Everyone’s Story: What 7 Authors Want Readers To Know


It’s been my pleasure and honor to host some of the most talented authors and fabulous, beautiful people… and now friends, since starting Everyone’s Story in April of 2011. I’ve been blessed for a little more than 5 years and I hope I’ve shared such amazing wonders with you, my viewing audience. Next week, while away restoring the creative juices at the ACFW conference I’ve decided to take my first blog vacation. The traditional format of Everyone’s Story will resume on September 2nd, with of course, another wonderful guest. Meanwhile, please enjoy this special post on what these awesome authors hope to share with their reading audience. I hope to see all of you again on September 2nd



Justice Delayed

Author Patricia Bradley

“When I’m writing, I want my readers to see that a Christian’s life is not always easy and that Christian’s have problems just like everyone else. It’s how they discover God in the problem that is different, and how to depend on Him. Story wise, I want readers to identify with my characters and try to solve the crime along with them.  I always leave enough clues that the villain can be identified.”

website: www.ptbradley.com



Tanya Eavenson

Box Set Cover

Author Tanya Eavenson

“I hope readers will take away the fact that God is faithful–when those tough times come, and they will, He will never leave us. He is the One who gives us hope, a future, and a peace that transcends all understanding.”


website: http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/



kh 2015 headshot RT HR


Author Kathy Harris


“I love to write about detours. Even if we’re sidetracked — because of our own misstep or because of a redirection from God — it does’t mean we can’t reach our goal. God uses detours if we will give them to Him.”

website: www.KathyHarrisBooks.com


Autumn Macarthur

Least Expected novella

Author Autumn Macarthur

“I love to write deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be. That’s it, completely. I write love stories about a man, and a woman, and the God who loves them both. The One, who they can’t be whole without.”

website: http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com/



005Broken Butterfly Cover (1)

Author Cindy Patterson

“Through Broken Butterfly, I wanted to give a glimpse of how God can use brokenness and make it whole. I also wanted to share a remarkable love story that gives hope.”

website: http://www.cindypattersonbks.com/




Rumors and Promises Cover

Author Kathleen Rouser

“My desire is for my characters to resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in everyday life. Also, the  the importance of finding trust in the Lord, even when it doesn’t make sense to trust Him, and having the ability to move forward in life with faith in Christ.”

website:   www.kathleenrouser.com


ElaineStock2AlwaysCoverFinalcopy copy

 Author Elaine Stock

“My stories fuse family drama and psychological suspense, with a goal to encourage others that as long as they hold tight onto God, they can face joys despite trials.”

website: www.elainestock.com



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Everyone’s Story: What 7 inspirational authors want readers to know. (Tweet This)

What’s the common denominator these 7 Christian authors share? (Tweet This)



In appreciation

of all those who downloaded their Free Kindle copy of 

Always With You, helping

to make it a Kindle Best Seller list, here’s a way

to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card:




Looking forward to seeing you back on September 2nd!!

Christine Lindsay: Thinking Twice About Closed Publishing Doors

Me and Tim Hortons cup

Everyone’s Story welcomes back with a queen size hug the amazing and caring Christine Lindsay, author of historical and contemporary Christian fiction, as well as her new release, Finding Sarah, Finding Me, her first non-fiction book. I met Christine at my first ACFW conference and have been blessed since with by her friendship even though more than 3000 miles separate us. This week Christine shares about her non-fiction book, which is a piece of her heart, the blurb of the book, and a lovely  BookGiveaway. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.

**Plus, want to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card? 

Check below, after Christine’s feature.

Small size Finding Sarah Finding Me girl (1)


Christine is offering 1 ebook version to 1  randomly chosen commenter. Plus, if you share this post on Facebook and note it within the comment, you’ll receive an extra bonus point. The winner will be announced here on Friday, August 19th 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.



Back of the book blurb:

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up…and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

Note: 100 % of Christine Lindsay royalties for this non-fiction book will be donated to the Mukti mission in India.

My books

Read for Free the first chapters of all Christine’s books on her website, but click HERE to read Chapter One of Finding Sarah Finding Me.


The Resurrection of a Book – by Christine Lindsay

Way back in 2000 I was convinced that God wanted me to write a non-fiction book. I had relinquished a baby girl to adoption in 1979 and we had been reunited 20 years later. I was more than convinced—I’m sure I was downright militant. I had an agenda for my book! I was a birth-mother, oh hear me roar. That sort of thing. I shudder now with the memory.

Not surprising the Lord stopped me just short of publication. That was, until 16 years had passed. But at the time I had no idea the book would take all those years to become a reality. All I felt then was a burning need to tell others about my rocky road as a birth-mother and equally rocky reunion with my daughter.

The following is an excerpt from my new release Finding Sarah Finding Me:

In addition to (my counselor’s) suggestions, (my husband) has one of his own. He finds me crying, as usual, in the living room one day when I assume the house is empty. He goes out and returns a while later with a brand new journal and lapis blue fountain pen. Gently placing these items in my lap, he says, “Here honey, write it. You’ve been an artist all your life, either with paint or words. Write your book.” . . . Like a blind man receiving his first braille writing slate and stylus, I accept my husband’s gift.


How many of us writers use literature to express our personal vents or agendas? I smile at this answer—probably all of us, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But if you are a writer you will understand the frustration, to feel so convinced your book should be published and then to see the doors to the publishing world bolted shut, is tantamount to torture. Why does God put us through that?

Another excerpt below from Finding Sarah Finding Me:

Whenever I share with people about my writing, quite often they give me a perplexed smile, and a patronizing tone laces their words. “Good that you have a hobby. Must be so cathartic.” Thank God I have friends who don’t think I’ve just arrived from Mars. My writing is not a hobby but something seeded in me as far back as the days when I sat in the maternity ward and held baby Sarah . . .

And I’m sure by this time that all the catharsis I needed from writing is complete . . . I’m ready to launch what my experience has taught me about the Lord on the world. Just let me at ’em.

Typical. Most people going through emotional healing think they’re healed long before they actually are.

My journey to publication is like my search for Sarah— agonizingly slow. But I am learning, and I control my urge to growl at the Lord and pray with only a hint of my old whine, “Okay, okay, if you don’t want me to write this non-fiction account, how do you want me to use this writing gift?” The impression gradually emerges that I’m to paint what I’ve gained of emotional and spiritual healing into fiction to—God-willing—help others.



Back in 2000 I didn’t know that the Lord would use my journey as a fiction writer to help me discover my birth-mother role. The past 16 years have been filled with moments such as when I asked my publisher if Sarah could be the cover model for my debut novel. At the time Sarah and I were still working out a tenuous relationship, but somehow the Lord put it all together, and her beautiful face is on that beautiful cover.

A few years later the Lord used my writing and Sarah’s career as a nurse to draw us into the close birth-mother/birth-daughter relationship that I longed for. Sarah came to visit and told us as a family she was going to be a missionary with *GAiN that oversaw various orphanages around the world. One orphanage she would be working with very closely was the **Muki Mission in India.

