Kate Breslin Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes back award winning Christian fiction author Kate Breslin. Although Kate and I have the same literary agent and we’ve been in touch in all things cyber-world, it wasn’t until the 2016 ACFW conference in Nashville that I had the distinct pleasure to meet the sweet and most kind Kate. I’m very excited that she’s back with us this week to share her thoughts, tell us about her newest release High as the Heavens (don’t you just love that title!!!), and offer a BookGiveaway of that very novel.  We’re both looking forward to hearing from you! And, Kate, thank you very much for your warm congratulations on Always With You receiving the 2017 Book of the Year.

**Please check out the podcast link below Kate’s feature where I’m the awesome Denise Walker’s guest and share about how I came to have hope in Christ.

 

High As The Heavens - web size

 

BookGiveaway:

Kate is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 print copy of High as the Heavens, US residents only. The winner will be announced here on Friday, June 2nd between 6-7 PM EST.

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

 

 

Back copy for High As The Heavens:

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve’s most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she’s en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Reviews:

“What a thrill ride! Breslin’s latest has non-stop action and intrigue set in the fascinating time period of World War I. The characters are detailed and realistic, reflecting emotions that speak to a broad audience in any era. The storyline is intricately plotted and filled with incredible detail that will keep readers engaged and desperate to know what will happen. The romance is tender and the historical events are captivating, making this a book that is not to be missed.” RT Book Reviews TOP PICK!

 

What A Promise Can Offer by Kate Breslin

Elaine, I am delighted to be back as a guest on your blog. I’d also like to extend my congratulations on Always With You winning the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Book of The Year!

In choosing my subject for today, I revisited my 2015 article for Everyone’s Story, on the marvelous ways God works in our lives through the books we read and as authors creating story. I’d like to expand on that thread here with my newest release, High As The Heavens.

Let me begin by saying that with each new novel, my story’s spiritual theme comes to me at different times; in my debut, the theme was pre-established in writing a parallel to the Biblical Book of Esther. My second novel’s theme of misjudging others developed as I wrote the story. With High As The Heavens, I’d written half of my outline before I felt called to write about forgiveness; in particular, about forgiving ourselves. In my newest novel, the story takes place in German-occupied Brussels during the first world war. My heroine, Evelyn Marche, is a nurse by day, a waitress by night, and a secret agent for the Allies. Forced to live among the enemy, she faces constant danger, yet Eve is as clever as she is daring and thwarts the Germans at every turn while working to save her mother’s Belgian people.

Eve is also a woman haunted by the past. The weight of her guilt makes her reckless, and keeps her living in the shadow of death. Her transgressions are like ghosts, stealing her peace of mind and sabotaging her most intimate relationship, with the man she loves. And while on a conscious level she understands God’s mercy, her heart can’t move beyond past self-recriminations to grasp the hope that will open the door to her future.

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As I write my characters, I try to identify with the lessons they learn throughout the story. In Eve’s case, I can certainly relate to her on a smaller scale. Being a busy author with deadlines that can take priority over family, friends, and community, I am often plagued with a nagging sense of guilt and inadequacy, in not being organized enough, or attentive enough, or having enough hours in a day. I think many of us with hectic schedules experience these feelings at one time or another. For some, like Eve, the guilt or sense of hopelessness goes deeper, when those serious “ghosts” from the past rear their ugly heads and make us hurt, or impede the progress we’re trying to make.

So, how to tackle such a problem? I realized in myself that it’s often my own pride at the root of my guilt feelings, as I tend to hold myself to a higher degree of accountability than those around me. It’s like saying God’s mercy doesn’t apply to me, which is certainly an affront to Him. I suspect too, it’s that same pride that wants to cling to my anger just a little longer before I forgive someone else. So humility of heart, at least for me, is a good place to start the healing process.

But what about Eve? How does she cope with what seems like insurmountable baggage? It starts as she begins to look outward, and realizes the presence of God in the Christ-like love and compassion of others. She begins to see that His mercy was always there for her, waiting; she had only to hand over her complete trust, and embrace what He offers her freely.

Yet this isn’t an overnight process for her. It takes prayer, and rebuilding her relationship with God to set Eve onto the path toward healing. She must come to wholly believe that His absolution is complete and final.

Our Lord speaks to us in this passage from Jeremiah 31:34,

“‘…Because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest…For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’”

Such beautifully consoling words, and for Eve, for all of us—the promise that we can leave the past behind and place our hope in God’s love.

Kate’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

How do spiritual themes come to award-winning author @Kate_Breslin? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

@Kate_Breslin Speaks Up on Everyone’s Story: What a Promise Can Offer (Tweet This)

Win @Kate_Breslin’s newest release: High as the Heavens on Everyone’s Story #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing’s 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, won the 2015 Carol award for Debut Novel. Kate’s third novel, High As The Heavens releases June 6, 2017. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington’s beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas.

Places to connect with Kate:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Kate and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

I’d be honored if you’d take a few minutes

to listen to the Hope-in-Christ podcast that I’m featured in:

 

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Janell Butler Wojtowicz Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes Christian fiction author Janell Butler Wojtowicz. While Janell is no stranger to writing, she makes her debut in fiction with her release of Embracing Hope. I’m thankful Janell is with us this week and I’m sure you’ll be too. I believe you will be moved when you read her feature on encouragement, as I was. Please check out Janell’s novel excerpt and her BookGiveaway. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Janell is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 ebook edition of Embracing Hope. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 26th between 6-7 PM EST.

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

 

 

 Excerpt from Embracing Hope:

 Embracing Hope by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

When Drew got back to his condo after breakfast with Mitch, he took recycling bins from the garage and headed straight for his office. He pulled open the top drawer of the filing cabinet, labeled “Dissertation,” removed all the folders and tossed everything in a bin with a satisfying thump. He turned on the TV for company and for the next several hours sorted through files and books, occasionally reading, mostly shredding. Taking the framed photo from the bookshelf, he wrapped the UConn afghan around it and placed it carefully in his briefcase. Sitting down at the computer, he composed a new email.

 

Dr. Cavanaugh,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as Dean of Students at Riley University. Riley is an outstanding university devoted to its students and committed to serving God. It’s been a privilege to work here.

        

However, it is in the best interests of the university and its students that I resign the position of Dean of Students, effective immediately. I will contact Human Resources upon your acceptance of my resignation to complete the necessary exit procedures.

        

Blessings,

Andrew McKinley

 

Without hesitation, Drew hit “Send.”

 

He looked up a phone number on his contact list. “Ed, this is Drew McKinley. Could you give me a call as soon as you can? I need to put the condo up for sale.”

