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.

 

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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!

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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!

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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:

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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:

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*******

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!

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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!

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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!!

 

Norma Budden Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes contemporary author Norma Budden. I had the pleasure of meeting Norma online a few months back and have become fascinated by where she lives: Arctic Canada! And here I am, relieved to have gotten through a blizzard this past week that covered us with 2.5 feet of snow… I’d love to know more about what it’s like to live where Norma does, and about her novels, and I hope she shares some with us this week! Check out Norma’s amazing BookGiveaway for 10 lucky winners. Yes. That’s 10 winners! Complementing the Giveaway novel is a lovely book trailer she’s sharing with us.  And see why she speaks up on the rewards of being a writer. Norma and I look forward to chatting with you.

If Only 200

 

Norma is offering 10 randomly chosen commenters the Kindle edition of If Only. The winners will be announced here on Friday, March 24th between  5-6 PM EST.

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

 

 

 

The Rewards of Being a Writer by Norma Budden

Writing is a painstaking endeavor, yet I love it – crave it – like the air I breathe each day. Unfortunately, with all of my responsibilities, I cannot write as much as I would like most days. That being said, I am thankful for a healthy growing family, and I enjoy my day job of being an Administration Manager, so all is not lost.

You may ask what it is about writing that I enjoy so much. It is simply this: I enjoy the creativity, the ability to create characters whom others can relate to on one level or another. Writing doesn’t feel like work to me at all, until the revision and publishing stages come into play but, even then, I enjoy it. There are so many facets to this wonderful area of my life that I don’t think I could ever grow bored. I even need to write a list sometimes to keep track of everything I would like, or need, to do.

As a writer, I am introduced to wonderful people, some of whom become my dearest friends. Two such friends are Dee Fleischman of Ohio and Michael Phelps of Miami, Florida. Without these two wonderful people in my life, I’m not sure my days would run as smoothly. Even if we don’t touch base every day and circumstances beyond our control prevent us from touching base for long stretches of time, just knowing they are in my life makes all of the difference. We’ve seen each other through various situations and have been a listening ear as many times as needed. I cannot imagine my life without them.

Speaking of friends, I cannot forget the late Michael T. Ingram of Virginia, and the late Bernice Branford Lewis of Maryland. Michael and I wrote a book titled, Finding Tracey, which was later published under the name, As Angels Watch. He was like an older brother and I loved him as such. I even took my daughters (11 and 6, at the time) to meet Michael and his family, flying from Arctic Canada to Manitoba, then driving to Virginia. We had a wonderful time which I shall never forget.

As for Bernice Branford Lewis, shortly after I met Michael and his family in Virginia, she wrote her way into my life when looking for a poem for her Sunday School class on the subject of a secret place. It wasn’t long afterwards when she began referring to herself as “Mama Lewis” and the title certainly fit. She became close to my heart and I shall forever miss her daily presence in my life. However, I will never forget the lessons she taught me, the love she demonstrated toward everyone and the forgiving spirit she carried with her everywhere. It became my mission in life to be as much like her as I could be.

Last, but not least, I enjoy hearing what others feel about my stories. When a woman can read my book, Coming Unglued: A Mother’s Journey into Hell, then gradually introduce her abusive husband to the story to the point he wants to read it for himself, it makes me feel good. When he begins to read it and realizes how much he has hurt his wife over the years, then apologizes and becomes a doting and loving husband, it sends my heart and soul soaring somewhere in the clouds. It makes writing the book worth every tear shed as I painstakingly wrote many scenes.

This is not the only story which has been shared with me about the effect one of my books has had on a person’s life, but it’s the one which comes to the forefront of my mind because abuse is degrading – downright ugly – and when a person can see the error of their ways and make a complete turn-around, it can’t help but stand out in my mind.

All in all, I’ve had some terrific highs over the past few years. I’ve experienced a few devastating lows, too, but having the low points in life definitely makes the high points seem so much sweeter.

Norma’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Contemporary author @NormaBudden Speaks Out on the rewards of being a #writer #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Meet @NormaBudden: an author craving the demanding tasks of #writing and living in #ArcticCanada (Tweet This)

Why has #writing been a saving grace for author @NormaBudden? #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Norma Budden lives in a land of ice and snow for about six to seven months of the year; she has made her home in Arctic Canada since 1992 and cannot make any guarantee as to when she’ll be leaving the north to pursue adventures in the southern Canadian provinces.

