact me at my website listed below if you have questions or require more information.

No matter if our challenge is related to health, relationships, finances, abuse, addiction, or any other number of events my holistic approach can be of help to the reader. I talk about such things as meditation or deep prayer, exercise, diet, imagery, and laughter to name just a few. I hope the reader will find the necessary ways to cope with the stress or challenge in his or her life.

Karen’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor: Reaching out to others with #OvarianCancer (Tweet This)

Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor: advice & encouragement for those faced with #cancer (Tweet This)

@KIngallsAuthor: How #writing #faith #meditation can help to cope with #cancer (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Karen Ingalls is an 8-year survivor of ovarian cancer; a retired registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Human Development; author of three books; blogger at two sites; and a public speaker. Her first book is about her journey with ovarian cancer, which reaches across to anyone with cancer. All proceeds from that book go to gynecological cancer research. Her second book, Novy’s Son is about one man’s struggle to achieve his father’s love and acceptance but unfortunately uses anti-social behavior to achieve it. This is based on a true story, which reflects a common problem in our society where fathers do not know how to be fathers and teach their sons how to be responsible and loving parents themselves.

The third book is titled Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This is also based on a true story of America’s premier author in the 1800’s who fell in love with and had an affair and child with his model, Davida.

Karen is an active member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Florida Hospital Cancer Institute for gynecological cancers, Waterman Hospital gynecologic cancer support group, and Women for Hospice. She is available to give free seminars about women’s cancers in person or via Skype.

Places to connect with Karen:

website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon/Outshine Ovarian Cancer

Amazon/Novy’s Son

Amazon/Davida

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On Sale on Amazon!

                           Kindle $.99

                    Print Edition $9.99

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen and I look forward to your comments.

Peggy Frezon: On Pets, People, and Writing

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Peggy Frezon, who combines her love of animals and writing in her non-fiction books. While Peggy may be a local author to me, her name has spread to far reaches through the many articles she’s penned in Guideposts Magazine as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul. Take a look at the uplifting video she’s provided and check out her interview. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you… and hope to hear about your treasured pets and what situations they may have possibly helped you through.

 

 

Questions for Peggy Frezon

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Your author tagline is “Books about the human-animal bond.” What inspired you to go beyond love for animals enough to drive you to write about them?

I’ve loved animals goes since I was growing up in Vermont. When I started writing, I first wrote for various newspapers and magazines in college. It took me a little while to find my niche, but once I started writing about animals, everything fell into place. Now I get assignments on animal topics, and my editors look to me for animal stories. I can’t wait to start work every day because I’m lucky enough to have a job combining my two passions—writing and animals. I would tell writers that if there is a topic you feel passionate about, search for opportunities to make yourself an “expert” in that field. Seek out publications and websites on the topic and get a feel for their style and their needs. Also having a blog on the topic gives you credibility.

Tell us about your books and other publications.

My most recent book is Faithfully Yours–the amazing bond between us and the animals we love, published by Paraclete Press. It’s true stories about all the wonderful ways animals show people compassion, devotion, healing and love.

My other books are Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw about the healing role animals played in one Vermont woman’s life, Dieting with my Dog a memoir about a time my chubby spaniel and I joined together to both lose weight, and The Dieting with my Dog Guide to Weight Loss.

Remember how I told you that once I started writing about animals, things started to fall in place? Here is an example. I write full time for Guideposts Magazine, and frequently get assigned animal stories. Guideposts is now launching a new publication, All Creatures Magazine, and I was just named contributing editor. So I’m pretty excited about that.

I’ve also contributed to dozens of Chicken Soup for the Soul books and other compilation books like that. These type of books are great for writers because they accept numerous stories in each book, and there is a broad range of topics available, so you can find ones where your passions lie.

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From an author’s perspective, is the path to publication of non-fiction on the subject of animals difficult and competitive?

Tough question because all writing and publishing is competitive. But in my experience, non-fiction is a little bit easier to sell than fiction. And books about animals seem to sell well.

 

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What do you think is the spiritual connection between humans and their pets?

Animals are capable of showing us devotion, forgiveness, comfort, compassion. One of the lessons we can learn from animals is how to truly love each other. Knowing the love of animals–especially the dog that waits for us at the front door, or the cat that curls up on our lap–can help bring us closer to God.

Please share about your current household furry companions.

My husband and I rescue senior dogs. Right now we share our home with a nearly-15-year-old spaniel-mix named Kelly, and a 10-year-old golden retriever named Ike. Ike just became a certified therapy dog last year, and we go to schools, colleges and libraries to help ease tension at exam time.

Ike and Kelly

Ike and Kelly

Will we be seeing any animal-centered fiction by Peggy Frezon?

Great question! My passion has always been writing fiction, but all my book projects so far have been non-fiction. I believe it’s important to take into consideration what you think will sell, and so far I keep getting ideas for NF. But, following my heart, I’ll definitely write fiction in the future, which will definitely be animal-centered.

Asking this with a silly grin on my face: As a huge cat-lover I confess to liking dogs and living happily with them in the past. Do you confess to appreciating cats or any other animals?

I love all animals. Growing up I had dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, and turtles. I love, love, love dogs, and I love cats too but I will confess that I don’t totally understand them!

Peggy’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Like #pets? Visit with non-fiction author @PeggyFrezon for a smile! (Tweet This)

@PeggyFrezon: Combining passion for #writing and love of animals. (Tweet This)

What has loving animals taught @PeggyFrezon about #writing? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Peggy Frezon is contributing editor of All Creatures magazine. She is an award-winning writer of articles and books about our bond with animals, including Faithfully Yours (Paraclete Press 2015).  You can also find Peggy’s stories in Guideposts magazine and dozens of Chicken Soup for the Soul ™ books.

Peggy and her husband rescue senior dogs and share their home with Kelly, a 14-year-old spaniel mix, and Ike, a 10-year-old golden retriever.

Places to connect with Peggy:

Website

The Writer’s Dog (blog)

Twitter

Facebook

 

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Visit with me o n Tuesday, November 22

on Gail Pallotta’s blog:

Peering Through Life’s Window

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        On Sale on Amazon!

                             Kindle $.99

   Print Edition $9.99

 

 

 

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Peggy and I look forward to your comments.

When Fiction Collides With Reality

When Fiction Collides With Reality

By Elaine Stock

An author should be contemplative when the world news parallels her fictional story, especially when the novel is about hatred. Before I continue I must emphasize, writing this on the heels of the recent contentious race and vote for the new American president, these thoughts are not about who or why America voted for the President Elect. As an American citizen I voted; I’ve voted every election since I turned eighteen. I do not have to justify why I made my decision. Nor am I choosing to either clap you on the back or condemn you for your choice of who you see fit to become the next president. Really, when you think about it, voting is a constitutional right and it is no one’s business which candidate got my vote. Interestingly enough, the US Constitution was amended in 1870, post Civil War, to secure the vote for every citizen no matter one’s race, color, or previous servitude (unfortunately, this did not pertain to women until 1920).

