Sara Goff: How To Soar!

NewSara

Everyone’s Story welcomes back–with much fondness–author Sara Goff. Sara is a wife, mother of two handsome little boys, friend, and an amazing author. It’s always a pleasure to host her! This week Sara shares a lesson that I believe we all face at one time or another, or if you’re like me, face on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy Sara’s feature. Do check out her blurb on I Always Cry At Weddings, which she’s offering as a BookGiveaway!! Both Sara and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

I Always Cry at Weddings-girl

BookGiveaway:

Sara is offering 1 print copy of I Always Cry At Weddings,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 1st 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.

 

 

Visit with Sara during her past features on Everyone’s Story:

I’ll Volunteer

The Two Keys To Success

Book Blurb of I Always Cry At  Weddings:

Ava Larson is the envy of brides everywhere. She has a glamorous career as a handbag buyer at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City; Josh, her wealthy, New York socialite fiancé; and a lavish wedding on the horizon, to be planned and paid for by her adoring mother-in-law-to-be. But things go terribly wrong for Ava when her friends spontaneously decide to get married at City Hall, and Ava is reduced to tears by the obvious signs of true love exhibited by the newlyweds. Their raw emotion makes her question her own relationship and she wonders whether Josh really and truly loves her.

After an embarrassing attempt to re-ignite sparks in her love life, Ava throws her impending future with Josh away, cancels the wedding, and flees to her tiny, dingy studio apartment on the West Side of Manhattan. In order to find true, enduring love she makes a vow to remain a virgin.

Ava is brought to tears over a lot more than weddings when she learns her mom may be succumbing to the ravages of cancer, she gets sacked by Bergdorf’s, her former mother-in-law-to-be decides to move in, and her financial status leaves her in jeopardy. Now she needs to figure out how she wants to live her life and what love really means.

 

Are We Living For Our Fears Or Our Dreams? By Sara Goff

If you were engaged to be married, wedding planned, and then realized the relationship was a mistake, you had been following the wrong path, would you break your engagement? Or would you stay the course, because you didn’t want to disappoint your friends and family, and it was the easier option?

I spent many years writing my first novel, I Always Cry at Weddings. So long, in fact, that I felt I had disappointed my friends and family. When anyone asked what I did for a living, I would joke about the book, rather than hold my head high and proclaim I was a writer. It was easier to give into my insecurities.

These are two very different scenarios with the same premise: Are we living for our fears or our dreams?

The most important lesson I learned while writing I Always Cry at Weddings was to break away from the insecurities impeding my progress. It was the key to me finishing the book and even the key to my main character Ava’s ultimate happiness. And, I might add, I’m still breaking up with my fears; it’s a lesson for life.

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Just to give you a little backstory: I started a charity in 2010, called Lift the Lid. We sponsor underprivileged schools and support the education of students living in poverty. We also encourage them to explore self-expression through writing. I first made a commitment to myself to stop living in fear, to be faith-focused, while judging a writing competition hosted by Lift the Lid at Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya. The competition required that the girls write about a female role model in their life. As I read the girls’ essays, I noticed a reoccurring theme between the women inspiring them. Women like Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist, and a simple woman selling vegetables, to name a few. They experienced hardships in pursuit of their goals, and they were ruthless in shaking off their fears. They made sacrifices, took risks, and stayed focus on the results they wanted.

Whether you’re trying to write a book or find true love, make a job change or start a family, whatever your goal is, in order to achieve it to the best of your abilities, you need to let go of your inhibitions. It’s a requirement. Call yourself a Writer, if your goal is to write. Free yourself to think and act creatively, test your full potential! You can’t care what anyone else thinks.

In 2000 I gave up a demanding career in fashion to write and pursue charity work. I feel fortunate today that I can still do both and stay at home to raise my boys, but there were many years of uncertainty, working in a nightclub just to pay my bills. If I had let fear control my thoughts and actions, I would have given up my dreams and gone back to corporate America. I would’ve taken the safe route. But I didn’t.

My novel I Always Cry at Weddings is about a woman who finds out who she is and what she wants, while simultaneously discovering what it means to be unconditionally loved. Ava Larson is a flawed leading character in that she makes wrong decisions and suffers the consequences of those decisions, but we love her because she learns from her mistakes and she never stops trying for her dreams.

The story is also about homelessness. I used to be an instructor at a writing workshop for the homeless through Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Manhattan. A group of regulars from the soup kitchen, along with two or three instructors, got together in the vestibule of the church on a weekly basis throughout the spring to free write. I wrote stories from my life, keeping in mind sentence structure and vocabulary, while the homeless participants poured out their souls, lost themselves in self-expression, and let their hearts guide their pens. I always left the workshop in awe, wishing I could achieve that level of unfiltered emotion put down in writing. They wrote for themselves and no one else. By not trying to impress others they were able to be completely open and honest. No fear.

I heard a lot of life stories that expanded my understanding of homelessness and inspired my leading male character, Chris. He’s homeless, he’s got a plan, and he’s living true to himself. Throughout much of the story, his life is more stable than Ava’s. She reaches a point where she realizes her wedding, her entire life, meets other people’s expectations. Will she start over on her own and get to know the real Ava . . . or will she take the ‘safe’ route and get married? I think we know that answer!

We’re always evolving, experiencing new phases and learning about ourselves, but are we letting our fears undermine our dreams or are we making decisions that feed our passions, our needs and beliefs? Live for your goals, not your fears, and let your abilities surprise you!

Sara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @sarajohannagoff asks: Are we living for our fears or our dreams? (Tweet This)

How did unconditional love, homelessness, and charity work influence author @sarajohannagoff? (Tweet This)

Like #ChristianFiction? Check out @sarajohannagoff’s #BookGiveaway on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Sara Goff is a former New York City fashion designer and merchandiser who, after seven years in the industry, left her career to follow her dreams of making a difference in the world. In 2010, Goff founded the global education charity Lift the Lid, Inc., which supports underprivileged schools and encourages young people to exercise their creative expression through writing.

Philanthropy has always been part of Goff’s lifestyle. While living in Manhattan, Goff especially loved being a writing instructor for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers Workshop, which was founded by author Ian Frazier. Goff has also participated as a writing instructor for The National Arts Club’s creative writing program for students. She has spoken at the Soup Kitchen, several inner-city schools, and Saint Francis College in Brooklyn about the writing process and the power of the written word. Ever the world-traveler, Goff was also accepted into Sewanee Writers’ Conference and received two fellowships to Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and Nairobi, Kenya.

Goff recently moved to Connecticut with her husband of 14 years, their two children, and a Yorkie named Pia after living in London and Sweden. I ALWAYS CRY AT WEDDINGS is her first novel, and proceeds of the book will go towards Lift the Lid, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. Visit www.lift-the-lid.org for more information on the charity.

Places to connect with Sara:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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Starting today on my Facebook Author Page

www.elainestock/AuthorElaineStock

A little something different–hope you will visit!

 

 

Sara and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Jo Huddleston: Going The Extra Mile

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Jo Huddleston, who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through our connection on ACFW over the years. I had the honor of guest appearing on her blog this past March when my novel was pretty much still a debut (the link to Jo’s interview is below **). Now it’s my turn to host the fabulous and most kind Jo.  I hope you enjoy her feature. Both Jo and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

Promise Me

BookGiveaway:

Jo is offering 1 ebook of Promise Me,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, June 24th 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.

 

 

A tease of Jo’s Promise Me from Chapter One, Page One:

August 1960 – Morgantown, West Virginia

“Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night for NBC News.” The program signed off with the Texaco Gasoline red star logo across the screen.