Budden’s world involves being an Administration Manager by day and a mother, grandmother, writer, reader – among other things – during the evenings.

Budden has been interested in writing since she was 12 but was 18 when she wrote her first novel, then set it aside for several years. During the ensuing years, she wrote poetry and song, even recorded two of her own music albums – until the writing bug took over again, doing everything in its power to try to consume every spare moment; it’s a war she wages each and every day.

Since September, 2011, Budden had published several titles, five of which belong to her ongoing saga known as the Freedom in Love Series. The titles are An Affair to Remember, When Love Abides, Soul Confessions, Divided Loyalties and The Promise.

Budden has also written stand-alone titles, namely Coming Unglued: A Mother’s Journey into Hell, If Only, Written on the Stars (14,000 words), As Angels Watch (with Michael T. Ingram) and a couple of short stories.

Ultimately, Budden hopes to spend more time focused on writing and the business of writing. She also plans to begin taking road trips so she can meet some of her fans and introduce her writing to others.

Places to connect with Norma:

Website

Book Review

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Google+

YouTube

Norma and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~*~

BookAward

I’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!!

 

 

Carrie Schmidt Speaks Up!

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Everyone’s Story welcomes with a huge smile, my special guest, Carrie Schmidt, aka MeezCarrie, aka Carrie from ReadingIsMySuperpower book blog. Carrie is one of the strongest supporters of Christian fiction ever (although through her, I’ve happily met several more). To be fair, a true friend to both author and reader, Carrie is a supporter of anything to do with books, whether it’s writing or reading. I was first introduced to Carrie through another author (interestingly enough, one who doesn’t write for the CBA market) and I queried Carrie to see if she was interested in reviewing my then debut novel, Always With You.  She certainly did read my story–and got it!! Got the characters and plot and message. Then, she also was interested in interviewing me. Oh, how happy and blessed I was! Several months later I had the pleasure of meeting her at the inaugural CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in Nashville). It’s now my pleasure to host her this week. Please check out what Carrie speaks up about during her interview. Carrie and I look forward to chatting with you.

 

Questions for Carrie Schmidt, aka MeezCarrie

 

I’ve followed your amazing blog for a while now, but after all this time I still don’t know how you got started blogging. What was your impetus?

Awwww, thank you for thinking it’s amazing! I had been trying my hand at reviewing books on Goodreads for a while, and I noticed that my friends (both online and in person) were asking me for recommendations of books they should read next. So I was toying with the idea of starting a blog, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. And then I had the opportunity to join Varina Denman’s launch team for her debut novel, Jaded, and while having a blog wasn’t a requirement I wanted the most exposure possible for such a great novel. Which… really… when I started blogging, “most exposure possible” just meant my parents, my husband, and one or two friends LOL.

In meeting people who claim they’re not readers do you A) want to recommend them to a psychotherapist B) want to see a counselor yourself because you can’t stop crying for the lost soul c) desire to introduce him or her to all your fave authors or D) pick up another novel and get lost in a different world for a few hours?

Hahaha! Can I say E) all of the above? But most particularly A because… hello? Something is clearly wrong with them.

As a child, who influenced you the most to treasure a book? Can you share any special memories of being read to or visiting a library or bookstore?

My parents read to me a lot – as soon as I could be developmentally aware of being read to. In fact, my first word was “book”, so they certainly made an impression lol!

Going to the library was always a special treat, and our system had a really great summer reading program that I looked forward to every year as a child. Instead of just number of pages or number of books, you had to read a certain number of books in particular categories. Like, 5 Newbery Award winners, 5 Caldecotts, 5 biographies, 5 plays, etc. So I was exposed to many different genres that way, and fell in love with many books and authors I might not have otherwise.

But as far as ‘treasuring a book’, that distinction really belongs to my paternal grandfather. He loved literature. He quoted literature. He even had one of those bookcases that opened up like a door. He bought me literature that I hadn’t known to ask for, usually in a genre that was outside my comfort zone but one that was important for my well-rounded literary development. If blogging had been a thing in his heyday, he would have enjoyed blogging about books too, I think.

We, more than anyone, need to be writing and promoting literature that exposes the messes of life but extends grace and hope to those stuck in the pit. copy

Please define your view of a great heroine and an extraordinary hero?