 

Next he went online and checked flights to Hartford. He frowned at the airfare, but booked a one-way ticket for eleven the next morning. He perused the online career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education and made notes.

 

Going into his bedroom, Drew hauled out a suitcase from the back of the closet and laid it on the unmade bed. He pulled out clothes from the bureau, placed them in the suitcase and stuffed a couple of suits in a garment bag. The bottle of pills on the bed stand caught his eye. He poured out two, then two more, and swallowed all four without water. Closing and moving the suitcase to the floor, he lay on the crumpled linens. He glanced at the clock: 2:38. Closing his eyes, he let the memories—bittersweet as they were—engulf him.

 

He saw his preschool teacher leading him to his little desk as his mother lingered in the doorway.

 

He saw himself as an eight-year-old on his knees next to the bed asking Jesus into his heart.

 

He saw his mother taking a picture of him in his high school cap and gown.

 

He saw Kendra grinning across the table in the student union, a dollop of whipped cream from the latte on her nose.

 

He saw her floating down the aisle on her father’s arm.

 

He saw Tony behind his desk, interviewing him on a sunny, spring day.

 

He saw him and Kendra kissing in the gazebo during orientation.

 

He saw the white casket being put inside the white hearse.

 

He saw Allison at the Christmas party in the sparkly green dress.

 

He saw her with Eliza nestled in her arms.

 

He saw the red car with the bashed-in rear fender in the ramp.

 

The shrill squeal of the phone sliced through his ears, a crack of thunder shook his bed, and Drew bolted upright in the darkened room. The red numbers of the clock glowed 9:12. He leaped out of bed, but when he stood his legs buckled, and he fell over the suitcase onto the floor. The phone screamed at him again. Like a flood, the dream from the bus rushed back: the storm … the ramp … the exit sign … footsteps … Allison!

 

 

 

Encouragement by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing1 Thess. 5:11

Everyone agrees that no matter our calling—writer, computer programmer, teacher, business mogul—we need a mentor. I’ve had wonderful mentors throughout my life who guided my professional development.

But we need a cheerleader, too; someone on the sidelines waving the pompons of motivation and perseverance that spur us onto success. A decade ago my cheerleader, Dale, emerged when I embarked on the arduous trek to publish what became Embracing Hope.

I met Dale in our college’s communication program in 1979. (Whoops, I just dated myself!) His academic emphasis was graphic design; mine was journalism. We shared classes and struck up a friendship. After graduation, Dale and I went our separate ways out of state, married our spouses and had families. A decade later we ended up working together in the PR department of our alma mater. A new deeper friendship developed and even after we left our jobs at the college, we kept in touch through calls, emails, Homecomings, and occasional workday lunches.

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Dale encouraged people wherever he met, whether me in my writing, co-workers, or people in his church who took part in drama productions that he directed. His gift of encouragement was his spiritual DNA. It came naturally and genuinely.

I began working on Embracing Hope in 2007, and Dale quickly became an ardent cheerleader. He was the first to read my pathetic attempts. He was purposeful in his encouragement, but not pushy. As bad as my early work was, he never said anything negative and never shot down my efforts. Sure, we discussed troublesome issues, but his suggestions were always accompanied by affirmations.

Dale would send me online articles, websites of potential agents and publishers, and inspirational pieces. In addition to our writing (he liked poetry and writing book reviews), we’d discuss pitching the novel, the uproar of traditional publishing in light of what I call the “Amazon Effect”, self-publishing, and marketing.

Over the years, as I labored over the novel and its sequels, Dale kept track of my progress (or lack thereof). He’d ask if I was working on the novel. I’d send him chapters to prove I was. When the novel sat—at one point it was on the shelf for over a year—he insisted that one day I’d be published and he vowed to be my first reviewer. Good, I thought. I’d get at least one 5-Star rating.

In early 2015, he sent me a database of small publishers that included those accepting manuscript submissions. I’d look through the email notifications that came from the database, but there were very few. Hang in there, he said, he’d keep praying.

On June 11, 2015, Dale suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack. He was 55. It hit me hard. I had lost one of my closest friends—the first in my circle. I questioned God’s purposes: Dale was too young, had too much potential, was a dynamic Christian, and had a loving family who needed him, including his only daughter getting married three months later.

Selfishly, I realized I had lost my cheerleader. Who would encourage me now?

Well, Dale did from the heavenly realms! In early 2016, it was as if he whispered, “Janell, it’s time.”

OK, Dale, I’ll try again for you. A few days later a database email came listing three potential small presses. One quickly offered me a contract and I signed knowing Dale would be thrilled. When the publisher closed its doors five months later, I wondered why God had taken me down this seemingly dead end path. Instead, God’s path took a turn via LinkedIn and my book was published by Discern Products in November 2016. Naturally, I dedicated Embracing Hope to Dale, who both on earth and now in heaven, cheered me on.

It was divine timing that I wrote this blog on May 3, Dale’s birthday. Thanks, Buddy. We did it!

We can all be cheerleaders in some way. I’m intent to “pay it forward” and hope to become the encourager that Dale was. How about you?

Janell’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet #ChristFic debut author Janell Butler Wojtowicz @janellwoj, writer of “people stories.” (Tweet This)

Author Janell Butler Wojtowicz @janellwoj speaks up: Encourage and build each other up! (Tweet This)

Like #ChristFic #Romance? #BookGiveaway of Janell Butler Wojtowicz’s @janellwoj Embracing Hope. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including newspaper journalism, Christian higher education and nonprofit public relations, and local government public information. Much of her writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, Embracing Hope. Janell is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law and three step-granddaughters.

Places to connect with Janell:

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

Janell and I look forward to your comments.

 

Kathy Collard Miller Speaks Up!

KathyMiller

Everyone’s Story welcomes fellow Elk Lake Publishing author Kathy Collard Miller. Kathy writes on Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. A popular speaker as well, often speaking with her husband, she shares her story of how God interceded in her life to end her being a child abuser.  Do check out Kathy’s BookGiveaway. We’re both looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Whispers of My Heart

 

BookGiveaway:

Kathy is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 copy of the women’s Bible study of Whispers of the Heart. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 19th between 6-7 PM EST.

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

 

 

 

Book Excerpt of Out of Control, A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller:

 

 Out of Control:

A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse

A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

 

 

Chapter 1

Anger Controlled Me

 

Two-year-old, blonde-headed Darcy splashed in the bathtub amid suds and toys.

“Time to wash your hair,” I announced.

“No, no, Mommy. No wash hair. Please.”

“Oh yes. It’s all sticky. It’ll feel good to get it nice and clean,” I coaxed.

Sandy broke into tears as I rubbed the shampoo into her hair. Suddenly she yelled, “It’s in my eyes. It hurts! It hurts!”