In Dean Loreen Fletcher’s apartment, Patrick Fitzgerald sat closest to the television when NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report ended. He stepped to the floor-standing console and turned off the television. He took his time returning to sit on the sofa beside Adriana Montagna. A somber silence settled over the living room and its six occupants.

Patrick scooted forward to the edge of the sofa cushion. “I don’t want my first job after graduation to be in Vietnam.”

 

Someone Who Influenced My Writing and My Life

by Jo Huddleston

As we live life, many and varied folks pass through our days—some in reality, others we read or hear about. Of those many, a few make a lasting impression on us. They impress us with their lifestyle, their personality, and their words. I remember my seventh grade homeroom teacher who personified sophistication, my high school principal whose life was an example of accountability, a boss who wasted no words but walked the straight and narrow every day.

I especially remember Karen Ball. Karen is an editor, agent, and published novelist who loves being immersed in words. I met Karen at the first writers’ conference I attended, when she was an acquisition editor for fiction at Tyndale House Publishers. She loves, among other things, people, words, and Siberian huskies.

At that time I had been published in magazines. I had an idea for a book of prayers that women would pray and took five of those prayers with me to the conference. I was an introvert on steroids and completely out of my comfort zone. I mistakenly made a 15-minute appointment with Karen at that conference.

Karen could have dismissed me by telling me she only worked with fiction, but she didn’t. She spent the entire 15 minutes focused on me and my five pages of sample nonfiction writing. She even asked if she could take them back to Tyndale House with her. That request was so significant, although I didn’t realize it then.

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In the following weeks, Karen communicated with me, finally telling me Tyndale wanted to publish two books of my prayers. At a later writers’ conference, she told me she’d wanted to be my editor on the two books but Tyndale had said no. After all, she worked with fiction and my prayers were nonfiction.

I saw Karen annually for several years, catching up with her at writers’ conferences. She’s such an excellent example of a positive attitude. Every time I’ve been in her presence, she’s effervescent—bubbly and smiling. My mood improved just being around her.

I haven’t seen Karen for years now, but I keep up with her through her writing. She currently is the owner of Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC and is a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Agency.

Karen is co-creator of Write from the Deep with Erin Taylor Young. On their website, they’re self-described as “Let’s face it, life is hard no matter what your profession or station. Everyone goes through deep places, and we all want someone willing to walk with us.” Their goal is to help writers to “be encouraged, refreshed, and equipped.”

Karen Ball has down times as we all do, but she presents herself to others as if each day is a blessing, a day to celebrate life. At my first writers’ conference, she encouraged me, when she could have easily sent me on my way. That day she was a true example of what we call the Golden Rule as stated in the Bible: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NIV).

And isn’t that what life is all about? Treating others as we hope they will treat us? Yes, many times, life would be simpler if we ignored instances where we might go the extra mile to profit someone else. When I first met Karen Ball, she didn’t choose simple, but shared with me through her heart of love.

When I think about Karen and that first day I met her, she continues to inspire me in my writing life as well in my life generally. Even on days when I think I can write no more, having known Karen Ball encourages me to continue writing.

Jo’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

See who has influenced Amazon Bestselling author Jo Huddleston’s writing. (Tweet This)

How the Golden Rule came to life for Inspirational author Jo Huddleston. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Jo Huddleston’s Promise Me. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Top 20 Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances. Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining. Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).

Places to connect with Jo:

Website

Blog

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

**If you’d like to check out Jo’s interview on me, please visit Jo Huddleston’s Sweet Southern Romance blog.

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Like family drama fused with psychological suspense?

 

 

WheatCouple

 

 

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

 

Jo and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Norma Warrick: There’s Hope For Tomorrow

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Norma Warrick, someone I’m very excited to be hosting this week because it seems as if I’ve known Norma for a long time now and have Twitter to thank! I encourage my guests to share personal stories with my viewers, tying their interest in storytelling with an inspirational message. And, I believe Norma has done an excellent job. I hope you agree.  Please check out Norma’s message, as well as her super BookGiveaway offer of her novel Love Agape Style to 3–yes 3–viewers.  Both Norma and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, please check out the special FaceBook Party of the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat that I’m involved in on Monday, June 13th. Details at the bottom of this post.

 

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BookGiveaway:

Norma is offering *3* signed paperbacks of Love Agape Style,  to 3 randomly chosen commenters, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, June 17th 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.

 

 

 Blurb of Love Agape Style:

College student Sherry is kicked out of her family home by an irate father who is demanding an abortion. Almost immediately she meets an Agape Group couple who help her with housing, marrying her boyfriend, and the birth of her baby. The Agape Group uses a hands-on approach to their pro-life ministry when they come to the aid of the newly-weds.

Beginning her walk of renewed faith, Sherry is faced with enormous challenges. Her unstable father resorts to violence to regain control of his family. Sherry’s mom and siblings, having been victims of her father’s rage, respond to the outreach of kindness and care from Sherry’s new friends. The Agape couples again become God’s tool to surround Sherry and her family with loving support.

In this inspirational Christian fiction, the Agape Group lives out their love during highly-charged times. However, when another disaster hits Sherry’s embattled family, will it be too much for the newer believers?

 

And When I Am Old…. by Norma Warrick

I’ve discovered that at my age, I’m bored. Tired of re-doing all the things that I’ve done before, year after year. I’d always kept busy with family, volunteer work, shuttling kids around, and various craft projects. However, in these later years when the girls have flown the coop and grands are no longer a novelty, I found myself looking for some new horizon to enter into. Actually, the new horizon wasn’t planned, it was just a lucky stumble.

 I had been discouraged when looking for a book to buy my then ten-year- old grandson. When I returned home from the bookstore, discouraged by the quality of the selection, I decided to write a story to encourage Christian children in their faith. I’d had years of experience with kids of all ages in all kinds of church and Bible study gatherings. I thought that the endeavor would be a snap since I had so many years of being around kids under my belt. I also have well over fifty years of being an avid reader to guide me along the way. To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I started writing novels in the summer of 2013. What an adventure this has been. I wrote one manuscript that followed middle school kids who belonged to the same youth group. They have obstacles to overcome at home, with friends, and even in their youth group meetings.

I signed up with a publisher, who I later found out, were what experienced writers called a vanity press. I paid them a lot of money and then they wanted more to edit my manuscript. I refused and learned a lot from my first big mistake. Long story short – I parted ways with that company, got several decent edits and tried my hand at self-publishing. Then I turned the manuscript into two short early-reader books.

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The following year I wrote a novel for adults and indie-published it also. Indie publishing was an adventure in itself. I had to learn all kinds of new things. Then there was the whole area of marketing books that opened new vistas for me.

I’ve spent the last year working on another adult novel. I tried a different method that I’d read about in an article aimed a new writers. Through these enlightening articles, I’d learned that I was at first a “Pantzer” style writer. I wrote by the seat of my pants. This last year I’ve tried being a “Planner” making an outline first and then making it into a story. I’m still working on a new book using this method.

As wonderful as this all has been, I also struggle with depression and that plays into the overall feeling of dullness with life for me. After being on anti-depressants for twenty-some years, I’ve discovered that my memory had developed a “sieve” affect. What goes in tends to leak out quickly. I do have to say that the challenges I face in this latter-life adventure have been overcome and rewarded by my stepping out, by just going for it. My older daughter was encouraged and has become a novelist. Grandson number two has tried his hand at making up stories and getting them down on the computer. My mind might work sluggishly, but it’s still working. There’s hope for tomorrow.