I feel like a great heroine is someone who I would want to hang out with as friends, someone I see myself in but also someone who challenges me to grow and stretch as a woman. An extraordinary hero? Oh goodness… how much space do I have to talk about this?? I swoon often over a wide range of heroes – from the flirty to the broody. But the one thing they have in common is “fierce love” which more often than not causes me to see in them a reflection of Jesus.

You review both CBA and ABA market books. Regardless of whether an author writes for the Christian or General market, what are the few subjects, if any, that you will not read?

Oh that’s a tough question. If you’d asked me that before I started reviewing books/blogging, I would have given you a long list haha! But now as my tastes have finetuned themselves a bit and at the same time I’ve taken some chances on books I wouldn’t have picked up before, that list has shrunk considerably.

And even still, I don’t think there’s any subject per se that I won’t read. It depends on how the subject is presented. I won’t read books with prolific or explicit sex scenes or books with extreme profanity. I say on my contact page that I won’t read horror but one snuck by last year and I enjoyed it LOL. (I think it was misclassified, honestly) And I typically stay away from the paranormal. I may make exceptions for angels or even ghosts but please don’t send me your vampire or werewolf book 😉

Where do you see fiction heading as far as telling a good story goes? And how do you feel about this direction? Any concerns?

In Christian fiction, I think we get better at telling a good story with every batch of new releases and new authors! I have been a fan of the genre since I read my first Janette Oke book in middle school, and my goodness there are some fantastic storytellers in this market!! Not only do they tell a good story, but they craft it with such beautiful prose. My list of favorites has increased exponentially in the last few years.

I think we’re going to see an even greater move toward more subtle nudges of faith, less overt evangelism, and I think this is a great thing! There are so many readers who will never enter a Christian bookstore, or a church, and we’ve got to write for them too. Because life is messy and everyone else is certainly writing about the mess. But as Christians, we have a Savior who sat down in the mess with us, loved us in spite of our mess, and extended a nail-scarred hand to help us out of the pit. We, more than anyone, need to be writing and promoting literature that exposes the messes of life but extends grace and hope to those stuck in the pit.

My concern is that readers who like it the way it’s always been done will hunker down and kick their feet and end up being louder than those of us longing for this kind of fiction. My prayer is that enough authors and publishers and editors will be willing to take the risk anyway.

You’re one of three heart-caring “stewards” who began the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, which I had the pleasure of attending last year in Nashville. You, Annie, and Bonnie did a beyond superb job launching CFRR that this year, overnight, you booked all your authors!! Tell us about CFRR: your goals, hopes, and an insight to the planning and hours you must put into this awesome project.

Elaine, we loved having you at CFRR in Nashville last year, and we are thrilled that you will be back this year in Cincinnati!!

Above all, we want CFRR to honor God. Through Christian fiction, of course, but ultimately in our planning, our worship, and our hearts. The three of us don’t make any money from the event; all income goes directly back into CFRR so that we are conscious to keep this as a ministry in our hearts and minds as we prepare for it.

We started talking about CFRR2017 around the first part of October 2016. (We took a little break to recover from CFRR2016 lol). We finally had most of the key decisions made by January, which was cutting it a little close for our comfort, to be honest LOL. Now, we get to do the fun stuff – like hunt for great swag for the CFRR swag bags!

Fast takes:

An essential on a book cover that always captures your eye: Hot guy … is that too shallow? 😉

A book too long you had to put down: The Valley by Helen Bryan… I actually fell asleep reading it. Woke up with my face in it.

Ever—gasp—hide books from your parents: ummm… Noooooo…. Never.

A superpower you’re still aiming for: Cooking

Third person POV or First person preference: Third, but I have several First person faves too

Cringe or forgive a few editorial errors: In an ARC? Forgive. In a final copy? Cringe.

A dream vacation destination, with or without books: Scotland

3 authors from years ago you’d love to meet: Janette Oke, Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock (I know they are all three still current, but I’ve been reading them for years!)

Carrie’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

@MeezCarrie of ReadngIsMySuperpower Speaks Up: Hopes, Concerns, and fun with #fiction. (Tweet This)

Heard the buzz on #CFRR2017? @MeezCarrie shares on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)

Meet @MeezCarrie, a champion of #ChristianFiction. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat.

Places to connect with Carrie:

Reading Is My Superpower (blog)

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Carrie and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~*~

BookAward

I’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!!

 

Janet S. Grunst Speaks Up!

