Linda Brooks Davis Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes Inspirational author, Linda Brooks Davis. I was first introduced to Linda a couple of years ago at the ACFW awards dinner when Linda won the Carol Award. Although Linda most likely wants others to link her name with a wonderful novel, during her acceptance speech she’d made me laugh so hard at a time that I needed a really good laugh-aloud-moment, that I’ll personally forever think of her as a lovely woman who brightened my day. I’ve since appeared on her delightful blog, and now I’m so pleased Linda is with us this week! Do enjoy Linda’s historic photos! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Ella

BookGiveaway:

Linda is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter both 1 print edition of  The Calling of Ella McFarland and A Rock Creek Christmas Collection to 1 winner (US only). The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on February 23.RockCreekCollection

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

 

 

 

Questions for Linda Brooks Davis:

 

Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

I write romantic Christian historical fiction.

Romantic: There’s always a love story woven into the main plot line. Love keeps the world spinning and readers’ hearts engaged as no other emotion can. I think that’s because God is love.

Christian: That’s who I am, and something else. I made a vow almost 13 years ago. As my first grandchild arrived in triplicate form, and the three 2-pound babies fought for life, I promised the Lord I’d devote the rest of my life to them. When my daughter announced she was naming the baby girl Ella Jane after my grandmother Ella Jane, I promised to leave a legacy of faith in writing to the threesome. So, Christian it is.

Historical: I remember “old timer” stories while on my grandmother’s and mother’s knees as a small child. My grandmother—Mama—Ella Jane Pyle, was reared in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood, and my mother was born there in 1919. The entire Pyle clan migrated from Oklahoma to the southernmost tip of Texas in 1924 in seven covered wagons. They caused quite the stir rolling through downtown San Antonio. Stories about their overcoming hardship with faith and grit abound in my memory and find their ways onto the page.

Ella Jane and William Tribble Banks.

           Ella Jane and William Tribble Banks.

Out of the novels you’ve written, which was the most demanding, emotionally, for you?

In 2007 I sat down to write a novel with a main character named Ella. I was a prolific reader, after all, so writing a novel should be easy enough. Right?

The story was set in Indian Territory in 1904, the year my grandmother Ella married my grandfather William Tribble Banks. I wanted it to be as close to what I knew and imagined my grandparents’ life to be, so I wrote into the story the birth of nine children, lots of trials, hardship upon hardship, and tragedy upon tragedy. Mama’s life in a nutshell.

I cried a lot over those months. And I laughed. But at the end I knew without anyone telling me it was missing something. But I hadn’t a clue. I pitched it to an acquisitions editor for a major Christian publishing house, and the reply I received told me everything—and nothing at all—in five words: “It’s not well crafted enough.”

What did that mean? I hadn’t a clue. My gut told me he was exactly right, that “crafting” was what the story needed, but the man was an editor, not a mentor or teacher of writers. It wasn’t his job to tell me what “well crafted” meant.

So I searched. And searched. And searched some more. Eight years later—and many workshops and conferences, shelves of books on writing, critique upon critique, change of direction upon change of direction, and more $ than I can account for now—that original 105,000-word manuscript that extended over twenty-two years of Ella’s life had been reduced to 90,000 words extending over five months of her life. Under the working title Greater Still, the story won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. Published in 2016 as The Calling of Ella McFarland, it won the 2016 ACFW Carol Award.

1932 Raymondville

                            1932 Raymondville

I’ve written two Christmas novellas since then. The first, A Christmas to Remember, is a sequel to The Calling of Ella McFarland. I received so many comments from readers about wanting more of Ella’s and Andrew’s love story that I figured their love at Christmas time would fill the bill.

I’m almost finished with the next novel in the series, but I decided this past summer to write a prequel to it, another Christmas novella entitled A Christmas Measure of Love, which released in November 2017. The two novellas are available in A Rock Creek Christmas Collection.

What’s been your biggest challenge in writing?

At my age and place in life—retired, children grown and self-sufficient, and enjoying the delight of grandchildren coming and going—my greatest challenge is stamina. Writing novels isn’t for the faint of heart, the thin-skinned, or the weak of body or spirit. Sitting, researching, and typing hours at a time challenge one’s eyes, neck, back, joints of every sort, and … backside in ways no thirty-or-forty-something has experienced yet. My chiropractor and I have come to know one another very well, I can tell you for sure. (continued below)

And the opposite: what’s the biggest perk in writing that makes you NOT want to walk away from the keyboard?

An inescapable siren’s call draws me to the keyboard. Impossible-to-ignore images appear in my brain. And sheer delight springs in my spirit as the story unfolds on the page. These override each ache and pain, each temptation to shove aside the keyboard in frustration and click the Off button for good, each knot in my stomach and tear on my cheek for characters who’ve become real. These make writing worth it all. Frankly, I can’t NOT write. Whether or not a single person reads what I write from now on, I’ll keep writing. It’s in my DNA.

The Corral Drive-in Raymondville

            The Corral Drive-in Raymondville

What do you hope your life would be like in ten years from now?

I pray for constancy of devotion to my original vow and for the strength of body and mind to write one full-length novel and one novella each remaining year the Lord gives me. If I’m still around at age 81, I hope to have twelve novels and as many novellas sitting on my shelf, ready to hand off to my grandchildren and—who knows?—maybe even great-grandchildren by then. I would love to think I’m still writing at age 91 or even beyond. Drawing my last breath at the keyboard, perhaps typing THE END to a well-crafted character’s story, sounds like the perfect ending to me.

Linda’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#Historical #Inspy author Linda Brooks Davis, @LBrooksDavis: How family history influenced my writing. (Tweet This)

Enjoy #ChristFic? Author interview with Linda Brooks Davis,@LBrooksDavis and #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Meet Linda Brooks Davis, @LBrooksDavis and settle back for a smile! #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small community in the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master’s Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after 40 years as a special educator. Linda’s debut novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award and the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers Award. The sequel novella set in 1908 Oklahoma, A Christmas to Remember, released in December 2016. A second novella set in 1910, A Christmas Measure of Love, is a prequel for Linda’s coming second full-length novel due to release in 2018. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets.

Places to connect with Linda:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

 

Linda and I look forward to your comments.

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Visit with me on the Suspense Sisters Blog, Friday February 16th

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Lisa Flickinger Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes Inspirational Historical author, Lisa Flickinger. Lisa lives in the Alberta, Canada area with a gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains (here’s something I just researched: the Rockies stretch more than 3,000 miles!!). Perhaps it’s this view that reminds her daily of God’s majesty and inspires her to write the fiction she does! Please check out her BookGiveaway of Ella, as well as the blurb for her newest release of Fool’s Notion! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

BookGiveaway:

LiElla - Cover Photo 25%sa is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 PDF version of Ella, a retelling of the Cinderella story in the Washington D.C. era of 1870. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on February 16th.

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

Blurb for Ella:

Ella Goodwin, abandoned by her father and abused by her stepsister, seeks to make sense of her new life as a prisoner in her Washington D.C. home. By secretly designing and sewing a magnificent gown, she plans to attend the grand ball and meet Thomas Bailey, her only hope for rescue. Will Ella’s Prince Charming unravel the mystery and learn the true identity of the beautiful woman who has captured his heart?