My novel, Always With You, is a story about naive and desperate love against the backdrop of white supremacy. I’m a Christian and I’ve tried to paint this story within the medium of faith. When I first began to pitch the story (before I’d put it aside for a while; before I signed with my never-give-up literary agent) one person told me that white supremacy does not exist outside of The South. The denial that this type of hatred exists all over nearly stopped my heart. Hatred has existed between all ethnic groups and faiths and families since Day 1 of mankind.

What pushed me to write this piece is the USA TODAY headline “Rise in racist acts follows election” in its November 11-13 edition. Once again, this is not a commentary about pro or anti Hillary or pro or anti Donald. A picture showing a swastika sprayed painted on a softball field dugout in Wellsville, NY (don’t you just love ironies?) sliced through me. Check it out for yourself: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/11/10/racist-graffiti-greets-trump-win-across-usa/93584210/.

While the newspaper article discusses possible political reasons why hatred might be rearing its ugly head in America, what I want, all I want, is to promote love and respect between all human beings. It is time we insert the humanity part back into the word human.

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See, I was brought up in a faithless home. Yet, as far back as I can remember, I believed in God. My early years had us living in a very poor Brooklyn neighborhood on the cusp of change and violence. You know what? I look back now and give thanks that I did get my start there because I learned first-hand what prejudice was all about. Believe me, there’s no win-win amongst hatred.

I’m presently working on a few other novels revolving around prejudice and hatred. One story is loosely based upon my own family heritage: my great-grandfather was Catholic and my great-grandmother was Jewish. What does that make me? I’m a Christian, by choice. Period. Yet, did you know that in WWII Poland—my family fortunately left Poland right before WWI broke out—Hitler’s mandates ordered that anyone with a trace of Judaism needed to be slaughtered? Meaning, it didn’t matter then if you were born into a Catholic family despite a long ago relative was Jewish. Nazism saw you as tainted and evil. You needed to be destroyed. On that note, many Polish Catholics were also seen as “sub-human.” So was a whole host of other people who didn’t make the cut of the Aryan “race.”

And now “Make America White Again” is once again spreading.

Is my novel Always With You fiction?

It’s not what the past has imprinted on you, but rather what you choose to do. I choose to love.

Go forth and be kind. To everyone.

 

Tweets:

When fiction collides with reality: choosing love and kindness over hatred. (Tweet This)

Is white supremacy a thing of the past? (Tweet This)

A swastika in your neighborhood? (Tweet This)

 

AlwaysAtheist

Lisa J. Lickel: Coping With Change

 

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Everyone’s Story welcomes inspirational and suspense author Lisa J. Lickel. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa through the past years as former co-clients of the same literary agency. It’s been fun watching Lisa grow as an author into different genres, like her newest suspense release of Understory, which I had the honor to read in its early stages–full of intense gritty suspense, I think readers should check it out!  Understory is also Lisa’s BookGiveaway offer this week so do peruse the story’s blurb and excerpt. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.

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BookGiveaway:

Lisa is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter a choice of either the print or electronic edition of Understory. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 18th  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.

Blurb for Understory:

When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.

Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?

Excerpt from Understory:

 Understory by Lisa J. Lickel

Cam Taylor listened to ice crystals pinging his kitchen window pane. Too cold to make decent snowflakes.

He’d let his dogs inside last night—early morning—when they made a ruckus. After filling a water bowl and offering treats, he let them stay near the woodstove. The mercury plunged way below the fat red zero on the ancient Wisconsin Bank of the Great North Woods outdoor thermometer. It was really cold out there in the driving blizzard…not counting wind chill.

He gulped the last of his coffee while he watched the two animals pace between the kitchen stove and the front door, restless. They were as mixed up a breed as he. Lear was mostly retriever, the shelter said, and Iago, part Shepherd with the usual dark markings, but shorthaired.

“So, you want to show me what you found? Hmm? Maybe some deer hide we can salvage?” Fatally cold out there, yeah, but a brisk walk through lashing snow might shake the vapors of the ghosts that clung after his dreams.

While he dressed for outdoors, he continued to talk to them. “Better be more exciting than a rabbit, guys.” The white stuff already heaped six inches deep in places, and he couldn’t tell exactly where his driveway started. The dogs shot out the door as soon as he opened it. Lear and Iago howled and acted stupid, pouncing and prancing in the blowing fluff. Cam lashed his snowshoes to his boots, grabbed his poles, and took off from the porch steps after them. One deep breath sent him sputtering and rasping. He tied his scarf across his face and muttered, “Twenty-four below, one gangsta ready to roll…”

 

Season of Change by Lisa J. Lickel

I sit here in a patch of sunlight, highway traffic noise outside my left ear forgotten for the moment as I look around my living room. Paneled walls from the sixties, Grandma’s rocker, Great-grandma’s side table brought from Germany, an antique local oil company’s desk and my computer… It’s been my home for thirty years. We raised our children here, fought, loved, let our hair grow gray, and now we’re moving. We are aliens perched on this side of the state, come to educate the young, and now this phase of our life is complete. We move into the next phase, the next season of life.

But it’s hard. I’m not moving into a completely strange new world, but it’s different. We’re building a new house. It took twenty years to remember which switch turned on which light, and I still have to test the outlets to see which one is controlled by the wall switch…but it’s my house. I bonded with the family that built it, and the next families who stayed here for a generation or a blink. We recrafted some of the rooms, updated the amenities, added our own touch here and there. Our new house will be ours from the ground up. But it won’t have the echo of the ship captain’s voice calling out that he’s home, or the glimmering flashes of the quilting ladies gathered to stitch, or the carriage steps, or the garden that sustained 160 years’ worth of hungry mouths anticipating that first tomato or green bean.

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We’re taking our furniture, of course. It’s been in motion longer than we have. We’ve been slowly transplanting some of our favorite perennials, grandma’s rose, grandpa’s lilacs and iris, rhubarb and asparagus we transported from other home places years ago. We’ll have peace without the traffic noise and we won’t have to worry about the pipes bursting in the laundry room in the dead of winter. We’ll have our grandchildren’s laughter to plant new memories. I’ll have to carry in my soul the burning passion, the stupidly consuming obsession of the history of this place—the one which led to my writing career. It’ll be hard. It’ll be different. We’ll cry. But it will be okay. The changing season means we are still in motion, we are still here, we are still needed and we still need to finish our journey to our true heavenly home—all in good time, all in His time.

Lisa’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Facing a new season in life? #Suspense author @LisaJLickel shares #inspirational thoughts. (Tweet This)

What’s behind author @LisaJLickel’s: Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of @LisaJLickel’s new release Understory. #suspense (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books, collects dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa is a member of Women Fiction Writers of America, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Chicago Writer’s Association, and vice president/instructor for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.

Places to connect with Lisa:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

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              On Sale on Amazon!

                             Kindle $.99

                    Print Edition $9.99

 

 

 

 

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Lisa and I look forward to your comments.

 

 

Ada Brownell: My Purpose In Writing

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Everyone’s Story welcomes fellow Elk Lake Publishing author, Ada Brownell. As both a reader and an author (and really, how can you separate the two?) I always love learning an author’s road to publication, which Ada shares with us this week. I trust you’ll also appreciate what she has to say. Do check out Ada’s lovely BookGiveaway. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Ada is offering 1 Kindle edition  of  either The Lady Fugitive or Peach Blossom Rancher to 1  randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 11th  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.