“Oh, it is not.” Annoyance began a slow burn within me. Here she goes again! She does this every single time. I just hate it! “There’re no suds near your eyes. Besides, it’s baby shampoo—it doesn’t sting.”

She screamed louder. Without warning, I was engulfed with exhaustion. The pressures that had been mounting throughout the day overwhelmed me and I felt weak. The room seemed to close in on me. The dampness and heat made my clothes stick to my skin. Pushing limp hair away from my forehead and gritting my teeth, I hissed back, “Sandy, there’s no shampoo in your eyes! Now hold still or you’re in big trouble! Hold still, I said!”

Shrieking, she clawed at her eyes. I turned on the faucet and jerked her to it, pushing her whole head under the running water. Soap flowed down over her face into the tub. She sputtered and coughed, but I didn’t care. She was going to get clean whether she liked it or not.

I hurriedly turned off the water. Grabbing her arm, I yanked her out of the tub. Sandy stood shivering and crying. I screamed at her again and again. “The next time you’ll hold still when I tell you. We’ll do it the way I say and that’s that.”

I felt like an erupting volcano of hate. Anger and frustration boiled inside me like hot lava. At that moment I felt like I wanted to kill her.

Spanking her with my hand found an outlet for my tension and exhaustion. But spanking became uncontrolled beating, until Sandy’s hysterical shrieking brought me back to reason. I carried her into her room and dropped her onto the bed. Slamming the door behind me, I bolted down the hall sobbing.

“Oh, Lord Jesus,” I gasped. “I hurt Darcy again. I keep saying I won’t do it anymore, but I can’t control my anger. What’s wrong with me?”

I knelt beside my bed and cried for a long time. Sandy’s muffled cries reached me, suffocating me in a blanket of guilt.

My thoughts hurled through my mind like hailstones in a storm. I’ve been a Christian for ten years; how can I be so angry? I lead a Bible study and other people think I’m a strong Christian; how can I be acting like this?

I wanted to scream, “Help me! Help me!” but I was ashamed and frightened. What if they take my kids away from me? What if everyone knows I abuse my child?

“I’m not a child abuser!” I whispered. “Or am I? I’m still hurting her,” I cried out. “I’m abusing my own child. Oh, God, no!” The word abusing echoed through my mind like a boulder thudding down a canyon wall—strong and final. There was no hope. I had prayed; I had cried; I had begged for deliverance. If only Larry didn’t have to work at night, he could relieve some of the pressure. But I can’t tell him what’s going on. He’s a cop! He arrests people for what I’m doing. Will he arrest me?

How long can I continue like this without seriously injuring Darcy or baby Mark? Darcy’s frightened face flashed before me, wrenching my heart like a tree being uprooted by the wind. I don’t want to hurt them. I love them. I want to be the best mother in the world. But I’m so far from that.

“Oh, Father,” I whimpered. “Help me! You’ve got to. I can’t help myself.”

I turned my attention to Sandy and couldn’t hear her crying anymore. Walking quietly to her room, I opened the door and peeked in. Her naked body was huddled by the pillow. She saw me and started crying again. Pushing aside my shame, I pulled her pajamas out of her drawer and started to dress her. Her body grew tense at my touch.

“Don’t be afraid, Sandy,” I murmured, trying to push back tears that begged to cascade my cheeks from the back of my eyes. “I’m not mad at you anymore. Mommy was wrong to hurt you. I’m sorry. I wish I could promise you I’m never going to get angry with you again. but I can’t. Oh, how I wish I could.” My tears finally gushed out and then plopped onto the sheets beside her. I gently tucked her into bed and left the room.

As I put on my nightgown, I wondered, God, do you care? Have you deserted me?

Of course not, Kathy, I chided myself. You know better than that. God is always there.

Then where is the help I need? I wanted to shout. But I pushed the doubt out of my mind as I cried myself to sleep.

 

The Journey to My First Book by Kathy Collard Miller

I have no idea when I first sensed a desire to be a writer but in junior high I tried to write a novel called “That Boy Rik.” I most likely finished two chapters, if that. But the pot was still there simmering even though I didn’t know what a writer actually was.

Then in high school, I signed up for the journalism class and met Mr. Johnson, who was in charge of the newspaper and yearbook. He was gruff and “old,” and he had been a newspaper reporter in the “olden” days. He insisted on good writing. I became editor of the newspaper and wrote a weekly column. He critiqued me and I learned about deadlines and tight writing.

In college, I started out choosing an English major and switched to physical therapy. In my junior year, I married Larry and switched from part time to full time to put my new husband through college. Life went along and by the time we had been married seven years, we were parents of a toddler daughter and infant son, my life was falling apart. My Prince Charming Larry’s armor was filled with rusty holes even though he had led me to the Lord when we were dating. My expectations of getting him to the altar so that I could alter him were failing miserably and I was furious. I took out my anger on our daughter to the point I physically abused her. I almost took my life in my hopelessness.

In time, through much healing, God, my true Prince Charming, delivered me from my anger and also healed our marriage.

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One day, Larry saw in the newspaper that a writing course was being offered at the local community center. Although I journaled every day, thoughts of being a writer were something off in the stratosphere, completely unknown and unreachable. When he suggested I attend, I was surprised but agreed.

At the class, I learned about a strange thing called a query letter. I understood its purpose and wondered if God wanted me to share my story of His work in me and our family. I only subscribed to Moody Monthly Magazine and being unaware of other Christian magazines, I sent off a letter to the editor using the format I’d learned for a query letter. That was 1977 and when a return letter arrived, the editor said they had accepted an article talking about the facts of child abuse. Since I suggested telling my story, they were willing to review my article with the contingency of something called “on speculation.”

I wrote the article and for the byline, used “Anonymous.” I didn’t want anyone to know of my sinful and shameful behavior, but I did want to give God glory for His work. I hadn’t told anyone of what had happened. When I opened the letter, which arrived from the editor with an acceptance letter and a check for $100, I was shocked. Did this mean I was a wrier? Maybe so. Wouldn’t Mr. Johnson be surprised and thrilled?

Within a short time I learned of a Christian writers conference at a conference center only a few hours away. I attended and met a woman named Carolyn Philipps. She only lived twenty miles away and began mentoring me. I wrote articles, which were published but I really wanted to write a book. As I returned again and again to the same writers conference, I was frustrated that my idea for telling my story in a book wasn’t of interest. One time I walked the grounds of the conference center crying, begging God to open the door. Within another year, Word Publishing accepted my book and I was on my way. That book, Out of Control: A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse was published in 1984.