 

FoolsNotion

Check out Lisa’s newest release, Fool’s Notion:

Blurb:

1883 California Trail, Kansas

Missouri mules were the best. Alda grew to love the creatures working side by side with her pa on their farm along the banks of the Missouri River. He would be hopping mad when he realized his wife and daughter colluded behind his back to sell a pack string. It wouldn’t matter that they were trying to save the farm.

Alda struck out on her own to drive the team over fifteen hundred miles. By day three, her lead mule Bessie refused to take one more step. It was a good thing the handsome cowboy Cord stopped by to lend a hand or Alda might still be sitting in the dust.

Now, Alda needed the man to move on so she could continue her journey. Judging by the spark in Cord’s eye … it just might take some convincing.

 

The Heart of Trust by Lisa Flickinger

 

My breath hitches even thinking about the year 2017 and the lessons the Lord taught me.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

(Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

A wonderful verse we learned as children. It reads simple enough, trust in and lean not. What 2017 taught me was I was trusting in myself and leaning not on the Lord’s understanding. A difficult place to be when hardship arises.

Our six-month-old granddaughter became paralyzed the first week of January 2017. The condition, transverse myelitis, although rare, affected her immune system causing her own body to attack her spinal cord. The poor, little mite could only move one arm a bit, otherwise nothing, from the bottom lip down.

As the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong, I questioned the Lord: “Lord, what are you doing? Lord, why is this happening to our family? Lord, why is this happening to such an innocent child?”

Trust escaped me. I plead, I bargained, I tried to figure it out, but the pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit together. The pieces didn’t even appear to be from the same puzzle.

After a three-week stay in the hospital under the care of an amazing team of doctors along with immune therapy, her health turned around and we rejoiced in the goodness of our God.

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However, I was left with the realization my faith faltered because I was trusting in myself and trying to make sense of something I didn’t understand. Another question could be asked. Do I need to understand why calamity strikes? Proverbs would say not. Is it my business to question the Lord? Proverbs would say trust in the Lord.

Life on this earth is not easy. It brings trials, it brings temptations, and it brings disappointments. The scriptures, in contrast, bring us hope.

“In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

(vs. 6)

In all situations, we are to submit our ways to the Lord. Does it take the calamity away? No. Does it make it easy? No. Can we see the Lord in the situation and trust Him regardless of the outcome? Yes.

Our granddaughter’s come a long way from the puffy, fluid filled baby who couldn’t move. She’s been a trooper through the pain caused by the disease and has regained the use of her arms through physical therapy. She still suffers some internal issues and strives to walk like her twin sister.

I will trust in the Lord regardless of whether the He chooses for her to walk or not.

Here’s wishing you all a 2018 filled with trust in the Lord alone for every situation!

Lisa’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#Inspy #Historical author Lisa Flickinger speaks up: The Heart of Trust. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author Lisa Flickinger shares about granddaughter’s #paralysis and impact on her #faith. (Tweet This)

Like #ChristFic #Historical reads? Check out Lisa Flickinger’s #BookGiveaway of Ella, a retelling of Cinderella. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Lisa J. Flickinger, author of historical novels Ella, and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family.

Places to connect with Lisa:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Buy link for Fool’s Notion

Buy link for Ella

Lisa and I look forward to your comments.

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Her-Good-Girl-BlogTour

I’d love it if you can visit with me this week:

Multifarious, February 9

A Greater Yes, February 10

Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 10

Power of Words, February 11 (spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 11

Janices book reviews, February 12

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 12

margaret kazmierczak, February 13 (Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, February 13 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, February 14

Bigreadersite, February 14

 

Ruth Kyser Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes Inspirational Romance author, Ruth Kyser. Like many other author friends, I met Ruth on Twitter and Facebook and we happily clicked, something I attribute to her lovely self, our joy of writing and reading, and her living in Michigan (I’ve met so many wonderful people from that state!). Please kick back with a favorite hot drink as Ruth shares the many hats she happily juggles post retirement. Also, check out her BookGiveaway! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

HartDesire

 

BookGiveaway:

Ruth is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 paperback edition of Hart’s Desire. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on February 9th.

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

 

Excerpt from A Place Called Hart’s Desire:

 Book excerpt from A Place Called Hart’s Desire by Ruth Kyser:

 

Ellie didn’t realize she was no longer alone until she heard a throat clear. Gasping, she swung around to find a man staring at her. Her first impression of him was that he was tall and dark. He had almost black hair—dark eyes—maybe brown, it was hard to tell from this far away—and he was dressed in worn blue jeans and a zippered black jacket. A black/gray camo backpack was slung over his broad shoulders, and well-worn hiking boots were on his feet. What looked like a couple days’ worth of dark whiskers covered his face. And somehow he appeared as if he belonged out there in the forests and mountains much more than she did.

“Lost?”

His deep voice matched the rest of him—gruff and to the point.

Ellie shook her head. “Not really.”

Then she frowned as the worries set in. “I hope I’m not trespassing. I didn’t see any signs posted. But I have to admit, I didn’t even think about that when I found the trail coming up here from the cabin.”

His left eyebrow went up. “You’re staying at Hart’s?”

She nodded. From his remark, Ellie assumed this strange man was staying in one of Hart’s neighboring cabins.

Then politeness kicked in. “I’m Ellie, by the way.”

The man lifted his chin a little in greeting. “Luke.”

Ellie almost chuckled. Whoever he was, he was certainly talkative.

Moving a little closer to where she stood, the man gazed out over the same landscape she’d been viewing. She heard his sigh and sensed he was searching for the peace this place had to offer too—just as she had by coming here.

“Are you staying at one of Hart’s other cabins then?” Ellie asked. “Rose said the rest of them were all rented out, but I haven’t met any of the other guests yet.”

Ellie knew if her friend Amanda had been there, she would have cautioned Ellie about being so friendly with a man she didn’t know. After all, she was out in the middle of nowhere in unfamiliar territory. Ellie was well aware the world was a dangerous place, but in her naivety, she often had to be reminded of that fact. But for some reason, even though he was over six foot tall and could have easily overpowered her, Ellie didn’t feel afraid of this man.

He didn’t respond to her question about where he was staying, but instead turned and gave her a brief look, reached around and allowed his backpack to drop off his shoulder. Then he unzipped his backpack and pulled out something and handed it to her. Ellie took it from him and glanced down in confusion.

“If you’re going to be wandering around out here, you’d best be prepared. Black bears live in these hills.”

With that, the man gave her a little salute and a nod, and turned and walked away from her and down the hill from the direction he’d come.

Ellie looked down at the canister in her hand and gulped. Bear spray. Suddenly, she didn’t feel nearly as safe out here as she had only moments earlier.

As a matter of fact, it was best that she get back to the cabin and get to work.

Turning away from the cliff’s edge, she walked briskly back down the same trail the man named Luke had disappeared down just moments before. She walked directly toward her cabin, feeling a sense of relief when it came into sight. Suddenly, her desire for a morning trek was over.

Heaving a sigh of relief as she unlocked the front door and entered, Ellie pulled off her hiking boots and sat them next to the door.

She’d had enough exercise for today. If she was ever going to get this book done, it was time to get back to work.

 

My Chosen Work After Retirement by Ruth Kyser

I probably started out a little later in my writing journey than most.

Before I semi-retired three years ago I was a licensed property casualty insurance agent (I fully retired June 2017.) That’s right. For two decades I sold insurance. I was also a wife, mother, and grandmother, so that didn’t leave much time for writing. But I always had a storyline (or more) running through my head—keeping me up at night and generally driving me crazy.