Excerpt below from Finding Sarah Finding Me:

Sarah looks at me with a little grin, a half-knowing look in her eyes. “I think I remember now. You know about the Mukti, don’t you?”

“Yes.” My pulse leaps like a hysterical rabbit. “I’ve been interested in that mission for years. In fact, a portion of the book I’m currently writing features the Mukti.”

She gives me a wide, uninhibited smile, complete with the shared knowledge that God has entwined both of our callings—me as a writer and her as a nurse—for this one shining moment in time, upon this one mission in India…of all the missions in all the world.


As time went by and my writing career bloomed, I considered my birth-mother book a thing of the past. I’d matured as a Christian, been healed of my emotional trauma of losing my first child to adoption, was rejoicing over the good things God was doing in my life, and then . . . out of the blue my publisher said they wanted to publish my non-fiction book.

God is the God of resurrections, the God of new beginnings. I shouldn’t have been surprised. He was just waiting until He had taken me through my complete apprenticeship as a writer, and until I had grown as a writer to write a very different book than the one I wanted to write in 2000.

Finding Sarah Finding Me, releasing this August 15, 2016, was written by a woman who can look back on the past with her hindsight untarnished by pain and cleansed by the love of God.


**Muki Mission

Christine’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Why does Christine Lindsay @CLindsayWriter question shut publishing doors? (Tweet This)

Christine Lindsay @CLindsayWriter : A birth-mother is reunited with daughter after 20 years.  (Tweet This)

#Giveaway of Finding Sarah, Finding Me, a birth-mother’s story by Christine Lindsay @CLindsayWriter (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth, who always promises a happy ending. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.

Christine’s Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary romances Londonderry Dreaming and Sofi’s Bridge.

A busy writer and speaker, Christine, and her husband live on the west coast of Canada. Coming August 2016 is the release of her non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.

Places to connect with Christine:








In appreciation

of all those who downloaded their Free Kindle copy of 

Always With You, helping

to make it a Kindle Best Seller list, here’s a way

to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card:





I’m interviewed on The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction

Wednesday, August 17th.  Hope to see you there!

diamonds on black surface


Christine and I look forward to your comments.


Karen Campbell Prough: Holding Dreams High


Everyone’s Story welcomes back warm and wonderful Karen Campbell Prough, author of historical Christian fiction. I’ve known Karen for a few years now and have had the joy of watching her bloom from debut author to “sophomore” with the release of her second novel in the Ella Dessa series. This week Karen shares with you an excerpt from Book 2, Within The Candle’s Glow, offers a dynamic BookGiveaway, as well as talks candidly on rejection that both the reader and writer might appreciate. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you

**Plus, want to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card?

Check below, after Karen’s feature.

Karen Prough's Cover Image

JPEG Book Cover, Book #2


Karen is offering 1 print or ebook (winner’s choice) of either The Girl Called Ella Dessa or Within the Candle’s Glow to 1  randomly chosen commenter. The winners will be announced here on Friday, August 12th 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 Karen on Everyone’s Story’s previous appearance: Why I Chose Not to Give Up

Excerpt from Within the Candle’s Glow:

 Within the Candle’s Glow by Karen Campbell Prough

Chapter 9


Ella moved past a cluster of people in Inez’s kitchen and slipped out to the covered dogtrot between the buildings. She paused at the top of the worn steps.


It was almost twilight, and the unusual heat of the day had cooled. The sky glowed with a blush of gold and pink. It feathered out along the visible tops of the mountains. With a gasp of appreciation, she felt drawn to the gorgeous sight.


She made her way to the corral. Three workhorses occupied a rocky pasture and chewed at a pile of freshly cut grass. Behind her were eight or ten wagons, some with mules or horses still in their harnesses. Their outlines faded with the dusky light dipping between the mountains.


Attending Ephraim’s wake had brought back raw memories of her mama’s death.


She leaned against the top rail of a fence. Lord, why must death be a part of life?


“Are you all right?” A familiar voice spoke from the shadows.


Jim’s brother stepped away from the door of the dark barn. His eyes were still the cool green she remembered from childhood. A full red beard concealed much of his lower face, and he was hatless. His wild fiery hair hung long about his ears.


“I startled you.”


“No.” She tried to smile.


“That’s good to hear.” He smoothed the wooly texture of his hair.


“You weren’t inside.” She hadn’t seen him in years. He no longer resembled a slight built teenage boy. Hefty muscles showed where his homespun shirt tightened on his upper body and arms.


Duncan rested his elbows on the top rail and stared at the shadowed horses milling around the feed. “I can’t bear the sad voices and repeated condolences. I’m sick of staring at Papa’s body and eating food at the same time. I felt I’d gag.”


“I hated that part of Mama’s wake.” Ella found it strange she’d actually grasped an instant connection to his private feelings.


He cleared his throat. “Years ago, I never said I was sorry for your suffering—at the time of your mother’s death.” He spoke without looking at her.


“No. You didn’t.” She raised her eyebrows and waited.


“Well, I’m sayin’ it now.” He laced his fingers together on top of the rail fence. “I’m clearing my conscience, asking for forgiveness. I was heartless.”


Her fingers tightened on the rough railing. “I still miss her.”


Beyond the rail fence, somewhere in the dusky edges of the field, a whip-poor-will sent out its signature call—its name. She knew the mottled-brown and elusive nighthawk would call during the first part of the evening and then go silent for the night. Ella loved its special call at dusk. But it would soon fly away and disappear for the winter.


On the porch, someone coughed. An arm hung a lit lantern, and the shadowed person went back inside.


Duncan bowed his head and rubbed the back of his neck. “Papa thought of you as part of our family.”


“I’ll miss him.”


He took a deep breath. “I will, too. But Jim doesn’t believe it.” The shadows of the coming night darkened his features.


Hmm, ‘cause you’re gone from the homestead so much?” She saw his eyes skitter away. The lantern’s beam highlighted their muted green color.


“Yup.” He swatted at an invisible mosquito. “There seems to be no one who understands me. I’m alone. I muddle through life, and yes, I’m gone for a year or more at a time. But don’t ever think I forget my family. I loved Papa. I’m glad I got back in time to talk to him before … before this. He was good. He stood by his strict beliefs.”


“He loved God.”


Hmm. I chafed under his strictness, but it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. God created the uncharted wildernesses I travel through and places I get lost in—for months at a time. I feel close to God when I walk alone on a trail made by Indians or wild animals.” He paused. “Is that crazy?”


“Crazy?” She blinked and turned. His figure was a mere shadow in the fading light, but she could sense his proximity. “I su’pose I understand. If I were a man, I’d run away and see the world.”


“That true? Did Jim or Samuel tell you I went west—where mountains dwarf these?”


“No. I thought you were in the south, helpin’ with surveys.”


“Only one winter and spring with a surveying team. When the mosquitoes got bad, I scurried back to Georgia. I worked at a mine in Lumpkin County. I hated it and despised the greedy breed fighting for a piece of momentary wealth. The camp followers are skilled in fleecing the ragtag bunch of what gold is dug out of the mountains or panned in the creeks.”