 

WHY I’M A CHRISTIAN WRITER

By Ada Brownell

Was it the fire, the hoped-for money, or the command that propelled me to share my words?

I began writing in my teens, and I’m amazed now that I had enough nerve to send what I created to Christian magazines. I started with ideas for youth services and soon branched out to full-length articles for a youth publication and then to pieces for The Pentecostal Evangel.

I felt a fire in my spirit to share the gospel. I knew the fire and the command (Matthew 28:19-20) were connected. But I had no idea I actually would become a writer.

I wrote my first two fiction stories in long hand, and quickly learned about rejection. That wasn’t too big a shock, and I took it in good humor. Perhaps all the teasing and rejection I received from my classmates about my red hair and freckles helped me stay open to criticism.

In Fruita, Colo., I helped Ruby Richter in the beginners Sunday school class. She taught those little people with enthusiasm and great love. I hoped to be like her. Then I became the children’s church leader. After that, even though the youth department age went to 35, I miraculously was voted in as youth leader when I was 15. We’d had such great services the crowd had to sit on the stairs to the church basement where we met.

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Then I got married and a year later, my husband was bumped from his railroad job. So we ended up in a little town in the Utah desert. Four bars. The only grocery stores were in two of the bars. No church.

Thompson, Utah, population 100, appeared to have no outlets for ministry. That wasn’t as easy to deal with.

A year later I still thought we’d somehow missed God’s will for our lives. I sought the Lord and when my faith finally came to the forefront, the Holy Spirit did a special work in me.

“Lord,” I prayed, “if you’ll send me a helper, I’ll start a Sunday school in this town.”

Within a week a wonderful young Baptist lady moved to Thompson and we began a Sunday school in the school house. Before long, all 16 youngsters in town enrolled. On Easter, several adults came to watch my flannel graph stories about Jesus and hear us sing.

I kept selling little things to Christian publications. In short order I discovered money wasn’t a reasonable goal in freelance writing. Most things sold for about $3.50. But then I wrote a story for David C. Cook’s Leader magazine about my mother’s Sunday school teaching methods. When I opened the letter with the check, I thought, That’s nice. I wished she were still there to see it, but she passed when I was age 21.

My heart full on my way home from the Post Office, I decided to look at the check again. My eyes felt like grapes squeezed out of the skin.

“Thirty-five dollars!” I gasped. My husband made about $14 a day then working as a railroad telegrapher.

I sold my accordion, bought an electric typewriter, and enrolled in a course on writing for Christian publications. My teacher, Dorothy C. Haskins, who worked for World Vision, laid a good foundation for my Christian writing and also encouraged me to write for newspapers. I became a correspondent for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and wonder of wonders I found some news in Thompson.

The Sentinel sent me a handbook on how to recognize and write good news stories and I almost memorized it. When we moved from Thompson, I was hired by The Leadville Herald Democrat and when Les got bumped again, within a week I had a staff position on The Pueblo Chieftain. Pueblo was a city of about 100,000.

I took Dorothy’s advice on my writing, too, and continued to sell freelance.

I completed two writing courses, and a few English college courses. I stayed home nearly 20 years with our five children and continued free lancing. I earned my degree in mass communications before going back to work for The Chieftain. I worked there until I retired.

I’m blessed to be a writer and now I have stacks of notebooks filled with tear sheets from freelance writing, seven books, and The Chieftain’s files are full of the hundreds and hundreds of stories I wrote, and my name appears on the internet from my blog and all the guest blog posts I’ve done.

Novice writers would think my bank account bulges with money, but unless I could sell thousands of books, the only way I could make money writing was to get a real job. That’s what worked for me. That’s how I helped put our children through college.

I confess my first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, sold 7,000 copies before it went out of print, and paperbacks I have and the e-book still sells. The book sold for $1.25 at first, and I made 12 ½ cents royalty. Yet many people are still blessed by it and I’m thankful Gospel Publishing House published it.

But my purpose in writing is not only to make money. I believe many people need the encouragement, the teaching, the humor, the love of God revealed through my experiences, interviews in my freelance magazine articles and stories, and my books. It’s not that I’m somebody special, but my amazing Savior is.

Ada’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Why is @AdaBrownell a Christian author? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Visit with @AdaBrownell and see what influences helped her on the journey to publication. (Tweet This)

Like #ChristianFiction? Check out @AdaBrownell’s #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Ada Brownell’s latest novel is Peach Blossom Rancher. A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.

When she sat down to write the novel, she drew from her experiences growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country. But she also used some of what she learned about the mentally ill and their historical care on her job as a journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain. She covered the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum, for seven years,

Ada’s other books include Confessions of a Pentecostal, a story of her spiritual journey and listed by The Library Thing among the top-10 books on Pentecostalism.

After she lost a daughter to cancer, she wrote Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the eternal, a book of evidence that you’re more than a body. The book grew out of what the author learned on the medical beat and scripture.

Imagine the Future You: A book for youth or family Bible study,

Another is Facts, Faith & Propaganda, nonfiction to strengthen faith in God, written from the author’s wide studies and experience. Available only as an e-book and only 99 cents.

Joe the Dreamer a novel enjoyed by youth and adults. Joe’s parents are missing and an organization is trying to eliminate Christianity from America

The Lady Fugitive, the story of a young talented woman who runs from an abusive uncle. The Lady Fugitive is the sequel to Peach Blossom Rancher and the first in the Peaches and Dreams series.

Ada started writing for Christian publications in her teens and expanded from there. She still writes for Live and a youth devotional, Take Five-Plus, She also does op-eds for newspapers and online blogs and websites. She is retired from The Chieftain.

Her writing brand is “Stick-to-your-soul Encouragement.”

Places to connect with Ada:

Ink From An Earthen Vessel (blog)

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Page

 

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On Sale on Amazon!

Kindle $.99

Print Edition $9.99

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Ada and I look forward to your comments.

 

Connie Almony: Lessons Learned While Writing With Others

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Everyone’s Story welcomes back foremost (at least for me) a dear friend and inspirational author, Connie Almony. I’ve known Connie for several years now, blessed to have roomed with her at 2 writing conferences. A caring and generous woman, check out both Connie’s message and her TOTALLY AWESOME BookGiveaway for **6** lucky winners. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.

 

BookGiveaway:

Connie is offering 1 Kindle copy of either the Crossroads collection or the Smoke and Mirrors collection to 6  randomly chosen commenters. The winner will be announced here on Friday, November 4th between 5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: email contact information typed within comments is no longer required–I receive it privately.

Description of Crossroads:

Six clean-read New Adult contemporary romance novels by Amazon best-selling Christian authors (including USA Today best-selling author, Staci Stallings) in one collection. Prepare to go on a journey to the crossroads, where pasts fall away and new lives begin. There will be romance, suspense, and real issues facing women today. Novels include …

ONE NIGHT WITH A ROCK STAR, by Chana Keefer
CHRISTMAS STAR SAPPHIRE, by Hallee Bridgeman
ONE AMONG MEN, by Connie Almony
PRINCESS, by Staci Stallings (USA Today Best-selling author)
HARD TO FIND, by Traci Tyne Hilton
SHATTERED ROSE, by Tammy L. Gray

 

Description of Smoke and Mirrors:

What do a woman who runs a re-purposing boutique, a surrogate mother, a Russian boxer, a small-town librarian, a first-lady, an Alaskan state trooper, an Alzheimer’s-riddled murder suspect, and a senator’s son—phew!—have in common?