For years I sent query letters and synopses to editors and publishers to no avail. I did have a big Christian publisher express some interest in one of my manuscripts. They had it for over a year before I got the standard ‘I’m sorry, but this doesn’t fit with our needs at this time’ rejection letter. It was tough to get Christian work published back then, as there weren’t many publishers available.

Then in September of 2011, I discovered the world of Independent Publishing. It all began because my dear sweet husband gave me a Kindle and I went to Amazon to download books onto it. That was when I discovered there were other authors out there—not just the traditionally published ones I’d always followed. They were novelists who had published their own books through various distributors. After studying and doing much research, I uploaded two of my manuscripts, not expecting them to sell. But sell they did, and I started to receive emails from people wondering when my next book was coming out.

RuthMeme

Well. I hadn’t even started the next one.

That was when I decided it was time to get serious and get busy.

I don’t want anyone to think being an “Indie” (as we call ourselves) is easy. It’s not. I’ve worked harder at this job than I have at any other job I’ve had, and whether my books are a success or a failure falls entirely on me. I’ve also had to extend myself FAR out of my comfort zone. For some unknown reason, once you become a published author everyone thinks you are also a good speaker. The first time I stood up in front of a group of ladies to talk about my books, I was terrified. I’d practiced my little speech until I was sure I had it memorized. But when I began to talk about my books, something surprising happened. I actually enjoyed it, and it’s now easier every time.

Being an Indie also requires you to wear many hats. I write the manuscript, proofread it, edit and format the book for various forms of publication, choose and purchase the book cover art, and finally (and most importantly), market the book. I also have to keep track of expenses and profits and make sound business decisions. Of course, if you can’t do all those things, there are professionals available who can, but you have to find the right one for you and your project.

Yes, it’s hard work! But I love it!

I’ve always been a little bit of a maverick, so I enjoy being the one to make decisions. And I have no one but myself to blame if things don’t get done.

I do love the opportunity to share my stories with others, though, and through my books, share the love of Christ with them. Since those first two books, The Dove and The Raven – A Christian Historical Novel (that takes place during the American Revolutionary War,) and Endless Season, a Contemporary Christian novel, I’ve written and published a dozen more.

The book I’m offering in this giveaway (A Place Called Hart’s Desire) came about because my husband and I were planning to rent a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. As it turned out, we didn’t get to go, but after I revisited the area in my memories and photos, a story idea came to me that just had to be written. I genuinely hope the readers like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And for you writers out there that think you’re too busy, or too young, or too old to begin a writing career. Think again. It’s never too late.

God bless!

Ruth’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#ChristFic #Romance author Ruth Kyser @kyser_r speaks out: Choosing #writing career after retirement. (Tweet This)

Author Ruth Kyser @kyser_r shares the many hats of #Indie #Writing. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Ruth Kyser’s @kyser_r #Romance, A Place Called Hart’s Desire. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Ruth Kyser is a native Michigander–wife, mother, and grandmother–who writes Christian Inspirational Romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and enjoys reading almost as much as she loves writing!

Ruth’s Mission Statement: “My goal is to write stories that entertain, but more importantly, educate readers about Jesus Christ and His love for them.”

Places to connect with Ruth:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Ruth and I look forward to your comments.

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Her-Good-Girl-BlogTour

I’d love it if you can visit with me this week:

February 1 Reading Is My Superpower

February 2 Bibliophile Reviews and Inklings and notions

February 3  Blogging With Carol

February 4  proud to be an autism mom

February 5  A Reader’s Brain

February 6  Texas Book-aholic

February 7  Carpe Diem

February 8  A Baker’s Perspective

February 9  Multifarious

Book Spotlight featuring Jo Huddleston

Huddleston

Everyone’s Story welcomes author and blogger Jo Huddleston. This week’s blog offering is a little different: a spotlight on Jo’s novel, Unraveled, Book 1 of Fibers in Love. I hope you enjoy the glimpse into this novel. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

 

NewUnraveled

BookGiveaway:

Jo is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 ebook edition of Unraveled. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on February 2nd.

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

 

 

 

Unraveled Back Cover Blurb:

Alice loses herself in grief and can’t find her way back.

In 1954, twenty-six-year-old Alice Patterson undergoes a pregnancy loss that affects everything and everyone she touches. Emotionally and physically drained, she must come to terms with her traumatic loss or risk losing her husband, her best friend, and her sanity.

Her best friend JayNell and her husband Paul offer Alice support and comfort. She persists in her grieving, which hinders her healing. The doctor advises there is no normal recovery period for what Alice has undergone. Time is her best ally.

In her small southern Mississippi town, her church Sewing Circle’s new project triggers an unsettling setback to Alice’s recovery. Afterward, she succumbs to suspicions of Paul’s infidelity that causes her collapse, from which she may not recover.

Paul’s unspoken goal is that they will recapture the love they held for one another on their wedding day. He’s hopeful that the approaching spring season will bring a reawakening of the Alice he married, as it brings a newness to all living things.

Excerpt of Unraveled: 

 Unraveled by Jo HuddlestonChapter 1

Tuesday, March 2, 1954—Talasia, Mississippi

Alice Patterson bolted upright in the bed and listened for what had awakened her. She heard nothing out of the ordinary. Only the hushed, even snores from her husband Paul’s side of the bed. The black hole in her recurring nightmares must have invaded her subliminal mind—again. She had awakened before she sank into its depths. Paul still slept. Obviously, she hadn’t screamed out this time.

She eased from beneath the covers, pushed her feet into house slippers, and grabbed her pink terry cloth robe lying across the foot of the bed. After stepping into the hall and pulling the door shut, she stuffed her arms into her robe and tied the sash around her waist. She knew her house, even in the night, and walked to the darkened bedroom next to hers and Paul’s.

Pale light from the street lamp outside huddled beyond the curtains covering the lone window. Standing in the middle of the room, she peered toward the baby bed, then her gaze focused on the rocking chair with the golden cushions padding its back and seat. She went to the small chest placed against the wall across the room and opened the music box sitting atop it. The tiny box played its shrill rendition of “Brahms’ Lullaby.”

Alice sat in the rocking chair and idly moved it with one foot grazing the hardwood floor, her arms empty. She remained there even after the music box played its last note. Blinding light burst from the hall and pierced the darkness of the room to reveal the baby bed. Empty.

Paul’s voice reached her through the night. “You all right?”

Would she ever be all right again? She turned toward the open door where her husband’s silhouette stood in dark contrast to the brightness behind him. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“It’ll be daylight soon. Come on back to bed. If you can’t sleep, at least you can rest your body. You need to conserve your energy to help regain your strength.”

Paul repeated what Dr. Stallings had told her before he released her from the hospital ten days ago. But what did she need her strength for? She no longer carried the baby they’d both dreamed of. Her body was now empty like her arms and the baby bed.

 

Jo’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet #ChristFic author Jo Huddleston and preview her novel, Unraveled. #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern romance novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Visit Jo at her website where you can sign up for her mailing list and read the first chapters of her novels and novellas.

Places to connect with Jo:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

BookBub

Jo and I look forward to your comments.

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MiracleHGG

Check out the lovely reviews Her Good Girl is blessed with, out in both print and Kindle on January 22nd.