“Well, I heard your name mentioned durin’ talks of Florida.”


Hmm, the Florida territory does fascinate me. It’s a challenge to those who explore or settle near the swamps, piney woods, and flats. But the warm waters and coastal areas surroundin’ it—Ella Dessa, I can’t begin to describe them. The tepid caress of its waters, the flocks of colorful birds, and extensive wildlife are too wonderful for mere words. A person needs to see it and touch it. I hoped to talk Papa into moving, but the dream’s gone.” He shifted his weight and faced the last reddish-gold hint of the sun, vanishing near the mountain’s peak.


She heard the pure exhilaration in his voice die to deep remorse. “Death doesn’t wait.”


“I know that full well.” He cleared his throat. “Can I call you ‘Ella’?”


“If you wish. Some do. Samuel always calls me ‘Ella Dessa.”’


Darkness enclosed them, with only the lantern’s faint beam reaching where they stood. The promised radiance of the rising moon lit the mountaintop on the other side of the cove, and she could make out filmy clouds drifting near it. Nearby insects began their night trills.


“The moon will be beautiful,” she said and sensed he came closer in the cool shadows. She heard the intake of his breath.


“Ella, I want to say something for your ears only. I need you to understand me as what I am—a changed man.”


“Why me?”


“It’s something of our shared past. The day of your mother’s wake, I hiked up to your place, without my family knowin’. They were all sick in bed. A girl I was madly in love with was at your place. I was young—not like now. I feel ancient.”


“I know who you’re talkin’ about. You hurt her,” she whispered. “Don’t you know that? How is that love?”


“You fail to understand the way of a man … a boy, when the sight of a girl steals his heart and mind. Breaking her heart wasn’t my intention that day.”


“But you did.” Her eyes adjusted to the lantern’s yellow glow and the new silver light inching its way above the rugged heights.


“She promised to kiss me when we met. When she resisted—said ‘no’, it made me crazy. I had thought about kissing her for weeks. It was in my head she would, so I took the kiss she refused to give. I ruined everything with her. I lost her. You saw me force her to kiss me.” He went silent and then muttered, “Why am I standing here talking of this?”


“To ease your mind?”


“No, it’s to erase your dislike of me.”


“Duncan, I’ve no feelin’s either way. God’s the one you must talk to—if it’s guilt you feel. I hold nothin’ ag’inst you. It’s the past. Yes, you were relentless in getting’ what you wanted—a kiss. It don’t matter today.” She changed the sticky subject by asking, “How long will you stay home this time?”


“Ahh—me, the constant wanderer?” He gave a low chuckle. “It’s the big question on Jim’s mind. Ella, I want to leave now. There’s a full moon rising over that mountain. I can see to travel through the cove. I want to go—”




“Who knows?”


“Don’t do it. Think of your mother. She needs all her children nearby … for a short time, at least.” The moon’s silver light inched its way above the rugged heights.


He faced her. “You’ve grown to be a charming young lady.”


A strange tingly feeling passed over her. She was shocked to realize his words pleased her.



In this written piece, I am addressing writers, but rejection hits all walks of life.

As a writer, we all have our stories and articles rejected, but do not worry yourself sick over it or swear you will never write another word. You must realize rejection is not always a bad thing. It can be a good thing! Be thankful.

Now, you are thinking I have totally lost all connection to what rejection means and what being published is all about.

I can hear you say, “What? You’re kiddin’! Be thankful? I want my book or story accepted—right now! I want someone to say they love it and yearn to publish it. I do not want them to give me vague reasons as to why they rejected my manuscript.”

So, how can we be thankful for rejections?

It is hard to believe, but a rejection may direct us to a better fit with a different agent or publishing house. Sometimes, it pays to give ourselves the freedom to accept rejection as step in the path we will always walk as writers. So, we ought to thank those who take the time to consider our work—an article or story—but reject it.

After the rejection, we must move on and search for a better fit.


I have received rejections from agents and publishing houses. Yes, it can hurt. Nevertheless, one rejection really stood out! The incident stays with me, because my manuscript was not read—not even the first paragraph got a cursory glance. I was stunned. It was rejected, because I mentioned part of the storyline. An animal dies. Dead people did not matter, but a dead animal was a “no-no”! I wanted to protest and beg the person to just read it!

But, instead, I collected my manuscript and pride and said, “Thank you.”

I wandered away feeling alone and puzzled.

Yes, it upset me. I felt there was no hope.

But I then spotted another author/reviewer waiting for a hopeful writer to arrive. I introduced myself and asked if she had the time to read just a couple paragraphs and give an opinion on my work.

She agreed to read, so I handed her the proposal and sat down. She read the first couple pages of the manuscript. Silence prevailed . . . then a tear appeared. She looked up and asked if I had an agent.

“Not yet,” I mumbled.

She replied, “You are ready for one.”

Going from rejection to being brave enough to ask a stranger to read my story is the best thing that could have happened. The rejection hurt, but it drove me to the right person, who would say the perfect words. I suppose, some people might say it was like I stepped back into the “path of bullets”.

You also could consider me crazy to risk another painful rejection, or … you can see yourself in my shoes and realize you have the courage to seek another opinion. Say “thank you” for a rejection, and stay on the path you feel God called you to hike.

Now, say to yourself, “Rejection is only one person’s response!”

The next person you talk to might be sitting nearby—waiting to give encouragement. So, keep a good supply of dauntless fortitude and march forward with your talent!

Compare past rejections to an icy snowflake. One does not count for much. You can ignore its frosty touch. And a huge snowstorm might try to trap you in despair, but remember this—the cold snow eventually melts. In the meantime, keep reaching upward. Hold your dreams high. Be thankful God gave you the desire to write or to do anything else in your life! You may be an artist, a speaker, or a trail guide! It does not matter. Rejection can be a good thing!

Karen’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: How did author @Kcampbellprough’s bounce back from rejection? (Tweet This)

Like #HistoricalChristianFiction? Visit with Karen @Kcampbellprough #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author @Kcampbellprough: Comparing past rejections to an icy snowflake (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Karen Campbell Prough writes historical fiction and a broad range of short stories. Seven of her short stories have been published in a variety of magazines. She has won awards at the 2014 BRMCWC, the 2015 FCWC, and the 2016 FCWC. She has had two books published. The Girl Called Ella Dessa, came out in 2015, and Within the Candle’s Glow was released in 2016.

Places to connect with Karen:






In appreciation of all those who downloaded their Free Kindle copy of

Always With You, helping

to make it #1 on the Kindle Best Seller list, here’s a way

to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card:



Karen and I look forward to your comments.

Heather Blanton: Standing Up To Negativity


Everyone’s Story welcomes Christian Western Fiction author Heather Blanton. This is Heather’s first guest appearance on this blog and I hope not the last! Please join Heather this week as she shares from experience why it’s essential to stand up to negativity. Also check out Heather’s excerpt from A Promise In Defiance, her newest release that is Book 3 of the Romance in the Rockies Series. Heather’s offering a great BookGiveaway to 2 commenters so settle back and enjoy! We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.