They’re all fighting for their lives in this action packed, multi-author Christian Romantic Suspense collection, including …

THE LONG VIEW by Connie Almony
TAKEN by USA TODAY Bestselling Author Sally Bradley
ON THE ROPES by Hallee Bridgeman
OUT OF CIRCULATION by Heather Day Gilbert
DANGEROUS ALTERNATIVE by Kelli Hughett
IDENTITY THEFT by Alana Terry
OBSESSION by Rachel Trautmiller
SCENT OF DANGER by Alexa Verde

 

 

What Does It Mean to Live the Body of Christ? By Connie Almony

If you’ve ever met me or read much of my writing you will know I am obsessed with Paul’s idea of the Body of Christ. I love the notion that God made us all unique so we would perform different functions of the same Body in order to achieve the same goal. In doing so, God encourages us to work in communion with each other.

Many people give lip service to this idea and yet they still don’t understand a person’s lack of one skill, giving credit for the gift of another. They seem to want people in their lives to look like them, talk like them, and minister like them. Yet Paul tells us this is not how we were made.

Though I have always been intrigued by the Master Creator’s integration of many gifts into a whole, my greater zeal to speak and write about it was inspired by my son. My son has a form of autism, which makes it impossible for him to speak as a typical person would. He cannot communicate through words. And yet he is an expert at communicating LOVE in ways that are more meaningful—doing special things for them, sitting with them when they are sad, even pushing my husband and me together (so he could hug us both at once) when my husband had come home from a long trip. My son is my teacher. I hope I do justice to his lessons.

Many would call this sweet young man deficient. But what does Paul say about those members of the body we call “weaker?”

They are indispensable!!! (1 Corinthians 12:22)

What about people mentioned in the Bible? We often think of them as lone actors who were mighty and great. But if you look closely, you will discover, they too were flawed and in need of Body-of-Christ style assistance.

For instance, did Moses really speak to Pharaoh all by himself, in a booming Charlton Heston voice rumbling from his broad chest, bellowing, “Let my people go?”

Or did he need Aaron to go with him?

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Though I have no idea if either man spoke in a bass or a baritone, or whether or not their pectoral muscles were pronounced, one could almost guarantee, Moses didn’t sound like the big C.H. In fact, he describes himself to God as a man slow of speech with faltering lips. He was so uncertain of his ability to persuade the mighty Egyptian king, even after God reminded him who made his mouth God gave him Aaron, who was a gifted speaker, to do it for him.

God made use of this relationship, telling Moses (Exodus 7:1), “I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” God knew the image of a silent leader flanked by a mouthpiece would give the impression of great authority.

So, did Moses ever speak to Pharaoh himself? Many of the exchanges in the Bible state, “Moses and Aaron said …” Does that mean they stood side by side, speaking the words in unison, or is it just shorthand for “God told Moses, who told Aaron what to say,” as God describes He will do earlier in scripture. My guess is the latter. Yet further into Exodus we do read “Moses said to Pharaoh.” So, evidently, Moses eventually spoke on his own.

I LOVE this example because it demonstrates many things. One, that we don’t have to be perfect at everything ourselves. Two, we were created perfectly for the work we are called to. Three, it’s okay to ask for help where you feel deficient. And Four, as we work with others, we will grow stronger in a larger variety of skills.

Even as an author, I am reminded how God calls us to work in communion with others. I cannot write a story and expect others to read and enjoy it without the help of my many author friends who critique, proof, and even help promote those novels. These relationships have been invaluable.

This past year, I’ve been particularly blessed to be part of two specific author groups, which have helped me share my stories with readers. The Smoke and Mirrors Romantic Suspense collection, in which I’d contributed a brand new novella, entitled The Long View, and the Crossroads collection, in which I contributed the first of my Maryland State University series, entitled One Among Men. Being part of these collections has helped me refine ideas, hone my skills, promote collectively, and share more stories with more readers. A win-win both for the authors and the readers!

Connie’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @ConnieAlmony asks: What Does It Mean to Live the Body of Christ? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Check out @ConnieAlmony’s amazing #inspirational #BookGiveaway for 6 lucky winners! (Tweet This)

What did @ConnieAlmony learn while co-authoring a multi-author novel collection? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. She is the author of At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD. Other titles include, One Among Men and An Insignificant Life (the Maryland State University series), and Flee from Evil about a pastor with a past who uses his underworld connections to try and save the child of the woman he wronged years ago.

Places to connect with Connie:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

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On Sale on Amazon!

Kindle $.99

Print Edition $9.99

~*~*~*~*~

Connie and I look forward to your comments.

 

 

Tracey J. Lyons: When Family Is An Author’s Inspiration

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Everyone’s Story welcomes a long-time friend, inspirational romance author, Tracey Lyons. Although Tracey and I used to live “down the road” from each other (and in this part of the NE that means next town over) I got to know Tracey best through local RWA chapter meetings. I remember fondly the lovely party she hosted to honor her first sale–and now Tracey is continuing forward in a very nice publishing career! Yay, Tracey! Tracey shares with us this week an excerpt of A Changed Agent, which she’s also offering as a BookGiveway. And do check out what she says about family–particularly who in her own family–is a source of inspiration. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you. 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Tracey is offering 1 Kindle edition  of  A Changed Agent to 1  randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, October 28th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: email contact information within comments are no longer required. However, if I have a question regarding yours I’ll leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Excerpt from A Changed Agent:

Excerpt from A Changed Agent by Tracey Lyons

 

“Are you going to yell at Uncle Will?”

 

Sighing, Elsie fought to rein in her temper. After all, this was not their fault. It was William Benton’s, and he was about to be told in no uncertain terms how the saloon entryway was not an appropriate place to leave children. Taking Harry and Minnie by the hand, she walked them to the opposite edge of the boardwalk. “You two stay right her until I come back. Don’t move a muscle; don’t speak to anyone. Do you understand me?”

 

Harry’s head bobbed up and down. “Yes, Miss Mitchell.”

Putting a smile on her face, she added, “After this, I’ll take you over to the bakery for a treat. How does that sound?”

 

Minnie hugged her doll to her chest while Harry beamed. “We’ll stay right here, Miss Mitchell. We won’t move one bit. Right, Minnie?”

The little girl nodded.

 

“All right, then. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

 

After straightening her short jacket, she secured her bonnet and

marched right up to the swinging shutter doors that led to what was surely Heartston’s very own version of Sodom and Gomorrah. Taking a stance a mere inch from the doors, she opened her mouth and, heaven help her, yelled, “William Benton, you get out here right this minute!”

Raucous laughter greeted her demand. A swirl of red and black in the form of a scantily clad saloon girl appeared before her.

 

“You looking for your man, lady?” The girl’s brilliant red hair was adorned with a sequined headband, which had a colorful ostrich feather sticking out from it.