Norma’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Inspirational author Norma Warrick @saysnorma: Getting older or getting better? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: Author Norma Warrick @saysnorma on why there’s hope for the older writer. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Norma Warrick @saysnorma’s novel Love Agape Style. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Norma Warrick lives in the Denver area with her husband Bob.  They have two adult daughters, one son-in-law, and four grandchildren. Considering today’s world affairs, she feels it is extremely important to raise up our Christian families in God’s word and encourage them in their Faith Walk.  Being an avid reader all her life, the Lord has now given her a few stories to write; using fun, interesting characters who lean on God when their adventures go awry.

Places to connect with Norma:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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Pre-Event Party

I’ll be part of this FB party on Monday, June 13th

between 6:45-7 PM EST and will offer a BookGiveaway of Always With You  

Hope to see you!

 

GreenBackGround

 

Norma and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

 

Gail Kittleson: On Choosing Hope

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author Gail Kittleson. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Gail the past few years through blogging–hers and mine! It’s a delight for me that Gail is my guest this week, and I hope you agree. Please check out Gail’s special feature on why one should remain hopeful, as well as check her lovely BookGiveaway offer of her newest release. Both Gail and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, please check out news on the fabulous Christian Fiction Readers Retreat at the bottom of this post.

 

 

 

In times like these cover

BookGiveaway:

Gail is offering 1 Kindle version of In Times Like These,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winner will be announced here on Friday, June 10th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: emails 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.

 

Always Bear in Mind by Gail Kittleson

Quotes keep me going. The ones on my morning tea bags usually offer some tidbit of encouragement, which I rarely fail to need. We have access to a steady, cheering voice on our journey—right inside us—but sometimes old voices drown out the divine reassurance forever emanating to us.

Those voices drag us down, remind us of our failures, our smallness, our sometimes petty choices. It’s one thing to know nobody’s perfect in our heads, but try to tell that to your heart on one of your downcast days.

The poets of old referred to this state as melancholy, and there’s actually much to be said for the wonderful art it motivates. So many artists, poets, and authors know well the depths of depression. Writing, sort of a “loner” activity, can isolate us, and we need a wellspring of hope to turn to on gloomy days when it seems we’ll never be published, never get a break, yada, yada.

Well, I’m going to share one quote that has swept me up from the morass of despair more than once. On November 5, 1855, he responded to a letter from Isham Reavis, who had requested to be able to “read” with Lincoln to become a lawyer.

Lincoln wrote:

If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already. It is but a small matter whether you read with any body or not. I did not read with any one. Get the books, and read and study them till you understand them in their principal features; and that is the main thing. It is of no consequence to be in a large town while you are reading. I read at New-Salem, which never had three hundred people living in it. The books, and your capacity for understanding them, are just the same in all places. Mr. Dummer is a very clever man and an excellent lawyer (much better than I, in law-learning); and I have no doubt he will cheerfully tell you what books to read, and also loan you the books.

 Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.

Very truly Your friend, 
A. Lincoln

His final statement particularly inspires me to keep on keeping on with my writing. Sometimes my late start gets me down, but why waste another day lamenting that? Sometimes all the changes in the publishing world, especially promises made that weren’t kept, discourage me.

But didn’t I learn through it all? Didn’t the rejections stir me to research more, read more, and hone my skills?

I have to say yes, even though at times the temptation to quit loomed in the shadows. But quotes helped me then, too. Always Bible verses, but little sayings, as well, all along the way.

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

Ooh, don’t you love that one? Anything is possible.

I kept believing that about my most recent women’s fiction release. About three years ago, an agent suggested I toss all I’d written so far and start over. What a blow to my writerly gut! She also made great suggestions for ways to improve, and grateful for the time she took with me, I followed them.

If I’d thrown that women’s fiction out, I’d have had to part with a wonderful World War II heroine and her story. That would have been such a waste.

I couldn’t do it, and am so glad I didn’t. Hearing readers say how much they relate to Addie’s home front struggles with her controlling husband does it for me. As A. Lincoln counseled, that resolution to succeed proved vital.

Gail’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Visit with #WomensFiction author @GailGKittleson on choosing #hope. (Tweet This)

Author @GailGKittleson: Shares powerful words from a “surprise” powerhouse on secret to success. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of historical #WomensFiction by @GailGKittleson. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Gail taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction, facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats and doing first edits for other authors. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology. The first novel in her World War II series has released, and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas will release a sequel in February, 2017.

You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds. Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.

Places to connect with Gail:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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Please visit with me on Jodi Wolfe’s blog,

History, Hope, Laughter, and Happily-ever-after

on June 8th

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

Come join us at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat One Day Event (CFRR) in Nashville, TN this summer! Our event theme is “Honoring God through Christian Fiction.”  Enjoy speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship and author signings with your favorite Christian fiction authors! With 30+ authors, food, swag (including free books), games and TONS of giveaways, you don’t want to miss this event!

When is it, you ask?

August 24, 2016
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
 

For more information, including schedule, authors list, registration info and other logistical questions, check out our website HERE, or click on the image above.  Registration is now open! Late registration begins on June 16th. Once capacity is reached, registration will close. So hurry up and register!

Standard Registration Fee: $98
Late Registration Fee: $120
 

To go ahead and register, just go right HERE.

AND for the first giveaway at the event, all those registered can enter for the chance to win a BOX of Christian Fiction from the stewards of the event.  Just click on the image below to enter. (Link also available on our website).

We hope to see you there!

Gail and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

 

Diana Cosby: A Helping Heart

Diana Cosby

Everyone’s Story gives a super warm welcome to author Diana Cosby. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Diana for years and I’m happy she’s back with us this week. Diana is a very special, heart-sweet woman who is not only a talented novelist but a dedicated roll-up-her-sleeves person who is very active with Habitat For Humanity, combining her love for helping others, as well as her love of romance writing. Please check out Diana’s special Giveaway offer for 2 different winners. Both Diana and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, after reading what Diana shares, please check out the information on the fabulous Christian Fiction Readers Retreat at the bottom of this post.

 

NewDianaMug

BookGiveawayDiana is offering a lovely Giveaway offer: 1 randomly chosen winner will receive the Scottish historical novel His Woman, Book #2 in the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series(written for the ABA general market), 1 randomly chosen winner will receive Diana’s specially crafted mug.  If you have a preference please state so, although there is no gurantee. The winners will be announced here on Friday, June 3rd. 

 

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** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning

 

 

Blurb for His Woman:

Trusting Her Was Unthinkable Lady Isabel Adair is the last woman Sir Duncan MacGruder wants to see again, much less be obliged to save. Three years ago, Isabel broke their engagement to become the Earl of Frasyer’s mistress, shattering Duncan’s heart and hopes in one painful blow. But Duncan’s promise to Isabel’s dying brother compels him to rescue her from those determined to bring down Scottish rebel Sir William Wallace.

Resisting Her Was Impossible Betraying the man she loved was the only way for Isabel to save her father, but every moment she spends with Duncan reminds her just how much she sacrificed. No one could blame him for despising her, yet Duncan’s misgivings cannot withstand a desire that has grown wilder with time. Now, on a perilous journey through Scotland, two wary lovers must confront both the enemies who will stop at nothing to hunt them down, and the secret legacy that threatens their passion and their lives. . .

Diana’s past blog feature on Everyone’s Story: Author Diana Cosby on Writing, Volunteering, and the Art of Camel Riding

Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity Home by Diana Cosby

Romance readers are AMAZING! And . . . so is Habitat For Humanity, a charity that I love supporting and volunteering for. So, I thought, why not pair the two and help a deserving family receive a home? And, the Diana Cosby’s Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity Home fundraiser was born.