***Plus, I have exciting news! From August 1-5, my novel Always With You is FREE on Kindle. Help yourself to what reviewers are calling an exciting read! Details on the bottom of Heather’s blog feature.





Heather is offering 1 print or ebook of any 1 of her novels to 2  randomly chosen commenters. The winners will be announced here on Friday, August 5th 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 Promise in Defiance, Book 3 in the Romance in the Rockies series:

 A Promise in Defiance by Heather Blanton

Logan jerked the warped, dilapidated door nearly off its hinges to get inside the Broken Spoke. The door’s resistance was a harbinger. The inside sucked the wind out of his soul.

No part of the saloon had gone untouched by the elements. The canvas walls, anchored to waist-high pine knee walls, were ripped in a dozen places and flapped lazily in the late summer breeze. The roof, all but gone, hung in mildewed tatters. The back wall of warped, graying pine still stood, but leaned inward at a sharp angle. If it fell, it would crash onto the sagging, rough-sawed plank bar. Broken chairs, dead leaves, and shards of glass littered the floor. He wandered in and brushed his hand over a rusty heap of a buck stove crumbling in the center of the room.

Disheartened, Logan exhaled and rubbed his neck. “Lord, I’ll need an army to fix up this place.”

“So why bother?” The sultry feminine voice from behind him made Logan whirl.

A woman stood in the doorway, beautiful, curvaceous . . . dangerous. She had her lovely auburn hair swept up and back in a bun while jaunty little curls ran down her neck. The unusual olive tint to her skin fascinated him. Her red silk dress clung to her tightly, almost like a second skin, and ample breasts fought their restraint. Her eyes, the color of polished amber, glittered like a cat eying easy prey.

Logan removed his hat. He could appreciate her beauty. He could also appreciate the way she wielded it like a sword. “Can I help you?”

She strolled in slowly, smoothly, each movement of her body calculated to entice and mesmerize her prey. “I’m Delilah. You the owner of this place?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Her method of hunting to him was, however, an old, worn-out strategy.

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

In more ways than one, Logan supposed. He sensed his first battle in Defiance had walked right through his door. He scratched the thick stubble on his jaw. “I suppose you want to buy me out?”

Her eyebrows rose almost imperceptibly.

“I’ve heard you’re trying to shut out the competition.”

“Hmmm.” She pondered that a moment before sauntering over to the bar. “Doesn’t that make me a smart businesswoman?”

“I suppose so.”

She turned to him and leaned back on the bar, striking a seductive pose. “I’d rather be friends than enemies, mister. This place is a wreck. It’ll cost you more to fix it up than you’ll make in a year. I’ll give you what you paid for it.”

“Long as I leave?”

“Or at least don’t open another saloon.”

“Well,” he rubbed his eyebrow and meandered over to the bar to stand beside her. “You don’t have to worry about that. I’m not opening a saloon.” He fought to hold back a smile. “But I can honestly say I hope my business will be in direct competition with yours.”

She scowled and stood up to him, her pink lips forming a tight, unhappy line. “What is your business?”

“I’m going to open a church.”

It took a moment, but when his meaning registered Delilah’s mouth fell open. “A church?”

“A church.”

“So, that means you’re a . . .?”

“Preacher. I’m here to share the Gospel with all the sinners in Defiance—professional and otherwise. I hope to win souls for the Lord . . . help make this town a place for decent folk to live.”

“Oh,” she chuckled, backing away from him, “oh, if this don’t beat all.” Delilah shook her head as if she either couldn’t believe her luck or his foolishness. “Preacher, have you got your work cut out for you.”

“So my Boss tells me.”

She rested her hands on her hips and looked up at him through long, dark lashes.

She sure has pretty skin. My, if I was a weaker man . . .

“I’ve come here to put Defiance back on the map, Preacher. I’m gonna turn this town back into one hell-raising, hard-drinking boomtown.” Her eyes flickered with heat. Licking her lips, she dragged dainty, manicured hands slowly across the tops of her breasts. “If I were you, I wouldn’t stand in my way.”

Don’t Listen to Negative Nellie by Heather Blanton

I hate it when I hear a parent tell a child, “Stop dreaming. You’ll never make a living at that. You should be more practical.”

Once, my mother was embarrassed I sent a manuscript to the editor of Tiger Beat Magazine—because I shouldn’t bother the person. When I had a shot at an internship with the Dallas Morning News, she voiced concerned about the cost of sending the Fed Ex package. What she was really saying, of course, was I didn’t have a shot at it and I was wasting our money.

My mom has never been much for holding onto her dreams. She didn’t exactly come through the Depression unscathed—her father was an abusive alcoholic who couldn’t hold a job. Later on, she married a mechanic who never made a lot of money. She scrimped and saved and worried about paying the bills her whole life. She’s also buried three children. Hope has always been in short supply for Momma.

My daddy was also the son of an abusive alcoholic. In the 30’s, he bounced around from orphanage to foster family and back again. He was a mechanic who never made much money and had to provide for us six kids and a wife. He was there when those three children were laid to rest. But for Daddy, hope always overflowed. I wish I had a dime for every time he said to me, “You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.”

All I’ve ever wanted was to be a writer.

More specifically, I wanted to be a published author. In 2012, I got so close I could smell the ink on the offer. My book, A Lady in Defiance, made it all the way to the contract meeting at a major Christian publisher. This means that every editor at that company endorsed my book. At the same time, I had self-published A Lady with the goal of selling 200 copies for my Relay for Life team.

The publisher turned me down; the marketing department said my sales projections were too low. Talk about a punch to the gut. When I got the email at work, I went into the bathroom, looked up at Heaven and said, “God, this really hurts … but I know you have a plan for me. I trust you.”

I couldn’t see over the hill, but God could. My book went on to sell more than 4000 copies that year. No marketing, no pr, no publisher. To date, it has sold over 40,000 copies. I made enough money to quit my job and start writing full time. I have written five books since then. I have highs and lows in sales, feast and famine, but I also have a husband who believes in me as a writer. God has allowed us to keep the bills paid. There’s not a lot of feasting, but there is never famine.

My point is, if you have a dream and it’s God’s plan for you, he will make a way for it to come to pass; it just may not be exactly what you were expecting. Either way, don’t listen to the Negative Nellies. Listen for God’s voice and keep reaching for the stars until or unless he closes that door. Then be ready for the new path.

If you know someone who is chasing a dream and it seems ridiculous to you, don’t be an Eeyore. Pray for that person, and pray you can be wise counsel. Keep your negative, spirit-crushing comments to yourself. And if the dream slips away, be ready with a hug. God is probably about to do something awesome and if you’re focused on the I-told-you-so, you’ll miss it.

Heather’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

@HeatherFBlanton: Don’t Listen to Negative Nellie! #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like #ChristianWesternFiction? Visit with author @HeatherFBlanton (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of #ChristianWesternFiction by @HeatherFBlanton (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Heather Blanton is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.

A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among the fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand.