 

Her face had seen better days. Pockmarks scarred her heavily rouged cheeks. If she were in a better frame of mind, Elsie might have felt sorry for this creature’s plight and would be praying for her salvation. Right now, though, she could concentrate only on getting William Benton out here. Feeling as though the entire town were staring at her, Elsie bit back a tart remark as she felt a heated blush spreading across her face like wildfire.

 

“He’s not my man.” Forcing herself to remain calm, she said, “I’d be grateful if you could find him and send him out here, please.”

 

The thought of her and Mr. Benton as a couple made her tremble in fury. A man who could abandon children like some animals on the side of a street while he sated his lust would never be the man for her!

The woman disappeared with a rustle of stiff red taffeta. Feeling like she may have gone a bit too far by creating such a scene, Elsie took a step to the side of the door, pulling the wide brim of her bonnet lower. Three men came out the doors before Mr. Benton finally exited.

And then he completely ignored her, walking right past her toward the children.

 

Gathering her skirts, she trudged up right behind him. Her anger was so great that she had to force herself to take a moment to say a silent prayer for calmness. She reminded herself that the children were present. Barely stopping to retrieve his charges, he seemed oblivious to her presence. Lengthening her stride, she matched his pace.

“Mr. Benton! You cannot leave these children on the sidewalk while you do . . .” Sputtering, she searched for the right words. “Whatever it was you were doing back there in that horrible place.”

 

Casting a sidelong glance at him, she saw his back stiffen. He had some nerve being angry at her! Not to be deterred by his silence, Elsie finally caught hold of his arm right above his elbow. Startled by the flexing of firm muscle, she quickly dropped her hand to her side.

 

“Mr. Benton! Stop!”

 

“Follow me to my home, Miss Mitchell. We can talk there.”

“But Uncle Will, Miss Mitchell promised we could get a bakerytreat.” Harry’s plaintive whine sliced through the tension-filled air.

Mr. Benton glanced at her.

 

Daring to speak, she said, “I promised them if they behaved while

I went to find you that they could have a treat.”

 

Turning away from her, he looked down the street to where thebake shop stood. The wonderful scent of its locally famous cinnamon rolls wafted from the open door all the way to where they stood. Elsie thought it one of the most blessed scents of the entire town. Looking at the hopeful expressions on the children’s faces, she hoped Mr. Benton thought so, too.

 

“All right! I’d hate to make a lady go back on her word.”

 

They drew up short in front of the storefront, where Mr. Benton said, “You will wait here while I go buy the cinnamon rolls.” A few minutes later he returned with a full brown paper bag. Handing it to her for safekeeping, he led the way to the opposite end of the town in silence.

She didn’t know what to do with his brooding silence. When they

finally reached the house, Mr. Benton turned to take the bag from her.

The place looked much better than it had in months. The porch had been swept clean of the dried leaves and twigs left over from the previous fall, the windows had been cleaned of grime, and the front door stood ajar. Pausing at the base of the steps, she watched as the trio disappeared into the house. Putting her hand on the rail, she started up the steps, only to be stopped by Mr. Benton as he returned to the porch.

 

“The children are washing up.” Folding his arms across his chest, he stood looming over her on the top step.

 

Despite his intimidating stance, she was determined to make him understand that his actions had been completely inappropriate.

Removing her hand from the railing, she took a moment to gather her thoughts.

 

She looked up at him and said, “Mr. Benton, you can’t leave children that age unattended! Too many things could happen to them.

Strangers come through this town quite frequently on their way to the mountain retreats. There’s no telling who these people are, where they came from, or what their intentions might be.”

 

“Don’t you think I’m aware of the dangers out in the world?”

 

“I’m saying that it has become clear to me, sir, that you have no idea how to raise children. They are in need of a great deal of care, the first part of which is seeing they are safe at all times. The saloon. . . .”

She gulped in a breath before continuing, watching as he narrowed his gaze even further at her. “What were you thinking?”

 

She hadn’t intended to ask the question. It just popped out of her mouth on its own volition.

 

“It’s none of your business what I was thinking, Miss Mitchell.”

Elsie plowed onward, keeping the children’s needs at the forefront of her thoughts. “I was going to take a few days to organize my belongings, but after what I just witnessed, I fear the children might come to harm if I’m not here to ensure their safekeeping.”

 

His face relaxed a fraction, and she thought this might be because he was about to have another person to shoulder some of his parental responsibilities. She soldiered on because there were a few new stipulations to her final acceptance of this job.

 

“There are things you must agree to before I move into the apartment.”

 

“You promised me back at the school yard that you’d be coming here.”

“That was before I found the children, alone, outside the saloon.”

 

They engaged in a silent standoff, until he spoke first. “Go on.”

 

“Dinner will be on the table every night by six o’clock. I will not stay up awaiting your return from your work. Then there is the matter of church services. The children and you will attend them every Sunday.

I cannot tolerate a lack of the Lord’s guidance in their lives.” She noted that with every rule she imparted, his stance had begun to change, until he stood with his feet apart and his arms crossed in front of his chest, squinting at her with an angry glare.

 

Undeterred by his silent intimidation, she ended with the one thing she felt certain would be like poking a stick into a hornet’s nest. “I cannot abide by your visits to the saloon.”

 

Moments passed when the only sound to be heard was the chirping of the spring birds in a nearby budding weeping willow tree.

 

“While I will try to be here for dinner at the appointed time, you must understand that there will be times when my job will not allow for that. Working at the lumber company does not come with specified hours. I may be required to be up at the lumber camp for days at a time.”

 

“The children and I will deal with those times as they come along. But you mustn’t work on the Lord’s Day. This will set a terrible example for the children. And frankly, Mr. Benton, from what I’ve seen today, you are in need of some time with the Lord.”

 

Dropping his arms to his sides, he said, “Miss Mitchell, I’m delighted that you will be helping with Harry and Minnie.”

 

Her mood brightened a bit at his remark. “Thank you.” And then it just as quickly plummeted when he held up a hand.

 

“Let me finish, please.”

 

“Of course. Go on.”

 

“I am a man who has needs.”

 

Her gaze wavered from his as the heat of a blush spread across her face.

“I will go to the saloon when I choose to. And as for my time with the Lord, that is between me and the man up above.”

 

She could learn to tolerate many disagreements, but his choosing not to attend church wasn’t one of them. Elsie immediately wanted to rescind her offer to stay and care for the children. She might have done just that if Harry and Minnie hadn’t chosen to make an appearance.

Harry awarded her a smile. “Is it true, Miss Mitchell? Are you really going to be staying here with us so soon?”

 

She didn’t answer right away. Her mind was busy formulating a way to get their uncle to see the light of day in regard to the proper rearing of children. Finally, she said, “So long as your uncle agrees to accompany us to church services every Sunday, I’ll be here to help take care of you and your sister.”

 

Will was awestruck by the schoolmarm’s audacity. How dare she dictate to him the conditions of her employment? He’d known from the start that Miss Mitchell was going to be a stubborn woman. But he’d no idea just how tenacious she could be. Although she didn’t know it, the matter of his going to the saloon had nothing to do with his needs as a man or for drinking. Alcohol hadn’t passed his lips since he’d started working with the Pinkerton Agency. Truth be told, Will didn’t care for the drink.