HFH TMC

I contacted Habitat For Humanity office in Grayson County, Texas, where I’ve had the honor of helping with several builds and spoke with Laurie Mealy, Executive Director. She embraced the project, and was thrilled at the thought of pairing romance readers, who love stories where heroes and heroines overcome challenges to make their dreams come true, with making the dream of a home for a deserving family a reality.

HFH a Womens Build Week 2015

How it works:

As readers send contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County, a bar beneath the home on the upper right side of the homepage on their website will fill in, with total donations to date listed below. The goal is to fund an entire home – $55,000. Donations can be sent via PayPal by ‘clicking’ on the house, which takes you to the donation page, or by mailing a check or money order to:

Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County

901 N. Grand Avenue

P.O. Box 2725

Sherman, TX 75091

I kicked off the challenge by donating $200. As I write this, we’ve raised $7,550. I have total faith that romance readers together are an unstoppable force, and as the stories they love, they will leave a deserving family with a happy ending.

HFH 2011 Habitat For Humanity WomenBuild,Day

Habitat For Humanity in Sherman has begun a new feature called, “Books For Homes.”  When they have home improvement sales or other similar venues, they now have a table with donated books.  The books are available ‘by donation.’  All funds raised by ‘Books For Homes’ is added to the Diana Cosby’s Romance Readers Build A Habitat For Humanity Home fundraiser.  If anyone is interested in donating books for ‘Books For Homes,’ please mail them Media Mail to:

Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County

901 N. Grand Avenue

P.O. Box 2725

Sherman, TX 75091

Attn:  Laurie Mealy – Books For Homes

My sincere thanks to Elaine for inviting me to visit Everyone’s Story, and another thank you to everyone for helping make an incredible difference in a deserving family’s life. For when they walk into a Habitat For Humanity house, it’s more thank mortar and wood, but a place where they can call home.

God bless,

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author

www.dianacosby.com

Diana’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#ScottishRomance author Diana Cosby: How #writers & #readers can help with Habitat For Humanity. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: Win #Giveaway of #ScottishRomance author Diana Cosby. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. With the release of the third book in The Oath Trilogy and the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the first book in The Forbidden Series, Forbidden Legacy, on 16 August 2016!

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

Places to connect with Diana:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Amazon

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

BeganWithLove

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

Come join us at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat One Day Event (CFRR) in Nashville, TN this summer! Our event theme is “Honoring God through Christian Fiction.”  Enjoy speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship and author signings with your favorite Christian fiction authors! With 30+ authors, food, swag (including free books), games and TONS of giveaways, you don’t want to miss this event!

When is it, you ask?

August 24, 2016
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
 

For more information, including schedule, authors list, registration info and other logistical questions, check out our website HERE, or click on the image above.  Registration is now open! Late registration begins on June 16th. Once capacity is reached, registration will close. So hurry up and register!

Standard Registration Fee: $98
Late Registration Fee: $120
 

To go ahead and register, just go right HERE.

AND for the first giveaway at the event, all those registered can enter for the chance to win a BOX of Christian Fiction from the stewards of the event.  Just click on the image below to enter. (Link also available on our website).

We hope to see you there!

 

Diana and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Kristy Cambron: What I Learned Since Becoming An Author


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Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome to author Kristy Cambron. A fan of Kristy’s novels, I  was so excited when she accepted my invitation to appear on my blog. While Kristy’s message will resonate with writers, I believe it will also hit home with readers who don’t write since Kristy’s words carry hope in dreams and in believing in yourself. Also, here’s something to be jazzed about: check out Kristy’s BookGiveaway of her soon-to-be released The Ringmaster’s Wife–a novel I definitely want to read! Both Kristy and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, after reading what Kristy shares, please check out the information on the fabulous Christian Fiction Readers Retreat at the bottom of this post.

 

Ringmaster_FINAL cover_Nov 11

BookGiveaway:

Kristy is offering 1 signed copy of The Ringmaster’s Wife, once it releases in June, to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 27th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

5 Truths About Becoming an Author by Kristy Cambron

I may not be one of those super-hip YA authors out there (I’m a little more of the history-loving, museum type), but I do understand the awkwardness of those formative teenage years. Even as an adult, the first line of Taylor Swift’s Fifteen, always gets me:

“Take a deep breath and walk through the doors; it’s the morning of your very first day…”

I wasn’t fifteen– in fact, I was a 31 year-old corporate America-working wife and mother of two– but I stepped off a plane to attend my first writers’ conference in 2011, through invisible doors that led into the publishing world.

It was the morning of my very first day as an author. I was about as wide-eyed as they come. And in the years that have followed, I’ve released three books, have another in the editing stage, and am researching what I plan to write next. I’ve had book signings, speaking engagements in many cities I’d never visited before, radio interviews and promotional tours… Where I’ve been is worlds away from that conference, but not so far that I don’t remember what it felt like that very first day.

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If I could go back and tell that aspiring author a few things to help make her wiser, a little braver and the journey a whole lot easier, I’d give her some truth to tuck in her back pocket for the road:

  • Embrace Failure – If you want to read about epic failure, spend some time in Acts Chapter 9. Paul’s example in mind, we have to understand that failure can be the harbinger of amazing things to come! I performed poorly in several writing contests early in my career. Though I would have loved to win those contests or avoid rejections, I wasn’t ready for publication. Even as a published author, failure is part of the job. Not every reader will love the stories you write. 1-star reviews and mediocre sales can happen to any writer. Look at failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and lean on Christ as you keep walking.

  • Make Friends – Networking is a valuable tool in any business, but developing authentic relationships will be critical on your journey to publication. In that first conference, I met a group of aspiring writers who were dream-chasing just like me. I also met many experienced authors. We developed a bond to support through the ups and downs of not just publication, but in everyday things. Now we’re just doing life together. And one by one, we watch (and celebrate!) as another friend receives a contract. It’s been a special tribe to be a part of.

  •  Read – They say that behind every good writer is a stack of books they’ve just read. (More like ten stacks, right?) If you love storytelling, then reading is a pleasure instead of a chore. You’ll cultivate your understanding of plot design, character development, story structure and the mechanics of writing well. You’ll learn what publishers are looking for. You’ll also treat the industry like a business because you’ll be learning and feeding your soul with encouragement for the road ahead.

  •  Step Away – When I transitioned from my old corporate career to the author life, it was new for writing to become more than a hobby. A trusted friend once asked me: “What hobbies do you have?” I was dumbfounded to come up with an answer. I knew I needed to enjoy my profession, but also understand who I am as a child of God – even if I were to be without writing for a while. Slow down in the dream-chase. Relax. Pray. Read the Word. Spend time with family and love every minute of the journey– especially when you feel like it’s taking longer than it should.

  • Carry a Sharpie – It’s an invaluable piece of advice I received from a very wise (also award-winning and bestselling) author. She said that you have to think like you’re an author before you sign a contract. Own your dreams! You’re an author whether you have a book on the shelves or not. And once you are published, carry that marker with pride and get ready to write when you’re asked to sign a book. (It happens all the time!)

So get out there, dream-chasing friends! Step through the doors to your new life. Just like Taylor sang, “Count to 10… take it in… This is life before you know who you’re gonna be.”

I can’t wait to see you on the other side.

Kristy’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor: 5 Truths About Becoming An Author. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: What Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor would tell her former aspiring writer self. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Kristy Cambron @KCambronAuthor’s new release The Ringmaster’s Wife. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best of 2014 lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. Kristy’s third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, was named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10 and will release from HarperCollins in June, 2016.