She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

Places to connect with Heather:

Website/Ladies In Defiance









Always With You is FREE on Kindle from August 1-5th! Please share the news—thanks May Isabelle and Tyler’s story bless you with hope:

Amazon Link



Tweet This for Always With You:

FREE on Kindle August 1-5: Always With You by Elaine Stock: Will #faith, #family, and power sway you? (Tweet This)

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

Click “Comments.”

Jean C. Gordon: Ways To Lighten Your Worries

Jeanne Gordon-1431-LR-Color

Everyone’s Story fondly welcomes back inspirational author Jean C. Gordon. I’m very blessed to have Jean as a dear friend for many years now. We met back in my RWA days (Jean’s still a member!) when we attended monthly chapter meetings up in Saratoga, NY. I’ve had the pleasure to see Jean’s career grow through the years and have cheered her along as she has placed smile after smile on readers’ faces. Please join Jean this week as she shares right from her heart about a very personal subject for her, one that’s reflected in her just released Love Inspired The Bachelor’s Sweetheart, which she’s also offering as a BookGiveaway. Also check out Jean’s excerpt from that novel. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.

***Jean has a surprise for all viewers!!! Check out below!



Jean is offering 1 print copy of The Bachelor’s Sweetheart,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter (US only) AND 1 ebook worldwide, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 29th 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.



Jean’s past visits on Everyone’s Story:

A Multi-published Author With a Big Heart from a Small Town

Author of Heart, Home and Faith Stories

Excerpt from The Bachelor’s Sweetheart:

Excerpt from The Bachelor’s Sweetheart by Jean C. Gordon:

Chapter One

The heat was unbearable, worse than anything Josh Donnelly had ever experienced, even during his National Guard tour of Afghanistan. A rivulet of sweat ran down his back. He wanted to pull at his collar so he could breathe, cool off his back. But people would see him.

“The ring,” the guest minister prompted him.

Josh felt like he was aiding and abetting the enemy as he dug in the pocket of his tuxedo jacket. All through high school, after their older brother, Jared, had left Paradox Lake, he’d protected their younger brother, Connor, from their father and the fallout of his being the town drunk. He should be protecting him now from making a potentially huge mistake. Josh handed the wedding band to Connor. Not that his baby brother’s soon-to-be wife wasn’t a good person. Nor did he doubt that Connor and Natalie Delacroix loved each other—for now.

But the Donnelly men weren’t cut out for marriage. That was what he and Jared had always said. They’d agreed they had too much of their father in them to let any woman get close enough to love them. They couldn’t risk ultimately hurting someone the way Dad had hurt Mom. That is, they had agreed until last summer when Jared had married Becca Morgan. Now Connor had fallen victim.

Pain squeezed Josh’s chest as he caught the loving look on Connor’s face when he slipped the ring onto Natalie’s finger. Don’t do it. Josh glanced around to make sure he hadn’t said that out loud. He was good. No one was staring at him. No one except his bud Tessa Hamilton, who was sitting halfway back in the church, her bulletin covering her mouth, eyes sparkling. She was laughing at him.

Tessa knew how he felt about marriage and didn’t hold it against him—one of the many reasons they got along so well. But that didn’t mean he was going to let her get away with laughing at his discomfort. Josh smiled to himself. He had the perfect revenge. He’d ask her to dance at the wedding reception. Tessa didn’t dance. She said her dancing wasn’t for public consumption.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the minister declared. “You can kiss your bride.”

Connor pressed his lips to Natalie’s. Then they turned and faced the guests hand in hand.

“I present Mr. and Mrs. Connor Donnelly,” the minister said.

The guests stood and applauded. Josh’s gaze went to his mother, who was standing next to his grandmother and stepgrandfather, Harry, in the front pew. Harry smiled down at Grandma with almost the same expression Connor had had when he’d slipped the ring on Natalie’s finger. Josh glanced across the aisle to Natalie’s parents. Terry and John Delacroix stood hand in hand much like Connor and Natalie. Connor was different than him and Jared, more like their mother—although Jared appeared to have become the poster boy for marital bliss. And Connor was a minister, the pastor here at Hazardtown Community Church. Maybe he and Natalie would make it work.

The organist began the recessional and the applause stopped. As Connor and Natalie started up the aisle, Josh stepped front and center and offered his arm to Claire Delacroix, Natalie’s sister and maid of honor. Jared fell into step behind them with Natalie’s oldest sister, Andrea Bissette, and the rest of the wedding party.

Josh bit the side of his mouth to keep from laughing as he passed Tessa and she glanced from him to Claire with a raised eyebrow. Tessa had been trying to fix him up with Natalie’s sister since Connor and Natalie became engaged last Christmas. And Connor had been warning him off as if he wasn’t good enough for Connor’s future sister-in-law. At one point, Josh considered asking Claire out just to irritate Connor but had thought better of it. Why jeopardize the brotherly bond for a woman he’d only move on from in a month or two? Not that there were many available women left in Paradox Lake for him to move on to. Even more reason for him to finish his engineering technology degree and blow this burg.

The wedding party lined up with his mother and Natalie’s parents outside at the bottom of the church steps to greet the guests. Their grandparents were the first in line.

“You’re next,” his grandmother said when she reached him in the line. Her husband chuckled. A chill ran down Josh’s spine, remembering Gram saying something on that order about Jared before he succumbed to Becca’s charms.

“Josh and Claire do make a cute couple,” Claire’s grandmother added, kissing Claire on her cheek.

“Oh, Marie, I thought I’d told you he’s seeing Tessa Hamilton, Betty’s granddaughter.”

Marie Delacroix nodded with a sympathetic look at Claire. Josh smiled at the lovingly tolerant look Claire returned. Being in their early thirties, he and Claire were fortunate to still have their grandmothers.

“Gram,” he said, “Tessa and I are friends. That’s all.”

“Famous last words. Jared and Becca and Connor and Natalie were friends first, too.”

Josh looked over his grandmother’s head at her husband, who chuckled again. “Edna, we’re holding up the line.”

Gram gave Harry “the look,” the one that Josh recognized as a silent “you’re pushing it.” But she continued down the line, giving Jared a hug and telling him how handsome he looked. Friends and family filed by behind his grandmother, shaking his hand and exchanging small talk.

“Natalie, I’m so happy for you and Connor.”

Josh’s ears perked up at the sound of Tessa’s voice. A smile spread across his face as he thought about his plans for the reception.

“Josh, this is my uncle,” Claire said, breaking his private gloat.

“Nice to meet you,” he said, shaking the man’s hand.

Tessa stepped up next. “Claire, you look beautiful. I love the bridesmaid dresses.”

Some guy Josh didn’t recognize stood close behind Tessa, as if he was with her.

“I know.” Claire dropped her voice. “I was thinking I wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear the dress again in public.”

Josh narrowed his eyes, thinking back to the ceremony. A date? He didn’t remember seeing anyone sitting close enough to Tessa in the pew to suggest they were with her. Tessa stepped in front of him, and the man bent and gave Claire a hug.

“Hi,” Tessa said. “I see you didn’t expire up there. For a minute it looked touch and go.”