However, the telegram that had been delivered to him outside the schoolhouse had indicated that the mark could be on the move.

Furthermore, there was no changing the ways of certain criminals who made it a habit to haunt such establishments. If the mark was to be found in the saloon, then it was Will’s job to follow the lead there. To his way of thinking, the children had been perfectly safe outside the building.

 

Maybe he’d been wrong about his decision to leave them there.

But he’d had to act quickly, and he’d felt sure they’d be all right on the walkway outside the saloon.

 

“I thought they would be fine. I was keeping an eye on them.” Will had seen them through the saloon’s swinging doors not five minutes before Miss Mitchell had come along. They’d been fine.

“The children are not dogs, Mr. Benton. They can’t be left unattended.”

 

He realized that the children couldn’t be taken care of while he worked his cases. And he didn’t see them as animals. He’d just put his job first. Miss Mitchell was right, Will had the twins’ well-being to consider first now.

 

On the other hand, the church issue was stuck in Miss Mitchell’s craw like honey on a bear’s paw. Here she was a professed good Christian woman using the emotions of these innocent children to get her way.

Will didn’t think that was acting Christian-like at all. He didn’t say those words to her, though. He knew she had him over a barrel. He needed her here in order to carry out his current Pinkerton assignment, and as much as he was loath to admit it, he needed her to help keep his cover intact. What better way to keep his mark off track than to look like a lumberjack foreman with a small family?

 

Will watched the corners of her mouth twitch up in a triumphant smile as she realized he was going to accept her conditions. He had to hand it to her, she knew how to bide her time. But darned if her toe didn’t get to a-tapping, giving away her impatience. Leaning against the porch post, he leveled what he knew to be his most intimidating stare—one that had stopped many criminals in their tracks. Her toe stilled.

Satisfied that she knew who was in control here, he said, “If my work allows for it, I will attend your church services.”

 

It was the best he could offer her. It had been a long time since he and the Lord had had much to say to each other. Since it looked like she was going to rebut his counteroffer, he held up his hand to stop her. “That’s all you’re going to get from me, Miss Mitchell. Take it or leave it.”

 

Raising her chin just a notch, she pinned him with a firm gaze. “I suppose it will have to do. For now.”

 

Shaking his head at her last words, he frowned. He was beginning to wonder if he’d finally met his match.

 

Faith Lessons I Learned From My Grandmother by Tracey Lyons

Lina Lockwood Davis departed this earth over two decades ago and yet I feel her presence on a daily basis. My grandmother was not your typical church going woman. As a matter of fact, I never even saw her enter a church. But she had an unshakable faith in the Lord, and in the scripture. My grandmother had a Bible by her side most of the time, and she held weekly Bible studies in her living room.

Some of the things I learned from her are: forgiveness truly is divine, things are not always what they seem and the less fortunate person you’re helping could one day be yourself.

Tracey and her grandmother, Lina.

Tracey and her grandmother, Lina.

My grandmother taught me patience, which for those of you who know me is not my virtue and that most things happen for a reason…translation God has a bigger plan for us, although it might take you a while to figure out exactly what the plan might be. She taught me about kindness. Kindness really does matter. A few of the things I hope I’ve passed along to my own family and one day to my grandchildren: give to the food pantry because you might one day be in need, help those who can’t help themselves because one tiny act can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

I learned that family matters. We had a large family with over thirty-three of us with aunts, uncles and cousins. That number has now grown to over seventy with the addition of two more generations. For many years the entire family would gather for Easter and Christmas celebrations. As our families grew the Easter dinner was set aside so each family could spend it in their own homes. But we still gather, all five generations of us, for our annual Christmas celebration the Saturday before December 25th.

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There are so many little faith-filled nuances that I still carry from my grandmother. I like to think of them as tiny gifts from heaven. The picture I have on my desk is of the two of us at her ninetieth birthday celebration, and more recently, I’ve come across her collection of little devotional books. Inside each one are hand written notes. Some are prayers for family members, and some are her own reflections. I find great comfort in seeing her familiar handwriting. And now that my career has turned to writing Christian and inspirational fiction I find her words about her faith to be thoughtful and inspiring. I think that every author puts a little bit of themselves in every story they write…for me…I’d like to think that I carry forth a little bit of my grandmother, Lina Davis, in each book.

Tracey’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet #inspirational author @traceyjlyons, writing small-town romances. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

#Inspirational author @traceyjlyons: Faith Lessons I Learned From My Grandmother (Tweet This)

#Writers: Author @traceyjlyons wants to know who has inspired you the most in your writing? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Women of Surprise series, Tracey sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats. Tracey lives with her husband in New York’s Hudson Valley region. She has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and on the stage of Lady Jane’s reading salon in New York City. She holds membership in Romance Writers of America, American Fiction Christian Writers and Novelists Inc. A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances.

Places to connect with Tracey:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Amazon

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Exciting News from Elk Lake Publishing

**Just in time for the Holiday Season**

askdavidalwasy

On Sale on Amazon!

Kindle $.99 

Print Edition $9.99 

Tracey and I look forward to your comments.

 

Patricia Bradley: When Plans Hit a Bump

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Everyone’s Story welcomes back a sweetheart of a friend and awesome suspense author, Patricia Bradley. Finally, finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia in person at this past ACFW conference in Nashville–one of the major reasons why I wanted to attend! Really! And now she’s back here for another visit … after a possible close call. Do read on for her explanation and say a prayer for her health and a cheer that she’s back for another week’s visit. Patricia offers a great Giveaway. We’re both looking forward to chatting with you. 

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Patricia is offering 1 print book of  Silence In The Dark to 1  randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, October 21st between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: email contact information within comments are no longer required. However, if I have a question regarding yours I’ll leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Life Turns on a Dime by Patricia Bradley

So many times we go through life thinking we have a plan, and suddenly that plan is blown away. We are left to either go with the new plan or butt out heads against the wall, trying to hold to the old plan.

I know. I had this fall all planned out. On September 19th, I was supposed to have knee replacement surgery. With a proposal on a new book due the middle of October and a deadline in May of 2017, the September date was the only window of opportunity to take care of a very painful situation.

On the 18th, I sat on my deck, thinking the knee seemed to be better since I’d had a cortisone injection in it. So, I asked God to show me if I wasn’t supposed to have the surgery at this time, would He show me. And then I packed my suitcase for the Monday surgery.

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Sunday morning pain in my jaw and my left arm woke me at five a.m. That has never happened to me before. Ever. I took my blood pressure and it was 214/109. I don’t have high blood pressure, either. I called a friend. He came with his blood pressure cuff and the reading was the same. When he suggested we go to the ER, my response was: But if I go, I can’t have my surgery.

That was me beating my head against the wall, trying to stay with the old plan. My plan. I’m like that. Very stubborn, always wanting my way. I like to call it being persistent.

The long and short of this story is, I went to the hospital and had a heart cath after an enzyme that indicates a heart attack was elevated. And I didn’t have surgery that Monday.

If I had, I very possibly could have had a heart attack on the table. And looking back, I don’t understand why I argued about going to the hospital. I plainly asked God to show me about the surgery, so why didn’t I see that immediately?