Since then, the Lord has continued opening doors for over 50 books and about a thousand articles, blog posts, guest posts, and contributing to other author’s books. I’m absolutely amazed of what God has done. Truly, to Him belongs the glory for a plan I never could have imagined or created.

Kathy’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

@KathyCMiller Speaks Up on her journey to her first book and unexpected detours. (Tweet This)

@KathyCMiller asks herself: Could she be both a Christian and an abuser? (Tweet This)

Check out author @KathyCMiller’s #BookGiveaway of the Bible study Whispers of My Heart. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kathy Collard Miller is a wife, mother of two, grandmother of two, author, speaker, and lay counselor. She and her husband of 46 years are also co-authors of several books and often speak together on marriage. Kathy has spoken in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries.

Places to connect with Kathy:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

Kathy and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

I’ll be appearing on Kathleen Rouser’s Let’s Chat Blog

Monday, May 15th, Click Here

 

Susan Sleeman Speaks Up!

Susan Sleeman

Everyone’s Story welcomes romantic suspense author Susan Sleeman. Having seen Susan’s name around the web when it comes to hit reads, I was delighted to accept her invitation for an interview on her amazing blog, The Suspense Zone (see link below Susan’s feature). Now it’s my turn to host her and I’m exited that she’s with us this week. Susan speaks up on what we believe may be silence at first. And please check out her exciting  Giveaway offer on her about-to-be next release! We’re both looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Susan is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 print edition of Fatal Mistake. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 12th between 6-7 PM EST.

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

 

 

 

When Silence Isn’t Necessarily Silence by Susan Sleeman

 

Silence. A wonderful thing. At times, that is. When you’re trying to concentrate or you’re stressed out and need peace, you’ve likely basked in the quiet like a kitty in a ray of sunshine. But what about the times when you have prayed to God seeking His help with something important and there is no answer? What do you do then? Do you take matters into your own hands? Move forward or do you wait?

I’ve struggled with this issue in my life. I’m a type A person who likes to get things done and crossed off my To Do list. So when something I’m praying about isn’t clear, and the item sits on the list it’s almost as if it’s taunting me to act. At times I’ve caved in and acted only to find out I should have waited. Other times I wait and it still doesn’t turn out the way I think it should and so I wonder if God has actually weighed in.

So what should you do when you think God isn’t listening? My advice is to keep on praying, keep on talking to him, and don’t give up. His silence doesn’t mean he’s inactive. Stay in his word to seek answers. Look beyond what you see to what God sees. When we are in the valley, which is often the case when we are in need, we can’t see from the mountaintop like God can. He can see clearly because He doesn’t live in the valley.

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So trust that He will show you His will. After all, He doesn’t say I have a plan for you, but I won’t tell you what it is and you have to figure it out. No, in Jeremiah, He promises – For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Trust in this promise.

Because I have struggled with this area in my life, I chose it as the spiritual theme for my White Knight’s series. In these fast-paced romantic suspense books, you can see characters deal with God’s silence and how they come out the other side. In book one, Fatal Mistake, both Cal and Tara think God has been silent in their life. They question where He is in times of trouble. Though they want to call out to Him, their experience says they can’t trust Him to be there. So they go through deep agony that most people experience in times of trouble. And, boy, do they go through trouble as you can see the book’s description.

Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan–to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months–to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

If you’d like to read more about the book you can download a FREE excerpt on my website.

Susan’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Visit with bestselling #suspense author @SusanSleeman who shares what she struggles with. (Tweet This)

@SusanSleeman speaks up: When Silence Isn’t Necessarily Silence. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like #Inspirational #CleanRead #RomanticSuspense books? @SusanSleeman offers #BookGiveaway of Fatal Mistake. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Susan Sleeman is a bestselling and award-winning author of more than 25 inspirational/Christian and clean read romantic suspense books. Readers love her romantic suspense series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts thesuspensezone.com. She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

Places to connect with Susan:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

The Suspense Zone

Pinterest

Instagram

Goodreads

Bookbub

Amazon 

 

Susan and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

To read my interview by Susan Sleeman on 

The Suspense Zone click HERE

 

 

Diana Brandmeyer Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes a long-time friendthe wonderful Diana Brandmeyer. To give you an idea exactly how long is long: the two of us met at an RWA conference at a Faith, Hope and Love chapter meeting and when I had trouble remembering her name she suggested that I think about (the then alive) Princess Diana. Never had trouble with Diana’s name since. It’s been years of sharing, praying, and helping each other and I’m very pleased that Diana is back on my blog. Diana speaks up on the seasons we go through in life. Do check out Diana’s Giveaway! We’re both looking forward to hearing from you!

Plus, click here for Diana’s Free promotion of The Honey Bride only on Friday, April 28th and Saturday, April 29th!!

News: And although I think I might have told the world already about my exciting news (well, at least for me!) check out my update below Diana’s feature.

 

MatchmakerBrides

BookGiveaway:

Diana is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 copy of The Matchmaker Brides Collection, in which her story, The Home Grown Bride, appears. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 5th between 6-7 PM EST.

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

 

 

Seasons by Diana Brandmeyer

 

Seasons—I’m in one, how about you?

I thought by now I’d have life under control. My control that is, not God’s. See that’s where I made my mistake. It was easy to do after all, God’s pretty busy and He created me as a capable creature to make my own goals, production calendars and even set my own hours.

And that’s what I did.

I should have asked.

I should have listened.

I should have been still.

Are you like me in any way? Busy and over-booked?

I did my thing as a stay-at-home mom and 80% of the time I loved it. I wrote when my sons were in school or while they were at one activity or another. As soon as they were all out of the house, my career plan emerged. I’d write every day, have a clean house and always have a stocked pantry and fridge. I’d be available to family and friends for fun, or anytime they needed me.

And gasp! I’d never miss a workout. Oh my, did you see what I forgot to put on my plan?

God.

Yep, left Him out, well not completely out. I knew/know He is there whenever I call, He’s watching out for me even when I’m blind to His presence. But I ran on ahead without checking in as much as I need to. And I don’t think He liked the distance between us so He let me run, wobble, and crash.

Be Still

I didn’t take care of myself and ended up with adrenal fatigue. You can google it. It left me with is total exhaustion unable to put two words together. Then one grandchild arrived, then another, and their mom needed help. Who doesn’t love babies? Soon I was watching over them and trying to do career building things, like blogs, social media, and book signings.

Why was this a big deal? Doesn’t everyone who has a job do things that are similar or have to do to get ahead? Probably, but I’m not everyone, and neither are you. You are God’s child as I am. If you saw your own children—even furry ones over working themselves you’d tell them to be still, take care of yourself and check in with your mom/dad because they care.