Kristy is a Speaker and Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

Places to connect with Kristy:

Website 

Twitter

Facebook 

Pinterest

Instagram

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

InWoodsMagnet5

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

Come join us at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat One Day Event (CFRR) in Nashville, TN this summer! Our event theme is “Honoring God through Christian Fiction.”  Enjoy speaker sessions, author panels, breakout sessions, prayer & worship and author signings with your favorite Christian fiction authors! With 30+ authors, food, swag (including free books), games and TONS of giveaways, you don’t want to miss this event!

When is it, you ask?

August 24, 2016
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

For more information, including schedule, authors list, registration info and other logistical questions, check out our website HERE, or click on the image above.  Registration is now open! Late registration begins on June 16th. Once capacity is reached, registration will close. So hurry up and register!

Standard Registration Fee: $98
Late Registration Fee: $120

To go ahead and register, just go right HERE.

AND for the first giveaway at the event, all those registered can enter for the chance to win a BOX of Christian Fiction from the stewards of the event.  Just click on the image below to enter. (Link also available on our website).

We hope to see you there!

 

 

Kristy and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Roger Bruner: Tired From Leading All The Time?

RogerBruner

Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome to author Roger Bruner. I had the pleasure of meeting Roger as a fellow client of the amazing literary agent Linda S. Glaz, although prior I’d visited his website and seen him as a guest here and there. His message of leading vs. exhaustion and what happens when you quit one is sure to inspire so do check it out! Also, please take a moment to have a peek at the excerpt from his novel The Devil and Pastor Gus, which Roger’s offering as a BookGiveaway. Both Roger  and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

DevilPastorGus

BookGiveaway:

Roger is offering either 1 print or Kindle edition of of The Devil and Pastor Gus to US residents, or 1 Kindle version to anywhere else. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 20th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

Here’s an excerpt of The Devil and Pastor Gus for your reading sampling:

 From The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner

“Good day, my man.” The stranger might have been addressing the doorman at the finest of five-star hotels back on Earth and not Heaven’s renowned gatekeeper.

Simon Peter leaned closer to the bars of the outer gate to get a better look at the man. Black hair. Short goatee. Custom-made flesh-colored suit. Anything but average in appearance.

“I have an appointment with God.”

Simon Peter grabbed the golden clipboard from a nearby stool and glanced over the names on the top sheet. Then he flipped to the second sheet. And the third. Just as I thought. No new arrivals expected for another eight earth minutes. And nobody shows up here before his appointed time. Ever.

The stranger swaggered to a prominent spot several feet from the outer gate. Peter narrowed his eyes in shock. New arrivals didn’t do that. They stood back a respectful distance, their heads bowed as if they were already in God’s presence, and waited for Peter to call their names.

What was with this guy?

After giving him another discreet once-over, Peter mentally clicked through each of the pictures he’d viewed moments earlier—the people who hadn’t arrived yet that day. He shook his head. The stranger’s picture wasn’t among them.

He rubbed his chin and looked at the man. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who—”

“Call me B.L.ZeBubb,” the stranger said before spelling his surname—twice. “No spaces, and the accent is on the L. Bee-EL-zuh-buhb. The Bible misspelled it as B-e-e-l-z-e-b-u-b.” He crossed his arms and looked into Peter’s face. “As I just told you, I have an appointment with God.”

“Bee-EL-zuh-buhb,” Peter said to himself as he ambled over to the computer at the check-in station and typed the name into The Lamb’s Book of Life search field. He double-checked his spelling before clicking Go. If he didn’t get a hit on the correct spelling, he would try the misspelling.

A blood-red “No matches found. Be on the alert!” exploded across the screen. Peter narrowed his eyes. He’d never seen anything like that.

A message from God popped up on the screen before Peter could wonder what to do. “Not a problem, my child. Here’s how I want you to handle this…”

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Twenty yards into his stroll towards his appointed meeting place with God, B.L.ZeBubb glanced back over his shoulder. Peter was still watching. And laughing his fool head off.

“This is what I think of you, Simon Peter.” His eyes glowed red as he spat, and the saliva sizzled as soon as it hit the ground and burned straight through to…wherever.

Even though God had long been his worst enemy, B.L.ZeBubb deserved better treatment than this. The very thought of His refusing to grant a visitor’s pass or speak to him in person. Unwarranted.

But making him walk halfway around Heaven’s outer wall to talk on an intercom? Preposterous. He almost turned around to leave. But this mission was too crucial to his well-being to give up on that easily.

He walked only a few yards further before one foot slid out from under him. He barely caught himself in time to keep from landing in…mud. Conditions ahead appeared worse. He looked this way and that for a way around the bog only to discover that Heaven’s foundation extended a mere five or six feet outside the wall, and that part was completely mud-covered now.

An immediate drop—probably bottomless—surrounded the foundation’s outer perimeter.

Why hasn’t God installed warning signs and guardrails? Especially to protect someone as important as I am?

The closer the path came to the edge, the more often B.L.ZeBubb lost his footing.

He glared at the mud and sensed that it was glaring back at him. Scuffing his custom calf-high boots through the shallow mire and leaving little toe troughs in his wake, he mumbled a string of the most profane curses he knew. And he knew a lot of them.

He would’ve preferred to shout them at the top of his lungs, but his mission was too important to chance offending God. These aggravations wouldn’t mean much once he got what he’d come for.

“I won’t be satisfied until I have Gus Gospello’s soul,” he muttered. “And every bit of my lost respect.”

He snorted like an unbroken colt and clenched his fists. He wanted to shake them in God’s face, but that would cost him his case before he could present it. And would also mean losing his balance and falling in the mud—and possibly sliding over the edge.

Ugh. He shook his head.

After rolling his pant legs up just above his hairy knees, he slipped off one boot and—balancing awkwardly on the other leg—peeled off a sock that matched his flames-and-pitchforks necktie. He almost fell backward into the mire before getting the second boot and sock off and leaving them standing Satan-less near the edge. As he worked his way closer to the wall, the mud oozed and squished between his toes.

It was cold. Oh, so cold. After thousands of years in a much warmer climate, he couldn’t stand anything that wasn’t superhot.

His movements slowed. The mud had grown deep enough to bog his steps down with a distinctive, sucking thlurp each time he lifted a bare foot to move forward. He proceeded that way for several minutes, each an eternity longer than the one before, until he spotted a waterfall washing—no, flooding—the way ahead.

The outlet from Heaven’s central heating and air conditioning system. He’d once gotten into big trouble by turning the heat up all the way as a practical joke. Maybe that’s where God got the idea for Hell.

Sounded like a God-thing.

Grrr. Something small, silvery, and cylindrical sat on the mud at the base of the wall, where his chances of avoiding an ongoing drenching ranged from nil to zero. That must be the place.

After thlurpping closer, B.L.ZeBubb grabbed the empty can, pulled the handwritten note out, and held it up to the light that spilled over Heaven’s wall. What in the…?

Letting God Lead by Roger Bruner

The year was 1982.

My parents knew I wasn’t overly thrilled with my job as a counselor/interviewer at the local Maryland State Job Service office where I’d been working with a Federal jobs program, serving basically as a paper pusher.

My mother suggested that I might find computer programming a better outlet for my creative nature. She offered to pay for programming classes.

So I soon enrolled in my first class at a community college ten miles up the road. Even before class started, however, I bought one of those early Texas Instrument computers—could you imagine only having 64K of memory now?—that hooked up to a TV.