He ran his gaze across her face, masking the irritation her comment ignited. He’d had things in hand up at the altar, totally in control. His mood softened. Tessa looked different. Her rich chestnut hair was down, softly framing her face. And her eyes…he couldn’t put his finger on it. They were different, more defined. He dropped his focus to her lips and took in the pink sheen along with the creamy tan of her flawless skin. Makeup. He stared at her. Tessa was wearing makeup.

“What?” she said. “Are you so traumatized you can’t talk?”

“You look nice.”

She blinked and drew her head back.

Smooth Donnelly. Way to give a compliment. But he was used to seeing Tessa on a buddy level.

“As in not how I usually look?” Tessa tilted her head and drilled her gaze into his.

“Yeah.” It slipped out as if his mouth had no connection to his brain. Time to bring out the reinforcements. Josh drew his mouth into the slow half smile that always worked on women. “Unbelievably, you look even more beautiful than usual.”

Tessa rolled her eyes. She rolled her eyes. Not dating for the past few months had put him more out of practice than he’d thought. The Smile always used to work.

“Catch you later at the reception.” He nodded toward the people lined up behind her and squelched the urge to glare at the man in front of him.

“This is my cousin Pierre, from Montreal,” Claire said.

Josh sized up the competition as they shook hands. “Nice to meet you.”

“Ravi de vous rencontrer également.”

Josh’s gaze pierced the back of Pierre’s head as he moved on. Was the guy showing off, or didn’t he speak English? Josh shook his head. He didn’t know what had gotten into him. There was no competition. Josh liked Tessa too much to let their relationship become anything more than a friendship.

One Day at a Time by Jean C. Gordon

My latest book, The Bachelor’s Sweetheart, deals with alcoholism. At the beginning of the story, my hero Josh doesn’t know that my heroine Tessa is a recovering alcoholic. When Josh finds out by accident, it almost destroys them. Josh, who grew up as the son of the town drunk, has no tolerance for alcoholics.

Of all my books, this one was the hardest to write and, ultimately, the most rewarding to me. I’ve seen first hand with my youngest brother the toll alcoholism, any addiction, takes on family and friends. Josh and his brothers have dealt with their father’s alcoholism most of their lives. Tessa and her family with hers only more recently. Tessa and Josh’s story is a tribute to what love can overcome when it has the power of God behind it.

One thing Josh and Tessa learn is to take things one day at a time. Taking life “one day at a time” is a primary tenet of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-anon, the organization for family and friends of alcoholics. Many people whose lives have been adversely affected by the problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend have found one day at a time to be a lifeline that gives them the courage to change things they’re able to change.

While my brother has been gone for many years, I still open Courage to Change — One Day at a Time and read the meditation for the day. Through these meditations, I’ve found that taking life one day at a time can help in many other life situations, too. Such as when:

  • You’re trying to reach a goal — Reaching a long-term goal, such as writing a book, can be daunting. Breaking a goal down into a day-by-day process can make it doable and improve your chances of success.

  • You’re worried about the future — Concentrating on what you have and can do today will move you forward and lighten your worry. We don’t have the power to know for sure what will happen tomorrow or next week. Worrying about it is wasted energy.

  • You have to deal with a difficult person on a regular basis — Limit your thought timeframe to today. Don’t dwell on the last time you had to deal with the person or the next time you may have to. And when today’s time is done, it’s over. The next time you have to deal with the person will be a whole new day.

  • You’re trying to break a bad habit— Let’s say you want to avoid junk food. You’ll be more successful breaking your junk food habit you tell yourself you’ll avoid junk food today and leave open the possibility of having it tomorrow. The next day, do the same thing. Soon the habit will be broken.

  • You have small children or grandchildren—It’s a cliché, but children are young for such a short time. Enjoy each day with them. You can, and should, plan for their future, but don’t plan the wonder and joy of today’s time with your children away.

  • You feel overwhelmed — Similar to meeting long-term goals, determine what you can reasonably accomplish today and take joy in accomplishing it.

And I’m sure there are others. Can you think of some?

Jean’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet #LoveInspired author @JeanCGordon. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story: See why @JeanCGordon’s newest novel was the hardest but most rewarding to write. (Tweet This)

Like to read #SweetRomance? @JeanCGordon has a surprise for you! (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

For Amazon Bestselling inspirational and sweet romance author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word “the,” she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. She and her college-sweetheart husband tried the city life in Los Angeles, but quickly returned home to their native small-town Upstate New York, where she sets her books.

A founding member of the Capital Region Romance Writers (Albany, NY), Jean currently serves as membership chair. She’s also a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Faith, Hope and Love Chapter, the American Christian Fiction Writers, and Novelists, Inc.

The Bachelor’s Sweetheart, book three of her Love Inspired series, THE DONNELLY BROTHERS: Hometown boys make good  and find love releases in August. Jean is currently working on a new series for Harlequin Love Inspired and looking forward to the release of her first single title romance, Mending the Motocross Champion, in October.

Places to connect with Jean:





Barnes and Noble


***Jean has a  special GIFT to all readers: A Free ebook of Bachelor Father, a sweet romance, available from your favorite ebook vendor:







Check what reviewers are saying:




Tweet This for Always With You:

Always With You by Elaine Stock: a story of ‪#‎love‬, ‪#‎faith‬, & ‪#‎family‬ challenged. (Tweet This)

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

Click “Comments.”


Barbara Ann Waite: Memories in Heart and Words

Barb Headweblg

Everyone’s Story welcomes back Barbara Waite. It’s funny, I’m not quite sure where I’ve bumped cyber elbows with Barbara, but it seems like I’ve known her for years and it’s a lovely feeling! What I admire most about Barbara is her passion and respect for family, as evident in her touching memoirs of her grandmother, Elsie. A former missionary now taken to the keyboard, Barbara shares with you this week more glimpses into the very special life of Elsie. I hope you find her life experiences as fascinating as I have, and hope it fills you with encouragement. Please check out Barbara’s great BookGiveaway offer of  the 2nd Elsie memoir, Elsie’s Mountain. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.





Barbara is offering 1 copy of Elsie’s Mountain,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 22nd 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.


Barbara’s past visit on Everyone’s Story: Using One’s Past To Enrich One’s Present


When Words Live On by Barbara Ann Waite


Across the peaks of Palomar a winter wind is blowing;

The mountain air is crisp and keen: tonight it may be snowing.

Against the slopes of mauve and bronze the evergreens are looming,

Where only flowers of memory still linger in their blooming.

–Elsie Hayes Roberts**

As I walk among the apple trees on Palomar Mountain, I marvel at the beauty of the blossoms on the gnarled trees, planted over 100 years ago, many of them by my grandfather and great-grandfather. I experienced through reading Elsie’s diary and journals the mountain culture and the day-to-day life of California ranchers of the time. Elsie loved words. She lived nearly a century and during that time her love affair with words never waned. She loved words in books, spoken words, and words in her diary. Words were the essence of this vivacious woman. Elsie was a wellspring of kind, always-gentle words. Yet, as I looked deeper into my grandmother’s life, I know that she withheld some words. Perhaps the words she avoided using are the story behind this exuberant yet occasionally reticent woman. I tried to preserve these times, in my grandmother’s memoir, “Elsie’s Mountain- Memories of Palomar & Southern California 1897- 1987.”