So I’m in a season of checking in with God, and I’m praying I don’t run off on my own again. He is teaching me that I’m not the answer to everyone else’s difficulties. He is teaching me to step away while allowing me to keep watch out for what is truly needed. Do I need to watch children today or is it something I want to do?

If I watch them, will it bring me stress about the work I have left to do or joy?

Do I need to write 10 blog posts this week?

Or can I take a break and post one?

Is a 20-minute stretching time better for me than a hard 45-minute workout?

I’m learning to cut out, pare down and eliminate that which does not bring me joy, health, energy and most important time with God.

I’m learning to be still and see the gifts He gives me every day. I’ve even started writing them down.

How about you? Are you in a season of not listening? What path you like to let God lead you on?

 

Diana’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @DianaBrandmeyer Speaks Up on Everyone’s Story: What season of life are you in? (Tweet This)

Best selling #Christian author @DianaBrandmeyer: Risks of being busy and over-booked. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Enjoy #ChristianFiction? Check out @DianaBrandmeyer’s #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

CBA and ECPA Best Selling, Christian author, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, writes historical and contemporary romances about women choosing to challenge their fears to become the strong woman God intends. Author of Mind of Her Own, From A Distance, A Time to Dance, We’re Not Blended-We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families and more. Sign up for her newsletter and get a free novella. All in Good Time the story about Sandra Anderson free!

Places to connect with Diana:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Goodreads

Diana and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

I am very grateful and Praise God to announce:

Book:Isa

Always With You is the Winner

of the 2017 Christian Small Publisher Association Book of the Year in the Fiction category.

Still at great prices: http://amzn.to/21uGtGF

 

 

Megan Whitson Lee Speaks Up!

Megan

Everyone’s Story welcomes a good friend and gripping author (I’ve endorsed her soon-to-be release of Suburban Dangers, June 1st). What I like about Megan’s stories are that they mirror true life and gets you thinking. This week Megan speaks up on why women are naturally attracted to the bad boy and what can be done to prevent life-long consequences. Check out Megan’s BookGiveaway of Captives and the blurb of Suburban Dangers. Megan and I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

Captives

BookGiveaway:

Megan is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter a choice of 1 print or ebook of Captives. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 28th between 6-7 PM EST.

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

Blurb of Captives:

                                Winner of the 2016 Blue Ridge Mountain Director’s Choice Award

Finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards for Women’s Contemporary Fiction

When seventeen-year-old Amy Timothy disappears from a rural Virginia truck stop, world-renowned cellist Blaise Timothy puts her life on hold to join the search for her sister. While conducting her own investigation into Amy’s disappearance, Blaise seeks solace in addictive and destructive relationships.

Three years later, the search for Amy becomes a homicide investigation and catches the attention of national media and sex trafficking activists. Less than a mile from where Amy’s body is recovered, Andrew Victor attempts to manage a failing career in art, an addiction to pornography, and a family secret that links him to the murder investigation. In Washington, DC, Asha Edgewater knows first-hand the horrors of sex slavery and lends support to the Timothy family even as she comes to terms with her own past. As all three lives intersect in their search for redemption and healing, they find it is only possible through God’s saving grace.

Much like Francine Rivers unveils the painful reality of prostitution in her historical novel Redeeming Love, Captives takes a look at the modern enslavement of sex trafficking, its links to pornography, and the possibility of real and lasting freedom.

 

Confessions of a Bad Boy Chaser by Megan Whitson Lee

 

Several of my novels include thematic material and storylines about women trapped in bad relationships.

As a young woman, I was consistently attracted to the wrong sort. You know the one I’m talking about. The dark, tattooed, leather-jacket-wearing rock star that your mother warned you about. The “bad boy.”

According to a recent number of articles I’ve read, this is not an unusual phenomenon. Women are by nature attracted to the man of mystery, the rebel, the macho guy with the rough edges. The caring, sensitive, sweet-natured man doesn’t stimulate the emotions like the Machiavellian brooder. Prince Charming is predictable. Dracula is not. Apparently, there is a physiological response that affects adrenaline and serotonin levels when women interact with bad boys. Never knowing if he will love or reject her tickles an area of the brain which spurs on the interest. As the attraction deepens, women delude themselves into thinking these men will be more exciting partners, better husbands, and sincere dads. So it’s nature, right? Science. Kind of like tectonic plates shifting.

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This is how the devil works. He often deceives us by telling us we need this. This man is the one who will make you happy and fulfill all your dreams. But you don’t want the godly, righteous one because you’ll be bored and won’t live the life you’ve envisioned for yourself. I believed that voice for a long time.

I had an image of the man I wanted: an amalgamation of Heathcliff, Hamlet, and Lord Byron—some of the darkest, most troubled, most tortured souls in literature. This quest sent me abroad to England, looking for this elusive man, and finally meeting one who fit the bill. Actually, Don Juan would have been a more accurate description. I thought this guy was it. He was everything I’d ever wanted—he was exotic, exciting, charming, good-looking, an entrepreneur … and an atheist. He told me outright that he had no interest in getting married for a long time. He only saw me when it was convenient for him and regularly flaunted other women in my face. In my twisted mind, I saw the fact that he had all these other women at his disposal as confirmation that he was worth fighting for. I was, after all, privileged to be one of these women. It took nearly three years, three flights back and forth to England, and a complete mental and spiritual breakdown to finally rid myself of that stronghold. All because I sought the darkness in a desperate attempt to secure acceptance and love. But then, God showed me that kind of love isn’t really love.

Scripture tells us, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” –John 3:19. The scientific studies are dead right. By nature, we crave that which is bad for us and seek evil because at our core, we are wicked and our desires are sinful. Humans do not naturally crave what is good and righteous because our hearts are so easily deceived.

Thankfully, we can be freed from these shackles. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”—1 Peter 2:24. God never intended for women to live under the bondage and emotional torture of the bad boy. Selfish and narcissistic personalities are the opposite of what the Lord wants for his daughters.

The woman at the well had most likely seen her fair share of bad boys. She’d had five husbands and currently cohabitated with a man. Any other man would have spit at her, called her names, or turned away in disgust, but Jesus didn’t. He respectfully conversed with her, treated her with dignity, and showed her mercy. Having been treated like a dog by wicked men, what a soothing balm Jesus must have been for her. His kindness and His brand of love must have been like a drink from the purest, cleanest water, quenching her soul. The only love that satisfies.

No matter how attractive, seductive, and exciting, the path of the bad boy leads to destruction. Perhaps it’s true that neurological impulses draw women (and men) toward the dark and mysterious, but in the end, bending to what comes naturally without listening to God leads to heartache and misery. We needn’t be a slave to nature. Jesus came to set the captives free.