I soon picked up enough BASIC to write a Yahtzee program that worked. And that was before starting my first BASIC class. I loved it. I seemed to have found my calling. Over the next year and a half I continued taking night classes, one or two at a time.

Other people in the computer lab came to me for help because I could usually figure out their programming problems. And much to my amazement the college offered me a chance to teach a BASIC class at the local Black and Decker plant during my final semester. After six years of teaching junior high English years earlier, I was elated to teach adults this time.

Twenty-four credits after beginning my training, I received two certificates. With my 4.0 GPA. I thought I was all set for my career change. Everyone needed computer programmers then, or so it seemed. Hmm. But they required experience, and my coursework didn’t count as real world programming.

My parents were living in Richmond, Virginia, then. Where the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is located. As a preacher’s kid and—more importantly—a Christian, I had a longstanding interest in missions. Not to become a missionary, you understand, but to support missions in other ways.

When I got in touch with the IMB’s personnel director, I managed to get an interview. But the IMB only needed experienced programmers. Not good.

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A short time later, however, I received an unexpected phone call. The IMB had just bought a new computer and software that experienced programmers weren’t available to work with. They were willing to take trainees.

So I had an interview with the department head and the fellow who would be my supervisor if I was hired. Although the interview went well, nothing was settled. I was still high on hopes—this felt like God’s calling—but I was losing patience as months went by without any word from the IMB.

I probably shouldn’t have written the personnel director to inquire about my status, but I did. He never wrote back. Was everything lost?

My wife and I vacationed in another state that summer. She wanted me to look for something in that area, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel led to.

Have you noticed something conspicuously missing in this story? Prayer.

I’m sure I prayed about the decision to study programming and about the teaching and about the interviews, but not as faithfully as I should have done. Looking back, I realize and regret that fact.

But things changed the afternoon we lay down on the bed and prayed as earnestly as we had ever prayed. “Lord, we’re tired of trying to make things work the way we want. You know what’s best. Please do whatever fits your purpose for my life.”

The resulting peace was overwhelming.

And would you believe I received a letter from my parents the next day? After trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with me, the IMB personnel director checked with my parents. He wanted me to call as soon as I got back home.

I did, and I started work at the IMB just a little over two weeks later. While I experienced some rocky times at the IMB, especially during the year prior to my being downsized after nineteen years there, I couldn’t have been happier or more satisfied. God had done what I couldn’t do for myself.

Incidentally, my downsizing led to a part-time job that gave me time to write my first novel. God had once again done what I couldn’t do for myself. What I hadn’t even dreamed of doing until after retirement.

Roger’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Author @RogerBruner shares writing gains when God leads. (Tweet This)

@RogerBruner: Tired from trying to make things work? (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of The Devil and Pastor Gus by @RogerBruner. (Tweet This )

Author’s Bio:

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. Three of his thirteen novels have been published: Found in Translation, Lost in Dreams, and The Devil and Pastor Gus. He has also published two little books of his shorter writings: Yesterday’s Blossoms and More of Yesterday’s Blossoms. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church’s choir, praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, photography, web design, mission trips, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

Places to connect with Roger:

Website

Blogs:

        On Aging Gracelessly

         As I Come Singing

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

AdirondackSecrets

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

CFRR-logo-768x549

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

 

Roger and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Barbara Hartzler: Do you suffer from Sequelphobia?

Barbara Hartzler Author Pic

Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes back YA and devotion author Barbara Hartzler. Although Everyone’s Story’s focus is on how stories uplift both readers and writers, when Barbara approached me on the concept of “Sequelphobia” I thought it was such a unique subject that both readers and writers would appreciate it and I replied back to Barbara with a  “sure, let’s go with this!” Barbara has put together a professional and heartfelt feature and I hope you’ll enjoy it!  Both Barbara  and I look forward to hearing from you.

**Also, for bonus fun, check out below the new contest I have going during May.

 

 

 

 

NexisSecret-Final

BookGiveaway:

Barbara is offering 1 digital version of her YA novel The Nexis Secret. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 13th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Barbara’s past visit on Everyone’s Story: 

5 Reasons NOT To Choose Between Indie vs. Traditional Publishing

 

Sequelphobia: 5 Ways to Overcome the Wrath of the Second Book

by Barbara Hartzler

Every writer has felt the fear. Every reader knows the danger. Will the second book be as good as the first? For every triumphant sequel, there are ten times as many sequels that don’t live up to the first book. Why? Because every writer’s first book is a labor of love, and they’ve had ample time perfect it. Before you publish your first book, there’s so much hope and encouragement to pursue your dreams. Of course, there’s always rejection and the feelings of failure that come with it. As a pre-pubbed writer I always thought, “If I can just get my book published, I’ll finally feel like a success.”

Wrong! Once you publish your first book, the pressure amps up exponentially. Now you’ve got to worry about sales numbers, reviews, and the dreaded marketing pill. Plus, you’ve got readers waiting on your second book. Unless your first book was an overnight success, you’ll need that second book to boost sales. More pressure! If your first book only achieved niche market success, like my debut YA novel did, there’s an added layer of pressure to bump the series out of the background and into the spotlight.

Sequelphobia

Welcome to the publishing business. It’s a whole new ballgame, folks. So what’s a budding author to do? And the answer is … write that second book.

The wrath of writing the second book is a daunting task. But it’s one we have to overcome. Below are five tricks I’m using right now to overcome my sequelphobia.

5 Ways to Overcome Sequelphobia:

  1. Extra Brainstorming

Starting a sequel can be the most daunting part. Sitting down to work on it each day can be overwhelming. I like to begin with my favorite part of the writing process—brainstorming. Because I write supernatural/fantasy fiction for young adults, I’m always asked, “Where do you come up with your ideas?”

You can use whatever method you choose: idea clouds, notecards, journaling. My favorite device to use at the beginning is to ask “What if …?” questions. Whether you’re a plotter or seat-of-the-pants writer, you can always ask “What if” at any stage of the process. The important thing is to ask how you can add more conflict to the story. How can your protagonist get themselves into trouble? How can they get out of it? What can happen to the characters to throw them off track?

I journal out all the possible “What ifs” before I ever start the story. I figure out which answers could lend themselves to scenes in the book. Then I write those ideas down on notecards and arrange the notecards to build chapters. You see the progression.

  1. Plot Out the Entire Series

I hear the pantsers out there objecting to the word plot, but as a reformed pantser (now hybrid) I’m here to tell you there is SO much value in knowing where you’re writing. In the loosest terms, I’m talking about bullet points or simple road signs for the BIG events in a series. Joanie meets Jim. Joanie gets a promotion and has to decide if she’ll move across the country for it. You get the idea.

Wait, that sounds like more work right? Not if you think about it as saving you time in the long run. Plus, if you’re playing the “What if” game, it seems like more fun. It’s important to have a road map, to know where your story is going. Then you can have fun with how you get there.

  1. Just Keep Writing

Getting through the first draft was the hardest part for me. Why? Because it felt like a giant pressure-cloud was hanging above my head telling me all the familiar sequelphobia fears. Don’t worry, I do have one little trick for starting your writing sessions.

Since I love brainstorming so much, and beginnings are the hardest part for me, I decided to start each writing session with a 5-minute brainstorming stint. I set the timer on my phone for five minutes, visualize myself in the scene as my main character, and start the clock. Then I let my fingers, and my imagination, fly. I try to not think too much, to keep the scene as visual as possible. Imagery comes in real handy for this exercise. Where are they? What’s the weather/scenery like? How are they feeling? Try it and see!