Find it on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

 

Kenneth S. Pratt Speaks Up!

KenPratt

Everyone’s Story welcomes author Kenneth S. Pratt. I met Kenneth here and there on all things social media, but when I read his personal story on Facebook I knew I had to have him as my guest. When I received his blog material my eyes welled by his testimony of strength, faith, and hope and may each of you be moved as well. Kenneth also offers a BookGiveaway of an inspirational western! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

 

WillowFalls

BookGiveaway:

Kenneth is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter 1 ebook edition of Willow Falls, Book 1 of the U.S. Deputy Marshal Matt Bannister Western Series. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on January 26th.

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

 

Hope by Kenneth S. Pratt

First, I want to thank Elaine Stock for the opportunity to share a little bit of my story with you all and the chance to share a bit about why I write the way I do. I suppose that begs the question, “How do you write?”. Well, let me tell you a little about myself and then I can answer that question better.

My name is Kenneth S. Pratt. I married my wife Cathy in 1996, and I got down on my knees and told her three children that I wasn’t just marrying their mom, I was marrying them too as I committed to being their step-father, or “Dad” if they allowed me to be. Like all families we had our share of ups and downs, and frustrating experiences with our kids. But they have grown older and become good-hearted people and two have families of their own. We have been married for 22 years now and have six grandchildren. We live on the beautiful Oregon Coast in the town of Lincoln City, where we are raising our youngest boy, who is a junior in high school this year.

In 2012, my wife Cathy was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 45. Cathy was given five to ten years to live with her type of Early Onset and there was little help they could give her until she turned 50. It was a devastating diagnosis that we were wholly unprepared for. The day we were told all this, we got home and had to tell our kids somehow. We did so with broken voices and teary eyes. That night, our neighbor who was our neighbor for 12 years, came banging into our home with her walker in her pajamas looking for her husband. Carol, our elderly neighbor, had Alzheimer’s, but we never saw her behave like that until the day Cathy was diagnosed. For us, it became a fearful glimpse of what laid ahead. Worse, after some testing we discovered her disease isn’t hereditary, it’s cause was unnecessary. She was married to a very abusive man for ten years before she met me. She was too scared to leave him and her Early Onset was caused by the domestic abuse she suffered for the ten years of their marriage. – We are now six years in and Cathy has certainly changed from where she once was. She is fighting daily, and the Lord has blessed us with her slow progression so far.

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In July of this year, on Cathy’s Birthday actually, our ten-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma Bone Cancer. If you want to talk about making a big man fall to his knees in tears, just involve his ten-year-old granddaughter and the word cancer. It was a very hard time knowing our little sweetheart was going through so much sickness and pain as she fought this horrible disease. We were Blessed, she had a knee replacement and there is no more cancer in her body. That is new news, and I smile as I write it. Praise God!

While writing to a friend tonight about my granddaughter’s experience, because her grandson is going through similar things and is at the same hospital as I write this. I mentioned being in the post-surgery ward of Doernbecher’s Children Hospital and hearing the children in there crying and screaming in pain while being moved. My granddaughter included. It is heartbreaking! I mentioned the pain those children were suffering hurt no doubt, but it was the beginning of their healing and without the surgeries that caused that pain, there would be no hope. Hope, my friends, gets us through the darkest times of our lives even when the tears fall constantly. Bad things happen to everyone, good and bad. They happen to Christians too. I am a Christian writer, and that’s what I write about. It is my very simple philosophy that is we are given certain talents, and we can toss them to the swine, or we can use them to encourage others, give others hope and expand the word of God through the written word. My books were written for the purpose of changing lives. I have been told a few times that I’d make more money if I took all the “religious stuff” out of my books…But the last I heard 50 Shades of Grey hasn’t brought anyone to the Lord or offered anyone any hope when life drops them to their knees like it has me a few times. I strive to write books that do. And according to some reviews, I am very humbled to say I’m not too far off that mark by the sounds of it.

I have written two western novels known as the ‘Bannister Series.” The first book is titled, “Willow Falls” – which deals with forgiveness and reconciliation. The second book is titled, “Sweethome” – which asks the question, can any good come out of tragedy? Book #3 and #4 of the series are almost done and will be published this year, Lord willing. What I do have coming out pretty soon though is a modern day, small town thriller published by Christian Publishing titled, “When the Wolf Comes Knocking.” – This book answers the question; can you trust the Lord in times of fear? And a few other things along the way, as three different types of wolves terrorize a family and tear them apart…or try to. I take my characters very personally and to me they become alive on the paper, so conversation and conflict usually drives the stories that I write.

Thank you for reading this far, and may the Lord bless each and every one of you.

Kenneth’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet @KenPratt12, a #ChristFic #Western author who shares a life story everyone should read. (Tweet This)

@KenPratt12: Why one should have #hope in the darkest of places. (Tweet This)

Like to read #Westerns? Win #BookGiveaway of Willow Falls by @KenPratt12. (Tweet This)

 

Author’s Bio:

SweethomeKenneth and Cathy Pratt have been married for 19 years and are blessed with five children and six grandchildren. They reside in the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon with the beach less than half a mile away. Pratt has written three novels, two published and one unpublished. He has also penned a collection of children’s stories, which were originally bedtime stories for his son.

Pratt works full time in building maintenance and writes late at night after everyone else goes to bed, so four to five hours of sleep a night is not uncommon at all.

“I write for the purpose of changing lives, perhaps to lead some to the Lord, to plant a seed, and to encourage Christians in particular, to endure hardship.”

Places to connect with Kenneth:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Kenneth and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

Sm.HGG

 

Her Good Girl releases in both print and Kindle on January 22nd.

Find it on Amazon.

 

Denise M. Walker Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes author and ministry founder, Denise M. Walker. I’m thrilled and honored that Denise is visiting us this week. I had the pleasure to get to know this warm, big-hearted woman when her book club, Hope-In-Christ Facebook Book Club hosted me in a discussion of my debut novel, Always With You, and then later interviewed me on a podcast. I hope you enjoy Denise’s interview and will check out her ministries and her BookGiveaways she is generously offering. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

**I’m thrilled and honored that my next release, Her Good Girl, is receiving some lovely reviews on Goodreads!! Please check out an excerpt of the novel below Denise’s feature.

 

Hannah'sHope

BookGiveaway:

Denise is offering 2 randomly chosen commenters their choice of either 1 paRe-PresentingGodperback edition of Hannah’s Hope (a novel) or Re-Presenting God (a youth journal). US residents only. The winners will be announced Friday morning EST on January 19th.

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

 

 

Getting to Know Denise

Who is Denise M. Walker?

First off, I am a Christian. I am also a wife and mother. My husband and I met in high school and have been together for more than 20 years. Our son is soon to be 14 and is an 8th grader. I have served as an educator and mentor for more than 17 years now. My passion is writing, teaching reading, writing and grammar.

I am the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries. It consists of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club, the Hope-in-Christ w/Denise podcast, and the Hope-in-Christ blog. I am also the owner of Armor of Hope Writing and Publishing Services, LLC. Through my business, I proofread and edit. I am a writing coach and Christian and children’s literature promoter. I also publish my own works under Armor of Hope. I am also the founder and director of Project H.O.P.E. Youth Institute. Through this ministry, I host another podcast, “Building Literacy and True Identity.” I teach and mentor virtually and hold face-to-face workshops. My focus is building literacy and helping youth understand that their true identity is found in Jesus Christ.