Megan’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @MeganWhitsonLee speaks up: Confessions of a Bad Boy Chaser. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

See how @MeganWhitsonLee got free from a destructive life with a “bad boy.” (Tweet This)

Say hi to @MeganWhitsonLee, author of #inspy women’s contemporary and historical fiction. (Tweet This)

 

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Blurb for Suburban Dangers:

Sixteen-year-old Kaki Jones lives a normal life in suburbia. She makes good grades, runs on the cross-country team, and helps care for her younger brothers and sisters. Her younger brother, Brandon is the troubled child. He parties, fights at school, keeps photos of girls on his cell phone, and runs into trouble with the police.

But Kaki harbors a secret. After meeting cool girl Sydney Diaz, Kaki’s life is forever changed.  Now, she’s a sophomore by day and a commodity sold at the hands of gang members by night. Living a double life and controlled by threats of violence against her family, Kaki sees no chance of escape.

When parents look the other way and strangers offer more affection than a father, God’s deliverance is the only answer.

Available now for Pre-order.

Author’s Bio:

Megan Whitson Lee is a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, and an editor for Pelican Book Group. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director’s Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women’s contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Megan writes inspirational women’s contemporary and historical fiction that deals with loss and love, involving characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions, crises of faith, and moral dilemmas. Her novels depict characters confronted with real-life problems, address universal spiritual and moral struggles, and offer messages of hope, recovery, and redemption through God’s saving grace.

Places to connect with Megan:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Amazon link for Captives

 

Megan and I look forward to your comments.

 

Elaine Stock Speaks Up!

Me4.10.17

Everyone’s Story welcomes … uh, me, Elaine Stock. Though I’m grateful to be booked with guests into December, I want to take this time to share a few things about myself and my writing. I’ve asked a few people if they have any questions for me and I’m sharing those, along with a few Fast Takes. If anyone has additional questions I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments. Plus, check out the SUPER BookGiveaway a few other authors (thank you, my friends!) and I are offering this week. The drawing for the Giveaway winners will be on April 21st between 6-7 pm EST. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

BookGiveaway:

1 Lucky randomly chosen commenter will win from these authors:

TanyaMeme

 

Patricia Bradley  1 ebook copy of Silence in the Dark
AnnaLee Conti1 ebook copy of Till the Storm Passes By
Tanya Eavenson1 ebook of To Gain a Mommy
Jean C. Gordonchoice of 1 ebook or 1 print edition of Mending the Motocross Champion
Laura Hilton1 print edition of The Amish Wanderer
Christine Lindsay1 ebook of Finding Sarah Finding Me and 1 ebook of Sofi’s Bridge
Kathleen Rouser  1 ebook of Rumors and Promises
Elaine Stock1 ebook of Always With You

*******

Another randomly chosen commenter will win 1 ebook of:

SmallIsaJacket

*******

And 1 randomly chosen commenter who signs up for Elaine’s Mailing List (author newsletter, top right hand corner) will win an inspirational plaque with a Scripture quote.

 

 

Questions for Elaine:

Barbara asks: What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Looking back, I’m not really sure if there was one definite ah-hah moment. I grew up with a mother who read a lot and always took me to the library and an aunt who told my brother and I the most amazing stories she made up. Around sixth grade, I started watching a lot of Neil Simon films (yes, I’m dating myself) and became inspired to write the next best Broadway play/movie. Along the way I kept busy by unexpected Life speed bumps, but kept up my writing interests though tamped down the humor aspect. It wasn’t until my mother died when I was 26 did I start taking my writing desires seriously. She was a very creative woman but suffered from a severe mental illness. She never pursued her interests . . . she couldn’t. When she passed, I decided I didn’t want to follow in her footsteps in not seeing my dreams come true.

Melissa asks: How do you choose the settings and story lines for your books?

They choose me! I don’t think its coincidence at all when I hear of a news story or learn about someone or something that sets my mind off in the Great What If Search. This was particularly true for my novel Always With You, originally titled Don’t Tell Isabelle. Years ago I’d attended a writer’s workshop in Saratoga, NY during horse racing season. Attendees were assigned horses’ names and asked to develop a story premise. My horse was named Don’t-Tell-Isabelle. Immediately I wanted to know whom Isabelle was and what she wasn’t supposed to know. Then the tragedy of 9-11 occurred. I searched my mind and heart over how a human being can do harm to another. The story incubated and finally became my debut novel.

Kent asks: Do you write all the way through, then edit? Or do you write, go back and over editing, then repeat? Also, do you use an outline?

I’m allergic to outlining! Really. A major seat-of-the-pants writer, every time in the past I’ve attempted the outline it would kill the story. I prefer writing then the next day recharging my brain by looking back what I wrote the previous day then write fresh and repeat and repeat. Having learned the hard way not to fall in love with my writing, when the story is complete I do many rewrites. I also let other pairs of eyes look over my writing.

Barbara asks: How do you maintain the discipline to keep it up, week after week?

Writing is my happy place of escape, of voicing my thoughts without anyone telling me to be quiet, of creating the world I’d like to live in. I also believe writing is an addiction and I’m thankful there’s no cure for it!

Kay asks: Do you have stories/novels that you wrote at an earlier time and hope to someday revive/rewrite them?

Yes! And after much revision, two are now in my agent’s wonderful hands. However, I’ve also started another novel that is loosely based upon my family’s history . . . or should I say, the lack of known history.

Sharon asks: Do you incorporate your own personal quirks into your characters?

Many writers have said this and I’m not any different: it’s difficult not to fuse a little of myself into my characters, especially interests, desires, likes and dislikes. Just a little, though. And it depends on the character. Definitely not every character.

Also, as far as quirky, I seem to be showing up incognito as a minor character. LOL. So far, no one has guessed where I showed up in Always With You.

Kathy asks: What time of day do you write?

Presently, my writing time competes against the Day Job. Sigh. When my novel debuted last year, I did drop down to a 4-day workweek so I can write more and that has helped. I write whenever I can, but I’m a morning person and after five pm my mind just starts shutting down the creative juices, though if pushed, I can edit at night (because for me, editing is like solving a math problem or a puzzle—it’s fun—though a lot of work. A lot!!)

MyFuture

 

Fast Takes:

Birth place: Brooklyn, NY (though I’ve been asked if my accent is Boston or Asian)

Bucket list country to visit: Poland! My paternal heritage is from Poland, the place where my Work in Progress is partially based (it’s a time slip story)

Non-writing interests: reading, walking, cooking

Rock “n” roll or country: Neither. Give me Bach or Beethoven any day!

Cat or dog: Cats are God’s presents . . . but recently I met and fell I love with a Goldendoodle and have daydreamed about one day making it reality

Most recent editorial lesson learned: Question one’s question marks. Why do they appear in my writing so much? Will I ever learn? Isn’t it amazing how much stronger one’s characters are without having them always speak and think in questions?