One newspaper writer described, Elsie (at age 97), as having, “…a mind as sharp as an Ansel Adams photograph.” She viewed life as a glorious adventure, recording a rich diary account of the serenity and beauty of her beloved mountain.

Elsie first traveled to Palomar in 1904 by horse and wagon, a three-day excursion from Long Beach. In the summer of 1918 Elsie, her husband Jack Roberts and their baby Catherine moved to Palomar to work on the apple ranch purchased by her parents in 1904. They eventually operated a small resort.


Barbara in vintage costume speaking at a one-room school in Julian , California to the Julian Historical Society. The school was built in 1888, the same year Elsie was born.

During the apple-season, they hired pickers with diverse backgrounds and Elsie’s husband often employed British cooks. The combination of personalities proved to be humorous. The sheriff showed up one afternoon to explain that the man hired to chop wood was a convicted ax murderer that had escaped. Elsie served dinner for the sheriff and his prisoner.

I find value in viewing the past, the ordinary, if it causes us to pause and examine our own lives. Elsie never seemed too busy to notice the first flowers of spring, often found peeking through the snow-dusted earth. She often slowed her pace, read, and sometimes moved her bed outside to view the stars, experience the wind, the night sounds, and the earthy mountain smells. Perhaps her story will encourage you to stop and see the beauty everywhere. Perhaps it will even encourage you to extend grace to those around you.

I have tried not to interpret Elsie’s story. In the book by Markus Zusak,*** The Book Thief, Max says to Liesel when giving her a blank notebook, “Words are life Liesel. All those pages, they’re for you to fill. I’m not lost to you Liesel. You will always be able to find me in your words. That’s where I’ll live on.” Elsie’s words live on to tell her story.

**These are blossoms from this year’s crop from trees of 1904.

***Barbara wrote the author of The Book Thief and was thrilled when his agent wrote back saying she could use his quote in her book. A lovely surprise!


Barbara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @BarbaraAWaite: how memoirs on others help you to examine your own life. (Tweet This)

@BarbaraAWaite offers #BookGiveaway of memoir Elsie’s Mountain, tribute to a special woman. (Tweet This)

@BarbaraAWaite: Could it be that slowing down to see life helped Elsie live as long as she had? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Barbara Anne Waite grew up in San Diego, California, spending weekends at the family cabin on Palomar Mountain. Summers were spent on Palomar with her grandmother Elsie. When Elsie died in 1987 (at almost 100 years of age), Barbara read the diaries and letters Elsie had saved. These compelling diaries contained the adventure and love story of her Grandmother’s three years teaching in rural Arizona, and from them Barbara created her memoir, “Elsie – Arizona Teacher 1913-1916.” During her life, Elsie wrote for magazines and newspapers but none of those stories compared to the story revealed in the diaries.” The first “Elsie” book was published weeks before the State of Arizona celebrated its centennial in 2012. That book, published 4 years ago has been voted on Goodreads as the #1 memoir “Old West in First-Person.” It has sold over 3,000 print copies and 5,000 e-books.

Many readers requested the rest of the story, Elsie’s California years before and after her Arizona experiences, when her family operated an apple ranch and resort on Palomar. The first copies of “Elsie’s Mountain” went on sale in October, 2015 at the Apple Festival on Palomar Mountain.

Barbara has been sharing Elsie’s stories and selling her books at community groups, book clubs, historical groups, Rotary meetings, women’s events, libraries and genealogical societies. Historical non-fiction books seem to have potential sales opportunities that novels might not experience.

Places to connect with Barbara:








Check what reviewers are saying:



Tweet This for Always With You:

Always With You by Elaine Stock: a story of ‪#‎love‬, ‪#‎faith‬, & ‪#‎family‬ challenged. (Tweet This)

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

Click “Comments.”

Catherine West: Right Where I Dwell


Everyone’s Story welcomes back Catherine West an author who first appeared here when her novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, debuted. And here’s Catherine now, with another novel making its appearance from a considerably larger publishing house–congratulations, Catherine! The Things We Knew launches on July 12th–this coming Tuesday–and with the story taking place on Nantucket, this is the perfect time to join what I’m sure will be many fans of this novel. Reach for your glass of iced tea or lemonade and give Catherine a big hello. Please check out Catherine’s generous BookGiveaway offer of The Things We Knew, and Catherine’s invitation to her FaceBook party. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you.





Catherine is offering 1 print copy of The Things We Knew,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 15th 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.


Check out Catherine’s previous Everyone’s Story visit when she was a debut author: Interview With Author Catherine West   Please excuse my beginner blogger’s formatting!


How To Offer Hope To A Broken World by Catherine West

You have a choice. You can stay in this place of despair and despondency, waiting for things that may never happen . . . or you can move on.

Find another place to dwell. 

If you’ve had that revelation, you know it’s life changing. You never forget that moment, the way you stood up, shaky on legs unused to standing firm. You never forget the way it felt when you tipped your chin just so, raised your eyes and faced down that fear. And took that first step, when you thought you might stumble, but instead you had hands to hold and arms to get all wrapped up in, and words were whispered through the tears . . . and then . . . and then the laughter came.

When you’ve been there so long, in that place of despondency, listened to the same lies over and over, even bought into them when you swore you wouldn’t, it’s hard to believe things can change. But they can.

You just have to move.

So often in victory, once we’ve climbed the mountain, we do forget. We forget what it felt like back there, in that hard place, and we don’t think about what we left behind. We don’t want to think about the ones who may still be struggling.


Remember that feeling of inadequacy? Feeling like no matter what you do, what you say, how you dress, what gifts you give, it is never enough. That you . . . you . . . will never be enough. It’s an ache like damp cold that seeps in and stays and you know you need to shake it off but you’ve tried time and again and today . . . you’re tired. Today you can’t. Just. Can’t. They just can’t.

Let them know they’re not alone.

There’s a broken world out there, so desperate for something new and life giving, and they’re looking at us . . . and we are failing.

Why? Because we’ve forgotten. We’ve forgotten that moment we made the choice to change our lives and move. Forgotten that we were once in that place with no way out, desperate to escape cloying darkness determined to snuff out all our light.

And now that we’re here, rescued and rested and ready for this new thing . . . warm and safe and secure . . . we don’t want to look back.

Sometimes it hurts to remember the reality of being vulnerable and wounded and scared. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that even now, we’re still not perfect. We don’t have it all together. Some days we’re still just faking it.

So what if we just get real? Because nobody wants your fake perfect. They just want your love.

Brokenness is not contagious. But it can kill a spirit. 

Self-righteousness slices deep and wounds so dangerously.

And judgment? Bleeds life right out of a person. 

I wonder if we can do better?  In all our moving on and moving up and moving out I wonder if there is room for more in the place we now dwell.

More love. More laughter. More life.

Because we don’t have to have it all together.