My first book is a youth journal, “Re-Presenting God: Taking a Healthy Look at the Holy One of Israel.” I wrote it to assist with building biblical literacy. It is written like an English language arts textbook. It teaches the youth to break down the scriptures and come to an understanding of the deity of Christ for themselves. I have also written in two anthologies, women’s inspiration. I will release my very first youth novel at the end of January 2018. It addresses child abuse and other topics that will be used as a mentoring tool for teen girls.

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What do you love most about what you do?

I get to assist in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I get to help others walk out their purpose.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I didn’t know that I would become a writer; God showed me. I have been writing in journals for many years. I also used to write a lot in college. I now understand why I loved my children’s literature class so much, but I never thought that I would publish a book. I just obeyed what God placed in my heart.

What do you do in your free time?

Well, when there is free time, I listen to audiobooks, read digital or paperback books. I also hang out with my son and husband or close friends.

Favorite book: Too many to only pick one

Favorite music: Contemporary Christian, gospel, and old school R&B

I’d love to________________ because________________:

I’d love to work from home full time because it would be more flexible.

Denise’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet Denise M. Walker @HopeChristBooks, author and ministry founder. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

See what Denise M. Walker’s @HopeChristBooks debut #YouthNovel addresses! (Tweet This)

Denise M. Walker @HopeChristBooks Speaks Up: Her focus in #ministry and #writing. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Denise Walker is a wife, mother, middle school educator, author, and mentor. She is the founder of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club, blog, and podcast (Hope in Christ w/Denise)  ministry. She is the owner and operator of Armor of Hope Writing and Publishing Services, and Project H.O.P.E. Youth Institute. She is also the host of “Building Literacy and True Identity” podcast. Denise loves to write, edit, and promoting Christian and children’s literature.

Places to connect with Denise:

Author Website

Ministry Website

Business Website

Twitter

Hope-In-Christ FB Book Club

Hope-In-Christ FB Ministreis

Amazon for Re-Presenting God

Denise and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

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Her Good Girl, a coming-of-age suspense novel of a whole family, is releasing on January 22nd. It’s on Pre-Order for only 99 cents (bargain!): On Amazon 

Here’s an excerpt:

 

 Her Good Girl by Elaine Stock 

Saturday

One

Sadie

Finally. After hours under her watch, I’m sitting solo on the front porch. It’s a little bit after three in the morning and all’s quiet. The birds aren’t yet doing their chirpy choir thing, though they will shortly fill the muggy June air with song. But my heart is pounding. Goosebumps pock my arms. Sweat sluices down my back. My belly is rock ‘n’ rolling to an obnoxious beat. I rub at the floppy waves, but the sensation becomes wicked. Am I about to puke? This scares me more and I spring to my feet. Too fast. Black dots explode before my eyes. I cling to the railing in hope this passes faster than one of Tara-Lynn’s moods. I’m so sick of the unknown.

Sick. Sick. Sick. That’s the worst word in my vocabulary.

But, that’s what I am. Sick. So, she says.

Chill, I order myself and slump back onto the step. Focus on feeling better, graduating high school, and getting out of these wacked West Virginia hills as fast as possible.

It’s now that counts, right? Live in the moment, and all that nonsense. No one is shoving medications down my throat. No one is making me eat certain foods that spike my heart rate or send me running into the bathroom every ten minutes. Tara-Lynn—no way am I calling her Mom—asleep in her cellar recliner, will find me soon enough, whether it’s sitting here on the front porch or elsewhere. She always does.

Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out, slowly. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out, slowly. Feel each muscle relax. Let peace in.

That’s the garbage the school nurse instructed me to do a few years ago when I suffered my first breathing attack—her choice of words. I Googled my symptoms to discover I most likely experienced a panic attack. Whatever. Sometimes the breathing exercise works. Often, not.

My tangled body stays tense. I’m not only disobedient to Tara-Lynn, but also to myself.

Bad girl. The reprimand ricochets in my mind. Another one follows. And bad girls need fixing.

I grope for the cross around my neck. Silly me. I’d quit wearing that old thing months ago. Belief in a big God in heaven watching out for us down here may work for others, but not me. At least not anymore, not when my SOS prayers come back flopping in my face like they’d been stamped with a big fat REJECTED across them. A wallop of a curse stabs my tongue, but I swallow it back when I think of Grandma. She’s the one person I don’t want to disappoint.

The front door opens. Daddy—plain old Adam to everyone else—steps outside. In one hand, he holds a knapsack that I know is crammed with caving gear like emergency first-aid stuff, food, batteries, and dry clothes. In his other hand, he grips a new set of ropes he’ll use to descend and then ascend in the caves. Though I’ve watched him leave for these explorations one too many times, my insides turn cold. Maybe colder than those underground passages that Daddy crawls through in sheer joy. I shove my hands under my legs to stop the shaking. My gaze strays to the near woods that crowd the east side of the property then to my bare bony knees peeking out from my jean shorts.

“Hey, Kit Kat. What are you up to this time of morning?”

He may have used his pet name for me yet I can’t read his attitude since his tone is not gruff, but it’s sure not happy either. I look into his eyes. “Waiting for you.” And that’s the truth.

He purses his lips.

Nervous, I further open the gate to my thoughts and let words rush out, right or wrong. “You know, sometimes I’m unsure whether I wait for you to stay or leave.”

Daddy plops the ropes and knapsack onto the porch floor. The equipment clanks and rattles inside as if alive and itching to begin a new exploration. My heart leaps an extra beat, but I tamp down my hopes. He won’t stay. He never does. His leaving stirs up a lot of trouble between him and Tara-Lynn. So much stress that it seems like after each of his caving trips she hovers over me more, eyeballing every move I make. One cough or sneeze propels her into nursing me back to health even if I feel fine.

 

Liz Tolsma Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes the first guest of 2018, Christian fiction author, Liz Tolsma. I had the great fortune meeting Liz several years ago at an ACFW conference. She’d just sold her first novel–I’m glad she’s still going strong! Every author needs a support team and Liz shares about hers this week. Bundle up under blankets and wrap your hands around a hot mug of your favorite drink while you enjoy what she speaks up about. Also, check out her BookGiveaway offer. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

**I’m thrilled and honored that my next release, Her Good Girl, is receiving some lovely reviews!! It’s also set for the  Pre-Sale Kindle price only only 99 cents. Wow! Please check it out below Liz’s feature.

Melody

 

BookGiveaway:

Liz is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter the choice of either 1 paperback edition of The Melody of the Soul (US only) or 1 ebook. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on January 12th.

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

Blurb for The Melody of the Soul: (link for book trailer)

Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

 

My Support Team by Liz Tolsma

I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic. My parents probably thought I would grow up to become an actress. I loved anything melodramatic, and from a very young age, I made up stories about anything and everything. And I always had to throw a little embellishment in there.

When I was in the fifth grade, have a teacher who gave us many writing assignments. There was one assignment that changed my life. We had been studying tall tales in English class. You remember those — Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox. After we read the story, our teacher gave us the assignment to write a tall tale. I was in heaven. A tall tale gave me the ability to write an unfettered story, limited only by my imagination. And I went to town on it.