Elaine’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Author @ElaineStock Speaks Up: On #writing, incognito appearances, and #Goldendoodles. Multi-author #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like #Inspirational #Clean Fiction? Check out the multi-author #BookGiveaway on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

#Writers: Are you allergic to outlining? See what author @ElaineStock says. Big #GiveawayFun (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has been nominated for the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and psychological suspense. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her popular six-year-old blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Places to connect with Elaine:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

To Follow on Amazon

 

I look forward to your comments.

 

Kelly Goshorn Speaks Up!

NewKelly

Everyone’s Story welcomes about-to-be debut author Kelly Goshorn. It’s always a pure joy to cheer along another author and I’m glad you’re joining us this week to encourage Kelly as she tries to encourage you. Kelly’s novel, A Love Restoredwill be out this year and Kelly shares with you the angst behind writing this novel. Also check out Kelly’s sweet Giveaway of an Amazon Gift card–one can never have enough books (or whatever you’d like), right?! Kelly and I look forward to chatting with you.

 

 

 

 

Amazon

BookGiveaway:

Kelly is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 14th between  5-7 PM EST.

 

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

 

Becoming Gideon by Kelly Goshorn

Happily married for nineteen years, I had three healthy, nearly grown children and a successful in-home childcare business, but something was missing. I began to pray earnestly for God to give me a new direction, a new passion for my life.

The answer came three years later, when he called me to write. The task was daunting. Me? Write a book? God, you must be joking.

He wasn’t.

The journey that lay ahead would not only prove to be challenging, it would require me to face my biggest personal and spiritual obstacle—the fear of failure. Over the next few years, I would be repeatedly plagued with crippling self-doubt and the fear of rejection. In true God fashion, he led me where I needed to be, not necessarily where I wanted to be.

I imagine Gideon must have been feeling the same thing when God chose him to lead his people against the Midianites. Small and of no consequence, The Bible tells us in Judges 6:15 that Gideon was the least in his tribe and his tribe was the least in all of Israel.

In today’s competitive world of publication, Gideon would be a nobody. He would have no social media platform, no unique voice and no agent. Like Gideon, I was completely unqualified for the task God set before me. I didn’t know the first thing about plotting a story, character arc or deep point of view. In fact, up until now, I’d considered myself a hopelessly uncreative person. How many times I cried over my keyboard, “God this must be a mistake, I can’t do this.”

KellyMeme

Like me, Gideon tried to convince God he’d gotten it all wrong. Gideon pointed out his low position in his tribe and that he wasn’t much of a warrior. He reminded God of the strength of his enemy. The Bible tells us that the Midianites swarmed over Israel like locusts, devouring their crops and feasting on their livestock. So afraid was Israel, they sheltered in the clefts of the rocks rather than confront their oppressors. When Gideon finally stepped into the role of warrior that God had called him to, confident God had his back, Israel defeated her enemies.

Would God do the same for me? I didn’t have the pre-requisite skill set for the challenge he called me to. What if I mastered the craft, stepped out in faith, and there was no contract? What would that mean for my writing? For my faith?

But what if God did come through? After all, it was his crazy idea for me to write this book. I remembered something our Christian Education Director used to tell me, “where the Lord leads, the Lord provides.” Conviction set in. I had to pour out my heart and confess to God that I believed He would meet others needs but not necessarily my own. I repented for believing that the finishing work of the cross wasn’t enough. That I didn’t trust He was faithful to do what He said He would do—for me.

The result has been liberating. What I discovered is that God sees not only who we are, but who we can be when we place our trust in Him. He calls us to tackle our biggest obstacles so that we can rest in total dependence on Him. In fact, His specialty is using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. People like Gideon.

People like me.

I realize that writing a novel is not the same as conquering a might foe with only 300 men, but to embrace the path God was leading me on, no longer constrained by the fear of failure or what others might think of me if I failed, is every bit as extraordinary.

Truthfully, I still struggle with self-doubt often wondering if the words on the page are good enough. But it no longer cripples me. It no longer keeps me from pursing the calling I’d prayed for and received. I will be obedient to what God has called me to do—to write. I will rejoice in this new passion he has given me.

I will trust my God to come through for me and raise me up a Gideon!

Kelly’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

@KellyGoshorn is about to become a debut author! Visit and congratulate her! #Giveaway (Tweet This)

@KellyGoshorn discusses #FearOfFailure and its link to #writing: Can you relate? (Tweet This)

Author @KellyGoshorn Speaks Up: Becoming Gideon, how she’s done it, how you can too. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Kelly weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, is under contract with Pelican Book Group tentatively scheduled to release later this year. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever- after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 26 years. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

Places to connect with Kelly:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Kelly and I look forward to your comments.

 

Michelle Griep Speaks Up!

NewMichelle

Everyone’s Story welcomes one day early (due to an approaching snowstorm and possible power outage) author Michelle Griep. I had the pleasure of hosting Michelle’s co-author of their present release, Out of the Frying Pan, Kelly Klepfer, back in September 2016. Now it’s Michelle’s turn! Michelle speaks up on where and who inspire authors when it comes to plotting. Plus, check out Michelle’s BookGiveaway (especially if you missed it back when Kelly was on the blog). Michelle and I look forward to chatting with you.

 

 

NewFryingPan

BookGiveaway:

Michell is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 copy of Out of the Frying Pan. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 7th between  5-6 PM EST.

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

Blurb of Out of the Frying Pan:

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for Fern and Zula Hopkins. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

 

It Takes a Village to Plot a Book By Michelle Griep

There’s a lot of people out there who dream about writing a book but either don’t have the time or the gumption to sit down and get it done. If that’s you, don’t despair. Even if you can’t manage to put two words together to save your life, you can still be a major part in the producing of a great story—and you may not even know you’re doing it!

Here’s the deal . . . though writing is a solitary profession, the end product is never the result of just one person. Writers are inspired by those around them, for good or for bad, and those influences often go directly into stories.

MichelleMeme

Here’s a case in point:

My recent release, Out of the Frying Pan, was influenced by many, many people. Some took an active role and others hadn’t a clue. And because I co-wrote the story, author Kelly Klepfer played a big role in the shaping of the plot. Okay, I’ll be real. She’s the mastermind behind the whole zany mystery, but she did let me off the leash now and then to add in my own ideas. But surprise! Those ideas were often born out of my interaction with non-writerly type people.