Because I didn’t want to give up my plan. I wanted to get the surgery over with and get back to writing. Isn’t that they way we usually are? We don’t like our plans to be upset. Instead of asking God what He wants us to do, we ask Him to bless what we’re doing.

I hope I’ve learned something from this. I hope I’ve learned that I need to listen when God tells me something.

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Right now I’m wearing a heart monitor and the knee surgery has been put on the back burner. But I’m back to writing something new for me. A Cozy Mystery. Time will tell if it’s the right genre. And in the meantime, my last Logan Point book is out, Silence in the Dark.

And a new book will be out in February—Delayed Justice, A Memphis Cold Case Novel. It’s about a man sitting on death row facing execution in four days when he receives a letter stating he didn’t kill the person he was convicted of killing. And the letter writer has proof. Then the letter goes missing and the writer is murdered.

One last thing. My first book, Shadows of the Past, is a free digital book until the end of October. If you haven’t read it, be sure to download it.

Patricia’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Best Selling #Suspense author Patricia Bradley @PTBradley1: Life Turns On A Dime #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Patricia Bradley @PTBradley1: trying her hand at #writing a #CozyMystery (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of Patricia Bradley @PTBradley1’s Silence in the Dark. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, Gone Without a Trace, and Silence in the Dark. Her next release, Justice Delayed, is out in February 2017. She has written two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign, available on Amazon.

Her workshops on writing include online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Places to connect with Patricia:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

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Exciting News from Elk Lake Publishing

**Just in time for the Holiday Season**

alwayswithyoucover3d-wpcf_200x251On Sale on Amazon!

Kindle $.99 Beginning October 15th

Print Edition $9.99 Beginning October15th

 

 

Patricia and I look forward to your comments.

Sylvia Stewart: A Caring Woman; Caring Novels

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Everyone’s Story welcomes Middle-grade and YA author Sylvia Stewart. Sylvia and I have become acquainted on Facebook and I’m so glad we have. Sylvia’s a lovely woman with a wow-fascinating background, which I’ll let you viewers explore for yourself (smiling here!). In fact, Sylvia has a lot to share with you this week: a book excerpt, a few words on what has influenced her writing, and plus, I’ve interviewed her. I hope you enjoy. Both Sylvia and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

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Excerpt from Kondi’s Quest by Sylvia Stewart

 

“The next Sunday Boniko scooted down the bench toward Kondi in Sunday school class.

“Here we are to listen to Ugly Teacher again.” She giggled in Kondi’s ear. “Look at the mole on her chin.”

“You mustn’t say Teacher is ugly,” Kondi whispered. “It isn’t kind.” She didn’t want to laugh, but she felt her eyes begin to crinkle at the corners. “Besides, Ulemu’s mother is too nice to be ugly.”

“I don’t feel like being kind today. Watch this.”

Esinati and Losi sat on the bench in front of them. Boniko reached up and pinched the soft skin on the back of Losi’s neck. Losi shrieked, and the whole class turned around to look.

Boniko scooted down the bench, pushing Kondi in front of her until Kondi fell off the end.

“Girls!” scolded Mai Mbewe. “Let’s be quiet so we can begin our lesson.”

Kondi pushed up from the floor and pulled her extra chirundu up over her face. Her heart was pounding and she tried to stop her nervous giggling.

Boniko made a loud snort that started the whole class tittering and shifting in their seats.

“Quiet please!” Mai Mbewe said. “We have a very interesting lesson today.”

Boniko wasn’t listening. She was busy picking up a large ant carefully…carefully so as not to squash it.

“No!” Kondi whispered.

But Boniko raised her hand high and dropped it on Esinati’s head. It began to crawl slowly over her curly hair, closer and closer to Esinati’s ear. Boniko nudged Kondi and pointed to the ant. Closer and closer! Suddenly Esinati jumped and swatted at her ear. She shook her head again and again. Kondi and Boniko clapped their hands over their mouths, but the giggles slipped through their fingers in bubbles and squeaks. Everyone began laughing again.

Mai Mbewe stopped talking. She walked back to their bench, took Boniko’s hand, and sat her on the front row. Mai Mbewe faced the class. “Kondi, have you ever been afraid?”

Kondi felt little cold bumps begin to rise on the back of her neck. “Afraid?” She tried to look brave, but her voice sounded strange even to herself. I’m always afraid of Bambo! If I knew Bambo loved me, it would help me to not be afraid of so many things.

Then she remembered last night. She had been kept later than usual at the grain mill. The sun was going down when she raised the basket of flour onto her head and started for home. By the time she got near the graveyard, it was dark. Walking faster, Kondi glanced at the graveyard and then back to the road. “Don’t fall. Something might be in there,” she whispered to herself. She opened her eyes wide and peered into the shadows.

Suddenly, the bushes rustled! Fear ran down into Kondi’s fingers like cold water. She gripped the basket on her head and began to run. The Thing found the road and ran after her. She ran faster. The Thing panted behind her. Faster! Faster! A light shone from the fire in Mai Phiri’s cook-house. Running toward it, Kondi burst through the doorway, nearly knocking Mai Phiri into her own cooking fire. She flattened her back against the far wall, holding the basket of flour on her head with both hands. Her breath came in short, quick gasps.

“What’s the matter, Kondi?” Mai Phiri shouted, righting herself in front of the fire. “Be careful! You’re about to knock the porridge pot over!”

“Look!” Kondi pointed a shaking finger at the eyes glowing in the doorway. “Something is chasing me from the graveyard!”

The Thing took a step into the light. Ukhale, her father’s dog, stood in the doorway, with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Kondi’s breath came in a long sigh.

“Yes, it is your own dog,” Mai Phiri said. “You come running in here to get away from your own dog?”

“I thought it was…it came out of the graveyard…I was afraid.”

“Go home! Get out of my kitchen and take your dog with you!” Mai Phiri waved a winnowing basket at her to shoo her out the door. “The next time you are afraid of something in the graveyard …”

But Kondi didn’t wait to hear the rest of what Mai Phiri had to say. She scurried away for home with Mai Phiri’s voice fading away behind her.

“Kondi!”

Yesterday’s memory faded like morning mist in the sunshine.

Mai Mbewe was looking at her, waiting for an answer. “I asked if you have ever been afraid.”

“Yes,” Kondi whispered. Her heart pounded even now. She licked her lips and rubbed at the goose-bumps on the back of her neck.

“Today’s Bible story is about some men who were afraid,” Mai Mbewe said. “One day at twilight when the first evening star appeared, Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to cross a lake. They hadn’t been rowing long when a strong wind began to

blow. The boat was still far from the shore. The wind whipped up big waves sloshing, sloshing.” Mai Mbewe’s arm wagged back and forth. “Water began to pour over the side and fill the boat! They dipped the water out as fast as they could, but waves kept splashing in. ‘What will we do?’ the men asked each other. ‘Soon we will drown!’”

“Why didn’t they jump into the lake and swim?” Boniko asked. “It is silly to stay in a boat that is going to sink.”

“That’s true,” Mai Mbewe replied, “but the waves were so big the men couldn’t swim. ‘Let’s ask Jesus what to do,’ they said to each other. ‘He’s asleep in the back of the boat.’”