Janet Grunst 25%

Everyone’s Story welcomes Christian historical author Janet S. Grunst. Janet and I share the same fabulous agent, Linda S. Glaz, and we had the pleasure of meeting for the first–but hopefully not last–time in Nashville at the ACFW conference last summer. Must share: Janet’s a sweetheart and I hope you’ll enjoy her time with us this week. Please check out what Janet speaks up about, her lovely BookGiveaway of her debut novel, A Heart Set Free (which is receiving wonderful reviews!), and the blurb for the book. Janet and I look forward to chatting with you.

**I think ALL of my guests are special, but please join us next week when I host a “Surprise” guest that I’m honored and excited about appearing on Everyone’s Story!

A Heart Set Free FINAL (2)

 

Janet is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter the choice for a print or eBook edition of A Heart Set Free, with print only available to US winners. The winner will be announced here on Friday, March 10th between  5-6 PM EST.

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

 

 

 

Back cover blurb for A Heart Set Free:

In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.

Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?

When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.

It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .

and love will finally set her heart free.

 

A Long Journey by Janet Grunst

I was delighted when Elaine offered to feature my debut novel A Heart Set Free. She has a heart to encourage readers and writers as they pursue their interests. So my story of slogging through the writing and publication process should give anyone hope as they pursue their dreams.

I wasn’t one who had aspirations of writing from an early age. In fact I probably was subconsciously steered away from it. It must have been around 1960, when my older sister brought a beau home from college whose plan was to become a writer. My father said, “that’s nice, but what are you going to do for a living?” Dad was an engineer, and while an avid reader, he didn’t consider “the arts” a profession.

It was only after I had entered a Redbook writing contest in the early 80’s that I thought seriously about writing. I lost the contest but discovered the joy I found in telling a true story of a very embarrassing experienced I’d had years earlier. In the next few years I had regular columns in two local newspapers, which was a terrific learning experience. But it wasn’t the same as telling a story.

JanetMeme

So in the early 80’s I asked the Lord if writing fiction was the call I sensed He was giving me, a different way to share my faith. My husband was supportive, but with two very active preschool sons at home was it the right time? I lifted it up in prayer because I knew it would only come about if it was His will.

The Lord’s confirmation came through loud and strong and over the next year He provided the time for me to study fiction writing and research the era I wanted to write about. I even believe He helped me weave the tale. After completing the story I studied how to market a manuscript to Christian publishers in an era when one didn’t need an agent. I submitted it unsuccessfully for two years.

That, and the sequel I’d begun, was put aside when life necessitated my getting full time employment to raise my sons on my own.

Many years passed, my children were grown, and my circumstances changed, including re-marriage. Was it time to pursue that long dormant dream of writing fiction? I still had a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith that would entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader. But so much had changed in the writing and publishing world in the intervening years. I needed to adapt my manuscript to the current way publishers wanted stories written. Lots of studying and editing ensued. The advent of e-books, the need to have a platform, an online presence via blogging, websites, and social media required a lot of research, studying and developing a multitude of new skills. I also needed an agent who saw promise in the story and wanted to represent me. With the closure of so many bookstores, including Christian bookstores and diminished opportunities in the Christian fiction market meant it was going to be even more challenging for a non-published writer to get that first book out.

I had always held my writing with an open hand. If I did my part and it was the Lord’s will, the story would find its way out into the world. Listening to and learning from others far more experienced than me was essential and so helpful. I found a wonderful agent, Linda Glaz, who patiently taught and encouraged me and continued to try to find a home for my story. And when the time was right, she found a publishing house, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas that was willing to take a chance on my thirty-one year old story. That process and more editing has also been an education. My millennial, A Heart Set Free, finally made its way out of the proverbial basement and into the world on December 2nd, 2016.

Do you have an avocation that’s itching to be fulfilled? It’s never too late to pursue your dream. Give it to the Lord one day at a time.

Janet’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet debut #ChristFic historical author @JanetGrunst, author of A Heart Set Free #BookGiveaway (Tweet This)

Author @JanetGrunst Speaks Up: The Long but worthwhile journey to publication. (Tweet This)

#Readers #Writers: Do you think it’s too late to pursue your dream? @JanetGrunst thinks otherwise! (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, and bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.

Places to connect with Janet:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

Janet and I look forward to your comments.

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BookAward

I’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!!