I recently ran across the story. Who saves things from fifth grade? But that’s how much I loved writing that story and how much it influenced my life

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When the end of that year came, my teacher wrote me a little note saying how she hoped one day I would become a published authoress. More than anything, that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes, however, reality sets in. I didn’t know how to go about making my dream come true, so I put it on the back burner and earned a degree in elementary education. God blessed that decision, because I did end up using the degree. I homeschooled my children for six years, and I use my background in special education in dealing with my daughter who has special needs.

But the dream never completely left me. After 9/11, I realized that though I was very young, my life could be over in an instant. I didn’t want it to end on a note of regret. I started writing seriously, and at a writer’s conference a couple of years later, I have the privilege of meeting Andrea Boeshaar, a multi-published Christian author, an agent, and a fellow Wisconsinite. She took me under her wing, and guided me in my journey. My first book wasn’t published until 2011, but those years of hard work paid off. My eighth book is set to release on January 16.

Without these people in my life, I would never have gotten to the point in my career that I’m at. Most likely, I would have never put a single word on the page.

We all have hopes and dreams in our lives. Never give up on them. There have been many times along this publication journey that I wanted to give up. It was too hard. It was never going to happen. I just didn’t have the talent. When I got to the lowest places, there was always someone, whether my husband or my agent or other writer friends, who encouraged me to keep going. So whatever your dream, whether it is publication, career, family, travel, or something entirely different, don’t give up on it. Keep working and striving even through the longest, darkest days. You may be surprised what God has in store for you.

Liz’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet @LizTolsma, #ChristFic author of WWII and prairie romance novellas. #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

@LizTolsma speaks up on how every author needs a support team. #AmWriting (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of @LizTolsma’s The Melody of the Soul. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. The Rails to Love collection released in October 2016. The Matchmaker Brides collection releases in February 2017, and her next WWII novel, The Melody of the Soul, is scheduled to release in April 2017. She is a popular speaker and an editor. She has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

Places to connect with Liz:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Liz and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

Sm.HGG

Kindle Pre-Sale Price is only 99 cents on Amazon 

Look for the release of Her Good Girl, in both print and Kindle on January 22nd.

What reviewers are saying:

Elaine Stock is a writer of immense power. Her characters are unique, haunting, and memorable. Superb prose and vivid storytelling propels the reader to keep turning the page until the richly satisfying end. This is more than a tale about the evils of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, but a realistic story of desperation, generational healing, and survival. Elaine Stock has rocketed to the top of my favorite writer list.–author Megan Whitson Lee

A powerful and emotional read.–Robin, a reviewer on Goodreads

Very well written book. Very honest and informative. Everyone should read it.–Rose, a reviewer on Goodreads

 

Christmas Edition of Everyone’s Story

SantaMe

Welcome to a special edition of Everyone’s Story. As you can see, I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit here on my blog. This week and next (until my first guest of the New Year appears on January 5th) I’m sharing a little about my Christmas romance novella, And You Came Along, and offering a couple of BookGiveaways (and if by chance you’ve already read it, feel free to gift it to a family member or friend).

I wish all of you a joyous Christmas and a peaceful New Year. May 2018 be a good year, one of smiles, health, and many blessings that only He can possibly arrange for us.

May you all enjoy a great book!!

 

SmBlueAlong

BookGiveaway:

I’m offering 2 randomly chosen commenters 1 ebook edition of And You Came Along. The winners will be announced Friday morning EST on January 5th.

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

Back Cover Blurb:

A Mother’s Christmas Wish

All single mom Jacey Tucker wants for Christmas is for her young son to have a home and a smile. What she never expected was an eviction notice from her apartment, or the loss of her job. Now she can’t leave Kindred Lake, Pennsylvania fast enough.

A Wounded Detective’s Second Chance

Zander Paxton, wounded on duty while trying to save the life of his partner, needs a new residence for the second half of his recovery. His hometown of Kindred Lake offers promises, but it may be too late to make up for his past.

She heads south. He travels north. In the middle of a blizzard, five days before Christmas, they collide and wreck their vehicles, and nearly each other, on an ice-covered road. The kindness of two strangers provides a cabin for shelter, a place where pain is soothed and hope is renewed . . . until their pasts catch up to their present and threatens a forever separation. Is true love ever mistaken?

Excerpt: 

And You Came Along by Elaine Stock

 

Chapter 1

Jacey Tucker shoved open the red-and-green tinsel-decorated doors of Rick’s Diner and nearly barreled into an exiting elderly couple. Peggy and Tom, two regulars at the Kindred Lake, Pennsylvania, dining hot spot. Her heart pounded at the near miss. This depressing day was moving quickly from bad to worse.

“Pardon me.” She tightened her grip on four-year-old Caleb’s hand.

“Oh, you’re fine.” Peggy patted Caleb’s cheek and glanced at Jacey. “My, you look troubled, dear.”

With a fixed smile in place, Jacey held back the truth clogging her throat. “It’ll be okay. You two have a great day.” She stepped aside as the couple exited into the frigid, blustery morning.

Peggy and Tom might have a nice day, but her own odds were pretty slim. By this time on a normal Tuesday her son would be at the church’s preschool and she’d be buzzing around the diner serving hungry customers. The notice she’d received in the mail, the one now sizzling in her coat pocket, changed everything.

Caleb covered his ears. “Mama, the music’s loud. Everyone’s loud.”

Jacey lowered his hands. “Hold on, pumpkin. It’ll be quieter when we go in the kitchen.”

Her son was right, though. Between the easy listening radio station blasting Christmas tunes from the corner stereo speakers and the gabby breakfast crowd hyped on coffee, the volume was high. She just hoped her boss’s reaction to her news didn’t exceed the restaurant’s decibels.

Waitresses swirled around the tables like ballerinas in the Nutcracker suite. The aromas of cheesy egg omelets, sweet maple syrup, and fried bacon drifted through the restaurant and flopped Jacey’s empty belly.

Caleb wiggled free from her hand. “Too tight.”

“Sorry, sweetie.” Her son was the only one she could cling to these days. She drew an imaginary heart on his chest with her index finger. “Here’s a great big heart ’cause I love you.”

Her little guy giggled.

“Hey, Jacey.” Mandy, a co-worker, stopped before them. The redhead balanced a tray of three dishes overflowing with pancakes and fruit-topped waffles. She flashed a sideways smile at Caleb. “Hi, cutie.”

Caleb’s eyes widened and he pointed to her head. “You got a fuzzy Santa hat. I want one.”

Jacey shook her head. “Another time—”

Mandy slid off the festive garment and plopped it on Caleb. The big hat sagged and rode his tiny shoulders like a cape. “Know what you can say to folks?”

Caleb beamed. “Ho ho ho.”

“You’re such a smart boy.” Mandy looked at Jacey, worry lines wrinkling her brow. “Better see Rick. He’s pretty ticked at your no-show.”

“Well, he’s going to have to understand.”

Mandy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right.”

“Where is he?”

“Out back.” Mandy jutted her chin at a booth packed tight with five men. “Gotta go.”

“Sure, see you later.” She could only hope this messy situation would pass and she’d work beside her friend later.

Caleb worked his coat zipper up and down. “Can we go home?”

Home.

Her belly twisted again. “Let’s find Rick first.”

She held her breath in expectation that Caleb’s patience remained strong . . . and her boss’s too. After peering through the kitchen door’s window to check for exiting traffic, she knew she couldn’t delay the inevitable any further. “Caleb, want to help push the door open?”