Barbara's devotional book

Barbara’s devotional book

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Reevaluate

Sometimes you’ll run into a brick wall with your story. When that happens, don’t be afraid to stop and reevaluate. Go back to the brainstorming stage if you feel like the ideas aren’t working. A new or different conflict wrinkle might work better for your story. I’m in the middle of editing my sequel Crossing Nexis, right now. Yet I had to go back to the brainstorming stage last week.

Some of the scenes I’d written in the latter part of the first draft just didn’t work with the overall theme and tone of the book. Or the series for that matter. They were too dark. Probably because they came from the wrath I felt when the pressure-cloud was following me around. So I stopped, took a deep breath, and went right back to a brainstorming journal session. Now I’ve got two to four chapters to change, but I’m more excited about the sequel than I’ve ever been.

  1. Let it Go and Let it Flow

Sometimes, especially when writing a sequel, you DO need a seat-of-the-pants mindset. Especially when it comes to that Sequelphobia Pressure-Cloud hanging over your head. It’s time to let those fears go, and letting your writing flow. Even if you’re not sure where it’s going. If you’ve mapped out some road signs to guide you, then it’s okay to play with the details. I try to tell myself, “You can edit this later. For now, just write.” I truly believe no writing is wasted. Even if you think it’s garbage, it’ll help you get to something that shines. Just realizing something isn’t working is a big step. Why? Because then it becomes all about problem-solving.

Here’s one more little tip to help you get your writing exactly where you want it. (With a little inspiration from Self Editing for Fiction Writers.) Go through and highlight the parts you love in a scene, then try to bring the rest up to that level. I did this instinctively for my debut novel. There was one scene I LOVED above all the others in The Nexis Secret. So I challenged myself to bring every other scene up to that level. You’ll be amazed at how a self-dare like that can amp up your writing game, and bring back that hope writers desperately need. If you’ve ever felt like your writing is complete drivel, I like to say, “Congratulations. You’re a real writer.” It’s easy for writers to get down on ourselves. It’s nice to praise ourselves every now and then.

I hope these little tips have given you some encouragement that you CAN overcome sequelphobia. And you can write a beautiful second book. Don’t be afraid of living up to your first book. Just write the best second book you can possibly write. That’s how you overcome sequelphobia.

What are your fears about sequels? What are some of your favorite sequels?

Barbara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#Writers: Suffer from Sequelphobia upon thinking of next book? See what @HartzlerBarbara advises. (Tweet This)

#YA author Barbara Hartzler @HartzlerBarbara: 5 Ways to Overcome the Wrath of the Second Book. (Tweet This)

Like #YA fiction? Check out #BookGiveaway of The Nexis Secret by Barbara Hartzler @HartzlerBarbara. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Barbara Hartzler is the debut author of The Nexis Secret—the story of The Seer, a girl with a gift to see the unseen world of angels. And the two secret societies vying for her allegiance. The Nexis Secret is inspired by Barbara’s college experiences and peppered with anecdotes from her teen missions trip to New York City. She’s always wanted to write, not necessarily about angels, but the idea was too good to pass up. As a former barista and graphic designer, she loves all things sparkly and purple and is always jonesing for a good cup of joe.

Places to connect with Barbara:

Website/blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

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Get Caught Reading

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

CFRR-logo-768x549

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

Barbara and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

Delores Liesner: How To Find Inspiration When Least Expected

 

GMA

Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes back inspirational author Delores Liesner. In sharing the same agent, the wonderful Linda S. Glaz, I’ve had the honor of getting to know Delores through the years. I’m thrilled to see her writing career expanding, especially her powerful non-fiction book of uplifting hope, Be the Miracle, selling well! This week Delores shares another encouraging message with us, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  Both Delores  and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

1-CoverBethe Miracle-New Miracle

BookGiveaway:

Delores is offering 1 edition of Be The Miracle, either in print or Kindle. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 6th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

 

Picture This by Delores Liesner

I couldn’t believe I was 50, and complained about being ‘over the hill’ to Grandma V, an elderly neighbor. She made me laugh, telling me that when all my children were on social security (like hers were) then I could feel old. She then added a bit of wisdom giving perspective I still use today—that we were created for eternity. Soulfully, she said, we are comparatively still in our youth. Or—perhaps even younger, if you think like I do J.

We joke that I might be the world’s most mature toddler, always asking what if … why is that … or Columbo-like, noticing tiny things. On one vacation Ken and I exited the car outside a trading post near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. When he realized I’d not followed him to the shop and was still by the car peering through the camera towards a frozen mud puddle, he was not surprised. His usual response is curiosity and, “What do you see?” I love this picture, not just because it represents beauty and creation from an unexpected source, but because it is a story starter.

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How many pictures have you taken or looked at which remind you of the stories behind them, or could be a new fictional story if you said … what if … why is that … or did you see this?

Character personality pictures often come to me from a group of about a hundred from around the world are completing an adventure called The Lazarus Experience. Each year, for 40 days after Easter, we practice intentional living on a daily basis, and share those adventures with one another on our Facebook group page. Picture unexpected compliments, a father choosing to spend time with his boys, girls night out without technology present, helping a friend or neighbor, writing thank you notes, sky diving, and more times 40 days. Their pictures or the pictures their words evoke often make their way to a 4×6 card for my file of word-pictures to start stories, or become personality quirks of fictional characters.

Estate and rummage sales are also an excellent source for historical pictures. I love to imagine the lives and stories behind the serious faces and formal clothing.

Grandma V

                    Grandma V

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction I love to use pictures for outlining. Sometimes it will be actual photos, other times clippings from magazines, or a group of memories or visual imaginations I will write out (i.e. girl kicking flat tire of car). Like the old saying that one picture is worth a thousand words, pictures are great writing prompts, and can nicely outline potential chapters or markers to take one to each twist or turn in the story. Then I go back and fill in what would happen to get the story from one picture to the next.

I also use mental pictures for reducing life’s many stresses. For example, after a Spanish friend told me she never thought she would meet Lucille Ball until she met me, realized imagining what Lucy would do reduced my stress. I call this movies in my mind.

There is a happy ending – it’s surely on its way

I’m not a Polyanna, though I’m sure it’s what some say

‘Cause I believe our story’s end comes from each choice we make

Instead of often wishing we could go back and do a retake

To find the humor in a scene that seems desperate from the start

To take control of every situation that wants to grip my heart

I choose to play life’s challenges on a movie in my mind

Starring TV and movie faves, each personality assigned

The stories and the characters turn life’s tragedy into scripts

I can choose the attitude that heals or the storm that sinks the ship

I let Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett wrestle with my current stress

Or, let Columbo seek and find the clue that finally solves the mess

I often find a reason to laugh or sigh amidst life’s wild clatter

When a character forgives a stubborn quirk and shows others how they matter

Watching from the sideline, their solution seems so clear

When focusing on the outcome, all grudges disappear

Instead of watching circumstance, only thinking how I feel

I resolve to ask my God for help, to see the lesson in each reel

What can I learn, how can I help those living a similar story

Using my characters to bring that out gives me hope and brings God glory

Useless emotion is set aside to gain the greater good

The fresh start I need to offer others—and need myself —is understood

Every life has tragedy, and drama of every kind

Mine get solved by working through the movies in my mind

 

Delores’s Past Visit on Everyone’s Story: Why We Need To Be The Miracle

Delores’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Delores Liesner @DLiesner on how to find inspiration from least expected places. (Tweet This)

Author Delores Liesner @DLiesner: On the joy of being the “world’s most mature toddler.” (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of Delores Liesner @DLiesner’s Be The Miracle. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Delores Liesner’s motto, putting hands and feet to our faith, is revealed in the true stories in her book Be The Miracle (2015 Elk Lake Publishing).  She longs for her articles, stories, devotionals and columns to lead others to recognize miracles in their lives. Delores writings will benefit children with life-threatening illness via Fullness of Life Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ   When she is not writing you can find her reading, munching on chocolate or, on windy days, flying a kite without being told!