You can take my vulnerable and my honest and my blunt and wrap it all up pretty if you want, but it still comes from that same hard place. That place I left behind not so long ago. The place that marked me and left a few scars and some not so pretty stories to tell. And I’m okay with that. You want to know me? Really know me? Get ready for real. That’s all I’ve got.

But you are welcome to walk alongside and listen. Maybe together we can embrace the here and now, the saving grace, love and mercy. And maybe, with a deep breath and a whole lot of courage, maybe I can just put my arms out and help somebody else.

Right where I dwell.

And maybe you can too.



Celebrate with Catherine…

Join Catherine July 14th as she celebrates the release of  The Things We Knew at a FaceBook Party. There will be fun chatter, book conversation, special guests, and Giveaways: Event Page.



Catherine’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Catherine West @CathWest: How To Offer Hope To A Broken World. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of The Things We Knew by Catherine West @CathWest. (Tweet This)

Catherine West @CathWest: Can you give to others when you don’t have it all together? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award. Her latest novel, The Things We Knew, releases July 12th, 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

Places to connect with Catherine:











Check what reviewers are saying:



Tweet This for Always With You:

Always With You by Elaine Stock: a story of ‪#‎love‬, ‪#‎faith‬, & ‪#‎family‬ challenged. (Tweet This)


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

Click “Comments.”


Derinda Babcock: When Destiny Finds You


Everyone’s Story welcomes fellow Elk Lake Publishing author Derinda Babcock. Derinda’s intriguing book covers, as well as the questions she asks her readers (what is your destiny and have you ever tried running from it?) lured me into asking Derinda if she’d like to make a guest appearance. I’m glad she accepted! This week Derinda poses the question of what to do when your plans don’t exactly match the Planner’s plans for us.  Please check out Derinda’s  BookGiveaway offer of In Search of Destiny, Book 2 of the Destiny Trilogy. Both Derinda and I look forward to hearing from you.

Plus, a little self-promo: I’d be pleased if you check out the video of my novel Always With You below Derinda’s feature. Thanks




Derinda is offering 1 print copy of In Search Of Destiny,  to 1 randomly chosen US only commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, July 8th between 5-6 PM EST.

A quick blurb of In Search of Destiny: Lexie Logan didn’t realize how much influence she had, yet the people she left behind made life-changing choices based on her knowledge of the future.

** 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 quick blurb of Dodging Destiny:

Lexie Logan flees the command of God and, like the Prophet Jonah, faces a life-storm of epic proportions.


When Ducks Don’t Cooperate by Derinda Babcock

Take a little road trip with me through my life. Sometimes the road has been smooth and the drive pleasant, but often, I’ve hit bumps and potholes or smashed into frustrating roadblocks. Surprisingly, I’m still running into obstacles as I travel “over the hill.” You’d think by now I would’ve learned to avoid them, right?

Oscar Wilde said, “The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.” I suspect he’s right. I’m the eldest of four siblings, and we grew up in a little oil-patch town. We didn’t have much money, but I never noticed the lack because we had so many other things to do. I was a good tree-climber, but the strong belief I had in my own abilities led to one of my first important lessons.

The setting:

A hot summer day in 1967.

No air conditioning, only a screen door.

A large cottonwood tree in the yard I’d climbed thousands of times.

The characters:

Me ― age ten, Dad ― early thirties. Dad’s ex-military.


Increase the excitement in my life by dropping ice cubes down Dad’s back.

Run out the front screen door.

Climb into the tree and taunt him from my perch.

What do you think I learned?


How could someone as old as Dad move so fast? He climbed that tree as well as I did, hauled me out of it, and turned a hose full of cold water down the back of my shirt.

Soon, I came to a major crossroad. I met Jesus Christ and my decision to follow Him changed the direction of my life forever. He has impacted my thoughts, the lens I use to view life, and the focus of my stories. I’ve never been sorry I chose this path.

I married on my nineteenth birthday. My husband brought a three-year-old into the marriage, and together, we had two more daughters. Wow, ― bump, smash, crash!

When my youngest daughter was five, the Lord impressed upon me His will: get a teaching degree and teach in the public schools. Major obstacle! I resisted His urging with all my might. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be an interior designer, an architect, or a commercial artist. My own children were hard enough to deal with, so why would I put myself in the position of working with someone else’s kids? Crazy, huh? Finally, grudgingly, I surrendered, “Okay,” I told the Lord, “If You want me to go back to school, You’re going to have to provide the money, because I don’t have any.”

His answer?

– tuition, fees, and books covered by scholarships

– a living stipend sufficient to put gas in the car for the two years it took me to finish my B.A.

I wanted my students to learn self-control, self-discipline, and good work ethics, so I had to be a model. A few times during my career, when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., I’d groan and beg my husband, “Please don’t make me get up this morning,” or I’d bow my head at my teacher’s desk and pray, “God, how am I going to get through the rest of the afternoon, much less the school year?

Ever had days like this?

I tootled up to another crossroad. Decision time. Do I write lesson plans for another ten years, or do I write novels? Should I write for a general audience, or for the Christian market? Since I’d signed with a literary agent the first choice was easy. The second, a little more difficult, but I chose to write novels that would encourage Christian readers in their daily walk.

When I made a total career change, I knew I’d have to get my ducks in a row. I traded in students, their parents, other teachers, administrators, and the critical public for beta readers, critique groups, a literary agent, editors, cover designers, publishers, and critical readers.

However, ducks don’t always cooperate and stay in an orderly line, so the question is, how do I handle the situation? Pout? Get frustrated? Quit? Or do I continue to learn and grow even when the experience is painful?

After editing a manuscript for what feels like the hundredth time, I’ve thought of throwing a tantrum and quitting, but I usually take a day or two off, take a deep breath, and start again. The effort’s worth it. The end results are stories that entertain and inspire readers.

Derinda’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Like #HistoricalInspiration? Meet @DerindaBabcock, author of the Destiny Trilogy. (Tweet This)

@DerindaBabcock asks: What do you do when your ducks won’t line up tidy in a row? (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of @DerindaBabcock’s In Search of Destiny. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

For almost 25 years, DERINDA BABCOCK was an English Language Acquisition teacher. During this time, she worked with students of all ages and many different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The richness of this experience lends flavor to the stories she writes. She enjoys historical research and crafting stories that entertain, encourage, and inspire. She writes from a Christian worldview. Since her retirement, she continues to tutor students in reading, though she divides much of her time between earning an A.A.S. degree in Digital Media Arts and Design and researching for her historical novels. She is married, and lives on a ranch in Southwestern Colorado.

Places to connect with Derinda:





Amazon for Dodging Destiny

Amazon for In Search of Destiny



I’ll be appearing on Southern Writers Magazine’s Suite T

on Monday July4th

Suite T

Check it out here.


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

Click “Comments.”

Sara Goff: How To Soar!


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


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.


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:






Starting today on my Facebook Author Page


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

JO PK b2 copy (2)

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


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.


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:






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


Like family drama fused with psychological suspense?






Amazon   Barnes&Noble


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

Click “Comments.”