One of the characters I write is Zula Hopkins. She’s a southern gal with the fashion sense of a pelican and a craft addiction bordering on criminal. I was trying to come up with an idea for her to pull off some kind of fake flower Pinterest fail when I thought of a friend in my “real” life. This friend of mine makes an annual pilgrimage to the cemetery the day following Memorial Day. Why? Because most places around here pull off the fake flowers from the graves and toss them in the dumpster. She scores loads of free silk flowers every year by dumpster diving. So, I had my character do the same.

But not all characters or influences are human. My mom used to have a dog. Well, I call it a dog but really the thing could’ve been a biological experiment gone to the bad place. This poor pup had a bulging eye, maybe three teeth, and patches of fur were missing. And if looking at this dog didn’t make you cringe, the smell would—especially if he’d eaten any “people” food (which of course was all my mom fed him). So, to ramp up tension between my character Zula and Kelly’s character Fern, I added in a creepy-looking rat terrier named Fifi.

My friend and my mom didn’t know I based anything off of them until they read the book—and even then I changed the dog so much that my mom didn’t realize it was her dog that’d influenced me.

So you see, even if you aren’t able to pen your own novel, just by merit of you being you around those who do write books, you are able to inspire the plots of stories.

Hmm . . . I wonder if that means you should get a royalty check?

Michelle’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet @MichelleGriep, #HistoricalRomance author dipping toes into #CozyMystery. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

@MichelleGriep Speaks Up: It Takes a Village to Plot a Book (Tweet This)

@MichelleGriep: Ever wonder if you sneak your way into a novel? (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is Out of the Frying Pan, but historical romance is her usual haunt, The Captive Heart being her most recent.

Places to connect with Michelle:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon

Michelle and I look forward to your comments.

 

Mark Gilroy Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes back publishing executive and suspense author Mark Gilroy. I have the pleasure of knowing Mark for several years now and I’m always happy when he accepts my invitation to appear here. This week Mark shares with us insights to loving and hating various aspects of writing, fascinating to both the author and reader. Check out Mark’s generous BookGiveaway for 5 lucky winners of his newest release, Rise of the Beast. Mark and I look forward to chatting with you.

**This is the last week to vote for your favorite books for the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award. Please consider supporting me with your vote of my novel Always With You, in the Fiction-General Category: http://www.christianpublishers.net/17votes/ Heartfelt thanks!

RiseBeast

 

Mark is offering 5 randomly chosen commenters each 1 copy of Rise of the Beast. The winners will be announced here on Friday, March 31st between  5-6 PM EST.

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

 

 

 

WRITING: LOVE IT AND HATE IT By Mark Gilroy

Writing: you gotta love it and you gotta hate it!

I love churning out 5,000 words in a day. I hate deleting 5,000 words from a section that just wasn’t working. (Some things you’ve added to your story just don’t fit and can’t be saved.)

I love coming up with a surprise ending. I hate having to wade through 400 pages to fix spoilers and drop in appropriate hints for the alert reader. (I know from experience that alert readers will let you know when you missed one thing.)

I love approving press proofs. I hate proof reading and finding yet another typo or a missing question mark. (I personally believe that errors are real entities that get to work after you shut down your computer for the night.)

I love learning new facts in the research process. I hate having to distill complex research results into palatable insights that keep the story interesting and realistic without bogging it down. (I’m probably not the only writer who has to stop myself from “impressing” readers with the latest theories on the sociopathic mind.)

I love a five-star review. I hate a two-star review simply because a reader doesn’t like my genre. (Rule for Reviewers: if you don’t like mysteries, don’t review mysteries.)

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I love when the words flow. I hate when words are like a wood splinter that you have to pick at for hours to get out. (How many times can you rewrite the opening paragraph?)

I love that opportunities to publish are limitless. I hate that there are so many books cluttering the marketplace. (I have a million author friends who agree with me wholeheartedly.)

I love when people say it must be great to be a writer. I hate when people ask if it was hard. (Yes, it can be very hard.)

I love finishing a 100,000-word book. I hate when I only have 40,000 words written of a 100,000-word book that has a looming deadline. (This is my life story. I thank God for the last minute or I’d never get anything done.)

I love reviewing other writers’ ideas. I hate when they really weren’t interested in feedback and critique. (If you really love what you have done, don’t ask for criticism.)

I love talking to people about my book. I hate having to be a self-promoter with family, friends, and strangers alike. (Doesn’t mean you won’t see another post with the latest-greatest-review on my Facebook feed.)

I love leaving a tangible expression of my thoughts and creativity in book form. I hate it when book sales languish. (Check out M.K. Gilroy titles on Amazon and other fine bookselling sites right now!)

I love when the designer nails a cover that fits the theme perfectly. I hate directing a third round of cover design tweaks. (If you can’t read the title in postage-stamp size, neither will online book buyers.)

So you want to be a writer? Great! It’s good for your mental and emotional health. What a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles. You’ll absolutely love writing the book that’s on your heart. But don’t start writing unless you are ready to struggle and fight over a phrase; unless you are ready for manuscript-reviewers and editors to beat you up; unless you are ready to put countless hours into an endeavor that may never experience widespread consumption and generate fabulous wealth; unless you are ready to sit in front of the computer, all by your lonesome self, without affirmation and encouragement and feedback from others.

If you’re like me, when you really dig into the task of writing, you’re gonna love it and you’re gonna hate it!

Mark’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Publishing ex and author @MarkGilroy Speaks Up: Loving and Hating Writing (Tweet This)

#ChristFic author @MarkGilroy shares insights on #Writing. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Like #ChristFic #suspense? Check out @MarkGilroy’s #BookGiveaway of Rise of the Beast (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Mark “M.K.” Gilroy is a veteran publishing executive who has acquired, developed, authored, and ghostwritten numerous books that have landed on various bestseller lists.

His newest novel, Rise of the Beast, is the first in a new series called The Patmos Conspiracy. Filled with international intrigue, it follows the plot of a megalomaniacal billionaire whose goal is to save the world by destroying it. “I will do what others fear to do. I will rise from the seas and ride the blood red horse of the Apocalypse.”

Cold As Ice is his newest novel in the Kristen Conner Mystery Series. Conner is a character USA TODAY calls “Miss Congeniality meets Castle’s Kate Beckett; a lethal, smart, and fun combo.”

When not writing novels, Gilroy creates and publishes book products for retailers, ministries, and businesses. He recently launched a new publishing company, Sydney Lane Press.

Gilroy holds undergraduate degrees in Speech Communications/Journalism and Biblical Literature, and two graduate degrees, the M.Div. and MBA.

The father of six adult children, he resides with his wife, Amy, in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Places to connect with Mark:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Mark and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~*~

BookAward

SmallIsaJacketI’m honored that my novel Always With You

is up for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award.

Please consider voting at this link.

Thank you!!