A sweet grin lit his face. He loved this game and they’d played it often during his frequent visits. He stuck his arm out. “One, two, three.”

They inched forward in the one direction she didn’t want to go. Five men, including Rick, buzzed about as they fried, grilled, scooped, and plated food, making small guy-talk. Then, as if Jacey had cast a spell on them, silence spread from one worker to another as they noticed her and Caleb. Rick jabbed the boom box, deadening the frantic hard rock music. The quiet combined with the harsh white lighting made her wobbly. The questioning stares didn’t help.

Rick pushed away from a center prep area, a giant mound of chopped carrots before him. His steely gray eyes darkened and he placed the knife on the cutting board.

“I can explain.” The words gushed from Jacey’s mouth, though no others followed. She’d mentally rehearsed exactly what she would say to her boss, but as she studied the man’s grim expression, reasoning failed her.

Rick wiped his hands on the apron wrapped around his slim waist. For a cook who constantly tasted his creations, he’d managed to avoid packing on the middle-age pounds. Jacey wished he looked more like a jolly round Santa. One with the kind, gentle face she needed.

She swallowed dryly. Christmas, with all its fond memories of celebrating, might very well be making an appearance in five calendar days, but the way life was going it might as well be five months from now. She glanced at Caleb. Her poor boy. It was looking more like no fa la la holiday for him either.

Rick hurried away from the prep area and loomed before her, his scowl all the evidence she needed as to which way the conversation was heading.

The door crashed open as Mandy and another server burst into the kitchen.

“Table five’s griping about the wait,” the older waitress said.

Mandy flashed a little smile at Jacey then hung another order on the clip over the serving counter. “And my group of ten bottomless pits have decided they’re not full enough.” She sighed. “Get those eggs cracking.”

A discordant melody of clangs and claps ensued as the men hustled to get the food out. Rick motioned for Jacey and Caleb to step to the side. He ordered the guys to keep hopping with the food orders.

“You always manage to dish out explanations and this one better be good.” He pointed toward the door separating the packed dining area from the white and metallic silver kitchen then squeezed his mouth into a thin line. “You were supposed to be here at seven. We’ve had one crowd after another out there. We could have used you.”

“I picked up my mail.” She cringed, aware of how lame she sounded.

Caleb righted the lopsided red felt hat. “Mama got Christmas stamps.”

Rick smiled. “Nice hat, Mr. Santa. Eric is making a yummy dessert. Go on over. I bet he’ll give you a taste.”

A thin, ponytailed man, barely more than a teenager, waved from the pastry workstation in the corner. “Come on over, pal. I’m making chocolate pudding pie.”

Jacey’s breathing eased as her son trotted toward the friendly guy. The joy of her little boy’s growing independence stopped there as she again faced her boss. To his credit, he didn’t cross his arms. He wasn’t naturally intimidating, but every business owner had a limit. She licked her dry lips. “I received unexpected news today.”

He glanced at the wall clock. “It took you three hours to chill from it?”

Her hands shook. The paper she’d slipped from her pocket dropped to the tiled floor. She retrieved the notice and it almost dropped again from her sweaty hand. She opened her mouth to explain, but Rick cut her off with a shake of his head.

“I’ve bought into enough of your excuses. An ill mom. Apartment hopping. A broken-down car. What is it today?”

She waved the morning’s freshly delivered bad news like a white flag of surrender. “Listen, Rick. Please. This is an eviction notice. Caleb and I need to find a new home. Fast, like today or tomorrow tops. I need a few days off.”

“A few days off? During the holiday season? Our busiest time of the year?”

A chill pricked her arms and she shivered. “It’s not my fault.”

“I’m going to have to let you go. I have a business to operate. You know I don’t expect anything more from my staff than I demand of myself. I work seven days a week and more than twelve-hour shifts despite the personal stuff happening in my life.”

She craned her neck to check on Caleb. He’d just followed Eric into the walk-in cooler. Out of earshot. “But I have a child to take care of . . . and now no home.”

 

JaceyPeekedMeme

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Buy Links for And You Came Along, available in both print and ebook:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Elaine’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Special Holiday Edition of Everyone’s Story: Visit with @ElaineStock and check out her #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Sample excerpt of @ElaineStock’s #Christmas novella, And You Came Along. #BookGiveaway #AmReading (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. 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 active six-year-old blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

Places to connect with Elaine:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

HGdiggingdeep

 

Watch for cover reveal, blog tours, and Pre-Order Sale news of the January 22nd release of my next stand alone novel, Her Good Girl, a family drama and coming-of-age story of a whole family.

 

TJ Mackay Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story is Excited–with a capital E–to welcome fiction advocate, InD’tale Magazine! publisher and friend, TJ Mackay. I first was introduced to TJ while reading a Seekerville Blog feature and am I ever thankful. Not only did I win a full page ad in InD’tale, but also my novel Always With You was reviewed, and I have a featured article appearing in the February Valentine issue, but I must emphasize that TJ is a sweet, personable woman who really believes in the power of story and giving authors opportunities they might not have had otherwise. And Ho Ho Ho!! Check out TJ’s amazing Giveaway for 2 blessed author winners, as well as my BookGiveaway offer to readers. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

**My novella, And You Came Along, is now available in both print and ebook. Ho ho ho. Please check it out below TJ’s feature.

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Giveaway:

TJ is offering 2 totally awesome deals for authors:

1st Prize: 1 full page ad in InD’tale Magazine***

2nd Prize: 1 half page ad in InD’tale Magazine***

***To qualify (and to have some fun!): browse through the December/January issue of InD’tale! and in your comment, please note the article you enjoyed most. See below for the link to InD’tale!

And for those viewers who are not authors, I am offering 1 ebook edition of my novella, And You Came Along.

The winners will be announced Friday morning EST on December 22nd.

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

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The Story Behind InD’tale Magazine by TJ Mackay

Hey everyone! I am excited to sit down and chat with you for a few minutes about what an amazing journey founding, developing and watching InD’tale Magazine grow from a single idea to a worldwide publication has been.

In a nutshell, I think this journey has been a mix of the perfect storm directed by God’s amazing grace. It began in 2011 as I was working from my home as the Special Features editor of a national publishing magazine. I absolutely loved the work but was very frustrated with the way mainstream publishing was headed – especially in my preferred genre of romance. It seemed that every book I picked was suddenly full of sex. Now while we all know sex in romance books is nothing new, what was new and most disturbing was how hard it was becoming to find books that didn’t include it. And, there was absolutely no way to know what a reader was getting into until they spent the money for the book and started reading. I can’t tell you how many books I purchased only to find they were NOT what I wanted to read!

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It seems I wasn’t the only feeling this way. More and more “clean” authors began contacting me asking if I would help them because publishers wouldn’t even look at their books unless they had the requisite 2.5 sex scenes deemed necessary to sell. This just happened to be at the same time the publishing industry was beginning to ride the Kindle/Nook/E-book/Amazon phenomenon.

I will never the phone call that changed my life. A dear friend had just become the very first self-published romance author to make the New York Times bestsellers list. In the midst of all the squealing she said, “This is going to be HUGE! You should start a magazine for all the indie-published authors and readers out there who need a platform for success! Well, the seed was planted. I decided I would create a magazine that would help all the authors who, through no fault of their own except they weren’t fitting into the correct “box”, find success.   AND, the books in that magazine would include a steam rating so people could determine how must sex was in a book before they had to buy it!