“Asleep?” Losi’s hand shot up. “How could He be asleep in such a great storm? The men were shouting and clanking buckets and things weren’t they?”

“Jesus wasn’t afraid,” Mai Mbewe said. “You can sleep when you are not afraid.”

Kondi listened with both ears now. I’m always afraid. Before I was only afraid of Bambo. Now I’m afraid of many things: hooting trucks, things in the graveyard, and being alone in the dark. What can I do? My baby sister will need me to be brave, not afraid all the time.”

 

My Past’s Sweet Influence by Sylvia Stewart

I first arrived in Africa about two weeks before my sixth birthday. As our DC-6 landed, I remember seeing tall palm trees flash past my window as we tore down the red dirt landing strip. When the dust had settled at the end of the runway, we taxied to the terminal and soon walked down the air-stairs into a wall of humid heat.

I soon learned to love the sights, sounds and smells of Africa: the acrid scent of some tropical plants; grasslands hiding trails of pinching ants; the white-hot heat of near-the-equator sun which could quickly burn fair skin; the distinctive cry of guinea fowl roosting for the night and the gentle call of doves, sounding to me like a widow’s mournful cry—“Yusuf, come home again! Yusuf, come home again! Yusuf! Yusuf!”

Our mother home-schooled us for two years. When we went to Rethy Academy in the highlands, we left behind malaria-bearing mosquitoes and lived where we were able to have fresh milk and vegetables. Writing letters home to our parents started me down the writing path.

When I grew up and married, my husband and I applied for appointment as missionaries to Malawi, in East Africa. We spent 21 years there in ministry and learned to love not only Africa, but Malawi in particular. Malawians are warm-hearted, friendly and full of life. Malawian children especially tugged at my heart. And the publication of three pre-teens’ mystery novels set in Malawi, East Africa.

We hadn’t lived there for very long when I decided I wanted to write a story for Malawian children. Kondi’s Quest took 24 years to write and hone into a story that children would love to read. Since then, two sequels joined the first novel, completing the Mysteries in Malawi series.

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Questions for Sylvia Stewart:

Please tell us about what is at the heart of your novel Kondi’s Quest.

The theme of Kondi’s Quest is that, no matter how difficult life can be for a pre-teen, having Christ as one’s personal Savior will bring peace in turmoil, and also make it possible to live a joy-filled life. Knowing Christ as one’s Savior and Lord is the heart of Kondi’s life—the heart of the whole Mysteries in Malawi series, in fact.

Why have you chosen the reading audience of pre-teens for Kondi’s Quest?

Kondi is twelve, and she faces issues that other 12-year-olds face. Although this is basically a ‘tweener’s” story, adults will also be able to relate to her problems and find peace and satisfaction in living for God.

I was once told, “If you feed the lambs, the sheep will be able to feed, too.” The Mysteries in Malawi series as a whole is not written down to a child’s level. The story is approached in language that is suitable both to adults and to pre-teens. Children, even as young as eight, have been known to enjoy Kondi’s story.

In what ways can an American, or for that matter any non-Malawian child relate to Kondi?

Kondi’s family and personal problems are universal. She struggles with living in a drunkard’s family, fear, anger toward others, getting along with others, and anger towards God. These issues are found in every culture and in every human condition.

What’s life like in Malawi, Africa? Are there any one or two things in particular that one cannot imagine if never visited?

Statistics for 2016 show that Malawi is the poorest country in the world with a GPD of $226.50 per capita. Hunger and poverty are real. Earning enough for the basic needs of life means hard labor by every member of the family, even children when they are old enough to help. Malawi has no mineral resources to boost its economy, so it is a purely agricultural nation. When rains fail to come at the right time and in the right proportions, Malawians will starve. For the past two years, rain has either caused flooding during the planting season or has not come at all. People are starving.

Maize (what we call field corn) is the staple of the Malawian diet. Right now, the price of maize is the most expensive in all of Africa. This poorest country has the most expensive food.

Corruption is rampant in most African countries, and, in Malawi, graft is very common, so supporting countries have withdrawn their financial subsidies. This makes the prices of commodities and necessities rise even more drastically.

Even though Kondi’s story is told when it was a better time in Malawi, Kondi helps her mother, who has a sewing business. Kondi does embroidery on baby clothes and dresses to increase the value.

Although you’re retired from mission work and settled in the American NW, are there any Malawi traditions/customs that you still honor?

We don’t keep Malawian customs or traditions. Malawi was a British protectorate, so Malawian want to be as “western” as possible—preferably American. To them, the USA seems like heaven. So their own customs and traditions are constantly changing.

A little bit different from Kondi’s Quest, tell us about Seattle Rayne.

Seattle Rayne is a Christmas novella set in Seattle. Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Loneliness has hovered over Rayne DeMarco’s life ever since leaving East Africa to live on her own in Seattle. Frequent infusions of coffee have neither enlivened her flagging business as a freelance writer nor her social life. Seattle’s gray winter skies seem to mirror her life.

Then a mama cat with three rambunctious kittens finds a home in her above-the-garage apartment, and a handsome Montana cowboy, Matt Hayes, walks back into her life. Bring in a puppy who needs a little love and you have a Seattle romance that is as sure to warm your heart as the hot coffee Seattleites crave.

Fast Favorites:

Favorite book: The Bible—I read it daily. I also have several favorite authors: Jane Austen, Miss Read, Mary Stewart, Zane Grey, Irene Hannon, Kristen Heitzmann.

Favorite movie: Right now I’m really enjoying the series, Foyle’s War, set in England in the 1940’s.

Favorite meal: African curry, which is adapted from Asian curry. African curry differs in that no vegetables are cooked in the gravy other than onions. Then fresh vegetables and fruits are added as condiments on top of the rice and gravy.

Favorite holiday: Christmas, even though Christmas day in Malawi seemed to be the hottest and muggiest day of the year.

Favorite dream: To write another book.

Sylvia’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet @SylviaStewart3: retired missionary turned author, setting #MG novels in #Malawi (Tweet This)

Interview on @SylviaStewart3: Africa, novels for Malawian children, and life in Malawi. (Tweet This)

Did 24 years of honing her writing craft pay off for @SylviaStewart3? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Sylvia Stewart first arrived in Africa two weeks before her sixth birthday. Her parents, missionaries to the then Belgian Congo, had been assigned to the northeastern part of the country.

With her brother, she attended a boarding school, Rethy Academy, in the highlands. Their mother contracted a tropical disease when Sylvia was nine years old, and their father hurried his family home to the U.S. A year or so later, when God miraculously healed her, they returned to the Congo for further missionary service.

Sylvia was able to spend her junior and senior years in high school in the States. Just before her first year of college, her parents left her with friends and returned to the Congo.

Sylvia and her husband, Duane, spent almost 32 years in Africa, sharing the good news about Jesus Christ and his power to save. They worked twenty-one years in Malawi and eleven years in Ethiopia. Their ministry was in evangelism and Bible School teaching and administrating.

Places to connect with Sylvia:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

 

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For a short time only on Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Always with You by Elaine Stock

Always with You

by Elaine Stock

Giveaway ends October 15, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Sylvia and I look forward to your comments.