Places to connect with Delores:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

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BirdMeme

Always With You

Elaine Stock

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BookDepository (offering worldwide free delivery)

 

I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

CFRR-logo-768x549

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

 

 

Delores and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below.

Click “Comments.”

Vicki Hinze: Feeling Just Short Of Winning?

VickiResized

Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes multi-published author Vicki Hinze. While the writing world may appear huge on the surface with so many wonderful authors, it’s really a small tight-knit community. I’ve known Vicki by name for quite a few years and might have bumped into her at a RWA conference years ago. Vicki’s novels lean heavily toward suspense in all different shades, both for the Christian and general markets. She shares with us very encouraging words this week, plus offers a BookGiveaway.  Both Vicki and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

MarkedStar

 

BookGiveaway:

Vicki is offering 1 Kindle edition of The Marked Star. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 29th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note something new regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since emails are appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

Blurb of The Marked Star:

PEOPLE ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM

Superstar Elle Bostwick is kidnapped in London. But who has kidnapped her? NINA, a group of powerful and ruthless opportunists who will do anything to anyone to gain access to something Elle has that they want? Or the CIA, who is equally determined to prevent NINA access to what it wants? And why a singer? Why Elle? And why does she not know what they’re after?

Days later, Elle mysteriously turns up at a Shadow Watcher’s wedding reception, and the Shadow Watchers, Nick Sloan specifically, is ordered to keep her safe—indefinitely. But the top secret entity issuing the orders doesn’t say why or who is pursuing Elle. All information is being atypically withheld. That has never before happened. Why now?

OLD WOUNDS RUN DEEP

Nick and Elle have a history. He left her without even saying good-bye, determined to never need or want anyone—not after surviving his horror show of a family. Nick learned the hard way to never dare to love anyone. He didn’t know Elle had been walking wounded, too.

Now she’s burst back into his life–with baggage that could get them and the other Shadow Watchers killed. Who is on their side? Who is their real enemy? And what does that enemy really want? Most importantly, will they find out before they end up dead.

CAN LOVE HEAL THEM—IS IT ENOUGH?

Nick willingly risks his life for her, but does he dare to risk his heart? Does Elle? Both have little reason to trust. Little reason to dare, except for the hope of love they find in each other. But neither is certain… Is love enough to heal deep wounds? To spare the lives and hearts of Nick and The Marked Star?

 

Read the first three chapters of THE MARKED STAR (Shadow Watchers, Book 2)

Read the first three chapters of THE MARKED BRIDE (Shadow Watchers, Book 1)

 

The Ten-Cent Maid by Vicki Hinze

Many years ago in school, there was a contest for the homecoming court. Everyone was to sell votes for a dime. This was one of the school’s biggest fundraisers, so it wasn’t actually like selling votes in the context we’d think of today. Anyway, everyone was expected to do their part and sell votes.

I worked hard at it. Very hard. And as sales mounted, I finally began believing I might just have a shot at making the homecoming court. Well, the contest ended and the votes were counted, and I lost. By ten cents. One vote short.

In no way can I say I wasn’t disappointed—I had worked very hard—but I can’t say I was devastated, either. I remember thinking there was a reason I’d lost by a dime and just because I didn’t know the reason didn’t mean it wasn’t important. Not winning didn’t mean my efforts had been lacking, though I did wonder if losing by a little bit was going to be the way things went in my life. Being second—second-rate, second best, just second—with the best being reserved for others.

I’m not sure where that idea came from to wonder, but I vividly recall doing it. Yet, even then I thought it was an odd thing to think. Why had it been planted in my mind? I had no idea, but it was there, and I did note it.

Later that school year, I figured I’d needed to note it so I would remember it. The ten-cent maid loss became significant because the girl who won by that dime suffered serious challenges that removed her from school. And it dawned on me that perhaps I’d lost by a dime and she’d won because she’d needed to win more. She wouldn’t have another chance at something like homecoming court, or a second chance at other school-related wins. That day, my attitude changed. I was glad she had won, and I was happy I’d been the ten-cent maid.

VickiMeme2

Looking back, I have seen that “falling just short” pattern repeat in my life several times. But after the first experience, and the recognition that wants and needs are different and warrant respect, I never again wondered if I was second-rate or second best. Instead, I saw second as a position placement privilege. I understood that sometimes other people’s needs are greater. We all want wins. But only some need wins. The implications were a lot for me to absorb frankly, but the important part stuck with me.

Oh, I’ve won my fair share and then some of honors and awards and accolades, and I truly am grateful for each and every one. But there was and remains something special about the lessons learned at being the ten-cent maid.

In a sense, that’s a similar experience to Elle Bostwick’s in The Marked Star. Elle is a singer, a superstar, and everyone thinks she’s got it all. From the outside, she does. Talent, looks, fame, and fortune. But Elle’s done her stint at the ten-cent table, too. Only hers was in a far more substantial way, and she played her part for a lifetime.

Elle wasn’t given her parents’ name. She was, from the beginning, their secret daughter. It wasn’t that she wasn’t loved; she most certainly was. But the very things others coveted in Elle’s life were the things that made claiming her identity dangerous. Her family wanted to protect her, and her parents did, but at a great cost to Elle.

Like the rest of us, Elle was shaped by her experiences, and while some might have been bitter and given into anger, she sought understanding—and, because she did, she found her heart’s desire. Found it and recognized it and claimed it. And that’s something she couldn’t have done without the lessons she had learned while seated at the ten-cent table.

Sometimes when we feel stuck or as if we’re falling behind and no matter how hard we try we just keep falling short, we need to remember the blessings and joys we learn to recognize by our time at our own ten-cent table.

Vicki’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Multi-published author @vickihinze asks: Are you a Ten-cent maid? (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: @vickihinze shares a “falling just short” story. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Check out The Marked Star by @vickihinze. #BookGiveaway #Suspense (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

A USA Today best selling and award-winning author, Vicki Hinze, has written over thirty-five books (fiction and nonfiction) and hundreds of articles that have been published in as many as 63 countries. She is also a columnist for the global Social-In Network. Vicki writes most often in Romantic Suspense, Thrillers with a romantic element, and Military Romance or Military Thrillers for the general market or for the Christian market. She has written series, political thrillers, suspense, paranormal romantic suspense, time-travel suspense, women’s action adventure, thrillers, psycho-thrillers and contemporary romance with a strong mystery element. All of her books contain elements of suspense, mystery and romance. She enjoys genre-blending and is known as a trailblazer for doing so. After her fourth published novel, she returned to college and earned an MA in creative writing then a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Theocentric Business and Ethics). She founded Writers’ Aids to mentor other authors, which evolved into Writers’ Zone, where she answers questions on craft, the business of writing and the writing life and maintains a free online writers’ library, ON WRITING, on her website (see below). Additional podcasts, workshops, lectures and feature articles are also in the writing library. Raised in New Orleans, Hinze then married a career Hurricane Hunter/Special Ops officer. They and their children moved every few years and have now settled in Northwest Florida.

Places to connect with Vicki:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

 

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NewBridge

 

Always With You

Elaine Stock

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BookDepository (offering worldwide free delivery)

 

I’ll be at ACFW in August, along at this amazing event… will you be?

 

Vicki and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. Click “Comments.”