Looking back, I am absolutely amazed at what one can accomplish when they are too stupid to know any better.

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I have learned beyond any shadow of doubt that God’s grace is great and that he truly does take an interest and direct us when we endeavor to do good. This journey has been nothing short of a succession of small miracles combined with more work than I ever imagined – prayer so desperate it’s scary at times and an overall sincere desire to bless and help others.

Sounds silly to some and we have had more scoffers than I care to list. Those from mainstream who are disgusted because we refuse to review erotica and scoff at the idea that I and the staff at InD’tale work in large part without payment (truly!) On the opposite side, many in the Christian world doubt because we allow books that have content that isn’t Christian and covers that may have bare-chested men on them (Yep, it’s true!)

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But, the whole point of InD’tale magazine was to help ALL people find better books. And, all people are not on the same level. Jesus, our greatest example of all, didn’t sit with only the pious, he got out and worked to help everyone while continually encouraging them to find better. That’s the example I so want to emulate.

So, no matter your situation, whatever your dream, go out there and work to achieve it! I am the perfect example of the fact that you don’t have to be an expert to find success. You just have to have a sincere desire, a lot of faith and a willingness to work hard. I love the saying “Get on your knees and pray – then stand up and get to work”—the very BEST formula for making your perfect storm happen!

 

TJ’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet TJ Mackay of @InDTaleMagazine, advocate of #indie and small publisher fiction. #Writing (Tweet This)

Readers: Check out @InDTaleMagazine for #Reader fun and meet new authors. (Tweet This)

#Authors: Want to win @InDTaleMagazine’s #Giveaway of a free 1-page ad for your book? Visit with TJ Mackay. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Founder/Publisher – InD’tale Magazine

            The publishing industry’s most trusted publication for independent and small published authors and readers. With top level interviews, cutting edge information and educational articles, along with professional book reviews, InD’tale brings the very best in publishing to anyone who loves to read. With worldwide distribution, InD’tale’s premier status was built on the high quality and professional yet personal interest Ms. Mackay is known and famous for.

Founder/Host – InD’Scribe Con and Book Festival

            Held in the fall of each year, InD’Scribe Con focuses on helping, supporting and nurturing authors at any stage of their career while allowing readers the rare opportunity to not only see but actually interact and spend time with their favorite authors. InD’Scribe does this by providing interactive workshops, panels and personal contact with top companies in publishing, as well as social events, signings and activities geared to enhance both the reading and writing experience.

Founder/CEO – RONE Awards

            The first ever awards strictly focussing on the Indie and small published world. Now dubbed, “The Oscars of Indie”, the RONE awards are not only the most prestigious award in the Indie industry but are also the most comprehensive awards in all of publishing today.

Places to connect with TJ:

Twitter

Facebook

InD’tale website

InD’tale Conference and Book Festival

TJ and I look forward to your comments.

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Jacey and Zander’s story, And You Came Along, is now out!! 

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Kathleen Rouser Speaks Up

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Everyone’s Story welcomes back Christian historical fiction author and dear friend, Kathleen Rouser. Kathy and I share the same agent and have clicked ever since. She’s they type of friend I feel as if I’ve known forever, but wished I really did know her since my childhood days… I’m so thankful I got to meet her in person a couple of years ago and look forward to another time, which I hope isn’t too far off. For now, please kick back with a cup of cocoa and enjoy her company. I hope you enjoy the interview and do check out her BookGiveaway offer of her newest release. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

**And exciting personal news to share: my novella, And You Came Along, is now available. Ho ho ho. Please check it out below Kathy’s feature.

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BookGiveaway:

Kathleen is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter the choice of either 1 paperback edition of Secrets and Wishes (US only) or 1 ebook. The winner will be announced Friday morning EST on December 15th.

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

 

 

 

 

Questions for Kathleen Rouser

Which 3 words describe Kathleen Rouser, the woman?

Believer, wife, mom.

Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

Hopeful, faith-filled, romantic.

Out of the novels you’ve written, which was the most demanding, emotionally, for you? Was there anything or anyone you channeled to prepare or did you just dive in?

I don’t know that I can say that one was more demanding than the others. Writing fiction, for me, and digging into characters’ lives always takes emotional energy. Perhaps Secrets and Wishes was more taxing because I wrote much of it under a deadline.

Prayer is important. When I’m stuck for how to give more depth to a character or plot, I go to the Lord for answers, for inspiration.

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What’s been your biggest challenge in writing?

The discipline of it. I struggle with perfectionism and fearing what I write won’t be good enough, even though I’ve been published. Yet, a first draft will never be perfect. I have overcome it at times but feel I need to work at it to be more productive.

And the opposite: what’s the biggest perk in writing that makes you NOT want to walk away from the keyboard?

Once I’m in the flow of it I love being in the world of my story. It’s so much fun! There’s that goal of getting to the end of the story and looking back at what I’ve managed to accomplish with God’s help.

What type of books do you read for your own entertainment?

All kinds really. I enjoy the classics, romance—historical or contemporary, mystery, fantasy, and YA apocalyptic. I’ve been in a fiction phase for a long time, but also will pick up non-fiction when I need it.

What was the creepiest topic you’ve had to research? And, the one topic that took you most by surprise, delight wise?

Probably the creepiest thing I’ve had to research is about patent medicines at the end of the 19th century. Children became easily addicted and some died from overdoses of these so-called remedies because they were laced with dangerous opioids. Adults became addicted too. Also, learning how people were treated for overdoses at the time was not pleasant.

The most surprising delight wise came about as I researched homes for unwed mothers at the turn-of-the-century in Detroit. I discovered that Crittenton Hospital had been started as a mission for fallen women in Detroit around that time. I also found some books through interlibrary loan that provided a good amount of detail about how the Florence Crittenton homes were set up and run. In Rumors and Promises, the superintendent of the home in Detroit is Mary Hart, and yes, that was the real name of the woman in charge there. I was delighted at how it all fell into place and worked into my story in a way that made me sure God had provided.

What do you hope your life would be like in ten years from now?

Wow! That’s a hard question. I guess I’d say despite all my hopes and dreams I want to be at the center of the Lord’s will, doing what He’s given me to do.

Fast takes:

Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice (But there are many others right up there.)

Favorite music: Contemporary Christian, hymns, and Celtic

Favorite pastime: Hanging out with my hubby.

Country you’d love to visit: Italy

Cook or dine out: Depends on the day.

Scary movie or comedy: Comedy, definitely!

I’d love to________________ because________________:

I’d love to have one of my books made into a movie because it would be so cool to see it played out on the big screen.

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Kathleen’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

#ChristFic historical author @KathleenRouser speaks out: faith, creepy research, writing discipline. (Tweet This)

Everyone’s Story Interview: Learn more about #Inspy author @KathleenRouser. (Tweet This)

Like historical Christian Fiction? #BookGiveaway of @KathleenRouser’s Secrets and Wishes. (Tweet This)

 

 

Author’s Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and the novella, The Pocket Watch. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 35 years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest.

Places to connect with Kathleen:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Secrets & Wishes

Rumors & Promises 

Kathleen and I look forward to your comments.

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Jacey and Zander’s story, And You Came Along, is now out!! 

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

Kobo 

iBooks